A blog about Kemetic practices, myths, deities, and concepts, as well as the realities of worshiping the gods in the modern world.
Setting Up a Shrine: One Kemetic's Method, Part II: Travel Shrine
In the last article, I set up a home shrine, using 2-d pictures of the gods. In this one, I’ll show how I made a small portable travel shrine. It’s good as a travel shrine or as a shrine in situations where space or other people may prevent the use of a home shrine (such as being a college student in a dorm or living with one's often non-Pagan family; a common issue in these lean economic times!) It can be made as elaborately or as simply as you like. I’ve seen some really small ones made from Altoids tins—they’re pretty cool! This one will be a bit bigger, though. The components for this one are:
- A box (this one is a simple keepsake box from an arts/crafts store. Yours could be a different sort of box)
- Pictures or other representations of the gods (If you can print yours on photo paper, that would be good, I printed pictures on regular paper, cut them out, glued them to stiffer paper with Mod Podge, then covered the pictures with a coat of Mod Podge, and then a spray of sealant to keep them from being tacky due to the Mod Podge)
- A small picture frame
- Candle holders
- A tiny dish for offerings (in this case, a tiny ceramic ramekin)
- A small cup for libations (in this case a ceramic egg cup)
- A lighter for the candles. It should be able to close, if the lighter stays in the box.
First, I gathered all the components. Then, I sprayed the box with gold enamel spray, because the color of gold is a significant one in Egyptian religion, denoting the Sun and divinity (and given that the metal doesn’t tarnish, immortality. In fact, sometimes the gods are said to have flesh of gold.) You could easily stain it with a wood stain of your choice, or use decoupage (gluing paper cutouts onto it, then applying multiple layers of varnish or sealant ) or metal leaf. If you use the enamel spray, follow instructions and wear gloves, or you’ll look like you shook hands with King Midas. Let the box dry. Once dry, you can assemble the travel shrine. (Note: If using the spray, make sure to put some sort of sealant or varnish on it, to prevent the enamel from coming off. If you're using a stain, this shouldn't be an issue.)
If you have a nice small wooden chest that doesn't need an decoration, just disregard the preceding. What exactly you have will determine how you pack everything into the box, so it's a good idea to pick out the box first and choose your other objects based on how they will fit.
Here you can see how I've fit the objects in my shrine together. I also have an Altoids Smalls tin filled with frankincense tears. In travel situations, I can't burn incense, but I can at least rub the tears in my hands (to warm them a little) and blow on them, and then breathe in some of the scent. If you use stick incense, you'll likely have room for some stick incense, and an incense holder. The Smalls tin also has a wedjat eye (Eye of Horus) pendant I used to wear, and a feather-shaped jewelry finding (that I use to represent the feather of Ma'at) These are optional.
Here are some pictures of my travel shrine set-up. Apologies for the cell phone camera quality. Like making a travel shrine, it's about working with what you have.
Here is the shrine, fully packed and closed.
Here is the shrine, just opened, still packed. There's more than one way to pack the shrine parts, and it will vary for everyone depending on the box and items. Experience playing Tetris is helpful but not necessary.
Here is the shrine, completely unpacked, every part on display, along with a piece of tissue paper to protect the dish, cup, etc. from getting bumped around when traveling. The small metal rectangle under the images of Thoth and Julian is the butane lighter. The two ceramic items...The one on the left is the egg cup, used for drink/water offerings, and the one on the right is the ramekin used as a dish for food offerings.
Here is the shrine as it would be in use, with flameless candles turned on and regular candles lit, with a picture of Hathor. The other pictures are behind it. If I am offering to all four at once, I try to arrange them there as best I can, though it's not quite the same as on my home shrine.
And here it is from above:
And finally, here's one where I try to fit all four pictures. As I said, it's not the same as my home shrine, where it's easier, but you gotta make do with that you have. :)
I hope this article is of use to anyone looking to make their own travel shrine. Remember, it doesn't need to be remotely like this. This is just one possibility out of many! Take it as inspiration.
Senebty and Be Healthy, dear readers!
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