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.
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.
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The three candles and ceramic bowl for the well remain, but the tree has been replaced by a living tree, an ash from the garden that I’m trying to train as a houseplant.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:
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.
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