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Author Topic: Discreet Altar/Shrine questions  (Read 4911 times)

NoxSineNomine

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Discreet Altar/Shrine questions
« on: April 21, 2015, 10:29:08 pm »
So I'm still dipping my toes into the idea of practicing rather than just binge reading everything I can get my hands on, and I'd really like to have some sort of altar or shrine set up at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck living in my judgmental, christian parents' house, and I know that anything too obviously pagan would be... not good. I'm an adult, but they've got some serious control issues that I won't get into here.

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

Jenett

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Re: Discrete Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2015, 10:50:54 pm »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
(I am the kind of person who feels strongly about doing religious ritual under someone else's roof when I know they wouldn't approve even as an adult, but that isn't your question.)

Some things I've used that are adaptable to this kind of circumstance:

Elemental associations:
- Decorated small wooden boxes, painted the appropriate color for each element, with small items inside. Can be put away when not in use, or if you decorate them subtly, left out and used for jewelry/other trinkets. Tumbled rocks, glass, pewter charms, little carved stone figures all fit nicely. (You can get the boxes inexpensively at most craft stores: I'm talking about the ones that are 2-3 inches in a given direction.)

- Coloured ribbons. My preferred method is 3-4 shades of appropriate colours, 6ish strands of each, about 3 feet long. (Cheap thin ribbon from the craft store works really well for this, the stuff you can get for $1 or 2 a spool) There's something about the drape and variation of the colour that's very effective, and you can hang them, coil them, etc. and pack them away very easily.

- Subtle gestures towards the elements or directions (I use a 4 element system, but it's adaptable to others): a house plant, a plug in fountain, a pile of fire-colored glass decorator pieces in a jar or a pile of appropriate stones, a feather or fancy dip pen, for example. Other items I've seen people use include sea shells, preserved flowers or leaves, driftwood, a special lamp, decorative books (like a special journal).

Deity

Depends highly on the specific deities, but if there's something that's a symbol of them, that's often a doable thing. Postcards from museums often have great images, and again, if you go for 'symbol' rather than 'direct depiction' you cna find some really lovely things.

Other stuff:
For subtle but personally meaningful (I do this at work)

- Computer desktop that's not obviously religious but is meaningful to me. (Ditto phone background, phone case, etc.)

- Choosing computer passwords for the ones I have to rotate regularly that are related to whatever my current ritual or religious goals/focus are.

- Finding jewelry that's personally meaningful and wearing it. (Almost none of my jewelry is obviously Pagan. Etsy is a good source here for interesting designs).

If you can't do a necklace, I've had good luck with simple knotting of embroidery floss and a small pendant/charm/stone strung as an anklet. (Very few people notice it: I use anklets for moderate-term magical foci, something I wear for a month or two at a time. I suggest a lobster clasp so you can take it off if you need to.)
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NoxSineNomine

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Re: Discrete Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2015, 11:12:29 pm »
Quote
- Finding jewelry that's personally meaningful and wearing it. (Almost none of my jewelry is obviously Pagan. Etsy is a good source here for interesting designs).


This is something I've already been trying to do for a year or so. You're right, Etsy is a treasure trove of awesome. I go with rings mostly.

I know I can definitely get away with some of these, the little boxes especially, since I have a book shelf I can put them on and nobody will notice any different. Postcards are also a wonderful idea, because displaying a postcard in a frame is hardly a new idea in this house, and I've done that with cool artwork I found on cards before. Basically, thank you so much Jennett because now I have tons of ideas! :)

Now just to get things....

Jainarayan

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Re: Discrete Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2015, 09:49:05 am »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
Living up to the codes of your particular path is the greatest offering and ritual you can perform for your Gods. Everything else is external. I won't deny that having a sacred space is wonderful, keeps one mindful and is a nice little escape area. But a shrine can become an end in itself. I admit that I run that risk and have to keep telling myself to not be proud or attached to the aesthetics of it.

