When my husband moved in with me in 2011, I dismantled my previous home shrine that had been spread on the hearth and mantle of my bedroom fireplace to make room for his super-awesome flat screen TV. We decided that since we were a couple and wanted to practice together that we would build a joint shrine/altar on the third floor of our 1920’s era Pittsburgh house. Over the years we’ve added shrines on the third floor (main working altar, Worldly Spirits Shrine, Ancestors Shrine, Deities Shrine), a home/hearth working shrine at the fireplace in the living room, and an Ancestors/House Spirit Shrine on the dining room mantle. I set up my Brighid shrine on a bookcase in the dining room which I use for my Flametending practice. We also have a small, outdoor ritual space where we work occasionally and where we deposit our offerings on a regular basis.
I love having these varied spaces and treasure the ones I share with my husband as well as the work we do together. Since we both had well-established personal practices when we started dating, and since we’re both very opinionated about crafting ritual, it took us a good long while to finally learn to work together and begin to build a family practice. However, since I first became Pagan, I’ve always had a shrine in my bedroom, and that was where I did my morning and evening devotionals. Recently I realized that I stopped doing them regularly after I took down my old bedroom shrine, and my attempts to make time in the mornings and before bed to go up to the third floor to do them just never became habit. I finally decided that what I needed was a shrine in the bedroom again–a shrine that was just for me to do my daily devotions.
I scouted around the house to find a suitable piece of furniture to use as the shrine’s base, and I commandeered the night stand from the guest bedroom which is the perfect size and height and has the added benefit of having a drawer and shelf underneath for storage of offerings and tools. One of the things that happens when you’ve been Pagan as long as I have and like antiques fairs and thrift stores as much as I do is that you accumulate a lot of quasi-esoteric nick-knacks. So I went around my to various stashes and found the perfect altar cloth and items for my Well, Fire, Tree, and Omphalos as well as Deity, Ancestor, and Worldly Spirit representations. I brought down from our working altar my travel patron shrine (a hinged picture frame with pictures of my patrons) to set behind everything and topped that with a pewter owl, my spirit animal. Finally I added my torc which I wear during ritual and a quartz heart I just like a lot. I put incense, a lighter, my Greek Oracle discs, and my omen journal in the drawer and a covered incense holder on the shelf below for offerings (keeping it down there helps keep the altar cloth free of incense ash).
Since I set up the new shrine, every day I have done morning devotions where I give thanks and take an omen for the new day and evening devotional and healing work. Working at the new shrine just feels really “right.” I know that reclaiming a little bit of my own sacred space has allowed me to reclaim a lost part of my personal piety.
If only I could as easily get a stipend of today’s equivalent of 500 pounds a year. . ..