Monday, August 18, 2008

Alters, shrines and sacred spaces

I found an interesting book in my local thrift shop some time ago. It's called "Alters and Icons, Sacred Spaces in Everyday Life" by Jean McMann. It's basically a collection of photographs of the sacred spaces people create in their homes. It could be a proper relious alter or shrine, or a simple collection of treasured objects and photo's on a table or shelf. Here are some images from the book.


Step-ladder shrine


Table top sacred space


Kitchen shelf collection




A simple arrangement of objects along a window sill


A car shrine


A garden shrine

Well, I got so inspired after going through the book that I had to rush off and start working on something of my own. I found the ideal space in a little alcove off my bedroom. It's a work in constant progress, and gets changed around and added to whenever the mood takes me.







This is a little jewellery box, a bit water stained now and worse for wear. It was a gift from my uncle who lives in Canada when I was about eleven years old. I loved it immedietely and it became one of my most prized possessions - I had always wanted one of those jewellery boxes with the ballerinas that rotate to music, and to me at the time, this was perfection in every way. Straight away I used it to store keepsakes - and I have to admit that there are a couple of things inside it that I have no idea why I kept, or why they were special to me at the time. Here are some of the things in the box:



These objects I do remember, most notably the Cinderella watch. It came with a white strap, it was my first watch when I learned to tell the time at about six years old and it was my pride and joy.


Some seashells from a family holiday in Umhlanga rocks, I was about thirteen at the time.

A collection of bangles from various times of childhood and adolescence, now very much worn and faded.

10 comments:

mandco said...

What an interesting book you've found! THanks for sharing those images! As you might know I'm an avid collector, and these shrines are so beautiful!

porter hovey said...

Ohhh!Shrines are another totally creepy yet beautiful!

Claire, said...

Thank you so much for sharing these, your home and your book; what a treasure!

Anairam said...

Sounds like a great book - and I like your interpretation as well! Every year on the 31st of October, for Dia de los Muertos, I set up an offrenda - containing pictures of my mom, dad, granny, two cousins and other loved ones who are not with me any more. I find it such a lovely way to celebrate their lives. I add things that remind me of them, pictures, my mom's favourite jewellery, books they liked, a walking stick of my dad's etc. Also flowers and candles, and as custom requires, food and drink for them. I leave it up for about a week.

Mila said...

Gorgeous! I love seeing this!
You own lots of beautiful things...

<3

corine @ Hidden In France said...

a lot of love was put into this post, and this shrine.

gypsy said...

Really enjoyed this post on personal shrines ~ 3D version of an inspiration board. Just discovered your wonderful blog and am planning to explore. Best wishes!

Christy said...

Your spaces are so beautiful! Personal shrines and altars bring a sense of ritual to everyday life.

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