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Author Topic: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?  (Read 2785 times)

stellamaris777

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Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« on: March 11, 2014, 09:42:17 pm »
So my husband is catholic so I have alot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe? Incognito so the husband doesnt start in on me? I've already repurposed a Guadalupe and Santa Muerte statues to Diana and Hecate is repurposing a no no? I've kind of used in the past just vague images like the spiral goddess but I figure there must be some feminine energy in these icons why not use them right?

MadZealot

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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2014, 11:09:50 pm »
Quote from: stellamaris777;142246
So my husband is catholic so I have alot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe? Incognito so the husband doesnt start in on me? I've already repurposed a Guadalupe and Santa Muerte statues to Diana and Hecate is repurposing a no no? I've kind of used in the past just vague images like the spiral goddess but I figure there must be some feminine energy in these icons why not use them right?

Personally, I wouldn't do it; I see it as disrespectful.  If the statuette depicts the Virgin Mary, or Anubis, or Pan (not Satan-- there's an example of disrespectful repurposing for ya) leave it be and find something that better represents the deity you have in mind.  
Also, "incognito" your husband doesn't "start in"?  That's pretty disrespectful toward your spouse, wouldn't you say?
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 11:11:52 pm by MadZealot »
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missgraceless

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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 12:33:42 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;142250
Personally, I wouldn't do it; I see it as disrespectful.  If the statuette depicts the Virgin Mary, or Anubis, or Pan (not Satan-- there's an example of disrespectful repurposing for ya) leave it be and find something that better represents the deity you have in mind.  
Also, "incognito" your husband doesn't "start in"?  That's pretty disrespectful toward your spouse, wouldn't you say?

I agree, it would be a bit disrespectful, both to the deity and your husband. Look into the symbolism of Hestia, or whomever else you like, and work that into the already-there images. I personally don't know anything about Hestia, but there are numerous people on here who do.

An example: my patron goddess is Quan Yin, and I have three main symbols/images that relate to her. The peacock, lotus, and owl. While I currently don't have any actual statues of Her (due to lack of funds), I have several small owl statues, lotus-shaped candles, and miscellaneous other things on my Her shrine.

If your hubby knows you're pagan, let him know what the symbols mean to you in relation to your own religion. If he doesn't (and I understand that), somehow work the symbols into the kitchen decorations. I'm not saying disrespect his own beliefs, but there are ways to incorporate symbolism into everyday life.

It would definitely help if you told us a little more about what you were thinking about "repurposing" the Madonna into.
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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 01:11:27 am »
Quote from: stellamaris777;142246
So my husband is catholic so I have alot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe? Incognito so the husband doesnt start in on me? I've already repurposed a Guadalupe and Santa Muerte statues to Diana and Hecate is repurposing a no no? I've kind of used in the past just vague images like the spiral goddess but I figure there must be some feminine energy in these icons why not use them right?

 
I'm of two minds on this one. On the one hand, it's not like using stand-in images is a new thing. On the other hand, in cultures where that was frequently done it was because a person was in great danger if they let on what they were really doing.

This is not to say your circumstances are ideal (it is implied that your husband is a not particularly accepting, but that's a whole other issue I'm not touching) but you live in the modern age where we have access to a lot of other options besides "pretend the Virgin is someone else."

I personally would feel awkward repurposing items - I'd feel like I was disrespecting both Mary and Hestia at the same time, and I try to avoid doing that. I'd also feel weird secretly messing around with religious items my partner uses in worship.

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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 01:42:49 am »
Quote from: Mama Fortuna;142268
I'd also feel weird secretly messing around with religious items my partner uses in worship.

 
There is a lot of history of "repurposing" imagery, for example, when Catholicism was repressed in Japan, Catholics there made their images of the Virgin Mary look like Kannon (Kwan Yin). I don't know if that included using images originally meant to be of Kannon as images of Mary. But if I had to use a repurposed image I would not choose one that another person was using as originally intended, and especially not where my use would likely be offensive to that person.
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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 01:56:17 am »
Quote from: stellamaris777;142246
So my husband is catholic so I have alot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe? Incognito so the husband doesnt start in on me? I've already repurposed a Guadalupe and Santa Muerte statues to Diana and Hecate is repurposing a no no? I've kind of used in the past just vague images like the spiral goddess but I figure there must be some feminine energy in these icons why not use them right?


