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Author Topic: What would your temple look like?  (Read 1139 times)

Altair

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What would your temple look like?
« on: December 29, 2018, 12:58:09 am »
I may have asked this a while ago, but since I've been stomping around Mexico City today looking at and thinking about mesoamerican temples, it's top of my mind, so:

If you had unlimited resources to build the temple of your dreams for your gods (or any one god)/your religion, what would it look like?

For myself, I'm torn; part of my tree-hugging pagan-ness says any place outside in nature is my temple.

But my "go highfalutin!" impulse, no small part of me, has been fueled by imagining the grandeur of what the ancients did, so here goes:

Mine would be a large circular hard-floored space open to the sky, with the symbol at the bottom of my posts as its floor plan. Gates--torii-like twin posts with a top crossing beam--would stand at the points of the triangle for entering/leaving the space; the remaining 9 stations around the circle's perimeter would be marked with posts--free-standing columns or monoliths--so that the whole effect would be rather like Stonehenge.

The inner side of each monolith would have a statue or relief carving depicting that god or divine entity, or some defining aspect of that deity and its associated concepts; the visual should be at least abstract enough to make it race-neutral. These would each form a shrine within the larger temple to a particular god. (At the gates, perhaps the carving could rest atop the crossing beam.)

Finally--and this is where the whole thing falls apart!--a giant head with 3 faces would somehow float in the middle of the circle, high enough above to look down on the congregants. How this miracle of engineering would be accomplished, I have no idea. (I originally thought a tree could support them in the center, but I like the idea of the middle being open, so that those gathered can face each other in circle.)

Ideally this would be located on a bluff, with the top of the triangle pointing out to the cliff drop and the horizon. Directly opposite that, at the bottom of the circle, there would be a secret entrance to an underground passage (that is no longer secret since I just mentioned it).

Not that I've thought about this at all.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Hariti

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 07:01:47 am »
If you had unlimited resources to build the temple of your dreams for your gods (or any one god)/your religion, what would it look like?

Well, there are already tens of thousands of Hindu temples, so unlike you I'd have quite a bit of competition in the area of publicly exalting my deities!

One thing Hinduism does lack is a pantheon-wide temple. A space for the veneration of all the Gods of India, with statues, altars, and shrines to each God and Goddess.

Such a thing would almost be unimaginable; it would need to be massively huge, and would cost millions upon millions (billions?) of dollars to build and maintain. It would require thousands of priests to operate and perform the necessary rituals.

Ideally, my vision for such a temple would be a massive walled city complex; an entire city built of stone, vividly painted and gilded with precious metals. The whole city would be a temple; a place for priests to worship, conduct ritual, and honor the gods, as well as a school complex for the training of new priests. It would have gardens, cremation grounds, and other sacred spaces, as well as herds of sacred cattle and perhaps even other sacred animals.

My vision for this complex is something like the Kowloon Walled City, except instead of slums it would be lavish temples to the thousands of Gods of my religion, each with their own priests and attendants. A place entirely separate from the rest of the world, built only for the Gods and for those things which are theirs; a place for their worshipers to be able to interact with them.

Of course, such a thing would never be practically possible; it would require the sponsorship of the government of whatever state is was built in, and would take up a massive chunk of land, and would need thousands of people willing to serve at priests. Hindu deities require regular ritual attendance and attentive care, so there would be constant cleaning, praying, offering of incense and food, and other activities for the priests to fulfill.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 07:34:27 am »
Finally--and this is where the whole thing falls apart!--a giant head with 3 faces would somehow float in the middle of the circle, high enough above to look down on the congregants. How this miracle of engineering would be accomplished, I have no idea. (I originally thought a tree could support them in the center, but I like the idea of the middle being open, so that those gathered can face each other in circle.)

Would you be willing to consider a thin but strong lightweight arch? Say, three half-arches with their base at the mid-point of your triangular walls, joined in the center with your three-faced sculpture hanging from them? I know you want it open to the sky, but until we crack the problem of levitation and gravity control it seems that you either have to choose between support from below or support from above, and if it's important to have the floor level free and open then would an overhead arch interfere unacceptably with your view of the sky?
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

Altair

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 08:50:11 am »
Well, there are already tens of thousands of Hindu temples, so unlike you I'd have quite a bit of competition in the area of publicly exalting my deities!

One thing Hinduism does lack is a pantheon-wide temple. A space for the veneration of all the Gods of India, with statues, altars, and shrines to each God and Goddess.

