A friend of mine is currently working in Beirut and had the opportunity to visit Baalbeck, which is home to a temple complex in stunning condition. The city was known as Heliopolis in ancient times (a quick look at wiki confirmed this) and the temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has a Temple to Bacchus and a Temple to Jupiter. My friend was kind enough to allow me to share his photographs with you, though he wishes to remain anonymous. These are just breathtaking (esp. the plaque with the image of Bacchus).
I promised that after the Solstice, I’d share a picture of our household shrine to Ask and Embla. Here it is. It’s small — we have numerous household shrines and we’re running out of room!–but potent. We started seriously paying cultus to them during this past year’s Sunwait and realized what a powerful thing it was, and how it added a foundation to our practice hitherto lacking. I had initially thought to put their shrine with the rest of our ancestors, but that didn’t seem right. They are the first and thus special. So, they have their own place as you see. It will grow as our understanding of and devotion to them also grows.
One of the things we did in my household this Yule was set up a shrine to Idunna. I’ve never really had any type of devotional relationship with Her before, but this autumn, we all began finding ourselves deeply drawn to Her veneration. I wanted to share a picture of the shrine. I’m very pleased with the way it’s coming along. It is a wall shrine, though I”m not sure that comes through in the photo. We have it hanging at the top of our stairs and every time we pass by, we pray to Her.
Tonight was our last formal Yule ritual. We had Modranacht on the 20th, a proper Yule rite on the 21st, and tonight we did a rather informal rite for the House of Mundilfari. Our next rite will be on the 31st to usher in the New Year. Happy Yule, folks.
I created the Yuletide Shopping Guide in part because Yule is one of my favorite times of year. The guide features items polytheists would enjoy seeing in their homes or under their tree this yuletide. All with the hope of spreading some holiday cheer in a difficult year by finding items that can help feed our devotions within our polytheistic traditions, but also to hopefully along the way lift up some of the artisans in our midst too. So far I’ve included resources for crafters, makers, and DIYers: cookie cutters, crafting molds, fabric (Mesoamerican, Egyptian, Greek, Northern Europe), machine embroidery designs, cross-stitch and embroidery patterns, as well as knitting and crochet patterns. I’ve also highlighted some items on a Krampus theme. I’ve spotlighted items you can use to deck the halls and trim the tree.
There were some artists and artisans who offered a range of product across pantheons, or whose work focuses on a tradition that I didn’t have enough items to spotlight on it’s own. So I highly recommend that you carefully peruse the spotlighted artists and artisans in my miscellaneous Part 1, & Part 2. You will find offerings encompassing a vast array of traditions: Norse, Slavic, Celtic, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Polynesian, Mesoamerican, Minoan, Assyrian, Sumerian, Welsh, Asian, Native American/Inuit, and more!
Today I’ll be featuring items of interest for polytheists within Cultus Deorum (Roman Polytheism) and Hellenismos (Greek Polytheism).
ArxMercatura based in the Ukraine offers items for modern practitioners of Cultus Deorum with religious statues, libation bowls, shrines, Lares, clothes and more.
GoldenGlitterArt offers a wide range of blinged out foil art prints, you’ll have to dig among all the offerings but there’s several Greek Gods and Goddesses offered (Hades, Poseidon, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hera, Hephaestus, and Demeter).
SummitCollection offers Greekies, which are hand painted cold cast resin figures of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Artistically, these might be cute statues for a children’s altar.
- TheRavensMyre Hermes offering plate
- Philip Crow’s Hermes linocut print
- ArcanicaArt has wooden statues of Pan and Eros
- Cronus felt doll
- Craftspring has felt versions of Zeus, Hermes, and Neptune
- For the kids, Greek Mythology building blocks (Affiliate Disclosure)
Additional resources: The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a mini replica of the Three Graces Statue and a bust of Thalia. The British Museum has a range of Greek and Roman merchandise too. Be sure to peruse the previous entries in the Yuletide Shopping Guide as there is a range of items relevant to devotees worshipping under the Greco-Roman umbrella.
I’ve been meaning to post this for a week or so. I bumped into my shrine for Sigyn and Loki and knocked over an offering of red wine. I was pissssed at myself, because it made quite the mess, but then I figured it was a good opportunity to clean and refresh the shrine, which I’d been meaning to do for some time. I have a lot of shrines in my home and I will admit that it’s difficult to keep them all pristine. I make offerings regularly so I usually use that time to dust them and make sure that everything is in order, but at least quarterly, I like to take everything off the shrine, clean it, change the shrine cloth, and rearrange the sacred images and icons. (I have to do this for my ancestor shrine before Yule and I’m dreading it — that sucker is so big it takes me two to three days to do it properly). When I spilled the wine on Sigyn and Loki’s shrine, I took that as a sign that it was time to roll up my sleeves and give it a proper cleaning, which I did. So, I wanted to share a close up of the newly restored shrine:
Tonight was the first night of a rather intense ritual cycle. Each October, we hold rituals nightly from October 25 through November 3. We’ve done shorter rites and preparations earlier throughout the week, but tonight was the first big ancestor ritual. It really did feel good to return to this practice. Even though we all honor our ancestors regularly, this type of formal ritual seems long overdue.
Tonight, we specifically honored our male ancestors, naming those we wished to name, honoring groups of our male dead, telling stories, praying with and for them. (Tomorrow we honor our Disir, our female ancestors, Friday is Hela’s feast day, though as tonight, Veles will get his due as well. With so many Slavic dead around in our household, this, I think, was inevitable. Saturday and Sunday are for all our dead, and form the primary focus of our Winternights rite, and then the next few days are for more personal veneration and cemetery work.). I honor the dead as I was taught years and years ago, and this is the form that has become customary in our House.
We kept our ritual very simple, consecrating space with fire, praying to the ancestors as a whole, praying to Hela, pouring out offerings, offering an unexpected prayer to Veles because He was suddenly so very present and the Slavic ancestors really wanted Him honored, pouring out offerings, then prostrating to the dead, telling their stories, saying their names. This year we incorporated a simple symbel (a ritual where the horn is passed around three times and ancestors and Gods hailed). I have a novice training to become a gythia (priest), so taking this ritual slowly and simply allowed me to really delve into each of the constituent parts with her. It was a surprisingly powerful rite.
Tomorrow, we repeat the whole thing again for our female ancestors. What a motley crew we are in this House, ancestors from every corner of the world, and it is wonderful. May they all ever be hailed. For those of you who celebrate at this time, what do you have planned?
What a beautiful thing! Someone did a bit of guerilla art: this person put up a shrine to Hermes in the Brooklyn subway. My friend M. sent me the link yesterday and you can check it out here. I think this is just wonderful (and I particularly like that it looks like some offerings have been made). We need more of this! May Hermes and all our Gods ever and always be loved.
Here are some pictures from the link above of the shrine. May Hermes smile upon whoever did this. Bravo/a.
I meant to post this yesterday but the day got away from me. It’s a close up of one of my smaller Odin shrines (I have several in my home). This one is in my office, so I see it whenever I am working. The beautiful statue is by S. Ravenswing.
Each week, I’m going to try to post a close up of one of my shrines. Today, it’s a close up of part of my shrine to Sigyn and Loki. The shrine, of course, is much much larger than this, but I wanted to capture just a moment, a mood, the essence of what this space, holy space for holy Powers evokes for me. Happy Wednesday, folks.