Am I invested in this feeling of discord? Have I allowed this to move in, to define my relationships? I light the incense, I stand before the shrine. It’s pleasing to look at, this space that was once mine yet now feels cut off from me. I feel like a visitor, venturing to a place that is familiar, and yet not. The fabric draping the surface is soft, the colors cheerful, if on the dark side. The icons familiar – well, one, and the other one is sweet-faced and approachable.
I don’t find Poseidon in the idol. Oh, sometimes it feels like He’s shared some of Himself with the physical representation, but it’s more like this is a thing that we both touch and care for and share with one another, and less that it’s an extension of Him. The whole shrine space, previously, was an extension of Him, of U/us, of the history of my devotion, the history of His devotion. The spirit of the shrine itself feels like a child we’ve made together, and if I follow that particular story, it feels like the child has maybe grown up, gone to college, and has returned as an adult I barely recognize.
The Vishnu idol is sweet-faced, as I’ve said, and has a genial feel to Him. Vishnu Himself has been approachable and kind. I find, as I search through images for inspiration, and as I read through stories (though in-depth, academic-minded study is not allowed at the moment, because I get lost in that, and these formative interactions are to be based in the experiential, not in the intellectual, knowledge) I see time and again that I am drawn to kindness, to warmth, to benevolent acceptance. I want the kind-faced Narasingha embracing the child, rather than the fierce lion avatar tearing apart the demon. I remember, when I was first getting to know Odin, how I felt like a young child in His care, and how much I needed that experience – the experience of a father willing to do anything to protect His daughter, the feeling of the uber alpha male, King and God and Patriarch, laying claim and showing loyalty and love. Maybe that was silly, me being a grown woman by the time He adopted me, but whatever. It healed things within that needed healing, and it has earned Pops my undying devotion.
I don’t find Vishnu unapproachable. I don’t. I find Him kind, and patient. I find Him willing to untangle the knots I catch myself up in when I try to worship Him just-so. “Include Me,” He says. “Maybe someday there will be guidelines. Preferences. Things to not do. Things to do. For now, simply include Me.” That was the goal for this year’s holy days with Poseidon, and Vishnu had a place of honor during the two holy days we’ve had since this began. I light the incense, and I give the offerings, but the shrine itself is still off-putting.
For my birthday, Beth made me a Poseidon figure. She’s making a Vishnu figure for me, too. They’re not the least bit human looking. I mean, somewhat. They’re juvenile, and I’ll be making clothing and costumes for them. For now, the icons will stay on the shrine, but these are hands on ones, and they’re introducing play to the shrine space, and I kinda really want that. Do I feel a bit like a child before Vishnu? Maybe. Maybe. But these are adorable, and I’ll never get around to making my own, and I just . . . like them. A lot. So. So.
The shrine space needs to be O/ours, not some neutral feeling space that is none of ours. So, for a while, the shrine will take on the feel of a doll-house, a play area, a give them things, dress them up, make it a home of their own. We’ll see how hat goes.