Monday, June 11, 2012

PBP: Household shrines

Hellenismos is a practice of the home. Daily ritual, family and piety to the Gods are fundamental. The home has a very special place in Hellenic practice; much more than the actual temples to the Gods, the home is the main worship area. Focal points are the main shrine, a shrine to Zeus in the pantry, a shrine to Hestia near the hearth, a shrine to Apollon, Hekate and Hermes near the door and a shrine to the ancestors and the family's Agathós Daímōn.

In a previous post I wrote that I don't honor my ancestors. This isn't completely true, much to my surprise. Looking around my home I realized I have had a small shrine up for them for years. All I did to validate it is to acknowledge it and add a toy snake to it that has been with my family for years and years, a favored item. It's on top of a soundbox that doesn't work. I've made a some pictures so it's a little clearer for those of you far away who take this journey with me.



My Ancestral shrine with my representation of the Agathós Daímōn I'm not sure is there yet

The hourglass and binoculars were heirlooms from my deceased grandmother and grandfather, respectively. They have always meant a lot to me. I have another item of my grandmothers but it has its own place and I do not want to move it. This will have to be enough for now. I'll attempt to implement worship at this shrine in my day to day life. This will mean an inclusion of my deceased and alive family members and it's not something I'm relishing. But it's good to feel connected to them, even a little.

My main altar has been adapted from my Pagan altar and currently houses a flame to Hestia, an offering jar, a bit of green I got as a present and the small wooden pot I use to burn incense and food on. 


Two images of my main household altar.

My shrine to Zeus is a little affair as it only holds a Kathiskos and an offer place for incense. A Kathiskos is an offer jar of foodstuffs used to protect the household's food storage. Typically, it has olive oil and water. The rest is up to the household. Mine has some honey, spaghetti, couscous, chocolate and a strawberry. The Kathiskos is dedicated to Zeus Ktesios, guardian of the household. The jar is typically emptied into the compost bin or garden and refilled with fresh foodstuffs every month. 

My Kathiskos

Then all that remains is the shrine dedicated to Apollon, Hekate and Hermes. This shrine tends to be an outdoor shrine but as that is not an option for me, mine is indoor. It's used to petition the Gods for safe travel or to keep a traveling family member safe. By offering, the shrine remains active and simply touching it with a prayer for protection as one leaves the house provides the blessing.

My travel shrine to Apollon, Hekate and Hermes

As you can probably tell, the disk represents Apollon, the keys are for Hekate and the feather is for Hermes. The bowl below it is used to offer libations and offerings of incense. 

I apologize for the quality of the images. I took these with my mobile phone on a grey and rainy day. I might replace them eventually but for now they serve the purpose they were created for. 

These shrines are quite new, as one might imagine, so I'm still figuring out if this is what works. I am still looking for a small oven pot to burn food offerings in, which will be placed near the main altar. Besides that, I am pretty happy with the set-up. Are these the best shrines there have ever been? Probably not. But I'm still fledgeling and I'm simply making every effort to please and honor my Gods in a way They expect.

If you feel drawn to share yours, I'd be very happy to see them. I'm always looking for inspiration. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be over there, offering at my shiny shrines.

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