Thursday, September 12, 2013

Home Shrine Essay

We first moved in to our current home in February of 2011, which is roughly the same time period that my commitment to modern druidic practice solidified.  Initially, the first altar in the new house was on a small counter-top adjacent to the stove and was not much more than a simple seven-day devotional candle.

As we settled into the house, and as my own faith and relationship with my hearth culture solidified, I claimed the top of one of our bookshelves for the family altar.  Below is an honest, no-frills picture of this altar (meaning: I didn't spruce it up for this photo).

The mirror with the sun motif serves as a reminder of the Slavic god Swarog, while a seven-day devotional candle serves as our fire.  I found this candle worked best with our household, which includes two children and many, many more pets.  The tree is represented by branches in the glass vase to the right.  Perched within these branches is a small artistic bird which my daughters added.  A small silver bowl to the right of the main candle acts as the well.  The incense tray is towards the front of the altar.

The silver bowl on the left is the main offering receptacle.  Currently, there are several additional candles on the altar for special prayers.  Members of the household will sometimes put nature artifacts on the altar; in this picture one might be able to spy a few feathers, a turtle shell and a piece of drift wood.  My older daughter has placed a small cat figurine on the altar (she has a special affinity for cats) and my younger daughter placed an omen card of a goat on the altar during a time when she was particularly interested in the god Piorun.  The wooden bowl to the far right currently serves as an offering bowl for the household domovoi.  This bowl receives regular gifts of bread and salt, especially when something goes missing.

My future plans for this altar include a new altar cloth which I have been embroidering over the past several weeks as an act of devotion for Mokosh.  I have never been very satisfied with our tree representation and continue to search for alternatives.  Eventually, a place for the domovoi offering will be made next to the stove, as this is a more traditional location.

I also have a very small personal altar on the wall next to my bed (pictured below).  I have had this altar for about six months and have always kept it very simple and intimate. I have also set aside place on our property for a future altar with special attendance to the nature spirits.

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