Minimalist, Small-space & Travel Altar Ideas – 03

Not everyone has space for a large altar setup, and if you have to share the space with others, if you’re visiting (or have visitors), or if you’re on the move, having an elaborate setup isn’t always possible. In this series I’m going to be sharing little ideas and photos to inspire you for your own devotional space. Use them as general inspiration, adapting them to suit your needs, the items you own, and your Deities.

They’re highly portable, and you can put them in a pouch for when you’re on the move. If you have guests they shouldn’t freak them out too much, or you can quickly put them away for the duration of their visit. If you’re away from home they’re easy to pop into a draw while you’re not using the room.

This week I’m talking about symbolism. Items of a symbolic nature draw on the myths and associations of a Deity to add a more personalised setup. Animals, different forms a Deity takes, items they use or are known for, elements connected to Them, and items representing Their nature can all be drawn on. Below I give some personal examples so you can gain some inspiration for your own sacred space.

For Loki I made a mini Snaptun Stone. Not only is this one of the few depictions we have of Him, but it represents His connection to fire, and reminds us of the story of how His lips were sewn shut by Brokk the Dwarf. The Fool’s Gold is a play on his modern nickname of Trickster, and the mythological parallels between Loki and other Trickster figures. In the words of J.R.R.Tolkien, Loki teaches us that, “Not all that glitters is gold.” Finally, the fox is another modern association with Loki, but due to their reputation for being wily, sly, sneaky but intelligent opportunists I really feel they are a good fit for Himself. This fox pendant is one I bought on Etsy from TheNatureJourneyist.

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For Sigyn we have the eponymous bowl. It is made of Moss Agate, and I have written before about the connection I feel Sigyn has to this stone. I also have some little paper and wire Roses. Roses speak of love and the heart chakra; both attributes associated with Sigyn in Her role as a Goddess of devotion and compassion. The Rose Quartz heart I have for similar reasons. I also have a dove because there is something about the ‘pure’ and ‘good’ symbolism of doves that I associate with this Beloved Goddess. There’s also a strong energy of Hope around Sigyn, and I believe the dove represents that too. There’s a purity and goodness in Her nature, and I personally have also found her not only to love birds, but to also have strong connections to them.

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The final example I have is for Hella, Jormungand and Fenrir. All are pretty obvious if you know about Their symbolism and mythology, but at the same time they are effective. The drinks coaster has Medieval inspired wolf decoration, the beaded lariat is very snakelike, and the skull represents Hella’s Underworld and death connections perfectly.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

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Sigyn and Daisies + worry dolls

Recently I have written about how I associate Sigyn with Roses, and also about making a Daisy tincture for Inner Child healing work. Others have experienced Sigyn as a Goddess for helping heal the Inner Child, and I believe one way She does so is through Daisies.

On the day my Daisy tincture post went live I had a parcel arrive – a handmade worry doll. I went on the site originally because a friend had liked her tarot and ribbon-reading page on Facebook and it piqued my curiosity. While browsing the online shop I saw the worry doll and felt such a strong ‘Sigyn’ vibe that I bought her. Pink, pretty, girly, flowery things often (but don’t always) mean ‘Sigyn’ to me. There’s a side to Her (that others have written about too) that is almost like this beautiful, innocent, sweet, open-hearted young girl. And that part of Her is the one I associate with the pink, girly, flowery stuff. Things I used to actively avoid, but the last year or so I’ve been more drawn to.

When the worry doll arrived (on the afternoon the Daisy tincture post went live) I saw she came with a little card:
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The worry doll’s name is Daisy! I didn’t even notice she had a name on the listing, and yet I felt so strongly that this little doll was for Sigyn that I bought her.

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Minimalist, Small-space & Travel Altar Ideas – 02

Not everyone has space for a large altar setup, and if you have to share the space with others, if you’re visiting (or have visitors), or if you’re on the move, having an elaborate setup isn’t always possible. In this series I’m going to be sharing little ideas and photos to inspire you for your own devotional space. Use them as general inspiration, adapting them to suit your needs, the items you own, and your Deities.

They’re highly portable, and you can put them in a pouch for when you’re on the move. If you have guests they shouldn’t freak them out too much, or you can quickly put them away for the duration of their visit. If you’re away from home they’re easy to pop into a draw while you’re not using the room.

This week I’m talking about jewellery. Pendants and brooches are multi-purpose, and can be used as decorative items as well as worn. Pick pieces rich in the symbolism associated with a particular Deity or pantheon. This ties in the personal aspect, and means that even if you don’t have much space for your altar, or it needs to be discreet, then you can still have a powerful energy present.

There are plenty of options with jewellery as to how you can use them. You can wear them and few will guess they’re a devotional piece. You can hang them from a hook, a pole, a picture rail or on a Deity statue. You can turn them into a little display. You can turn them into a keyring. They’re easy to pop onto a nightstand at a hotel or guest bedroom, and in the morning you’ll be wearing them again.

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With brooches you can be a bit more creative. As well as wearing them you can attach them to things you can’t with other pieces of jewellery. Want to encourage dreams of said Deity? Attach the brooch to your pillow. Want to be sneaky or playful? Add a brooch dedicated to Khepera (or another insect or ‘climbing’ Deity) to your curtains. You can also pin them to bags, scarves, cloaks, coats or wall hangings. Because of the pin on the back you may be able to add them as a detachable element on the end of prayer beads.

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(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Individual Practice

I am very much in support of a practice that caters to a person’s individuality. While tradition has its place it can, at times, place constraints on how people practice, and how they approach and work with Deities. Part of my aim here is to encourage people to discover individual levels of practice, and to provide ideas for different ways to connect. It’s something I’ve been doing since the beginning, though I didn’t realise it until very recently. It is something I believe in strongly, and while I respect traditional practitioners, there is more encouragement needed for people on non-traditional pathways.

Our connection to Deity and/or Spirit is unique, and that can often be downplayed. I’ve seen more being written about what constitutes ‘right practice’, but ultimately I believe in doing what is right for you and the way the Gods/Spirits work with you as the person you are. Your gifts, talents and strengths are unique to you, and your work and connection with Deity will reflect that.

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Joanne Harris book talk & signing – The Testament of Loki

On the 24th May I attended an author talk and book signing by Chocolat author Joanne Harris. Her new book, The Testament of Loki, is a sequel to the popular novel The Gospel of Loki, and acts as a continuation of the time period preceding her Runemark stories. The talk took place at Lincoln’s Collection museum, and also included a book signing.

Joanne started off by telling us how she was first introduced to Norse mythology when she was seven. Her first book borrowed from the library was a retelling of the Norse myths, and she borrowed it every week for some time, so enamoured was she with the stories. But as she continued her explorations she found herself unsatisfied with the ending. Ragnarok didn’t seem a fitting end to the story of the Gods, so she started writing stories for them herself. When she was 18 she tried to get a 2,000 page book published which was continuing the story after Ragnarok. She was turned down by publishers and put the book away. But she never forgot her love of the Norse myths.

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Devotional Tip: reminders

If you have a chronic illness that affects the memory, or even if you’re a busy person who gets caught up in other things easily, a little reminder can be a valuable tool for devotions. It’s not that devotions and our Deities aren’t important to us, but sometimes the mind (or memory) just doesn’t cooperate.

As a way to help myself I have made a little sign to leave out for Saturdays or Sundays – my usual offerings days – and other times I know I want to do special prayers and offerings, or to give thanks.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018