Sunday, May 5, 2019

If You Want A Temple, There's Always A Way

Pagans and Polytheists today can find themselves in a dilemma. However, it's not just our community. Millions of Americans live in apartments or other rental properties with limited space, and no yard of their own if any. In my life, I was fortunate enough to have rented a house at one time with just enough outdoor space for a physical sanctuary and an extra room in the home big enough for an official temple space. Local worshipers actually came to it and, once my religious organization was officially incorporated into the State, I became the founder of Thomasville's first Greek Polytheistic temple, but even then, I couldn't really build anything of significance that was independent of the established property itself because I didn't actually own the land. So if I had wanted to build a small Greek temple in the backyard for more official worship, I wouldn't have been allowed to do it unless I wanted to tear it down when I moved, which I would not have been comfortable doing. 

Fortunately, though, there's more than one way to get what you want out of life. There's always a way to work with what you have at present. If you live in an apartment with an extra room, the obvious course would be to convert it into a temple space. I did this myself once before when I lived in my townhouse in Greensboro, North Carolina. I actually quite enjoyed it as a temple. But one option you may not have thought of might just reside in the downstairs of your apartment building itself. Some places come with a storage unit, some of which I have seen are very nice. I've had them in the past with my own rentals, and they can be spacious, private and secure enough for a temporary temple. I'm not talking about the units you rent from a self-storage company, I am referring to the compartments that come with an apartment and are found in the lower level. I know you have stuff down there, but let's be honest, do you really need that junk? Probably not, so sell it, give it away, or trash it, and convert the space into your temple. You'll enjoy it more than you think. It may indeed be in the basement and partially underground, but in ancient times, caves and inner dwellings were thought to be sacred to the Gods and were used for religious purposes. 

You can also create a temple out of something as simple as a walk-in closet, or a closet with enough space. When I lived in my first apartment in High Point, North Carolina, we had a walk-in closet that would have been perfect. The shelves on either side could have held statues, treasures and relics of the Gods and Heroes, and the far end could have been the home of a magnificent altar. Closed off from the rest of the home by a simple locked door, it would have been a unique space all its own. With that in mind, you might ask, "Where am I going to put my clothes?" You can actually buy a portable closet organizer from somewhere like Walmart for $25. Or you can purchase dressers or an actual wardrobe cabinet. Then you'll have your temple space available.

If you live in an apartment with a balcony, no matter how small, leave the screen door open (the inside door can be shut to close off the area) and build a proper cover over your part of the platform, or you can simply set up an altar on the balcony and use it as an open air temple. The only downside with this is that you may not want to leave things of high value unattended due to the threat of thieves. Even if your balcony is high off the ground, there's still the potential threat of severe weather that could destroy things. Nevertheless, the basic structure is what matters.

Remember, a temple doesn't have to be the grand size of things like the Parthenon. We only think so because we're so used to equating them with the term. But the actual definition of a temple is simply "a place dedicated to the service or worship of Gods." I've seen people make temple spaces out of simple pantries or similar structures. A shrine could also technically fit into this definition, but a temple is significantly larger and more elaborate. A shrine can be as simple as a dresser top with the proper materials and tools, but that's not a temple. A temple allows for more expression, and is a home of the God or Gods that it represents. It is more of a housed area of holiness and even refuge. 

May the Gods give you the creativity to find your bliss in life.
Chris.

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