Well, I’m back from my trip to Tasmania, I think I’ve lost my Sennheiser headphones, and I start back at the op shop on Tuesday. So things are, well. They’re going. How are you all doing? I hope your holiday and new year break was good, if you had one. I spent New Years Eve dozing off a stomach bug, then I spent the evening outside in the yard with my tiny niece and nephew and my family, playing with sparklers. Amaze.
Anyway. I wanted to start the new year with a post showing off all my current shrines, because a lot’s changed over the past year, and it seems like a good time to do this. I feel like it’s always a good way to see how my practices have changed and developed over time, and who’s getting more of my attention than others.
There won’t be many images, only about 7 or so, but they are a bit big, so just a warning for anyone on slow connections. There will also be lots of text, because I am terrible at being concise about these things.
So, I thought I’d start with the Shedety shrine, which is my main shrine for Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset. It’s developed a lot over the past year, though it might not seem like it. It’s taken me a while to settle into a good pattern of altar cloths and themes and how to change them by the season, and I think I have enough now that I can make a good consistent go of it.
My year is divided into light and dark, marked by the equinoxes, so for the light half of the year, I use purple. I also have the yellow Eye of Heru cloth as a base, though it’s only just visible on the edges of the photo. For the dark half of the year, I use black, and the dark green Eye of Heru altar cloth as a base. I also have coordinating pentacles/ankh altar tiles; one is black, and one is white.
The other little detail that changes with the dark/light change is the orange scarf at the back, and the two masks on the side. It covers the mask of the god who’s part of the year it isn’t; Sobek rules the dark part, and Heru rules the light part, so for now, the scarf is covering Sobek’s mask to symbolise His lesser power.
The shrine has also been dressed in preparation for Wep Ronpet. I’ve thrown out the old linens, and changed them for new ones, and once it gets a bit closer to Feb 1, I’ll make some new linens for Sobek and Heru, and the Children of Nut and Geb, who sit atop the shrine where Kheper-Ra’s boat usually is. The whole shrine was re-dressed after I got back, just because it felt like it was time. Christmas, and Solstice, was over, and now it was time to prepare for Wep Ronpet. So it’s all been anointed with oil, and all the statues cleaned and dressed with oil. The inside of the naos has also been anointed.
You might also notice that I have acquired a few new statues. Thanks to my awesome paid job last year, I decided to splurge and finally get that large buff Sobek statue I’d been coveting for ages. I also found a Heru to go with Him. This one is holding a khopesh, and I think His stance is a little less awkward looking than the one with the spear. It also fits better on the shrine. Which was the reason I finally decided to get them, because I found room for them after rejigging the stuff on the shrine so they would fit. They have a very protective energy, and they are positioned very much like shrine guardians, on the edge of the shrine, keeping it safe.
OH. And one of the adorable little details about that Sobek statue is that they have given Him clawed feet! He has little claws for His toes! 😀 😀 😀 /appreciates the ltitle details
Also His face is beautiful and I love Him and I am so glad I finally bought them at last. <3 <3 <3
I also picked up the smaller black and gold Sobek that is next to the new Sobek, because He has the most gorgeous little face and I adore it. <3 <3 <3
The faces of statues are very important to me. I have to like the face. The paint job can be fixed if it’s not to my tastes, but if the face doesn’t resonate, then it’s not for me. Which is why I think I have all the Sobek statues I will ever have, for now, unless they make something with a face I can’t walk past.
Anyway. I have also put Nit and Aset back on the shrine, to sit with Their respective children. IDK. I go through phases with that, and I felt They needed to be on there again. So there They are.
The druidic shrine is coming along nicely. It’s always going to be something of a work in progress, and something of a compromise, but it seems to work. If you haven’t seen my shrine updates over at my DP blog, most of this shrine may be new to you. But things I’ve added since the last time I posted about it are the central hallows, the crone statue (Gaia), the plate on the right near Hekate which depicts Dionysis (I picked it up for less than $4 in an antique shop in Latrobe in Tasmania), and a canvass over near Hestia, which I think is a bit hard to see, but it’s made with paper and I made it a couple of days ago for Poseidon. There were moments in Tasmania where I felt Poseidon quite strongly. There’s even a statue in Devonport of the ‘spirit of the sea’ that looks, basically, like Poseidon, ngl. When my internet begins behaving again and isn’t so godsdamn slow, I’ll upload some of the videos and photos I took there.
I want to talk about why I have chosen a crone statue to represent Gaia/the Earth Mother. Because I can see some of you not following my logic on that one. I’d been looking for something for a while, but nothing ever really felt right. The Earth Mother, I have to say, is the one concept I’m struggling with when it comes to ADF. I’ve never bought into the whole neopagan Earth Mother thing, for a variety of reasons similar to why I’ve never been into the universal Wiccish God and Goddess concepts, eitther. I guess I’m too much of a polytheist to really dig it, but I also don’t like any of the Gaia statues I’ve seen around the place, either. I’m too queer to feel comfortable with the pregnant mother imagery, nor the youthful goddess stuff, either. So it makes it hard to find anything that I really connect with.
