Many icons, one shrine
Look, as to the recent Kenny Klein stuff, I don’t have to tell you that victim blaming and apologist nonsense is bad shit, right? Oh good, I knew you were all reasonable people with functioning morals and empathy.
ON TO THE RAMBLING. (yeah sorry, this journal is really just that, a journal. I hope my experiences help build some community and help bring together like minded folks, but I’m not exactly going all formal on your asses either. Well, not usually :P)
Having gods in shrine (though some argue I should call a space where I do spiritual work an altar, so whatever floats your barque, harr harr see what I did there) from different traditions is…interesting, to say the least. Right now they all share the space together. Mostly they seem all right with that. I’m very big on UPG and I have a very clear godphone, if you will. (note: this is not always a good thing and if you DON’T have a godphone, that doesn’t mean you’re better or worse than me, or a more or less effective at worship. In fact when I was younger, I attracted all manner of nasty magical creatures because I could. not. shield. AT ALL. My first spirit teacher told me I had an Eat At Joe’s sign over my head. Yeah I got better, thank goodness).
I mention the bits about UPG and the godphone because the essence of what I do is, hey You Guys, I found a new idea today. What do You think? <cocks head, listens> Hm, interesting. </discard idea, keep idea, meditate further on idea> It’s not that I don’t love history, I do! And I think it has some relevance to now, sure! But for me the whole purpose of worship is my connection with deity. Everything else is window dressing. So I do what will keep me with the clearest connection on the Ol’ Divine iPhone. This is how I’ve been handling who should get what devotion first, too. If one deity clamors for the bulk of my attention, I give it if the others take no great exception.
Last night, the two Goddesses came to the offering table like beloved aunts, Their bodies swathed in black dresses, stars in Their hair, elbowing each other as They argued in a friendly manner over who gets to drink from the cup first. They leave lipstick smears on the glass and They smell of red wine and black musk. They tell me off-color stories and sit companionably next to one another so that Their presence fills up my ritual space. They don’t quite touch, but They certainly sit together.
Their original peoples on earth never met, back in history, but then again back then the average person didn’t usually have beautiful icons in their homes either. Some never looked on the faces of their deities unless it was a procession. There remains very little in Ireland to tell us how the people of old dealt with the Tuatha, but I can well imagine a certain distance there too, aside from some gods and goddesses turning up and demanding things of mortals (The Morrigan, again). The idea of a personal relationship with your gods is a relatively new one, to my understanding. Instead of a priest doing it, it is now my job to anoint my Name’s icon with oils. I clean Her wings, Her legs, the base. She lives in my bedroom. There is no separation between Her and me, and that’s the way I like it.
However, I learned recently to be a bit more cautious about how I ask for things and about how I act on what a deity is telling me. Let’s just say if you ever have a problem and you think I know! Two gods are great, how about I call even more? I advise against it. They all take up a lot of space, and They don’t all like to share or be called in to the same space at once. I’m pretty sure I screwed myself out of the thing I wanted by doing this. Even if you have a Name who tends to borrow the clothes of another deity, you aren’t always going to get those aspects too. Luckily though the Morrigan and the Name don’t begrudge each other, probably because they’re very similar when you get right down to it.
I’m not being purposefully coy about my Name, by the way. It’s just that I’ve spent ten plus years living by that shamanic/wise man notion that speaking about power is a bad idea. My relationship with Her is so close and beautiful that I’m afraid to reveal too much about it lest it lose its power, though I’d also like to sing Her praises to anyone who’d listen! I think I prefer to keep it quiet because I frankly don’t want anyone swanning in and telling me how I am doing it ALL wrong, and only THEIR way is TRUE and RIGHT and GODLY.
Okay so I am being a tiny bit hyperbolic but this does seem to come up a lot. This isn’t too say all criticism is bad–I’m actually a huge fan of the constructive kind–but sometimes when people nitpick about spirituality it can easily come from a place of insecurity rather than genuine fellowship and curiosity. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I go to the altar and all I can feel is shame or upset over some online fight, as opposed to the presence of those deities that spend Their time there.