Shrines

The theme of Sacred Harvest Festival this year was shrines.  That’s where I was camping at the beginning of the month and where I also presented two workshops (neither of them about shrines.)

Shrine to Cernunos Irish Lord of the Hunt

I  really enjoy visiting shrines.  I’m fond of the side chapels in churches.  I like walking through cemeteries.  I nod at the statues in Asian restaurants.  I’m happy to stop and rest on memorial benches and enjoy the view.  I readily light a candle, or a stick of incense or drop a bit of libation when invited to participate in the honoring of a shrine.

Visiting a shrine is like meeting the relatives.  It’s a level of intimacy that, although usually not too risky, isn’t something where participating makes everyone who visits comfortable.  A shrine, like the relatives, must be approached with a willingness to simply accept them as they are.  Shrines are a gift to and from those who tend them.

I notice shrines when I visit peoples homes, even when they are tucked away and unremarked upon.  Some shrines are a very conscious part of a spiritual practice.  Some are entirely unconscious as though shrines are hardwired into our genetics.  Photos collected with the dead relatives in one cluster and the living in another are effective ancestor shrines.  Collections of shells from a visit to the ocean or acorns, or stones often honor the memory of a place.   People have shrines to music, and art, and literature which they honor but do not necessarily acknowledge in a conscious way.

An unconscious shrine to love and marriage

In my book, Manifest Divinity, I identify the Divine very broadly.  I suggest that anything that produces that feeling of awe is inherently a manifestation of the Divine.  Shrines, for me, are a way for people to connect with the Divine in their day to day lives.  By visiting them I get a chance to touch the Divine the way others experience it and expand my own experience and understanding.

Buddha in the snow

Here are a few more shrines:

Can shrines be portable? Prayer beads of Earth Conclave

Or temporary? Place setting for a dinner in honor of the Red Dragon

Ancestors of the blood, of the heart or of the spirit can be honored in ancestor shrines

Shrine to Epony. Do you know a girl with a shrine to horses?

I am of the Divine and the Divine is in me.

What shrines do you keep in your home or visit regularly?

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About lisaspiral

I've been writing and speaking about spirituality to small groups for years and am looking to expand my horizons. Hopefully this blog will inspire you to expand yours as well.

Posted on August 27, 2012, in daily practice, meditation, spiritual, wicca and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have not thought a lot about shrines, so your post was intriguing, Lisa. Loved the Buddha in the snow photo. And thinking about the temporary shrines such as the dinner in honor of the Red Dragon. I have simple places around our house with a wooden bowl, a rock, a crystal, some feathers…all could be considered shrines. Thank you for this post. You’ve got me thinking.

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