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Private Altars and Shrines

 
 
Noddy24
 
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 10:38 am
I came across an thought-provoking feature story in my Sunday paper, the Allentown Morning Call:

http://www.mcall.com/features/all-sacredcover-0411,0,2726036.story


To summarize a bit for those who don't want to read the full article:

One woman has used her car dashboard as ....' an altar incorporating sacred symbols from many spiritual traditions. "Some are typical items you'd find on most altars--a cross, flowers, prayer beads, a representation of one or more deities. For example, I have a laughing Buddha, a small figurine of Kuan Yin, a Condor, and Ganesh the sacred elephant diety from India."

The story goes on to describe the personal meaning of each item in this electic mix.

Of course, private altars and shrines are more common in homes than on car dashboards.

Do any of you have dashboard altars? Private altars in a corner of your living space?

Obviously private altars are protected under the constitution--unless you use them for human sacrifice. How do you feel about them, particularly the ones on public or semi-public view?

Do you think they express religion or superstition? Like the roadside shrines at the scenes of traffic deaths, the altars represent an individual approach to the diety? Are such individual approaches dangerous?

Can religion be reduced to trinkets? What about shrines to St. Elvis?

What do you think?
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 11:59 am
We maintain a family alter, a Butsodan. Buddhist images can be found in most rooms of Corazon. For us neither alter, nor images, are especially revered. They are an expression of our religious beliefs, and a reminder in our daily lives of the importance of mindfulness. We burn incense with some regularity, but mostly because we like the perfume.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 01:04 pm
Asherman--

Thank you for an interesting comment.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 01:46 pm
I have had shrines. I am a packrat and I thought a few times that I should put my little treasures into a shrine. But I lack any religious or spiritual drive, so they were fairly hollow piles of junk.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 01:49 pm
littlek--

I consider any assemblage of objects chosen for sentimental value a shrine of sorts.

Also my view of composting has changed since I learned in the Roman scheme of things, every compost pile had its titulary godlet supervising the decomposition.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 01:57 pm
Have you installed a composting godlet(ess)? A little statue?

I may need to reconsider the whole shrine thing. Perhaps it's time for another one.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 02:35 pm
Noddy24 wrote:
Also my view of composting has changed since I learned in the Roman scheme of things, every compost pile had its titulary godlet supervising the decomposition.


In Rome/Roman provinces (like Germania :wink: ) every household had its own personal spirits/goddess which protected it.
the lares were the spirits of the family's ancestors,
the penates were kind spirits who garded the larder.
Little figurines of these spirits were kept in a small household shrine, called the lararium.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 03:27 pm
Several years ago a friend sent me a Zoo-Doo sculpture, fashioned from exotic animal manure.

Although the little beastie is quite weathered now, he offers a residence to some of my household (gardenhold?) godlets.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Apr, 2004 05:35 pm
Noddy - sounds cool!
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