A Tale of Two Shrines

To be honest, I have a bit of a shrine problem. I tend to have a lot of them, and they tend to creep into other, unoccupied spaces when I’m not looking. Separating out my feelings about the physical “stuff” of shrines and altars from the deities represented therein has been one of the difficulties of this KonMari attempt, but I have made significant changes to two altars so far.

The first is my ancestors shrine. This one was my first real sense of improvement – I redid this shrine almost immediately after going through the physical step, removing some things that no longer made sense, and adding a few things I’d rounded up from elsewhere, like my grandfather’s pocket knives. I did a lot of waffling over what went on there, and a lot of fiddling with placement. Finding the balance between different categories of ancestors and the symbolism of each is a challenge, but I’m happier with the layout now than the previous one.

As for the second shrine…

I used to work much more closely with spirits of the waters than I do now. For a time, this meant a strong relationship with the Norse goddess Rán. For several years I hung a net indoors and hung various shinies and offerings to her on the net. When we moved into this apartment a few years ago, I wanted to try maintaining it as an outdoor shrine. Over time, however, it became clear that this just wasn’t working, but I the idea of disassembling the shrine was overwhelming. I found a beaded shawl that was made like a net and created a new indoor shrine, but left the old one outside, too anxious to do anything about it but feel guilty.

On Friday, I took the whole thing down. There was very little to save from it. It was barely even a decommissioning, given that I’d already replaced it. It was just a thing that needed to be done, that I finally did.

There’s still so much to do, but having that shrine taken care of, finally, instead if sitting there making me feel guilty is such a huge relief for me. Even if I stopped now, this will have been worth it… but I don’t intend to stop now.

At the very least, I still have to find those damn runes.

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