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Author Topic: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines  (Read 8179 times)

Juni

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Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« on: April 10, 2012, 03:09:12 pm »
While I do enjoy the "show off your altar/shrine space here" thread, I confess I am more interested in the symbolism behind the items and arrangement than anything else.

So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?

I'll answer my own questions in another post. :)
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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 03:28:15 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49580

So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?

 
Well, my Aphrodite shrine is on top of a small cabinet along a wall in my craft room. The placement of it it the room has no particular meaning, it's just where there is space. However, it's in my craft room because I can have privacy there whenever I like, and it's atop the cabinet because that allows for a space separate from everything else. I used to use a shelf on my bookcase, but I didn't like the feel of that. It seemed, like an afterthought?

The actual shrine is pretty minimal. It currently consists of two candles, an offering dish, a vase of fake flowers, and an ornamental fan. Sometimes there is an oil burner. There is no altar cloth atm, but I have used one in the past.

candles - I have always liked candles for altars and shrines. I feel like lighting the candles is a way of "activating" the shrine. At the very least, they help focus my attention on communication. One candle is just plain white, the other is apple scented (not cinnamon apple, just apple!). I thought it appropriate as the apple is a sacred fruit of Aphrodite.

offering dish - is a large shell, the shell being the mode of transportation Aphrodite used to reach land after her birth in the sea.

flowers and fan - sometimes I give fresh flowers as offerings, but when I have none,the fakes stand in. The flowers and fan also act as shrine adornment. Pleasing adornments seem important for a goddess of beauty.

oil burner - incense is a traditional offering for Aphrodite, but since my husband complains about it, I have started burning scented oils instead.

altar cloth - also an adornment item. When I last used one for her, it was the altar cloth from my wedding.

So, the items I use are mostly things I hope will be pleasing to the goddess, either from myth or based on her attributes, in an effort to attract her attention and give favor to myself.

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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 03:35:12 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;49588


 
Forgot about my Beloved Dead shrine. It's pretty sparse at the moment, because I am lacking photographs. I plan to fill it with photos of the Dead and objects that belong to them or that they have given to me. Also, it has a candle, for the whole "activation" purpose, and I will leave offerings of food or drink occasionally.

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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 03:45:24 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49580
So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?

 
For me, this is all planned/ideal shrines; I am currently living in very limited space, and I'm moving in a few months, so nothing is as I want it to be. I am going to cover this in three posts: Dead, Spirits, and Gods, as I have a lot of thoughts on the subject. :whis:

Beloved Dead: I was talking about this on my blog, recently, which is what sparked the idea for this thread in the first place. I would like to have an outdoor altar, a sort of faux-graveyard, to represent the physical graves I cannot tend (due to distance) and a place to make offerings. Ideally this will have some sort of representation of each grave, but due to space I may have to limit myself to one for each branch of the family, and another for Beloved Dead whom are not family. I would like to get dirt from as many of the graves/graveyards as I can, as an additional physical connection. I intend to have some sort of plant(s) to tend, as I would tend to plants at their actual grave, but I haven't decided on anything specific yet, as my go-to (white lilies) are highly toxic to cats (even breathing in the pollen can kill them.)

I would also like to have an indoor shrine; if I can, this will be placed on a western wall- ideally near a west-facing window, where the sunset is visible, as the west is the traditional dwelling place of the dead in both Kemetic and Celtic culture. It will contain mementos belonging to my Beloved Dead, items that symbolize their interests, and photos of the Dead. (But only the dead- putting a picture of the living on a shrine for the dead, to me at least, invites said living person to cross over.) I am leaning strongly towards including a "false door" of Kemetic tradition at the shrine or the altar or possibly both, but I need to learn more about them first. (Things like, does everyone need their own door or can they share? Is it rude to make them share?) Items that don't need to be a particular color will probably be in gold, as it does not tarnish and represents eternal sunlight per Kemeticism.

