There needs to be more shrines — in every city — on every block — places of peace — sanctuaries for silence, comfort, where I am embraced by Gods… Places of seeking, sharing, spaces of Away-from-Time and into Nature-Nurture. I seek a shrine nested in nature, un-interrupting the trees, a haven for birds and squirrels and many other creatures, one that lets plants grow over it, a shrine no person carefully manicures.
I want a wild shrine carved out of rock and petrified wood and earth by the wind and water. A shrine that is natural shelter, perhaps serving as the neighborhood safe house, more like Mother House — the place to go during tornadoes and hurricanes, a place never ravaged by storms or floods or fire or earthquake, and yet created by them. And when there, as I feel my heart blowing me down, when no one can hold me up, when no clergy or friend can console me, when my own tears threaten to drown me, a sister slips me underneath a warm blanket and the Gods’ stone likeness catches me under their ever-watchful eyes.
The most perfect shrine glows here with the special warmth of a camp fire, fragrant as incense and every exotic perfume I love, tender as the womb and every mother hug, calming shivers and curing panic, replacing every doubt with courage. My Gods do not suffer cowardice, and yet they know the human value of a good retreat, that in order to free myself from overwhelming defeat, I must recharge, find this place of wound-soothe and mind-quiet.
Here I re-connect with my Source. Forces far greater than myself reside in the Gods’ Home Mother House Shrine Storm Shelter. Here the space is peopled with the beings that move the world and push the buttons that make me think and dream. When I’m here I am taught I am part of all this powerful importance, that somehow this small woman I call me has more time to go, more work to finish… that this place is not the place of petitionary prayer and whimpering wishes, but another place for me to collect and list my dreams and ideas, whisper my desires and make them happen in Their name.
I want to build shrines.
I want to mark maps full of them.
Every where I walk. Place one somewhere — some invisible, some tiny, some large, for each God, and even for the Unknown Gods that walk the darkness beyond human understanding. There is no dot on the world’s map not worthy of a spot for a shrine.
I want to visit more shrines. Every one. Collect them in my memory like postcards. Write them down in poems. Like this. Places in my mind like gifts.
I believe in gifts. I believe in feeding the Gods with gratitude, not out of obligation, but of devotion, and not just with objects or food, some gifts are actions, duties, favors. A God may pass through the body of someone walking by. One may ride on the back of an animal or whistle through the trees in the form of a bird. Picking up a piece of garbage from the side of the road may save the life of a creature — one less thing that will not offend the ground or poison the water — because the land is religion, is the shrine, the place I count on to be here, especially after I am dead.
I will bury myself someday in this shrine. You will visit me every where it is planted in the earth. My grave markers will be likenesses of my Gods dotting all over the world. I can smell the dirt hugging me already, it is cool and dark chocolate, just like I thought a cemetery would feel, and very silent. Just like when I was above, I’m all alone and with the Gods. This place is life and shelters and molds me, takes me away from every pain…
Will I see you here, tomorrow?