I guess, for me, I don’t see Her as an anthrocentric deity. We aren’t Her priority in the grand scheme of things. And I think the idea that She would be eternally loving and forgiving of us, in spite of how much we’ve fucked up the environment, makes no sense to me. My Gaia is old, older than we could ever comprehend, and under no obligation to love those who have hurt Her and Her realm. And I guess that’s why the crone image makes more sense to me than anything else to represent Gaia on my altar. YMMV, of course, and you’re free to disagree, but it works for me, and that’s what I care about.
In the centre of the shrine, with the trees, is my hallows. I think I spent about $15 all up on everything there. There are two tabletop Christmas trees I picked up at Target for the princely sum of $5 each. With the string of roses I also picked up at the op shop I work at, they form a gateway. I don’t know why I feel the need to have a gateway there, but there is a gateway nonetheless. In between that is an oil burner I picked up at the op shop for not very much. The frame is made of bamboo, and it’s actually turned upside down, because I kept looking at it, and it just screamed tiny altar. The bowl sits underneath it as the well, and there’s a little white candleholder with a tealight in it to represent fire. So I have my Fire, Well, and Tree there in the middle. Which I’m quite happy with.
I can never decide if the shrine is too cluttered or not. I don’t like cluttered shrines, and this one is borderline for me. I have enough room to put offerings and other things down when I do ritual, and I use Shedety’s altar space underneath for extra space. But it still feels cluttered, like there’s too much stuff there. But perhaps that’s why Hekate’s taken over two other shrine spaces, so.
The top shelf has had a bit of a rearrangement, and a clean. I lost the scarf I was using as an altar cloth there after a candle melted onto it to the point it wasn’t worth trying to get the wax out. So it had to change. But it gave me a good excuse to redress it, and reorganise what’s there. It does sometimes become the shelf that stuff just gets dumped on.
But it is a little cleaner, and there’s a bit less stuff there now. I moved one of my Isis statues, and the seated Djehuty statue into the bathroom, just to make a bit more room, and because they’re not particularly needed right now. The black box you can see next to the white winged Isis statue on the right contains my runes.
You can also see my little Kheper-Ra boat, which is taking a rest from the top of the naos to sit in front of the lararium. Because it is nearly Wep Ronpet, and I need that space for five deities. Anyway. I might give it a bit of a repaint and clean up before it goes back down there, while I’ve got it out.
Speaking of Hekate, this is a second shrine for Her set up on my bookshelf next to the main shrines. It’s in a bit of a transitionary stage at the moment, and I’ve switched it round since I took this picture, but we’ll see what it settles into. She’s got Her own place as a goddess of magic and witchcraft, so She takes care of those tools and instruments for me. The knife you see in the front was actually my first boline, back when I first became pagan in the early 2000s. It’s since become my candle knife, and is very much blunted by time and use. But it’s okay. It still works well enough for candles, and I’m very fond of it.
The box there came from my old ancestor shrine, and contains all the ancestral items and keepsakes I have, as well as the Blessed Virgin’s prayer beads. I’m still tossing up what to do with that.
This is on the left side of the main shrine, and it has had several uses since I put it up. Right now, it’s a herb/spice rack, and Hekate takes care of that for me. And yes, I am cheap and lazy enough to get my chamomile and peppermint from herbal tea bags. I mean, why wouldn’t you? It’s like, $5, and I can get 40 tea bags, and it fills half a jar, so. I mean, it’s bog standard Twinings tea, but still. It does the job. But then I’m a tightarse with no job and no money, so it’s cheaper than the alternatives.
The white labeled jar on the bottom right is the only ~magical blend~ I bought, and even then, by the time it arrived, I’d scrapped that magical idea, so now I have it just sitting there until I figure out something to do with it. Go me? XD
Hey, so I finally got around to hanging some stuff on the walls? The plaster antlers, the Green Man plate, and the raven plaque. I also finally got around to picking up that Kernunnos statue I’ve been meaning to get for a couple of years now.
Apart from that, nothing much has changed here. It’s my Anglo-Saxon corner, and it’s the closest thing to an ancestral god shrine as I’m going to get. I don’t know why there are bells draped over the antlers. I seem to be in a ‘noise drives out evil things’ sort of mood, and have noisemakers all over my room. I have a new hanging thing over my window that I think was once designed to be a dream catcher, but I have since rejigged it, got rid of half the hanging things, and let it blow about in the wind. It makes a lovely noise, and also the hanging things have little mirrors! 😀 At some point, I will remember to get a photo of it for you.
So Hermes has taken over my desk? There’s a lot of business/money magic going on there, which He seems quite willing to help with. So that’s nice.
