It has taken me over a decade to build the beautiful temple and sanctuary that I have today, and I won't pretend for a second that I don't love it. Like anyone, and as the Maxims of Delphi say, I would stand to protect and preserve what is mine.
But that is certainly not to say that I have always had big and elaborate places of worship. In fact, for most of my Hellenic life up to this point, I've been lucky to have enough space for religious purpose at all. The picture on the left is of my Sphinx Altar, if you will, that I had back in 2018 when I lived in South Beloit, Illinois, only about a year before my wife and I bought the house and land that we have officially built our temple on.
The altar sat on top of a slim bookcase at the window where sunlight could reach it, and the tools were simply a small brass tripod cup for libation offerings (normally oils), a decorative glass on the far right for digestive libations, a porcelain block for burned sacrifice (normally incense), and a decorative brass plate in the back left for solid offerings like food and valuables.
It was incredibly small compared to what I have today, and nothing to match any kind of public space. But it was mine, and I made it beautiful with my statues, artworks, and most importantly, my devotion.
There's a wonderful ancient story from Delphi about a very poor man named Hermioneus. Upon his visit to Apollon's altar there, he encountered a very rich man from Thessaly. The rich man showered the God with very expensive and lavish gifts that only the fullest of pockets and bank accounts could accrue, thinking that he surely had the favor of Apollon as a result.
When Hermioneus came forward to present his gifts, he took from his pouch a mere small portion of field barely and placed it upon the altar. The rich man may have laughed, at least on the inside. But through the Oracle, Apollon spoke, and said that He liked the offering of Hermioneus more.
You see, the rich man was concerned with vanity, whereas the sincere devotion came from Hermioneus. It was nothing for the rich man to give Apollon the best money could buy, because he had all the money. It would be like Jeff Bezos donating ten thousand dollars, knowing that it means absolutely nothing to him.
But the devotion of Hermioneus meant everything, because it was the best he could give, to do his best, before the Gods. In short, there was character in his sacrifice. It was sincerity not flattery. I highly doubt that Hermineous returned home to a lavish altar or shrine either. You yourself may also raise your hands before a very humble worship space, but remember the story and what it really means to be Hellenic.
In the Goodness of the Gods,
I'll see you at the next Herm down the road,