So, I’m actually feeling better finally. Not quite 100%, but better enough that I’m starting to get back into religious practice. Since I’ve been very lax on my new moon observances since about June thanks to a declining health thing, I spent all my break times today tending to my altars and shrines. Now, typically that would wait until the next new moon, but I had let them fall so far out of whack that I’m sure the gods will both understand and appreciate if I go a bit off schedule and make their shrines and altars a bit more… passable.
The first one I worked on was my household altar, which is in it’s temporary home because I will be replacing the bit of furniture it is placed upon and getting a new altar cloth for it at some point. You’ll see it’s fairly minimalistic. All of my altars are, actually. Here there is some seasonal decoration, a candle, a small chalice for libation offerings, an offering dish (which has some bits of coin and mother of pearl in it for various deities right now -I’ll clean that out on the Deipnon), an incense burner and a serpent idol to represent my Agathos Daimon.
The second one was my altar to Hestia and to Zeus Ktesios. The picture is Hestia, the candle is to represent the hearth and the jar is my Kathiskos which is in desperate need of being cleaned out -again it will wait until the Deipnon. I talk more about what the Kathiskos is and what it represents in my post about the new moon observances/celebrations. If you are reading this on WordPress, it’s back a few entries. If you are reading this on LiveJournal, I’ll re-post my original WordPress blog about it on the next new moon cycle or shortly before.
The third thing I worked on is actually in two parts. There’s a bit of wall décor, which is my offering, and then a small shrine. Both of which are dedicated to Zeus Gamelios and Hera Gamelia as the gods of marriage (their wedding is known as the Hieros Gamos -Sacred Marriage, more about that when we discuss Gamelion). The frame on the wall has photos of my wedding to my husband. Crowning this are five peacock feathers. Peacocks are sacred to Hera -the goddess of marriage.
The small shrine to both Zeus and Hera consists only of a candle, an image of the two together and a small container that holds my wedding ring when I cannot wear it (which is at all right now because I’ve gained so much weight in the last few years, it’s slowly coming off… again, another story for another time). Both the pictures and the shrine are in the bedroom, which I find has calmed things in the house considerably since I’ve done it. I find when Hera and Zeus’ altar is not tended to… things in my marriage get a little rocky. Coincidence, maybe. But to be safe, I’m going to keep it tended from now on.
And finally, my shrine/altar/whatever you prefer to call it to Ares my patron. Most Hellenes, in my understanding, do not have a patron deity. I do. I have for many long years. It is bigger than all my other altars, it has a bit more pizazz you might say. But he’s also who I’m closest to divinity wise, and therefore gets the most attention. Proper order of things for a Hellene or not (Hestia is supposed to come first, BUT, Ares gets cranky. He’s had my devotion the longest, I have the most reciprocal relationship with him, he comes first.) it’s what it is.
Again, compared to what most expect (of a Wiccan altar, lets just say) it’s also very uncluttered. Though, compared to my other altars, it is quite cluttered. Which is because of the need to have my weapons on the altar. On this altar you see three cult images of Ares. One on the back of what I’m assuming is his horse Konabos (yes, the statue is broken, thank you Dexter and Adelaide -my cats, who can’t seem to stay off the altar and actually broke the last one completely and sent the statue tumbling to its doom), the second is him standing with his spear (this one is also broken, the shield arm is broken off thanks to a two-year old nephew of mine), and the third in an image in a frame of Ares with his consort Aphrodite being disarmed (which you can’t see in the photo) by the Graces and the Erotes.
A word about the broken statues, I have every intention of replacing them eventually, hopefully with something a bit more sturdy as my cats and the small children that enter my house, don’t understand that this is an altar and is precious to me. However, I don’t have the funds right now, so these will have to do. There is also an incense censor, a candle, a dagger, my replica kopis sword, a charm in offering and a small vial of scented oil I made up specifically for Ares. The blend is my own and is used for anointing in ritual when needed and for offering cultus to the statuary. I’ll discuss that at another time.
So, there you have it. They are all ready for working and offerings again.
I’m definitely getting back in the swing of things.