Monday, June 18, 2012

New Temples for Old Gods

This is the old configuration of the Nemeton, with simple Fire,
Well & Tree. By the end of last year the offering shaft was so
full that we had to start by digging it our again. The soil and
depositions from the shaft went to build up the central mound.
It's a busy season for Nemeton building. We just finished a round of improvements in the Brushwood nemeton, and are preparing to take a set of Earth Mother and Gatekeeper idols to Wisteria to begin a new Nemeton there during Starwood. However I am totally pleased at the work that our Grove accomplished this weeked on the nemeton here at Tredara.

The Earth Mother image.
This was the original EM from
 the Brushwood Nemeton, made
by myself.

The Keeper of Gates. This method
of using tooling-copper to make
features for post-idols works
really well.

The nemeton is located in the back corner of our place, surrounded by woods, and it has developed a very nice vibe over the 15 years or so that we have worked blessing there. We have had plans for a couple of years, and this year we found ourselves with the Saturday before our Midsummer feast free, and a crew of people willing to work.

What have I learned from years of land-ownership? Reduce mowing hazards! The existing pattern of the Hallows created a variety of small unmowable spots, encouraging weeds and requiring hand-trimming. One of my goals was to put down some landscape fabric and a layer of pea-gravel. The final effect is a little stark at this moment, but the edges will green up, and I think we'll put some ground-cover on the central mound itself.

The final form of the rebuilt Nemeton
We first installed an idol of the Earth Mother on the mound at the B-wood Nemeton over a decade ago. I made the first one, and then other artisans have upgraded in waves, adding an eidolon for the Keeper of Gates. The original Earth Mother idol returned to us, and has been enshrined in the northern edge of our Nemeton. Really, she just never got the attention she deserved there. In a radical move we moved her from her place to enshrine her on the central mound of the new arrangement, matched by the Gatekeeper idol. We think both images will get much more attention there in the Sacred Center itself.

Klaus and Bonnie make the final sacrifice during our rainy,
underattended but warm-hearted and powerful
Midsummer rite.

I consider it a privilege to be involved in the creation of these new temples. Part of the task of returning real polytheistic worship to modern times is certainly the creation of real physical worship places, and seats for the Gods. Let the Fire be lit and the Water be poured, and let the blessing of the Gods flow from our new temple to all beings!

Entry to the path to the Shrine

Appendix: The Outdwellers...
OK, I was going to skip the very cool Outdwellers shrine stuff, because by including it I kind of must explain the Outdwellers to non-ADF readers. In our ritual order we make a preliminary offering to spirits conceived of as being outside the boundaries of our blessed garth. We don't speculate extensively on who those beings are, but they're considered related to various Titans, Fomorii and unseelie wights.

Approaching the Shrine.
Every Grove tends to deal with them differently. We commonly walk an offering out to the South, and in this Nemeton that spot has been marked with a simple shrine, originally just a few bricks and maybe an image. Last year people started decided to carry the offering out through the gate and around into the South. The South, you see, is the section that I left unmowed when we set the place up, and it serves as our 'devil's acre', left alone for the landwights.

The Outdweller's shrine

So we decided to make a few special offerings and make the path in by dropping some scrub cement pieces, thus avoiding mowing while making permanent stepping-spots. The folks had improved the actual shrine earlier in the year, though it's still quite, er... rustic.
So this really is a 'faerie path' if you like... a short road out of the safe light of the Sacred Fire into the uncut woods. Be sure your offerings are up-to-date...


Bonnie Lin Cyr said...

This is awesome, Ian. I am, and was, so proud and overfilled with joy to be a part of this process. It shows how loving people are and how powerful devotion is. I look forward to sharing more time in "our" new Nemeton.


Deanna Bonds said...

The temple looks wonderful. I wish to one day own enough land to be able to do something like this.

Electronmage said...

If there is space for another to help with establishing the Nemeton at Wisteria, I would certainly like (no, love) to help.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work! I long to have a place like this near my home one day.

faoladh said...

I'm trying to get a sense of the layout, but I'm not sure where the offering shaft is. Is it the thing that looks like a drum, with the cauldron on top in the photo of the "finished form"?

IanC said...

Yes, the shaft is the low brick thing with the cauldron on it. When the site is working the lid of the shaft is set beside it with the 'well' cauldron on it.

Frater Acher said...

Wonderful work - not only for the pagans who work there - but more importantly for the spirits who cometo rest there. Thank you for sharing.

AJ said...

Along with all this work we also put a new pathway to the Outdwellers. We took path way stones and placed them along the pathway up to the altar for the outdwellers. It was a lot of work done by many hands! So wonderful the work that is put into this holy space.

IanC said...

Yep - many hands indeed. We had a crew of maybe a dozen really working on the project - it was a great day of fun and sweaty labor!