My Shrines
Deity, Paganism, Shrines

Living With Non-Pagans

What I am would have been shameful once, but in these economic times one does what one must. What am I talking about?

I am an adult who lives with her parents.

It’s not as bad as it could be, despite some heavy family history that makes it less than ideal for more than the obvious reasons. Normally, I close myself in my room and they leave me alone. Normally, but I’ll go into that later. The point is that I live with my parents, and they are non-Pagan. My mother is a nominal Baptist who only really gets spiritual when scared for her life, or when she’s trying to convince me not to be Pagan. My step-father considers himself non-religious, but has, at time, shown the indoctrination of living in a Christian-dominated culture (he once told me a pentacle was “sacrilegious,” which shouldn’t matter to him if he’s non-religious, right?).

Living with non-Pagan parents limits my devotional practice in a few ways, and one of the biggest is that I don’t have much space to call my own, or to give to the gods. I have one room that is mine, and every inch of this room is filled with furniture. My bed, a dresser/bookcase, two large bookcases and a smaller bookcase, a cabinet that holds my Pagan books and Witchy supplies, a file cabinet, and my desk.

I used to have two desks, and the top shelf of one of them was my shrine space. I got rid of the desk because its placement meant that it was hardly used, and really just took up space that could be used for other things. (My smaller bookcase, for instance, used to be in my closet.)

When I got rid of the desk, I had to find new space for my shrines to Ganesha and Yemaya.

While it isn’t ideal, what I did was clean off the top of the dresser part of the dresser/bookcase and use that. I would love to have a surface space that could be consecrated for use only as a shrine, but it just isn’t feasible for now.

My Shrines
My shrine space as it is now, with Ganesha’s shrine on the left, Yemaya’s on the right.

As you can see from the picture, the space between the deities’ respective shrine cloths form a boundary in the middle, so each deity’s space is distinctly theirs. Ganesha’s side is brimming with elephants, has a black and orange cloth, and a framed picture of Ganesha that I printed from the Internet. Yemaya’s side also has a framed picture of her surrounded by white and blue flowers, set on a shimmering blue/purple cloth decorated with nearly invisible moons and stars. There’s also a small decorative piece made of clay and glass that is melted sand; I bought it at Dallas Pagan Pride Day 2013, and as soon as I brought it home I received the clear message from Yemaya that this was hers, and belonged on her shrine. It’s been there ever since, except when taken to represent Her at group rituals.

This is the extent of the space I can offer my gods at this point in time. They know and understand my limitations, and that I will give them more when I am able.

At this time, I have no space, not even one that can be temporarily converted, that I can use as a working altar for the purposes of working magic.

The other big limitation is the lack of privacy. As mentioned above, most of the time this isn’t a huge issue, but that’s only really true as long as I’m quiet. My mother is one of those nosy, curious mothers who always wants to know what’s going on when she hears me talking, even if I’m just on the phone with friends, or if she hears any kind of noise at all other than me typing on the computer. This, as you may suspect, is not exactly conducive to chanting, or praying aloud above a whisper, drumming, dancing, or any of the things I would love to incorporate into my devotional practice.

I’ve done bigger, more complex rituals when my parents haven’t been around. They rarely go out anymore, though, so I don’t have the chance to do this very often. Sigh.

Luckily, I do attend regular rituals with the local ADF protogrove, as mentioned in previous posts, so I’m not entirely spiritually deprived. It would be nice to be able to put together and perform my own rituals as well, not only on the Sabbats, but also Full Moons and other rituals I might want to perform.

Basically, what I do now is I pray, I attend group rituals, and I plan for the future. It’s all I can really do for now. The gods seem okay with this.

I mean, when I do get my own place, they know they’re going to have some awesome space.

Do you have non-Pagan-related limitations on your practice? Let’s have a conversation in comments. We can maybe learn from each other.

–Celestine

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6 thoughts on “Living With Non-Pagans”

    1. NP! I’m glad you found the post helpful. 🙂

      Since writing it, I’ve been considering clearing off the top of a file cabinet I have and turning into an Ancestor shrine, including ancestors of choice as well as blood.

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      1. Oooh yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I think I’m gonna have to keep things simple for now, which is the case anyway as I’m only just starting out. My biggest issue is the whole privacy thing, especially since my sister and her two kids are here as well so I always need to put stuff away so my nieces don’t mess with it lol!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. i desperately need to make a new altar. we had a spare room in our current apartment that was originally supposed to be an office for me, but i switched jobs and then set up my altar in there. THEN our financial situation changed again and now we’re renting out our spare room to someone who’s quite similar-minded, but… it’s not right for MY altar to be in HIS room. my husband is atheist and while he wouldn’t MIND my altar in there, it would just be weird to pray and such there. that leaves….. basically no where. maybe a tiny something in the livingroom, when i finally get my shit together.

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    1. Okay, so, great book: ALTARS: BRINGING SACRED SHRINES INTO YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE by Denise Linn. I found a copy on Amazon. It has a lot of pretty pictures, and a lot of great ideas for making altars/shrines that don’t necessarily look like such.

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