In Ásatrú The Nine Noble Virtues are a reconstructed code that we have, gleaned and distilled from the Hávamál, so if I could not have a shrine or altar, I have the Hávamál to fall back on. Even in Hinduism there are sayings that "nara seva narayana seva", service to man is service to God; the concept of antharyagam puja, internal worship, where you imagine offering a flower, a fruit, incense or light to a deity. That is as welcome and appreciated by the deity maybe more than the grandest ritual. Where there's a will there's a way. ;)
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Kath

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Re: Discrete Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2015, 11:23:20 pm »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
So I'm still dipping my toes into the idea of practicing rather than just binge reading everything I can get my hands on, and I'd really like to have some sort of altar or shrine set up at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck living in my judgmental, christian parents' house, and I know that anything too obviously pagan would be... not good. I'm an adult, but they've got some serious control issues that I won't get into here.

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
I'm currently in a similar situation.

Depending on how you want to pay tribute to your god/goddess/es, any of the following might work for you:

  • Decorative gemstones that have special meaning to you
  • Things found in nature (rocks, pinecones, dried herbs, flowers, feathers, a simple dish full of water, etc.)
  • Play music that you feel connects you to your deity/ies
  • You wall art idea is great! Make art that is tribute or inspires you
  • You could always make a minimalist altar, perhaps have a side-table covered in a simple cloth or something, and when you wish to pray/etc., bring out a special item or two that makes it feel more personal.


I hope that helps!
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Yei

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Re: Discrete Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2015, 06:40:41 am »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
So I'm still dipping my toes into the idea of practicing rather than just binge reading everything I can get my hands on, and I'd really like to have some sort of altar or shrine set up at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck living in my judgmental, christian parents' house, and I know that anything too obviously pagan would be... not good. I'm an adult, but they've got some serious control issues that I won't get into here.

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
I'm not sure if this will help, but have you tried eating religiously important foods? In many religions food and drink, especially alcohol, has spiritual meaning. It's why I eat a lot of maize. I'm not sure where your gods stand on the issue, but looking at pre-existing rituals might give you a starting point.

PhantomQueen

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Re: Discreet Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2015, 01:20:07 pm »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
So I'm still dipping my toes into the idea of practicing rather than just binge reading everything I can get my hands on, and I'd really like to have some sort of altar or shrine set up at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck living in my judgmental, christian parents' house, and I know that anything too obviously pagan would be... not good. I'm an adult, but they've got some serious control issues that I won't get into here.

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
I honor/follow Morrigan. Not all my tribute items are 'hit over the head with a 2 by 4' obvious either :)  My connection with Her has helped my choose the items...  Red seems to be a thing, so I've a silk picture of tulips and a couple pictures of poppies (something close to samhain too).  I've found plenty of stones that I've piled up in Her 'spot'.  Along with crow feathers, seashells, onyx and obsidian stones and a dragonsblood candle.  If you aren't comfortable with candles, why not make a potpourri and infuse it with an essential oil or two when needed?  I'm sure you could find a pretty bowl/dish from a secondhand store or dollar store!

As for Cernunnos, I do have a 'christmas' card from a friend with a stag on it that I've framed and have some dried oak leaves and acorns by it.  And a couple grey and green ribbons too.  At the moment there's a dish of citrine with him too til I get told to get something else.

Basically it's just finding bits and pieces from what you['ve learned about via books etc. It just depends on your personal relationship with each deity that will direct you to what feels right.  And have fun with it :)

Laveth

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Re: Discreet Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2015, 02:37:55 pm »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that.

 
I think every other idea I had has already been covered, but LED/flameless candles could be an option. We use them in graveyards for All Saint's Day and there isn't a fire hazard (because it's not a real flame) but they seem to have a favorable review from other pagans (and cultures) who aren't able to use normal candles.

ovjanelle

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Re: Discreet Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2015, 05:05:12 pm »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
So I'm still dipping my toes into the idea of practicing rather than just binge reading everything I can get my hands on, and I'd really like to have some sort of altar or shrine set up at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck living in my judgmental, christian parents' house, and I know that anything too obviously pagan would be... not good. I'm an adult, but they've got some serious control issues that I won't get into here.