As for the Revered Dead... that is an aspect of my spirituality that I know I want to incorporate, but haven't entirely figured out how to do, yet. Jesus and the various Christian saints will have appropriate iconography (possibly of Eastern Christian origin, because I think those are really pretty.) Aside from that, though, I intend to avoid most explicit Christian symbolism- no crosses, no crucifixes, no rosaries unless I happen to inherit one- because I think that gives the wrong impression. I'm not looking to convert, and what I do is not Christian or even demi-Christian; it's a purely pagan attitude, which happens to involve representing Christians among my Revered Dead. I have an old wooden collection plate I intend to use for monetary offerings (to be donated to an appropriate charity). Margaret Brown's space will have my piece of Titanic salvaged coal, some reproduction jewelry of pieces that were brought up, and possibly a large quantity of miniature lifeboats. I have no idea what I will have for my Ladies of Troy; the horse seems... inappropriate. This group altar/shrine will also likely face west, for the same reasons, and likewise contain gold items; I would like to draw on Hellenic symbolism here, though, as most of my Hero cultus is based on their tradition.

That was entirely longer than I expected.
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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 04:38:03 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49580
So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout?

This thread has made me happy. I like to talk about the meaning things have for me. :)

This is my current altar set up. It changes from time to time, as I test out different ideas and techniques. My current framework is a mishmash of everything: predominantly Kemetic and Norse, with smatterings of psychology, Neo-Wicca, LaVeyan Satanism and things taken from novels. As I'm more interested in things that *work* than maintaining a framework from one geographical area, I tend to be eclectic ;)

Here is the breakdown of the things currently on there:
  • Bast statues: The smaller white Bast (second from right) was a holiday gift from my grandparents that I received before I discovered Paganism. When I set up my first altar, it was the first thing on there as it was the only Pagan-ish object I posessed and I didn't have the funds for any more. As a result, it's acquired a lot personal symbolism as a powerful object. The others are there because I have a tendency to collect things and they're beautiful.
  • Books: The smaller, black book is my rune book. In there are rune meanings and layouts, and my journal of castings. The larger book is currently blank, as I'm finalising what I'm going to write in there on the computer first - it's too beautiful to ruin. There wasn't enough space on my bookshelf above my altar for these, and so they have to live on my altar.
  • Bowl: When I'm doing magic, I put water in here and send my intention (and oils, herbs, tokens that I associate with the intention) into it. I then pour the water into the ground, paint it onto objects or anoint myself with it, depending on the target and purpose of the spell I'm doing.
  • Wand: Mostly I use this as a fidget/focus while I'm meditating. It, too has been with me since the start of my Pagan journey and so has powerful symbolism for me personally.
  • Oath Ring: This is a concept from Heathenry that absolutely fascinated me. For me, keeping my word is important - and I've found it's easier to get things done if I've made a formal commitment (if only to my own conscience) to do it.


Other things which sometimes make appearances on the altar are:
  • Runes, and their casting cloth: Useful for investigating possible solutions to problems, or helping me focus my mind by concentrating on certain aspects of an issue at a time.
  • Found natural objects: They help me connect to the natural world and remind me that I'm 'just another animal'
  • Baphomet trinket box: From my LaVeyan days. While I don't actually get it out for spells or rituals that much any more, it's useful for holding smaller things and too pretty for me to get rid of.
  • Dreamcatcher: I'm wary about using this, given that my understanding of its significance is probably not the authentic Native American one. That said, my tendency to take any other practices, see if they work - and if they do, surgically remove any deities involved - is probably not authentic either.
  • Harpoon/Wooden pointy object with barbs: A wooden one that I got from a charity shop which looks like it's African, but I'm not sure. I use it for directing anger at people.
  • Necklace with whale tail: I'm a sailor, a scuba diver and a kayaker, so the sea is a big part of my life. I find it calms me down to wear it as a kind of amulet whenever I'm on/under/in the water.