The simplest representation of Hestia, and what might be the most appropriate for your situation, might actually just be a candle you keep in the kitchen. She's the hearth fire itself, the heart of the home, so a candle or lamp is actually ideal for Her. It could be in the kitchen, or situated on the hearth itself, if you have one. Keeping a flame lit for Her at all times is a traditional practice and way of honoring Her; I've seen people use LED candles for this purpose.

Using a candle or lamp avoids the repurposing, which I wouldn't do if I could avoid it, but I won't stop you repurposing statues if that's what you feel you want to do, either. I don't know your living situation, so I can't say what would be better for you. Certainly repurposing statues has been done in the past when one can't worship openly, but there are other options now, particularly for a goddess like Hestia.
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stellamaris777

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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 02:05:40 am »
Quote from: cymrudraco;142272
The simplest representation of Hestia, and what might be the most appropriate for your situation, might actually just be a candle you keep in the kitchen. She's the hearth fire itself, the heart of the home, so a candle or lamp is actually ideal for Her. It could be in the kitchen, or situated on the hearth itself, if you have one. Keeping a flame lit for Her at all times is a traditional practice and way of honoring Her; I've seen people use LED candles for this purpose.

Using a candle or lamp avoids the repurposing, which I wouldn't do if I could avoid it, but I won't stop you repurposing statues if that's what you feel you want to do, either. I don't know your living situation, so I can't say what would be better for you. Certainly repurposing statues has been done in the past when one can't worship openly, but there are other options now, particularly for a goddess like Hestia.

 
I do keep a red candle burning for her on my kitchen shelf I was just thinking he has a madonna hanging in the kitchen anyways but I suppose your right I guess all these years of using his icons and putting my prayers to my deities I've been very very wrong.

I'll just go back to pure symbolism thanks everyone for the advice

RandallS

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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 07:58:38 am »
Quote from: stellamaris777;142246
So my husband is catholic so I have alot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe?

Given that statues are only representative in Catholicism (and most of Christianity), I don't really see a problem in this. That is, as statues aren't considered to be the actual entity or even just to be the home of the actual entity in Christianity, I don't see much problem with a statue representing Mary to your husband but Hestia to you.
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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 09:24:37 am »
Quote from: stellamaris777;142246
So my husband is catholic so I have alot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe? Incognito so the husband doesnt start in on me? I've already repurposed a Guadalupe and Santa Muerte statues to Diana and Hecate is repurposing a no no? I've kind of used in the past just vague images like the spiral goddess but I figure there must be some feminine energy in these icons why not use them right?

 
I'm adding my voice to those who say "don't." I'm a former Catholic, and I still adhere to some Catholic practices, such as devotion to the Virgin, especially the Virgin of Guadalupe. It seems, like Missgraceless said, to be somewhat disrespectful. I just seems like, to me, since this image is already dedicated to the Virgin, it would be rude to try and "co-opt" it to another deity. Not just rude to the Virgin, but rude to Hestia. If you really want to honor her, shouldn't she get her own image?

That said, I don't see any problem with going out and buying a totally new image of the Virgin, and dedicating that to Hestia.
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Siren

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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 10:20:03 am »
Quote from: cymrudraco;142272
The simplest representation of Hestia, and what might be the most appropriate for your situation, might actually just be a candle you keep in the kitchen. She's the hearth fire itself, the heart of the home, so a candle or lamp is actually ideal for Her. It could be in the kitchen, or situated on the hearth itself, if you have one. Keeping a flame lit for Her at all times is a traditional practice and way of honoring Her; I've seen people use LED candles for this purpose.

Using a candle or lamp avoids the repurposing, which I wouldn't do if I could avoid it, but I won't stop you repurposing statues if that's what you feel you want to do, either. I don't know your living situation, so I can't say what would be better for you. Certainly repurposing statues has been done in the past when one can't worship openly, but there are other options now, particularly for a goddess like Hestia.

 
I would agree with this suggestion--a candle is fine and I've also seen one of those little clay oil lamps used for Hestia. I don't think she was usually represented in statuary anyway.

Because it's on a similar topic, I'll park a question here: have any of you ever obtained a statue, thought it was one deity and dedicated it to that deity, and then many years later learned it was actually someone else? What did you do? Does the first deity want to keep it, or are they thinking "silly, that's not me at all!" First deity is not one I have a really close relationship with, so I distrust my intuition on this. I'm thinking probably the first dedication "sticks" but would love input.

