Friday 8 September 2023

Altars: Household Gods Assemble! - For Eco-Magic

Here's a bit of eco-magic. It's based on a suggestion from The Silversnake Project, an environmental project in book form by Phil Smith of Plymouth University.

One of the actions in the book's toolkit says: “assemble your ‘household gods’ and place them on a mantelpiece”. It adds that you could model deities out of clay or use found objects or toys. 

I already have an altar on a mantelpiece. I regularly change it to reflect the seasons, pagan festival and  spells I’m doing. Putting things on my altar to reflect the ritual acts of The Silversnake Project toolkit made sense. 

In the picture you can see my altar containing various goddess effigies, including a statuette of Gaia, a replica of a plaque showing three Celtic goddesses found near Bath, and two clay goddesses I made some time ago. I added three plastic toys. I found the toys while I was looking for things in the litter outside my home to make a charm bracelet for another of toolkit projects. The green alien was in the flowerbed in my front garden and the two little dogs were under a bush down the road. They’re too big to use as charms, but they are perfect on my altar.

I feel the alien complements the Celtic trio of goddesses, who have alien eyes in my opinion. None of them seem scary though – it’s a reminder that difference isn’t anything to be afraid of. 

Dogs are one of the earliest animals to have befriended humans and have long symbolised protection as well as guarded entrances. Archaeologists have found Ancient Mesopotamian clay figures of dogs buried beside or under doorways. Dog amulets were also carried by people at the time in the belief they would help keep them safe.

It feels good to have repurposed plastic things that had been dropped in the street, but also serves as a reminder that humans leave far too much plastic waste lying around, which is harmful to wildlife. These plastic toys are cheerful, but also a reminder to reduce plastic waste and to clear up the litter left by others out and about. 

The Silversnake Project book is published by Triarchy Press and can be found on Amazon. Yesterday I posted about how it prompted me to find out about a local river and walk along the banks. You can find the link here. I'll be trying out more of the suggested actions and blogging about them as well.

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