When I'm at the altar I'm facing west, because that's the wall my wardrobe's on and that's where I put my altar. Ideally I would like to face north, simply because since before I discovered Paganism existed, (I was a "Christian" who didn't believe Jesus was resurrected, who thought that if there even was a god, there must be a goddess as well, and who believed in the four elements and celebrated the full moons without really knowing why.) I always used to face north while I prayed. I don't think there was any reason why, but it feels good for me to go back to a tradition I've had since I was a kid.

Juni

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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 04:47:31 pm »
Quote from: PlaceboArtist;49604

  • Oath Ring: This is a concept from Heathenry that absolutely fascinated me. For me, keeping my word is important - and I've found it's easier to get things done if I've made a formal commitment (if only to my own conscience) to do it.
An oath ring! I was wondering what that was.

Thanks for sharing! :)
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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 05:54:54 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49580
While I do enjoy the "show off your altar/shrine space here" thread, I confess I am more interested in the symbolism behind the items and arrangement than anything else.

So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?

I'll answer my own questions in another post. :)


My permanent set up is very very simple compared with most of those on that thread. It contains items to represent  fire (a candle), water ( an indoor water feature) air (censer) and earth ( bowl of hagstones).

That is it. I don't change it for the seasons. I'm not a great lover of "stuff" so I don't need anything else.

It is in the main living area ( not going to hide in my own home) and against an east wall as that is the only space available.

The working altar contains what is needed for what I plan to do and is set up immediately before any work and taken down as soon as possible afterwards. This I will  orientate N-S  or occasionally E-W depending on which element I'm anchoring the compass on.

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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 09:07:49 am »
Quote from: Juni;49580
...

So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?
...


I currently have one shrine cabinet set up but am planning an Honored Dead/Ancestor shrine for our living.

The set-up shrine goes something like this:

On Top

Offering bowls: I have two footed offering bowls - one with lion feet and one with hippo feet - that Erin made for me.  I use them when offering simple things like water and bread.

AeroGarden: I grow plants in an almost continuous cycle for my Gods, representing the life cycle of all things and the Black Land.

Incense Burner with modified set-up: I burn kyphi, which doesn't do well with charcoal.  Incense is a traditional offering to my gods; I use it to refresh their ka.

Re-purposed Zen Garden: I use this for the sand, which represents the Red Land.

Candle Stand: When I do candle magic, or use candles in prayer, they are placed in a tin that is filled with the wax of "the candles that came before".  When the tin fills, I recycle the wax.

Within the Double-Doored Cabinet

This is where my gods reside.  I have a resin statue of Sekhmet and a hand-blown glass aardvark to represent Neb.y Set that I bring out when performing ritual and/or offerings.  I also have other god figures within the shrine: a statue of Bastet that was a gift and a small metal figure of Ganesh dancing.  They're also brought out as necessary.

In the drawers

My supplies are here: candles, matches, incense tins, LED lights, etc.

I'll describe the Ancestor Shrine I am planning in another post.
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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2012, 10:24:58 am »
Quote from: Juni;49580
So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?

 
The meaning behind my layout is pretty simple. I have Legba closest to my front door because he likes it there. Since he's all about doorways, gateways, and the opening thereof, his shrines tend to be placed as close to the most-popular doorway in and out of the house. With that in mind, I decided to place him as close as I could without having to fix the entire layout of my kitchen. As to the other side of the altar, there's no real symbolism there. Sekhmet wanted to be near Legba and Hetharu wanted to be near Sekhmet.

I have them in the kitchen/dining area so that I can't forget about them. Even though my home is small and I enter every room at least once a day, if they're in my room and "away from prying eyes," then I'm more likely to forget about things like obeisance or service. I have them facing forward in my altar so that I can see their faces always.

The cabinet that they are on is blue because it was originally going to be a representation of the night sky, as seen depicted on Nut. However, the gold paint for my stars would wipe off since I got the wrong kind. After that, I decided to put off the cabinet's original use (as an ancestral shrine, which is good because the top is NOT big enough) so that I could have my goddesses in a public venue for the reason I stated above.

