Home Shrine revisited

Our Own Druidry states that “one of the most traditional ways to begin your relationship with the inner world is to create a personal shrine of worship in your own home. Pagan religion cannot be contained in groves and temples. It is not owned by priestesses and Druids. The reality of Pagan Druidry is found in the hearts of every Pagan who keeps the ways.”

As such, forming a home shrine is an important part of developing a Pagan practice. It gives you a focal point, a daily reminder of your path. It also serves as a fixed location for use in ritual and meditation, a central sacred space, the heart and hearth of the home.

The shrine doesn’t have to be complicated, however. Dangler suggests you can begin, as he did, with “three bowls and a stick”. The central focus of ADF ritual, and of the home shrine is the Triple Hallows: fire, well and tree. The fire can be represented by a candle, the well by a bowl of water and the tree by a houseplant, model tree or even just a twig.

My shrine. Also pictured: my Dedicant Path textbooks. Photo by me

My shrine. Also pictured: my Dedicant Path textbooks. Photo by me

When I first set up my home shrine, it looked like this (see left):

I had three candles for the fire, a small ceramic bowl filled with water and sea-glass for the well, and indeed a stick from the garden as a tree. The pottery mouse is a trinket I’ve had for a very long time, and he represents the nature-kin. Buddha was there because I read about Buddhism and it influenced my thought and practice, particularly with meditation and my ethics. While not a Druid, he fitted my personal practice.

After a while, the shrine was moved to an upstairs room briefly, but was swiftly restored to the living room because it felt like I was shutting it away or compartmentalising my Paganism from my daily life.

Home shrine. Photo by me

Home shrine. Photo by me

The current iteration of my home shrine looks like this (see right):

The three candles and ceramic bowl for the well remain, but the tree has been replaced by a living tree, an ash from the garden that I’m trying to train as a houseplant. I find it much easier to connect with a living tree than merely a representation of one. Buddha has been retired to live on a bookshelf elsewhere, and the shrine now features a small clay statue of Thor that I bought in a village in Norway. He reminds me of that trip, and represents the Norse hearth culture.

On the left I also have a skull carved with Celtic knotwork to represent the ancestors, so now all three Kindreds have a presence on the shrine. Other items include pine cones, feathers, small stones etc. that I gather and change around as the seasons change.

The shrine gets decorated in different ways for different High Days. Here it is for the Summer Solstice, and for the Winter Solstice:

Home shrine set up for the Summer Solstice with mead offering. Photo by me.

Home shrine set up for the Summer Solstice with mead offering. Photo by me.

Home shrine set up for Yule. Image by me

Home shrine set up for Yule. Image by me

It’s still a very simple shrine, but I find the simplicity effective. In future, I would like to add to it with more greenery and perhaps a Cernunnos statue to go alongside Thor, to represent my interest in both Celtic and Norse Paganism.

References:

ADF. Our Own Druidry: An introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009.

Dangler, M.J. The ADF Dedicant Path through the Wheel of the Year. Garanus, 2010

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8 Responses to Home Shrine revisited

  1. Fny says:

    I never had a true stationary home shrine, like anything described here. It simply has not been practical before with my living space – though as times change I hope that soon I will be able to have just that. What I’ve had is what you might call a portable shrine. At first it was a wooden box, now it is a big basket, in which I keep everything related to my spiritual practice and faith. And while this may have started out as a purely practical thing, just needing a box to put all the stuff in, it is now clear that in a way both the box and the basket have become more than simple containers. So, portable shrines, I suppose?

    • Ryan says:

      Portable shrines are cool, I’d love to make one at some point to carry with me on hiking trips and the like, once I find the right box for it. The Dedicant Path talks about having a home shrine, but I don’t see why you can’t have a portable one. Then the shrine is wherever you want it to be!

      • Fny says:

        The Dedicant Path? Had to google that. =) Not terribly knowledgeable about Druidry specifically I’m afraid, other than seeing that there are certain common elements with my own practices!

      • Ryan says:

        Oops, sorry! The Dedicant Path is the intro study program of ADF, a Druidic Pagan group, and it’s the course I’m currently working through. There’s a tab on the top of my blog that has all my DP assignment work, which might help give you a sense of the sort of things it entails.

        Druidry is my path, but I’m always interested with how it relates to other forms of Paganism. What do you practice?

      • Fny says:

        My practice doesn’t really follow any set route, but is probably best described as a syncretic pagan. Strongly influenced by the Old Norse way but not solely, and without being a part of any official religious community. I’m more the sort to forge my own path, for better or worse!

      • Ryan says:

        I think there’s a lot to be said for creating your own path. I’m actually reading a book at the moment called “Spirituality without structure” about doing just that. Interesting stuff!

      • Fny says:

        It certainly isn’t for everyone. Want structure? Mentors to show the way? A group to practice with? Then probably better going for something that has those things. 😀 For me, it boils down to a deep wish to find out for myself. I will learn from all manner of sources and I acknowledge a piece of the truth in most if not all religions, but in the end I need to put the pieces together myself!

      • Ryan says:

        Sounds like a pretty good approach to me!

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