My Lararium Tour

We moved in July, and I have been absolutely hideous about getting things unpacked.  Plus it seems to me that we’ve just recently really been thinking about our living space beyond “OMG, we live here now!!!”

Today I set up my Lararium.  For those of you not familiar with Religio Romana, allow me to explain that this is an altar to the Lares.  Specifically the Lares Familiares, who are the guardians of the family, and Lares Domestici, who are the guardians of the home.  This also serves as a point for the Penates (ancestor/gods/guardians), Hecate (my matron), and a general launch pad of daily worship (offerings, prayers, etc).  I live in a small space; Vesta has a shrine in my kitchen space that I’m working on, and Apollon…  Well, he and I haven’t decided where his shrine is going.

This probably isn’t quite what most practicing Religio do, but I’m still wrapping my brain around the fact that I may very well be practicing Relgio on my own terms.  Honoring my ancestors has always been a large part of my practice.

When I was little, my grandfather built each of the granddaughters a hutch to house our toy china collections.  To this day I marvel over the details.  He went so far as to put notches in to hold up plates.  We moved it into the house thinking we’d store my heirloom stemware in it, but it proved too small.  So it returned to my plan of building a Lararium with it.  It sits in our dining space.

You can also see my first broom.  Amusingly enough, I’ve had it since I was about five.  My mother will tell you that I have always had a “thing” for brooms.  Much like black cats.

Hecate sits among my orchids.  When I finally settle on an idol of Apollon, he will likely go here, too.  What this picture isn’t showing are my printed plate of Kali (also honored in our house) and a large painted leaf with Helios (Sol) and Eos (Aurora) on his chariot with his winged horses.

The main surface space is for my offerings.

Behind the glass doors rest various relics to those who have passed: My grandfather’s pipe and the collars of two pets we said good-bye to.  Also sitting inside is a statue of a deer, which is my spirit animal.  To be included are other pieces that are still tucked away in a box in my studio some where – For instance, my great-grandmother’s crochet hook and another grandfather’s high school class ring.  My photos of them will have to be scanned and made smaller to fit inside.  It’s pretty bare right now, but given time this entire space will be packed, I’m sure, as I include rocks and other pretty things for their enjoyment.

The drawer will hold working tools.  Right now my old ritual blade is housed there along with a bunch of feathers.  Said feathers are being used in my wedding, but I figured they could use a little spiritual bath of sorts.

Underneath I have storage space for extra dishes, candles, herbs, and religious what-have-yous.  Which leads me to believe that I may have the perfect space set up for what I do.

Do you have a picture or blog post about your worshiping space?  I’d love to see it!

Stocking up on Incense

I’m so excited! Yesterday I got my package from Mountain Rose Herbs, and it got here a day faster than I’d expected it to. (Thank you UPS!) Inside the box were all sorts of lovely-smelling items for me to play and experiment with – I didn’t mention I went on an incense binge, did I? Well, I did.

First of all, I went ahead and bought two packs of botanical-based pre-made incense. It’s been forever and a day since I’ve bought any, because I’ve developed a chemical sensitivity over the years to the synthetic oils that many incense companies use.

The company is Surya Incense Company. I made sure to do a lot of research on them before I bought any, because I am so sensitive. Fortunately I found an environmentally kind, socially responsible company using natural ingredients. And boy, are these babies potent! I’ve not even opened up the sampler packages I bought, and my home office is filled to the brim with wonderful exotic scents. I’m very fortunate that my boyfriend likes the scent; otherwise I’d be in trouble for introducing this into our humble little apartment.

However, because of my sensitivities to certain fragrances and synthetics, I’ve spent a bit of time learning how to burn resins and herbs. I find working directly with these items packs more of an energy-related punch as you’re going directly to the source.

I bought a giant bag of Ceremonial White Sage. Instead of buying the smudge bundles, I went ahead and bought the loose leaves on stems. I find this works best for inside. You don’t have to worry about smoking up your whole apartment to the point of setting off the smoke alarms if you burn just one leaf.

Then comes the copal. I’ve never burned copal before, but here I am with a decent-sized bag of the stuff. I’m really drawn to the botanical lives of the Americas, and I’ve read all sorts of beautiful stories about traditional healers working with copal. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it, but I figure the muse will hit me eventually and I’ll be ready for it.

Also (excitement of excitement!) I bought an actual book on how to make incense! Amazing! I’ve talked about wanting to learn how to do this for quite some time now, and I’m finally working up the gumption to do so. My mind is filled with the possibilities. I will have to do a blog post on it when I finally get around to doing it, but know that it’s coming!