Papa Legba does not have an image for his side of the altar. I have a candle holder with his veve on it, a paquet with his signature colors on it, and two long taper candles in faux crystal holders. His side of the altar will probably change if/when I can find a picture of him that isn't related to his associations with St. Peter or Lazarus.
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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 01:55:15 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49580

So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?


I have a very small Hekate shrine by Diane De Baun with a pink tealight candle on it. The shrine is purple and sits on my bedside table. I chose it because purple is a color I associate with Hekate and I thought it was beautiful. I also loved that it was a depiction of Hekate as a triad, and also had a moon image.

I always thought I'd want a bigger, "real" altar but I'm very satisfied with how streamlined and uncluttered it is. I think perhaps I just craved simplicity all along.

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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 03:50:14 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49580
While I do enjoy the "show off your altar/shrine space here" thread, I confess I am more interested in the symbolism behind the items and arrangement than anything else.

So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?

I'll answer my own questions in another post. :)

 
My first altar was very wiccan-oriented: it had my printed favorite portraits of the deities I was worshipping according the seasons/momentary fancies but Hekate, my patron alays was on the left side, and I always held Hermes ' portrait right beside it angled in a certain way so they almost mirrored each other, because it feltimportant to do so out of respect for Her. Een today I have tentative contacts with Hermes, I have no idea of why... He used to pop up in my meditations with Her occasionally, so whatever the relationship between the two, I figured out it was fitting to have Him beside Her. Most of my portraits were made by me, especially if I was pursuing a relationship with the deity in question.

At North, I had crystals. a quarts crystal my broter brought back to me from England to represent the Hearth power
At East, an incense burner and my pendulum to represent Air  
At West, seashells in a small white bowl of water to represent water
At South, a candle to represent Fire
 At the center, there was an offerings bowl, and a bowl where kept herbs and symbols representing my wishes for my life.

Recently I realized that it no longer reflected my practices and that I needed something more 'intimate' than that public, semi-clutteed space on the top of my desk to meet my gods. Also, the altar used to be my favorite place to meditate because that study room was a room I almost entirely used for my religious pactices. For more than one year tough ...somehow it didn't feel that right anymore. The room was cold and while it was nice to have a sort of 'temple room' I began thinking I needed to differentiate a 'shrine' space where my gods and spirits could be attended to and a 'work' space where I could do my spellworking in peace.

So now I have a cabinet to use as a shrine: it has two shelves. One is for the lwa LaSirene, and it has tw statues, each one representing a different side  of her: the dangerous, sensual seductress and the dreamy-eyes queen of the sea. Mostly, my shrine to her contains variou gifts that she has either requested or received as form of service

The other shrine is far more elaborated - the cloth is violet and black as I feel it fits all the entiies 'housed there' : on a side, there are portraits of the  Baron Samedi and Maman Brigitte, various items they recived as gifts from me, and on the other side there are self-made and very loved portraits of Hekate and Hermes. Hermes has wooden turtle and a pidgeon feather (in my upg I associate this bird to the god- the pidgeon is basically THE messeger among the birds) Hekate has miniature scultures of a snake and a dog flanking her picture.
Nearly on the center, I cut from a white paper sheet a crossroads - i placed my Hekate figurine there where the paths meet, I hang on Her arm silver keys to represent Her aspect as key-holder. As her figurine is flanked by two wolfish looking dogs, I put a third wolfy figurine She got me buying last year behind Her so the 'three' symbology was respected.
As Hekate is the mistress of the three realms - on each path of the crossroads i placed sybols of the three elements in involved: the pendulum to represent her dominion on heavens, hematite and quartz to reprent her dominion on hearth, a single seashell to represent her dominion over the seas.

I still have a bowl for libations on the central area too.

The top of the shelf is to be used as a shrine for the Morrigan, but i'm still working on procuring the prime material.
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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 04:07:37 pm »
Quote from: SkySamuelle;49772
....


Somehow, I managed to completely forget my most 'abstract' shrine - the one for the Muses and Their mother Mnemosyne.