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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 10:57:07 am »
Quote from: stellamaris777;142246
So my husband is catholic so I have alot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe? Incognito so the husband doesnt start in on me? I've already repurposed a Guadalupe and Santa Muerte statues to Diana and Hecate is repurposing a no no? I've kind of used in the past just vague images like the spiral goddess but I figure there must be some feminine energy in these icons why not use them right?

 
In my opinion, it depends on whether these items are owned and used by your husband.  Are the Mary, female saint, and Kitchen Madonna statues/icons your husband's?  If so, he is using them in a Catholic context and I feel it would be disrespectful to your husband and his religion for you to secretly repurpose them for Hestia or other goddesses.

Do you own the items?  If the items are yours and it's just a matter of hiding them from a spouse and a culture that is not accepting of your beliefs, then I don't think it's necessarily "bad" to repurpose the items.  

I do agree with other posters that using non-statue items such as candles may be your best option.

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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 11:05:18 am »
Quote from: stellamaris777;142246
So my husband is catholic so I have alot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe? Incognito so the husband doesnt start in on me? I've already repurposed a Guadalupe and Santa Muerte statues to Diana and Hecate is repurposing a no no? I've kind of used in the past just vague images like the spiral goddess but I figure there must be some feminine energy in these icons why not use them right?

 
Personally, I think it would be fine, if as someone else mentioned the images in question are yours and not your husbands.

Working with relatively little-known Gods, I've done quite a bit of re-purposing of my own.  I think I have a few statues of Greek deities that I use for others, and a Venus of Willendorf that's become the representative of my local river Goddess.  I personally feel uncomfortable using Christian or saint imagery, but that's more because they remind me of my upbringing than any inherent wrongness I see in re-purposing.  Particularly because, as Randall said, in Catholicism the statues are not homes to the spirit themselves, they are representations of that spirit.

If I had a statue that had a spirit or deity invited into it, I would not use the statue for someone else.
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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2014, 01:44:00 pm »
Quote from: Siren;142288
I would agree with this suggestion--a candle is fine and I've also seen one of those little clay oil lamps used for Hestia. I don't think she was usually represented in statuary anyway.

Because it's on a similar topic, I'll park a question here: have any of you ever obtained a statue, thought it was one deity and dedicated it to that deity, and then many years later learned it was actually someone else? What did you do? Does the first deity want to keep it, or are they thinking "silly, that's not me at all!" First deity is not one I have a really close relationship with, so I distrust my intuition on this. I'm thinking probably the first dedication "sticks" but would love input.

 
I'm not sure about home decor shops in Mexico, but we've got Pier 1 Imports in the States that sells sets of LED candles that come with an on/off remote. You can always go online and see what they have. I just bought a set of 4 "votives" (they're actually a bit bigger than standard votive size) that I have set up in each corner of my Quan Yin shrine.

Going on your question, I personally have never had that happen, but Quan Yin decided a while ago that She likes me to have owls. From my understanding, owls are most commonly associated with Athena. But if you've ever heard of Boggle the Owl, Quan Yin thinks it's a perfect internet representation of Her.
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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2014, 02:28:07 pm »
Quote from: stellamaris777;142246
So my husband is catholic so I have a lot of Mother Mary Icons and female saint images around well we have a Kitchen Madonna as its called and the story behind it that it has a place in the kitchen, kinda makes me think I could repurpose it as a shrine to Hestia maybe?

Personally, I find it a bit disrespectful, as much to Hestia as to Mary. It does seem more natural when there's some similarity. Many (most?) Chinese would equate Guanyin with Xi Wangmu, and I'd be happy to equate either to Mary or Meter Theon.

But on reflection, I suspect gods are more tolerant than I. When a Greek went into a temple of Nabu in Babylon and prayed to Apollo, I doubt that Nabu was offended if the two were not actually the same!
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Re: Ideas about repurposing images for altars and shrines?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2014, 03:25:19 pm »
Quote from: DavidMcCann;142310
Many (most?) Chinese would equate Guanyin with Xi Wangmu, and I'd be happy to equate either to Mary or Meter Theon.

 
That's actually not something I've heard of before! Where have you come across it?
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