I’ve been thinking about household worship. This is not surprising, I suppose, since I am about to move. But I’m not really changing households. Essentially, I am the child going away to college, although in my case I will be moving back in with my father and brother for the school year, and in the summer returning to the home I have made with my boyfriend of five years.
This puts me in a little bit of a conundrum. In ancient Greece, when a family moved, the fire from the hearth in the original home was taken to the light the hearth in the new one. When a woman married, her mother would take the fire from her home’s hearth to light the fire of the house the woman would now live in with her new husband. When a city established a colony, and the colonists would take fire from the communal hearth of their city, so that their home city and the colony would be symbolically connected.
But I don’t want to transfer the fire. I don’t want to extinguish the hearth in the home I’ve built with my boyfriend. But I will only be in Indiana for approximately three months of the year, for at least three years. Do I leave my plaque of Hestia in the kitchen of the Indiana house, where I intend to return after my schooling is complete? Should I take to Arizona, where I will certainly living for the majority of the time? Should I establish a new altar to Hestia in Arizona, leaving the original plaque here, so that I am symbolically maintaining two households? That is the way I am leaning, since it seems the closest to the way things will actually be.
Many of my altars are already packed up and on their way to Arizona, in the hopes that they will be waiting for me when I take my flight out there on the 30th. Some are packed in plastic tubs in the attic of the Indiana house. Not all of them are going to Tucson. I will be living in a small apartment as opposed to a two-story house, and I will have much less space. The living room here seems strangely stark and bare. Passing the altars every day is a reminder of the Gods’ constant presence in my life. I still have my scrapbook of the Gods, which I refer to as my portable altar. I’ve created intricate collages for each of the Gods, and a page of poems on the opposite page. (If I had a scanner, I’d scan some of the collages to share on this blog, but I’m afraid I do not currently have one.)
There is also the matter of establishing a new ritual routine. In Arizona, I will be living with something of an militant atheist (my brother), and an agnostic Buddhist/Taoist (my father). Both my boyfriend and our roommate Franz (in Indiana) are atheists as well. They both are laid-back enough that they don’t mind my various altars scattered about the house, or even that I run a Temple out of the living room. In my arrangement with my family, my altars will be confided to my room and not intrude into the common areas. It may feel strange at first, but I expect it will not take too long to adjust. After all, that is the way it was in my teenaged years, when I first began practicing Paganism. Hard to believe that was over a decade ago!
Coincidentally, my dear friend Lykeia has also been blogging about household worship, such as in the link I recently posted in my link round-up where she meditates on Hestia.She has since continued her discussions on household worship, including the role of the Olympians, and Hekate and Artemis in the home.
Hmm. I have much to consider.