Months ago at this point, I switched around the shrine I have for Poseidon. (I never feel like I get this particular phrasing down. I host this shrine for Poseidon. Is it my shrine for Poseidon? Is it Poseidon’s shrine? Most properly, it is O/our space, but then that always feels weird, phrasing it that way, too, and so instead you get an overly long, overly analytical parenthetical. You’re welcome!) In order to more fully welcome into my worship Vishnu-through-Poseidon, I moved a lot of the items I had on that shrine to a more private, more personal shrine space. The upside: having a second Poseidon shrine, this time in the bedroom, so at a good space for contemplation and private meditation and the like. The downside? Having a second Poseidon shrine. I spend most of my time in that room asleep, it’s not where I do most of my writing and assorted other things, and so all the visual reminders — found objects, gifted objects, momentos, the material signs of a decades’ long devotion to Him — has been largely out of sight.
Why? Because I felt that having a less personal, less cluttered, less territorial space in which to invite Vishnu-through-Poseidon. Over all, it’s been successful, if slow. The shrine cloth is a compromise between the T/hree of us, They each get Their own ‘side’, and it’s a nice headache inducing back and forth between ‘the same/not the same’.
I’ve added some of the personal items back to the Poseidon ‘side’, notably a couple of boxes holding beach findings that the dog managed to get into and upend when they were on the other shrine space.
Between adding those bits back, and tending to the shrine in my post medication fuck-up vulnerable-feeling headspace today, I realized that having a space that’s set aside for Vishnu in the way that I have a space set aside for Durga isn’t going to work. At least, having space set aside on something that is so mine as much as it is Poseidon’s (the shrine space is, at this point, its own entity, a child created by U/us, by O/our worship, without actually being a child) in the way that I have space set aside for Durga (a shrine that did not exist beforehand, that is not used for anything else, other than a ‘public’ space for Her and a few Others in Her family) isn’t going to work, not for approaching Vishnu-with-Poseidon.
I’m not the serious devotee with formal, fancy shrine space, austere and just-so. I’m the child, bringing handpicked dandelions and wildflowers, dirt still on the roots, petals half wilted, hands dirty from playing outside. I’m the child with the make-shift offering bowls, and the ritual tools gathered quickly, re-purposed, maybe less shiny than they should be, pressed into multiple uses. I’m the child who brings my heart to my gods, including my newer gods, messy and stumbling and complicated.
Treating Durga as an honored guest, with adoration and love in my heart, with an aim to please, and filled with gratitude is one thing. She’s the mother invite over for the first time into your own living space, who you want to impress and serve. Treating Her like an honored guest is a bit of a play, a game of pretend, as if She’s not viscerally part of who I am (and how pathetic, an attempt to get this into words, but Her embrace has changed so much within me) Treating Vishnu-with/through-Poseidon as an honored guest is different. It’s distancing. It doesn’t work for me. Outside of my private worship, maybe. Inside? Inside, I am like a child, grabbing Him by the hand to drag Him around and show Him all my favorite things.
I’ll strive to remember that, for now. So far, realizing this takes me one step closer to being back to good with the shared shrine space.