It is tiny and it sit on my writing desk because that's where i keep the laptop I use for my novels-in-progress - the dominating color is orange because that's the color issaciate the most with creativity. It's a tiny zen garden with orange coloured sably, nine white stones in circle around an orange tealight.
Right beside that, a picture of Mnemosyne with orange motives stands above a large orange candle. I love that it is so very simple and yet it speaks so much to me.
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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2012, 12:33:45 am »
Quote from: Juni;49580

So: for either extant or planned/ideal/what-have-you shrines and altars, what meaning is behind the items and layout? Why do you have them face certain directions, or place them in certain rooms? Why did you choose the colors they are decorated in? Are there specific symbols that you will always have, even if their embodiment changes? What do they mean? Are there symbols you want to incorporate but have not yet figured out how to embody them yet?

 
So I have a couple of shrines-in-progress, but I'll talk about my Brighid shelf for now.

My Brighid shelf is on top of a bookshelf in my bedroom. Not pictured, but framing the window is a brat made by JuniperMorgan during our last Cill Exchange. You’ll notice a distinct theme of... candles. :whis:



From left to right:

Blue jar candle: for Flame tending with another cill. It’s blue because... I like blue. :p And it makes a visual reminder of the mystery of Fire In Water, which is a big part of the work of the other cill.

Beeswax large pillar candle: for Flame tending with the TC cill (it’s sitting on top of the lid to the jar candle because I don’t have a bowl or plate for it yet.

I want to eventually have two similar bowls to hold beeswax pillars for flame tending: probably blue, to keep the theme of Fire in Water, though I’m not sure if I want them both to be the same. I like having the visual reminder of the differences between each Cill (different members, different vibes).

Next is a silver candle holder with wee star cut-outs. I don’t have a specific purpose for this, it tend to be an all-purpose candle. I like the motif of the stars because it reminds me of the mystery of the Lady of the Stars. I might invest in another pretty holder, but this was a random one I took from home.

In the center, underneath a brass lantern candle holder, is a crocheted brat (made by Morag in another exchange!). The symbol of the Lantern is extremely significant to me. This was the first devotional piece I bought to represent my relationship with Brighid. I light this daily, at least once in the evening, if not every morning.

Next to that is a wee sun candle holder and some prayer beads with a sun motif at the base. Both were gifts from Aster Breo. The sun symbol is another very significant symbol, for Brighid, to me, is a creational force like the Sun, a Star.

In the back, is a wee stone box I got in Sequoia National Park that holds some devotional jewelry: two simple silver chain necklaces (a star charm on one and a sun charm on the other), my bronze Brighid’s cross necklace, and a wee picture of Brighid drawn by a member of another Cill. I wear the cross on my shift days, and the others when I feel like it.

And there’s a lighter at the very end. :)

So, lots of fire. Lots of light imagery. Which feels completely right for a shrine of Brighid. :)


Minor changes and additions are always in my thoughts: namely the flame tending candle holders. I’ve also contemplated getting at least one shallow offering bowl that I can use also as a symbol of the Well in ritual. I’d place floating candles in it for Fire In Water.

I’d love to get a bigger lantern too, so I could put a pillar candle in there.

Lastly, I really, really want this piece of art to place in the window or support against the wall: Flaming Arrow by Helena Nelson Reed. This is my favorite depiction of Brighid, besides one of Nelson Reed’s other paintings. This feels perfect for a shrine.
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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 02:13:18 am »
Quote from: Juni;49580


 
I've been planning the altar I'd have when I finally have enough money to move out and get my own place.

Most likely it's going to be a small one, either in my room or some other place where it won't be in everyone's face. A candle would represent imbas, but it would be blue or purple to represent the mental side. I will also have a pen lying on top of a knife/dagger.

For the Morrigan's fertility aspects, I'd probably have a container plant or two on my altar. I don't like wasting money on cut plants, even to dedicate to her, and the idea of cutting plants for a fertility goddess just feels wrong for me. And I'll definitely leave a copy of Spring Awakening on it--through this play, she's done more for me in a week than anyone else has managed in my entire life.

