PaganSquare


PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in home altars

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Different Are Pagans?

Just how different are we, as pagans, from other people?

For the most part, I'd be inclined to say: Not very.

But sometimes I wonder.

In the introduction to his 2017 Stonehenge: The Story of a Sacred Landscape, British archaeologist Francis Pryor talks about how the compartmentalization of modern life makes it difficult for us to understand how, for the ancestors, religion could imbue every aspect of existence.

Almost nobody in the modern West, he writes, would build or maintain an altar, let alone a chapel, at home. At most, a religious devotee might say prayers before going to bed. And of course the reason for this is that religion in the modern Western world has ceased to be a part of daily life (20).

I actually laughed out loud when I read this. Virtually everyone that I know has at least one home altar. For many of us, the real problem is altar-creep: the tendency of altars to sprout on every horizontal surface in the house.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I think you are right. I think some form of Pagan spirituality is the natural way we tend to respond to the world and to spirit.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Over the course of the last (nearly) 50 years, I've watched old tribal institutions and ways of doing things reemerge--sometimes a
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Very true in my experience. Some people bemoan the demise of an integral society whereas many NeoPagans are recreating one, on a
Put a Wreath On It: Creating Your Magical Home

Adorning Every Door

As we witches know, a wreath on the front dooir is much more than decorative.  A wreath can be for protection, as a talisman, a symbol of the home you are about to enter and for any reason you might devise. A wreath on your door sets the stage for magic throughout your home. Even if you (like me!)  are not a crafty witch, try these easy ideas for your magical home or as gifts for your pagan pals. 

...
Last modified on
We're the Keepers of the Flame: Hestia's Hearth Altar

Vesta is the Roman cognate of the revered Greek goddess, Hestia, “first of all divinities to be invoked” in classical rituals. In Greece, they had public hearths called prytaneums that came under the domain of the most revered Hestia, protector of “all innermost things,” according to the great philosopher Pythagoras, who also claimed that her altar fire was the center of the earth. The altar of Vesta in classical Rome was tended by the Vestal Virgins and was also believed to be the very center of the earth. The insignia for the goddess Vesta was an altar table with flames at both ends, forming the Greek letter “pi,” which is the numerological symbol for the Pythagorean sect.

 The Vestal Virgins were the keepers of Rome’s eternal flame. It was believed that if the fire of Vesta’s altar went out, the Roman Empire would fall. In the fourth century, C.E., Christians extinguished the vestal fire and began the process of erasing pagan religions and symbols.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The anything goes altar...

An altar is a very personal thing and I firmly believe that unless you follow a strict tradition that sets the layout for you that you should ‘go with the flow’ with your altar and put things on it that your intuition guides you to.

An altar doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be fancy, just a vase of flowers on a window sill is good enough to be a focal point for your altar.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Altars #ThePaganExperience

Keeping altars is probably one of the most consistent things we do as Pagans in our personal practice; though "altars" (and if you insist on using this word, please spell it with an "A"; "alters" is a process of forcing change) would not technically be the correct word.  What we keep are actually "shrines," places where we make images of the Divine and our spiritual practice, worship and make offering.

b2ap3_thumbnail_2015-01-16-11.03.20.jpgI keep an awful lot of altars myself.  My household altar is now located in the centerpiece of my living room, which is a beautiful mirrored china cabinet gifted to me by my mother-in-law.  It contains my ritual tools, statues of the Deities appropriate to the time of year, antlers to honour the Horned God, pine cones to honour the Earth Goddess.  The image you see at the top of the page is the central top shelf of my household altar, which currently is adorned with the pentacle of my tradition (which I'm pretty proud of; it's solid copper and was handmade by one of our founders, Mistress Leia,) an image of Osiris (to symbolize the God who was dead and is now reborn,) and the Star Goddess (which was a white clay figurine I purchased and then painted.)  In the center you'll find my personal pentacle (handmade by me,) a terra cotta incense burner with a turtle (placed there for feng shui value and also for a Terry Pratchett reference,) my Moon Crown (purchased several years ago from Lobelia's Lair in Nanaimo) and behind these, underneath the tradition's pentacle, my wand (also handmade with a lot of personal symbolism I don't care to publicly share at this time.)

...
Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    I think you and I (and probably myriad other pagans too) are on the same page when it comes to altars - Lovely piece. http://witc

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Altars - A ritual in the making

I recently wrote a piece about Pagan tattoos. Hundreds of people posted pictures of their artwork and many more folks told the stories of how those designs came about and why they were so compelled to etch them indelibly into their skin.

And this got me thinking - Tattoos are altars, of a kind. They are permanent representations of a moment or a belief or a particular rite of passage. These permanent, personal altars are like touchstones to those important times. In most cases, they are carefully thought out. They are planned. The placement, the design, the colours, the images and the symbols are all considered. Then there's the actual "building of the altar" itself.

...
Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    A number of years ago I taught a class on altars. Many of the participants said they had no idea where to begin with an altar, or
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Linette - Yes. So much this. I love the simple, everyday altars that we all instinctively create.
  • Asa West
    Asa West says #
    This post is lovely. Thank you! When I first read it, I thought, "well, I only have one altar in my house--my working altar." But
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Asa, I think that's it exactly. I realized that I have even more altars than I thought. There are several in the front and
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Elizabeth, it makes a great deal of sense! What a treasure that altar is and such a brilliant way to highlight that altars are

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Keeper of the Samhain List

Each year, sometime in the early part of November, a scrap of paper appears on my home altar.  On it is a single name of someone I know--or the parent or partner or child or sibling of someone I know. It's the first and last name, usually. 

That's the beginning of the Samhain list.

...
Last modified on

Additional information