Altars and Shrines in a Waincraft style

“How important are altars/shrines to you and your practice of Waincraft? Also, what’s a good example of what could be on a general Waincraft altar/shrine? I know the general answer will probably be that it depends on one’s orthopsychy, but I’m more curious about YOUR opinion.”

Personally, altars and shrines don’t hold a lot of importance in my practice. I have them, but they’re not the main focus, as I am not devotionally-bent, and believe the best altar and shrine is the world around us.

The majority of the items on my altars/shrines are for magical purposes, and most don’t really have anything to do specifically with Waincraft. I do have a statue of Night and the Divine Twins (re-purposed from my CR days) with a circle of stones in front, a space for photos of my family dead, and a space for imagery (including a raven plushie that speaks :3) as remembrance of my membership and initiation into the Raven Tribe, but that is the extent of any specific Waincraft elements to altars and shrines for me.

I think part of it is that altars and shrines, at least as they are commonly used in paganism, are seen as way to commune with and focus worship on beings that are mostly considered purely spirit with little to no presence in the world as it is, or only a partial presence*, whereas Waincraft holds the position that all divinity and spirit is immanent within multiple realms, and thus to commune with and worship Night or Sky or Ocean or Life, all you need to do is be in it, look at it, spend time with it. The Relations are just as divine as gods and humans, and you don’t need to have an altar to Salamander to commune with it – go play by the creek, and Salamander will be there with you. So, in a sense, altars and shrines separate from the world around us is somewhat superfluous.

However, that does not mean that standalone or separate altars and shrines have no place in Waincraft. For example, if one does magical workings with various of the Beings, it can be useful to set up an altar or shrine to concentrate energy, sacralise space, and provide a focal point for will and connection. Or, one could set up a shrine as memory for times when going outside or spending time in the world around are not available options for whatever reason, or a small portable shrine for when you travel outside the limits of your personal bioregion to serve as connection and grounding support.

For instances like that, I would probably suggest some or all of the following: some imagery, perhaps with strong emotional symbolism, of a few of the Powers you most connect with (I would say any altar should include at least Night, since she is the beginning of everything, anything else is personal preference); some imagery or symbols of a Tribe if you have been contacted by/come in contact with one to represent and memorialize that relationship; a place for house-bound Fair Folk with a corresponding place outside for wild ones; a space for the Dead, to remember and commune with if you cannot visit them personally (as is often the case in the US with our culture of mobility); and maybe some figurines or images of Relations and Spirits that you have connected with in your locale, not as sole communion or focal points of worship, but as memory – similar to sharing a photo with family or friends. You should still strive to connect and commune with them where they actually are (and barring pets, that will not be inside)

Of course, all of that is for inside altars. Outside altars would be a bit more practical, at least with regards to those Beings that do not have tactile forms (the Fair Folk, the Dead, the Tribes, some of the Powers), but not everyone has the space to set up on personal land, and public land tends to frown on overt religious displays. That is when you should go to the Beings where they are – stand in the sunlight and receive Zir healing; wander through dark Night’s embrace; share an intimate moment with the creek, touching and being touched; sing with each individual raindrop and shout with each flash of lightning; hold a philosophical debate with the robins, and attend the owl parliament; meditate in the stillness of the mountain’s shadow, melding your quick thoughts with their slower ones and feeling the passage of eons as a single lifetime.

I hope that begins to answer your question?

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*For an example, a Pagan prominent in the blogosphere opines that there is no point in worshiping nature, only the spirit within or behind it without allowing for the possibility that the spirit is not separate from the physical in natural persons and phenomena any more than your spirit and soul are “separate” from your body. There are some beings in the Waincraft cosmology that are considered to be mostly non-physical (the Tribes and Fair Folk, to be exact) in that they cannot be sensed with the physical senses, but they still have natural and physical associations and attachments.

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