In many Pagan faiths, “idols” and images of the Divine are not the Divine themselves, but rather representations of Divinity that the devotee can easily connect to on a physical plane. The same can be said from a Filianic position. We do not worship sculptures and paintings, we worship the higher powers represented by the sculptures and paintings. A concept I learned from Hindu theology years ago was the idea that when you dedicate an image (in Hindu terminology, a murti), the Goddess or God in question enters the murti and becomes a living form of the Deity.
The current state of my personal shrine to Dea is a reflection of the chaos going on in my current life. I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my room, no less my altar. Everything from earrings to mascara is piled up on top of the altar, defiling the sacred space. When I come home from work, I am always exhausted, and even on my days off I languish in depression and an overall feeling of weakness. No wonder I haven’t felt any spiritual inspiration lately.
In the past, I have had some very powerful experiences with a properly maintained shrine. My most intense experience was with a murti of Durga that I had found on the Internet, printed off, and framed on my altar. Several years ago before I ran off to a foreign country to live with my now ex-boyfriend, I had a very strong relationship with Durga. Back then, I always used separate cleaning cloths to dust the murtis on my altar and I always paid them a special attention and reverence while in their presence. In return, I never felt quite alone as I was going about my day even in the outside world away from my home and altar. Durga’s image was especially powerful for me. Every time I walked by Her, I felt this intense spiritual energy. When I touched Her feet, I felt an instant calm, no matter how stressful my day had been.
As I became less and less meticulous regarding the upkeep of my altar due to worrying about preparations for the big trip, I no longer felt that energy from Her. In fact, I no longer felt a spiritual energy from any of the murtis. When I left the country, I took with me a single wall plaque of Kuan Yin, who watched over me for almost my entire stay in my ex’s family’s cramped apartment, until my ex took Her off the wall and placed Her with my other belongings on top of my suitcase when I begged him and his family to let me go back home. Now that I am back home, She still hangs on my wall and is very special for me, even though I don’t pay Her the attention I should.
Unfortunately, when I came back home I found my altar was gone. My mom had thrown away all of the religious images, along with Durga, as she claimed they had not stopped me from leaving. Of course, I am sure that with the stubborn attitude I had, even blatant warnings from the Divine would not have deterred me. I was too brainwashed and psychologically reliant on my ex at that time.
A little while back, I printed this same image off again, but never got around the framing it. It just didn’t feel the same as before. Her image still sits in the drawer below my altar I consecrated specifically for religious objects, like incense and tea light candles, but I haven’t felt any motivation to place Her on my altar. I’m sure that with my altar’s current disheveled state, it’s better that way.