Such a thing would almost be unimaginable; it would need to be massively huge, and would cost millions upon millions (billions?) of dollars to build and maintain. It would require thousands of priests to operate and perform the necessary rituals.

Ideally, my vision for such a temple would be a massive walled city complex; an entire city built of stone, vividly painted and gilded with precious metals. The whole city would be a temple; a place for priests to worship, conduct ritual, and honor the gods, as well as a school complex for the training of new priests. It would have gardens, cremation grounds, and other sacred spaces, as well as herds of sacred cattle and perhaps even other sacred animals.

My vision for this complex is something like the Kowloon Walled City, except instead of slums it would be lavish temples to the thousands of Gods of my religion, each with their own priests and attendants. A place entirely separate from the rest of the world, built only for the Gods and for those things which are theirs; a place for their worshipers to be able to interact with them.

Of course, such a thing would never be practically possible; it would require the sponsorship of the government of whatever state is was built in, and would take up a massive chunk of land, and would need thousands of people willing to serve at priests. Hindu deities require regular ritual attendance and attentive care, so there would be constant cleaning, praying, offering of incense and food, and other activities for the priests to fulfill.

Visions of this spectacular city are already filling my head (forget cost! forget labor! this is pure conjecture). Of course, I think it needs a name.

"Hindopolis" is too on-the-nose; maybe "Trimurtia"?

And I think it should be built on the Moon (under a transparent dome); this way it's in neutral territory to all nations, and the land requirements are no longer an issue...plus it can be located so that the Earth is always in view from the city, and in the lower gravity, the architectural marvels that would be possible are simply off the charts!
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Hariti

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2018, 09:03:17 am »
"Hindopolis" is too on-the-nose; maybe "Trimurtia"?

That genuinely made me laugh! Hindopolis sounds like something Alexander would've founded if he'd gotten a little further into India.

Not sure what I would call it. Something over-the-top and vain like 'Cintamani; (a mythical jewel from Hindu and Buddhist mythology) that highlights the glory of both its purpose and it's architectural execution.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Hariti

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2018, 09:05:44 am »
And I think it should be built on the Moon (under a transparent dome); this way it's in neutral territory to all nations, and the land requirements are no longer an issue...plus it can be located so that the Earth is always in view from the city, and in the lower gravity, the architectural marvels that would be possible are simply off the charts!

That could work. Would allow for lots of 'natural' spaces outside the city, where sacred animals could be preserved. Cattle, turtles, asiatic lions, stuff like that, where it wouldn't be disturbed by poachers and other nuisances.

Not sure how well such animals would take to the lower gravity. The moon is big enough that it shouldn't be an issue, I don't think?
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2018, 01:16:00 pm »
If you had unlimited resources to build the temple of your dreams for your gods (or any one god)/your religion, what would it look like?

That's certainly an interesting question to contemplate for me.

At the moment, a local gay bar that hosts nightly karaoke is the closest thing I have to a temple for my Mercurial faith, and it works out okay. Pictures: 1 2 3

Arguably the Queen Studio Experience in Montreux functions as a more official temple to Freddie Mercury.

The ideal temple would still contain such things--a space for everyone to perform, hang out, and drink, as well as a museum dedicated to Mercury and the rest of the band. These would be two of the six wings fanning out in a six-petaled flower/star shape from a central garden with quiet groves, running water, and various statues to make offerings at. The other four wings would be a theater for events, a well-supplied and comfortable love hotel for whatever kind of hookups visitors enjoy, a living space for temple staff that also has room to be a sanctuary for refugees and others who need it, and a cat cafe/shelter.
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
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Altair

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2018, 01:56:21 pm »
Not sure what I would call it. Something over-the-top and vain like 'Cintamani; (a mythical jewel from Hindu and Buddhist mythology) that highlights the glory of both its purpose and it's architectural execution.

I love "Cintamani"!

Speaking of jewels, the lattice that supports the transparent dome of Cintamani could be studded with jewels at the intersections, and the entire structure could be called Indra's Net
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

ehbowen

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2018, 03:57:29 pm »
If you had unlimited resources to build the temple of your dreams for your gods (or any one god)/your religion, what would it look like?

I've thought about how the Temple of Solomon might be recreated these days...with all the grandeur of the original, but with modern amenities such as, say, air conditioning and an enclosed Court of the Gentiles. That is of course infringing upon those of our number who are of Jewish extraction, but I respect and honor the Jewish background of my faith.

