Tag: religion

Starting My Pocket Altar

I have this card holder with a compass embossed on the cover, and found a photo-printing place that could print them in wallet-size from digital files.

In the hipster-est filter that my phone's image editor could manage.
In the hipster-est filter that my phone’s image editor could manage.

Pictured below are portrayals of the Clarene, by Opalfish and Aine.

Opalfish’s is a detail I cropped from a more elaborate watercolor of the Ophelia’s and Claire Clarice Clarene’s first meeting. I love this visual allegory style for the feeling it gives off, unfamiliar, unexpected, yet at the same time so very intuitive.

img_20170214_130202

When I started getting into finger-tracing miniature labyrinths as a prayer practice, I had this idea of a labyrinthine part of Western Faery built of red brick—which it looks like Aine’s portrait of the Clarene sits on! I didn’t catch that detail the first time, or I forgot and it stewed in my subconscious until it bubbled up as the Sierra Sienna (which I sometimes call the Sienna Sierra.)

This next picture below shows the Ophelia. Mine’s the very anthropic version on the left panel, Opalfish’s gives me the vibes of (to paraphrase Granny Aching from the Discworld series) “‘Taint what the River looks like, it’s what the River be.”

So I certainly make room, even in my little pocket altar, for both the relational experience of the fae presenting/performing and representing as anthropomorphic (and zoomorphic—aww, I wish I’d figured out how to work in some of that in my portrait, butterfly wings, or gills or blue peacock feathers or something, maybe another time,) and this more phenomenal, animistic, symbolic sort of representation…and whatever it means to an individual Other Person, in haphazard combination or in-between (as I expect to be the case, usually—these are liminal beings.)

img_20170214_124647

Next pic below is Aine’s portrait of the Laetha Arabella, and mine of the Dierne before Pallis (the Princess Irene, with whom I generate an unexpected lot more headcanon.)

the Laetha portrait turned out the best on photo paper, I’d say—bold lines, the colors just pop, and I feel it’s a style that generally conveys well that the Otherfaith is a contemporary religion, especially the upstart regent that the Laetha is (along with the Dierne Pallis.)

img_20170214_131211

Maybe I’ll get around to adding some written prayers to this. More likely, though, it’d be adding more images—of the Dierne Pallis, at least a few more of the Laethas, and the fusions. Maybe some non-royal fae. Images alone feel right enough for now.

Prayer and Labyrinth Travel

Devotional ritual in the Otherfaith may involve light (lit candle, incense embers, reading lamp), libation (tea if hosting, coffee if business, liquor if serious business—probably, I just offer whatever’s already there…and water if there’s nothing else there, which can happen), and language. Other People whose devotional rituals involve none of the aforementioned and any/all of the something else—creative works, social/community work, housework, journaling, daydreaming, what have you—if you count it, it also counts. I personally make the distinction between Expressive Prayer (litany, petition, closing) and Receptive Prayer (meaningful coincidences, altered mindstates) to include the latter in my understanding of what’s prayerful—and Interactive Prayer, for when the first two kinds aren’t as distinct; the third may also be known simply as prayer, as too may all such persnickety descriptors be left to inference by conversational context.

My practice started off with language alone, or specific words at specific times. I’d wondered about how guiding the prayerful language and time with beads—like mala, or rosaries—would add a tactile or kinaesthetic touchpoint to religious practice.

I haven’t managed to organize the existing unimprovised prayers into some unique numbered sequence, though, that could be mapped in beads.

For a spatial-tactile-kinesthetic touchpoint, lately I’ve gotten into labyrinths. While I am currently ambulatory, there is no public park or garden with a full-size labyrinth that I can walk, near where I live. Here’s a picture of a miniature one for finger-tracing, I made from air-dry terracotta clay stocked at the local franchise stationery store:

img_20170114_083331

(I’m also righthanded, though I’ve read advice to trace with the non-dominant hand.)

Initially, I associated this exercise with the Clarene: As though to make it to the center were to make it to my center of personal sovereignty. The winding path may provide the time to settle into the possibility and process, to shed whatever it was from outside the labyrinth that kept one off-center. One-way walled paths are so claeric!

It could probably still work that way. The quality of presence I’ve felt lately, while prayerfully tracing the path, has been laethic.

Whatever that would mean to the matter I’ve been praying about remains a mystery, for now, that I observe and appreciate.