Monday, January 26, 2015

Altars, Revisited

This week's Pagan Experience prompt is any topic beginning with the letter A, or B. I thought it might be a good time to revisit the subject of my altars, which I last photographed and posted about as part of the Pagan Blog Project a bit over two years ago now. There have been a lot of changes since then - although I still have a lot of different shrines and altars, that hasn't changed a bit! (So yes, that is your warning that this is going to be an image heavy post. Clicking any image should make it larger.)

Artemis' altar has changed quite a bit, it moved into the kitchen, and is now a much more active place. I still enjoy worshiping Artemis outdoors, but the indoor altar has been immensely helpful to me, especially during these icy winter months where it can be hard for me to get out as much. Here the altar is lit for my morning prayers. My partner is a bit sensitive to incense smoke, so the oil warmer on the right replaces regular incense use. When I do burn the incense stick on the left, it's just for a few minutes once a week or so, long before they wake up. With the incense stick are some bird feathers I've found - lots of turkey feathers, but some duck, blue jay, and others, too.

The hearth shrine has also changed a good bit. I moved it onto the top of my oven. I was a bit worried that the heat/mess from cooking would harm it, but no issues these past few months!

The center plaque is a historical image of Vesta and Pales, but for my practice I am using it to represent Hestia and one of her sacred animals, the donkey, and the snake becomes the Agathos Daimon, or the good spirit, who is also represented by the little caved snake on the bottom right. Next to that, although hard to make out, is a dragon to represent the household guardian spirit. On the left side is Tykhe (Roman Fortuna). In the very near future there will also be a small statue of Apollon included on this shrine.

Also in the kitchen, where the old hearth shrine used to be, is Hekate's altar. For quite a while I was setting up a temporary altar on her sacred day each month, but after moving my hearth shrine I figured it would be best to set up a more permanent place for her.

It's quite a simple area, two candles to represent her twin torches, a small offering plate, and two animals associated with her, a black dog and a horse.

Below that is a second shelf that is mainly used only during her monthly festival, but there is a small bowl there which holds some more object offerings.
Below those two shelves is my ancestor shrine, which I didn't take a picture of this time around. It hasn't really changed much, but there are no longer any deities on that shrine, it's just a place to honor my ancestors.

Then there is an altar for Aphrodite (center), one of her children, Hermaphroditus (left), and the Kharities (right), or graces. I usually like to keep altars more on the tidy side, with little clutter, but this one feels best when it's busy! The altar is covered with objects and animals sacred to these deities. On the far left is a reed diffuser, so there is always a pleasant scent surrounding this altar. I would love to do more with this altar, perhaps getting a potted plant or desktop fountain for it.

Finally, there is the seasonal altar. During the growth and harvest seasons (May through October) Demeter sits on this shrine, but during the colder winter months it is Hestia. The altar is currently decorated for Imbolc, in white snowy colors. Even though Imbolc is still the dead of winter here (we're about to have a big snowstorm, actually), I couldn't resist having a little greenery on the shrine, but the flowers themselves are a bit like snow.

1 comment:

  1. I love your altars. You've inspired me to finally set up my own. I've been reading your blog for a while. I'm interested in hearth & green witchery. Thank you :)