I've been in any number of Christian churches, from one-room clapboard Methodist churches in the Ozarks (privies in the churchyard!) to grand cathedrals. And to a few of the modern "Worship Centers" as found in what uber-Catholic Ann Barnhardt decries as "Superfun Rockband Church." I incline more towards the grand and uplifting, such as the US Naval Academy Chapel (the "Cathedral of the Navy") and similar classic houses of worship. I also am favorably inclined towards big pipe organs. I really enjoyed my time at the former Park Place Baptist Church in Houston, with its lavish polished wood paneling and Schantz pipe organ (concealed in a case  :'() but they've since moved on to new digs.

On a personal note, while I don't think that my Girlfriend is asking for a temple...I believe that she would very much like to have an Embassy!
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2018, 08:49:03 pm »
If you had unlimited resources to build the temple of your dreams for your gods (or any one god)/your religion, what would it look like?

I just wanna say I'm now doing ridiculous construction in Minecraft creative mode and I blame you. ;)
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Altair

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2018, 08:57:31 am »
I love "Cintamani"!


And, built on the Moon, it might look like this:



However, according to the unusual site where I found this image, plans for a Moon temple are already underway (?!?):

The Incredible Lunar Temple
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Hariti

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2018, 11:36:10 pm »
However, according to the unusual site where I found this image, plans for a Moon temple are already underway (?!?):

One does read some very unusual things on the internet.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

PerditaPickle

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2019, 12:49:51 pm »
Not that I've thought about this at all.

So I've never previously thought about this, until seeing your thread start up.  And I'm not generally very good at imagination, but here goes anyway.

I think my temple would actually be a simple natural clearing in a grove somewhere relatively secluded.

Maybe there'd be something like a very understated rustic gazebo structure, roughly circular/octagonal in shape, to keep the rain off somewhere in there.  As organically constructed as possible.

There'd be fallen tree trunks on which you could sit to meditate etc - they'd be specially selected to be just the right size and shape to nestle into comfortably for quite long periods, if desired (sounds a tall order, but as a kid I used to spend time sitting in trees & resting upon fallen trees, and once spent the better part of a day reading a poetry book in a tree).  Any formalised seating would be mostly along the lines of those sort of U shaped Roman style seats, but very much rustic in design and eclectic rather than matching.

For decoration there'd maybe be a few arch shaped trellises on which something floral could be trained to grow, and added decoration could be woven in specially for special occasions.  There'd also be things like windchimes and possibly sun-catchers hanging in the trees, but once again rustic in design, and not too many.

Possibly there'd be a single roughly rectangular rock (fairly roughly hewn, rather than a neat marble block or anything) on which candles could be set, and so forth.

Around the outside there'd likely be some depictions of the Green Man, facing outward in positions where they can 'scrutinise' all those who enter.

And if magic, like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Lothlórien level magic, were a real thing then it'd always be a sunny early autumn day, with a mild, bright & clear moonlit night to follow.
"Everything's made up of elements, right? Earth, Water, Air, Fire and... sunnink. Well-known fact. Everything's got 'em all mixed up just right."
Character Nobby Nobbs in the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel The Truth

Altair

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2019, 03:06:51 pm »
I think my temple would actually be a simple natural clearing in a grove somewhere relatively secluded...

Your description sounds lovely and matches the other impulse I have for worship space when I'm not giving in to highfalutin: simple and natural. It's the approach I take to my garden, which is definitely sacred space to me.

(It has a buoy bell wind chime that gongs in the breeze, an ached trellis arbor at the entrance with flowering plants growing up it, and a green man plaque in a position where he keeps watch on everything. I think you'd like it!)

Quote
And if magic, like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Lothlórien level magic, were a real thing then it'd always be a sunny early autumn day, with a mild, bright & clear moonlit night to follow.

One thing I like about these temples we're imagining is that we can construct them in our minds with exactly the conditions, right down to the weather, that we'd like them to have. We once had a thread about meditation and creating special spaces in our mind's eye; I think yours definitely could qualify.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

PerditaPickle

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Re: What would your temple look like?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2019, 03:16:02 pm »
I think you'd like it!

I think I'd like it too from the sound of it; I'm a little envious (although I'm not much of a gardener so I don't envy the work that's no doubt involved).

We once had a thread about meditation and creating special spaces in our mind's eye; I think yours definitely could qualify.

Now there's an idea I hadn't thought; this could have some potential as I seem to have managed to envision something rather more detailed than I'm usually able to (visualisation is usually quite challenging for me).  An unexpected bonus.
"Everything's made up of elements, right? Earth, Water, Air, Fire and... sunnink. Well-known fact. Everything's got 'em all mixed up just right."
Character Nobby Nobbs in the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel The Truth

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