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
I'm in the same boat except my parents are fine with candles. What I do is I have two tall table candles sitting side by side one another in a very non-altar kind of way and then when nobody's around I set it up as my altar. You could substitute  the candles for some sort of sock maybe? I've heard of people using statues of the deities in place of candles so why couldn't you use a very pretty stone to signify them both? I'm still very new to this whole thing too. I've only been interested for about a year and for a while I fell away and tried to do Christianity because I wanted to mesh well with my family. Right now they just think I'm an atheist.

Seax_Blade

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Re: Discreet Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2015, 04:33:46 am »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
So I'm still dipping my toes into the idea of practicing rather than just binge reading everything I can get my hands on, and I'd really like to have some sort of altar or shrine set up at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck living in my judgmental, christian parents' house, and I know that anything too obviously pagan would be... not good. I'm an adult, but they've got some serious control issues that I won't get into here.

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
Same...well my parents aren't the Gestapo but I'm not about to say or show what I'm doing!

For me, I've been hiding in plain sight a bit I guess. I wear either a Mjolnir necklace or Dagaz rune necklace (though now I tend to reserve the Mjolnir necklace for Thursdays--"Thor's Day"), which at least the Mjolnir necklace might be precarious to some. However I got both well after my family and some friends/acquaintances knew I was/am a fan of the TV show Vikings. I also love history and military history which most probably know. Don't know how this would help you in particular but maybe there's something useful here.

I recently made a shrine/altar to Odin in an altoids tin. If you go on the Daily Prayer thread, you can see a picture of it. On the outside it is a regular tin of altoids. But on the inside it's something different! For travelling I can even fit it inside my headphones case.

Only problem is of course space (to be expected) and I'm still sorta paranoid that someone in the future will open one up for whatever reason it might be, even innocently, and..."busted." Can't imagine how awkward that might be.

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Re: Discreet Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2015, 11:13:56 am »
Quote from: Jenett;174222

- Choosing computer passwords for the ones I have to rotate regularly that are related to whatever my current ritual or religious goals/focus are.



Just gotta say I love this idea!
 
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
So I'm still dipping my toes into the idea of practicing rather than just binge reading everything I can get my hands on, and I'd really like to have some sort of altar or shrine set up at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck living in my judgmental, christian parents' house, and I know that anything too obviously pagan would be... not good. I'm an adult, but they've got some serious control issues that I won't get into here.

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
I find art to be a great way to display things that may be really important to you without telling everyone why they are important.  I recently got into collage, and I think it would make a very powerful deity representation.  If you can get magazines or print off pictures (many times you can use the printer at the library for pretty cheap per page of printing), then you can cut out the parts you want to use and paste them on another piece of paper.  

If you want to try your hand at sculpting, try making salt dough.  I have a little Odin statue on my altar that I made out of salt dough.  I never really like most of the Odin statues I have seen for sale (or the ones I do like are not in my price range).  My statue isn't the most detailed (I'm not a horribly great sculpter), but I really enjoyed making it, and I love that it is absolutely mine.  I also made a nice little cat (again sort of stylized, not much detail, but it is pretty obvious it is a cat), a wolf head, and some snakes.  I 'painted' mine with nail polish (to help seal in the salt dough), but you could also leave them plain or paint them with regular paint.
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Re: Discreet Altar/Shrine questions
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2015, 01:59:48 pm »
Quote from: CorviCanum;174221
So I'm still dipping my toes into the idea of practicing rather than just binge reading everything I can get my hands on, and I'd really like to have some sort of altar or shrine set up at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck living in my judgmental, christian parents' house, and I know that anything too obviously pagan would be... not good. I'm an adult, but they've got some serious control issues that I won't get into here.

I can't have candles in my room, which makes my first idea a non-option, since even if I don't burn them, I think there'd be suspicion that I would. I had wanted to have a candle for both deities that I feel represents them, and then maybe some other small item for each along with that. Maybe I'll do some kind of wall art thing. Photography that is vaguely related. I'm hoping someone may have ideas about how I could do this without having this become a giant confrontation.

 
An herb sachet that you could pass off as potpourri, crystals, a bowl with trinkets or a cup.

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