Creating Personal Shrines
Shrines serve as a way of deep journaling using images and symbols
Personal shrines are a way to acknowledge and affirm the sacred in our
lives. Shrines hold the power to make us forget our everyday cares and
help center us. This power exists because shrines emerge from the
part of those who build them.
As we mindfully collect the materials and images to make a shrine, as
paint and glue, insights arise. Assembling a shrine is an act of love.
can also be a prayer. Because they are an expression of the spirit,
both move us and serve as bridges that connect us to mysteries greater
Create a shrine for a part of yourself you wish to honor. I began
Crone Wisdom Shrine as a visual reminder that in the process of growing
older, I am growing wiser and more intuitive. I can draw on that wisdom
whenever I need it. This shrine serves as a way to show respect.
Qualities you might want to incorporate as the theme of an honoring
are love, peace, tolerance, joy or creativity. Make a shrine that
an aspect of yourself that you like or on something you consider to be
strong point. As you pass by the shrine during the day, stop to feel
gratitude for these gifts you have been given.
Building a shrine can be a way to remember people who have influenced
greatly and who are no longer physically present in your life. By
pictures and reminders of our loved one and arranging them in one
place, we create a memorial in a way that words alone can't accomplish.
Taking the time to make a shrine, not only helps us grow through our
it can also help us to heal the unfinished hurts we carry as a result
that lost relationship. When we pass such a shrine, we are reminded
although the person is no longer physically present in our lives, the
Shrines that are spontaneously born from tragedy such as the Columbine
School shooting or the death of a public figure are both beautiful and
inspiring. Part of the profound influence that they have on us is that
emerge collectively. If you are making a memory shrine, consider
process with others who are grieving the same loss you are.
People visit shrines for healing. Making a shrine can be healing as
When Barb Kobe, a Minnesota doll maker, began creating a doll from
embellished felt, memories began to surface. She started making tiny
within the larger doll. These symbolized the pieces of herself that she
given away throughout her life. The doll became a shrine to self-love
becoming conscious. She named her shrine The Saint. Read Barb's
Consider constructing a healing shrine for your inner child. Create a
to heal low self esteem, anger, sadness, jealousy, shame and stuckness.
you live with chronic illness or pain, you might want to focus on
healing shrine for your physical challenge. Collect healing symbols and
images that speak to your emotional, physical or spiritual distress.
inspires you? What builds your courage? What comforts you and makes you
Make a shrine that symbolizes something positive you would like to
into your personal world or the world at large. Gather images and
success, prosperity, tolerance, love, peace or whatever you sense is
missing. Pay attention to why you choose some symbols over others and
what the symbols you use mean to you.
As you work on your attraction shrine, feel the old barriers of
and fear dissolving. Allow your shrine to become a visible signal to
Universe that you are ready to let go of limiting thinking and are open
embracing positive change.
Many personal shrines begin as boxes. Because they have an inside and
outside just as we do, they are the perfect medium for expressing
feelings and experiences we normally keep hidden from the world.
Giving visible form to these secrets, not only frees us from carrying
inside, it enables us to examine them, work with them and see them in a
Shrine of the Star Woman took shape as a way to work with a powerful
had several years ago. It wasn't a dream I could put into words, even
I had repeatedly tried to write it and tell it. Made from a cardboard
supply box and the glass beads floral arrangers use, this shrine
the knowing that the Goddess is very much a part of all living things.
Creating a shrine can be an act of exploration. A two dollar handmade
found at Goodwill and a raven head I'd made from Model Magic over a
served as the starting point for Mystery Shrine. As I looked at the two
them, I thought of how difficult it is for me to accept that both
and destruction are a natural and necessary part of life.
I knew ravens symbolize both birth and death, so I began reading to
more. As I read, I learned that the raven is a negative sign in
that focus on war. Peaceful cultures view Raven as a trickster, a wise
How we see Raven is a mirror of ourselves. Obviously, this shrine is a
in progress. It needs a mirror.
Allow synchronicity to drop objects and images for your shrine into
life. Ask them what story they want you to tell for them. Ask them what
wisdom they have to impart to you.
Let your shrine be a work in progress. As new pieces of the story come
you, add them to the shrine. Construct your personal shrine so that it
change as your understanding does. Remove and add images and objects.
Rearrange them. Allow your shrine to grow and change as you do.
Making Shadow Boxes and Shrines by Kathy Cano-Murillo
This is a solid technique book that will get your creative juices
Cano-Murillo, is a wildly talented and wild artist. To get more of a
of what she's all about, visit her site www.craftychica.com.
Living Shrines: Home Altars of New Mexico by Marie Romero Cash
Published by the Museum of New Mexico Press, this book is filled with
beautiful photographs. It focuses on folk art of Northern New Mexico.
Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women's Altars by Kay
Turner, a folklorist, has photographed the altars of women who practice
number of spiritual traditions and has interviewed their creators.
Altars and Icons: Sacred Spaces in Everyday Life by Jean McMann.
Covering 40 personal shrines, this book runs the gamut from Elvis
Christian shrines. How-to instructions are covered.