The jar at the back has a money oil in it, based off one of Lady Gravedancer’s recipes. I think I improvised it a bit, but there you go. It also has a bindrune on the lid, in gold, for money. I was going to do a spell with it before we left for Tassie, but it never quite happened. Once I get it planned, it’ll get use for that.
The bust I picked up cheap on eBay, and it’s gorgeous. It’s just the right size for that particular windowsill, and it did come all the way from Athens, which I felt was appropriate. He’s wanted black beads from me for a long time now, and finally, He’s got some. The coin at the bottom is a replica old UK penny from 1924, with the goddess Britannia on one side. I have a couple of other real pennies with Britannia on them, and they’re on the druid shrine, with all the other pennies, for the ancestors. Yes, I am a pennies for the dead sort of pagan. The benefits of being a coin collector. And my collection is in the jar to the right of the orange candle. And it now belongs to Hermes.
On the bedside table/altar space, the copper cauldron is a money spell. I keep my change in there. The green dish to the right of that has gold and silver incense, and some stones in it. The big jar with the ribbons is a money spell. The clay disk is an incense burner for stick incense. The bowl next to that has more incense, and all sorts of little things that belong to Hermes. I even have a wax seal, which I got for Christmas from my BFF. <3 It has the letter S. Which is awesome. There’s also a couple of casino chips I snagged from the op shop. Gambling isn’t my thing at all, but it totally feels like Hermes’ jam.
This is the last shrine I wanted to show you. Strap yourselves in, this is going to get long.
So, anyway. I’ve talked a bit about the novel I’m writing, initiated by Hermes, about an alt-universe Greek polytheistic city, and its destruction by its patron, Apollon. And the subsequent journey into the desert by the survivors Hermes chose. I have more to post about that later, but I’m still working on it, and I’ve got to the part where Hermes has stepped back, and now Masrai, one of the desert gods, is taking over. Hermes did promise not to intervene on their territory, so.
Masrai. She belongs to a tribe of desert people, who once hailed from Egypt, thousands of years ago. So their gods are Egyptian, and a bit Libyan, and a bit Berber, and a bit evolved from where they originally came from. So Masrai was originally based on Sekhmet, as you can imagine. But as I wrote about Her, and Her people, She became very different.
I picked up a red-covered sketch book while I was in Tasmania, and She claimed it for Herself, and I have since started writing out Her myths for Her. I’m about a third of the way through, and I will be sharing them here, when I’m at a point where I have enough done that I won’t get stuck because something’s not done yet.
Masrai had a difficult birth. The gods who brought Her into being didn’t want Her, and abandoned Her to the deserts. She spent a long time wandering, trying to find peace in Her heart, and somewhere to belong. She talks about finding a queen in a young girl in a small village, and decided to take them on as Her own. She brought them glory and wealth, and in time, came to threaten the stability of Egypt, or Khem as She calls it. She has Her own version of the Destruction of Mankind myth, and this, it seems, instigated the ostracisation of Her and Her people from Khem in the form of a bloody civil war that left them defeated and exiled.
But once they found a place to settle, and call home, She settled and became less of a violent wrathful god, into one of war and defense and kingship. She still has Her anger, but the people calmed Her heart, and helped Her learn to control Herself. She is the chief god of their pantheon, and their tribe is matrilineal, and has a system of bondmates that allow for same-sex partnerships to be accepted.
Anyway. The tl;dr version is that I kept thinking about the set-up of the temples, and how She might be worshipped. Apparently this was all She needed to get me to actually build one for Her, and the results you can see above. Yes, it’s where my akhu/ancestor shrine used to be. No, I don’t have one anymore, except for the dead author shrine. That’s a story for another day.
The plates at the back on the walls show Her headdress/symbol. It’s a cat’s eye, a flame, a hand giving to Her people, bread and water, the destruction of a sand storm. Her colours are red and gold, and anything shiny.
She is represented by lions in particular, female lions as well as lionesses, as well as any other felines. She is also particularly fond of cheetahs. She is also seen in sand storms, fire, and the life-giving hot springs. She is the hot desert wind, and roar of a storm. Thunder marks where Her feet fall as She runs through the sands. She defends Her own, and takes care of them.
I think the jackals represent Her mates, Jirisha and Seteni, the twins. Seteni is a form of Set, a god of wilderness, boundaries, and the animals of the land. Jirisha is a hunter, an archer, and shooting stars are a sign of His presence. He is a protective, defensive god. Inyi is the fourth member of this group, but She’s not represented there (yet?). Inyi is a goddess of nighttime, oracles, and dreams.
I’ll write more about Masrai later, but it’s getting late, and I have to go to the op shop tomorrow to learn how to use the new till. So I’ll leave this 3.3k entry here, and let you get on with your week. 🙂
Also, if I remember, I might get something up for Sobek’s birthday on Tuesday. Perhaps I’ll write Him something.