Corner of the Gods,
Altar in Asatru
place is holy,
“A Corner of the gods, an altar, this is nothing for me as an Asatru.” These were my thoughts before I changed my mind. It was a bronze statue of statue of Thor who spellbound me, as soon I got home I placed her on top of a carved sandstone in my living room. Suddenly I had a corner for the gods. Since then the other gods came together. Many of them I got as present from other Asatru. What use has an Asatru for an altar?
Why a corner for the gods, if the gods are everywhere?
A Shrine is more for the humans then for the gods. We can meet our gods everywhere as they are all over Midgard. We hold the gods in our hearts, as we are the Children of the gods. In a moment of self-awareness we can meet the gods and neither place nor time is of any importance. The altar offers a reason and is a place of remembrance, so it can become a focus for our meetings with the gods.
Where shall the corner for the gods be?
There are two possibilities which both have their own charm. Each place you choose gives the altar a different use. It could be a silent place on the one hand and a place of leaving and returning to on the other. In our home we have room for both and both are important to us.
The place of arrival and Farewell
Right beside the door rests the hammer of Thor, Mjölnir, on a cupboard and you always pass it. This is the first place when you enter and the last before you leave the home. To pause a moment and lay ones hand on the hammer let feel one more Thor and the presence of the community of the gods.
The Silent Place
Of more importance to me is the silent place on which I can retreat to meet the gods. This place is in the vicinity of the dinner table and so the gods are always visible and part of the community. There you can sit down and meet the gods in meditation or talking with them in the prayer. There are many ways to meet the gods. You can meet the gods by yourself or in community.
Give Life a Rhythm
Through this place of the gods one can give life a rhythm. Each of my days starts with the gods and ends with them. For breakfast I sit down at the altar or take even a statue of a god in the hand and stay there for a while in devotion. So I go strengthened through my day with confidence. In the evening before sleep I take time to look take a look at the passed day and thank the gods. This keeps my day balance and the meeting of the gods gives me strength. Further Reading: 10 Minutes with the Gods
What is the Purpose of the Shrine?
A corner fort he gods can be a place to come to rest and get inspired to open up towards the gods. In the fast lived daily live this is a place of retreat to find ourselves and to recreate with the gods. We can bring all before them and can be ourselves with our weaknesses and strength in their vicinity.
How shall the place of the gods look like?
It is a question of personal taste and feeling how the place shall look like. Common elements are statues and symbols of the gods. A Lightning could be a simple tea light or a full grown candleholder. The light is our fire in the hearth were we gather around and celebrate community. You can add a sensual touch to it with an incense burner or an incense stick to bring to bear all your senses in meeting the gods. A bowl for offerings to the gods is always useful and can take any form. The Yule candle can sit on the altar as well but I prefer them on the dinner table to light it each day till the next Yule.
Statues of the Gods a Focus
A statue can be a symbol for a god or goddess. It is a focus for us to let us feel easier the presence of the gods. Everything we connect to can be the focus not only a statue but a picture as well or symbol like a hammer for Thor. It is only important that that it makes one more receptible for the gods and that we connect easier to them.
The altar is an enrichment fort he home of all Asatru to intensify our life with the gods and gives it more beauty. For me it came very surprising to have a corner for the gods but it made my life more fulfilled. Last weekend a friend from the Switzerland gave me a statue of Odin as a gift. The arrival invited me to a reflective meeting in a meditation. May be these suggestions inspire you to give the gods in your home a special place.
© Michael Schütz – Asatru Ring Frankfurt & Midgard– www.asatruringfrankfurt.de