I like the idea of having stones from the beach and bird feathers around the plants to represent the sea/sky/land trinity.

And since this is California where oak trees are everywhere, there are definitely gonna be acorns in the autumn.
On hiatus, but might pop in now and then. Just making it official.

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The Grumble

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Re: Symbolism in Altars & Shrines
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 02:34:40 pm »
Quote from: Juni;49580
While I do enjoy the "show off your altar/shrine space here" thread, I confess I am more interested in the symbolism behind the items and arrangement than anything else.

I love symbolism!  Good thread!

My perma-altar is located on a brick fireplace - the thing is huge and dominates our home.  The brick reminds me of the earth element, a good foundation and support.  The fireplace itself once was wood burning, but the previous owners converted it to gas.  My husband and I plan on converting it BACK to wood burning this winter, and the fire will be a part of my workings.

Ram skull: The centerpiece of it all is a large ram skull I was given some years ago by a friend.  It symbolized the typical "horned god" aspect, but also the horns represent duality, wisdom and a connection to the wild.  They spiral like DNA.  I'm actually an atheist, but I do worship nature as an almost deity-like aspect; non-sentient, more of a force.  Through the ram skull I feel that connection.

Rattle: Right now, in front of the ram skull sits a large gourd rattle I use to announce my workings to the spirits - I shake it loudly when I'm about to do something at the altar.  I made it myself and it's one of my most treasured tools.  I meditate through trance mostly, and using a rattle assists in that.

Wand: I don't use the wand I have very much, but it sits near the ram skull.  I don't know why I have it, other than the fact I like making wands.  I have used wands in the past as focusing tools.  I do have a few branches sitting in the basement drying, which will probably become wands at some point, and maybe I will connect with one.  (yew, holly, and cedar).

Brigid cross: A gift from a friend some years ago.  I don't worship Brigid, but I like equal armed crosses for the symbolism of the four directions.

Skeleton "Voodoo Doll": I got this on a trip to New Orleans.  I love bones and skulls and thought it was adorable.  It sits by my human skull, representing the darker aspects of life and the mystery of death.

Representations of my animal guides: These can change depending on what guide I am working with at the time.  Typically I use bones but I also have used carvings of the animal(s).

Chalice: The goblet my husband and I drank from at our wedding.  I use it to offer libations. Also symbolizes the element of water.

Sage smudge stick: Burned for cleansing. I used to make these myself when I lived in the desert, but sadly now I have to buy them. I love the smell of sage.

Hag stones: Found them in my travels.  Symbolize protection, but I also just love them.  They're so neat and look so "witchy".  I have one that has like 6 holes in it.

Colored Stones: Collected from a river in southern Utah.  They're the colors I use to symbolize the four directions - red, black, white and yellow.  Also represent the element of earth.

Incense burner: Represents the element air.  I also burn herbs as offerings.

Offering Dish: It's actually a piece of bark I shaped into a circle.  I leave offerings on it over night and then bring them outside under a tree.

Tiny Cauldron with candle inside: Represents the element of fire, but also life coming up from the darkness of the earth (or womb).

Human Skull: It's real - it was a gift from my husband.  It symbolizes my ancestors, and wisdom of the ancients.  I call her Grandmother.  

Stang: Made from a branch that fell during the tornado outbreak last year here in AL, as well as a piece of forked antler.  Symbolic of the world tree, a ladder connecting the three worlds, as well as a focus for my intent.  Right now it's decorated with the flowered wreath I wore at my wedding.

Big Cauldron: I burn things in this during spell work.  It's like a big empty void of potential where things spring from.

Broom: Sweepy sweep.  Also, I just love brooms because I have a thing for "witchy" things.  This particular broom was jumped over at my wedding.

Large rock from the yard: It sits on the hearth, tying the altar to the land.  A friend swears there is a werewolf face on it, which is very fitting for me and our house.

Lanterns: Bought only for the pretty factor.  The mantle is so huge it needed some big decorations.  They help illuminate and set the mood.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 02:42:33 pm by The Grumble »

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