Retiring shrines   3 comments

Óðinn Shrine

My former shrine (now retired) for Old One-Eye, Óðinn.

A few weeks ago, I dismantled and retired my shrines for Óðinn and Thor.  I felt a little strange about this, even though I knew it was the right thing to do and I felt a clear sense of comfortable completion afterward.  It’s not the first time I’ve retired shrines; awhile back, for example, this also happened with shrines I had built for Mani and Loki.  In the latter cases it happened because – while I continue to have abiding respect for Mani and Loki – I didn’t really feel a strong enough mutual connection with Them over time such that I could regularly maintain a shrine for Them, especially in a place with such limited space.

The story is different with Óðinn and Thor.  I have had a devotee relationship with each of Them – in very different ways – in the past.  But for whatever reason, those relationships have downshifted into low gear over the past few months, and are now much more distant.  Up until very recently I was wearing a Thor’s Hammer frequently; lately, however, I have not wanted to wear it at all.  After a bit of questioning and divination, I have concluded that I’ve been given something like an honourable discharge from Their service.  I am still happy to honour Them in ritual space, but have bid Them farewell in the sense that I am no longer maintaining personal devotional shrines and making regular offerings at the Hermitage to Them.  For the sake of remembrance, I have included some photos of the dismantled shrines in this post.

Thor Shrine

My former shrine (now retired) for the Deep-Souled One, Thor.

My shrine for Hekate has been slightly re-worked and transferred into a new and more appropriate location.  The Vanic shrine still stands as well, although it’s been completely redone; Freyja and Freyr continue to get their due.  Ganesha and Shiva Nataraja still have Their place in the entryway to the Hermitage.  My ancestor shrine has expanded, and I moved it to a place where I can more easily meditate in front of it.  I knew I had gotten it right when I found myself easily slipping into trance before I had even finished setting up the shrine.

But it is the Jötunn, Skaði, who is closest to my heart, and who inspires my deepest devotion.  It is clear that any work I do for Others must be rooted in my relationship with Her.  It is She who inspires my dark fusion dance project.  It is She who stands at the center of my spiritual practice in every way.  A few years ago, I made a small beaded bracelet for Her with black and white stones and silvery seed beads; it has been kept on Her shrine ever since.  Recently I began adorning my wrist with this bracelet every night before bed and wearing it as I slept, then putting it back on Her shrine first thing in the morning to be “recharged.”  It’s a way of reaffirming my desire to serve Her, and a way of helping to open the way for more dream communications with Her.

In response, this emphatic message – something I very much needed to hear – came from Her: “Focus.”

Mani Shrine

My former shrine (now retired) for Mani, the gentle, enigmatic Moon god.

I got the message loud and clear this time:  I’ve been spreading myself too thin, and my practice has been rather scattered at times as a result.  Now, however, it’s time to narrow, deepen, and darken my focus.  Skaði’s shrine has now grown and been rearranged after She facilitated the acquisition of a lovely new statue of Her.  (Photos coming soon!)  The shrine for my Serpent Muse has also expanded.  And finally, I have narrowed the focus of this blog somewhat, such that it more closely reflects my recently re-affirmed commitment to building a dark Pagan sanctuary and temple space for cave-dwelling solitaries and introverts like me.

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Posted 2012/09/28 by The Black Stone Hermitage in The Hermitage

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3 responses to “Retiring shrines

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  1. It’s always a little difficult for me to retire shrines, but ultimately I believe it’s more respectful to do so than to keep them around but never use them.

    Btw, I too wear a devotional piece of jewelry every night – for the spirit who I mostly communicate with in dreams, appropriately enough. It’s a very useful practice.

    • It’s difficult for me to dismantle shrines, too, even when I know that it’s right for whatever reasons. My shrines for Óðinn and Thor were just not getting used very often; it felt as if they were more decorative than spiritually charged. That didn’t seem respectful on any level. So, with a certain sadness in my heart, I bid them farewell.

      So far, I’ve found that the devotional jewelry practice is one of the most effective things for me, in terms of facilitating night-time communication. It’s becoming more and more important, especially with respect to my belly dance costuming. For most of my life I’ve never really been a heavy jewelry wearer, so it’s interesting to me that this would turn out to be such a big deal spiritually.

      • As you probably know, devotional jewelry is quite a big deal for me. Every day, I choose the pieces that express whatever’s important: if it’s a holy day, a festival, or I’m just feeling close to one god or another that day. I wear certain things every single day, and others vary depending on occasion. But I actually have no mundane jewelry anymore, I decided awhile back to get rid of anything that didn’t have a particular spiritual meaning for me. I find it effective and easy to implement. Between the jewelry, my color and fabric restrictions in clothing, my daily hair-braiding, and my tattoos and piercings, I definitely work a lot of magic and devotion into my appearance on a daily basis. It’s become much more important to me than looking “pretty” by any cultural standards (although I do like the way it looks, personally).

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