Tag Archives: public pagan altars

Tweaking the paradigm’s tail … public altars

I’m not an in-your-face kind of witch.  I actually like flying under the radar.  There’s just something about it.  A power in the silence.

But if I am going to tweak the paradigm’s tail, spring’s the time to do it.  So here goes.  My little piece of spring madness:

Sometimes, I am one of those starry-eyed witches who wishes that I could walk out my door, turn a few corners, and happen upon a public altar to the old gods, out where everyone can see it.  Out where everyone can use it.

Sometimes, I am one of those flinty realist witches, who thinks that such altars would be (1) covered in hate graffiti, (2) held hostage by squatters who want to ‘posses’ the craft as if it were a toy, and (3) staked out by numerous spies of church and state, all taking notes about who’s visiting and what’s being done.

Mostly, I am a witch of the middle ways, who believes such places are possible, if problematic.

So let’s engage in a few minutes of fantasy together.  How could a public pagan altar be made, so that it had some chance of sucess?  Let’s agree to define success simply, so it is tantalizingly possible — success is 10 strangers coming upon it, and using it in active devotion to its gods.

What would such an altar look like?

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Perhaps it would be chthonic — built under the overpass of a freeway.  One with heavy foot traffic.  The pillars are spray painted with the images of gods, together with words for their devotion.  “Blessings upon you who makes devotion to Me.  Say My Name three times while stamping your right foot, clasp your hands to your heart, turn on your own axis clockwise one time, and bow.”

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Or perhaps it would be an altar chalked onto a sidewalk near a sporting field.  “I smile upon you who tread My Pattern.   Hopscotch through the numbers to trace My Sigil.  Strength to your team.  Honor and victory to you in your upcoming game.”

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Even a hopscotch pattern for the devotee to divine his or her fortune, like the one using the Magpie Rhyme in Morecambe, England.

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The family who builds an altar together would be truly altered.  Taking a leaf from Sannion’s Herm of Gratitude:  At an auspicious family gathering, each member remembers an instance when Hermes favored them, and, using a paint pen, marks  the details on a small stone.  Leave the stones piled in a  herm at the place where 3 sidewalks meet, along with a paint pen and blank stones, for the use of passers by.

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Upon the lip of a public fountain, a sturdy piece of paper, pinned in place with a rock.  “Kiss the palm of your hand, and touch it to the water in My Name.  Anoint your forehead with My Waters.  For I am She who will buoy you up through the storms of love.  Whose gentle rains will wash you with Beauty.” .

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You who read this.  You understand. Because it stirs at the pit of your soul, as well.  At the star in your third eye.  Get out there, and make a little spring mayhem.

And if you do, please, feel free to send pictures!

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Filed under To the Old Ones