Shrine. From Middle High German schrīn. In older German, Schrein meant exclusively a case or box.
• an ornate case, typically but not necessarily wooden, to hold valuable things, especially relics
• a sanctuary dedicated to some saint or deity
Community Shrine. Roadside shrines have been created since the earliest times. They are places where travelers and locals can pray and leave offerings, for example Shinto shrines in Japan or shrines for saints in Catholic countries in Europe. All over the world today we often see roadside memorials to people who have been killed in accidents. These modern forms echo ancient traditions of commemorating people and events beside roads. Although these may be individual memorials, part of the reason for their presence in such a public place is that they speak to universal associations and touch most people's emotions.
Earth shrines built by individuals and communities allow people to share emotions such as grief or celebration, nostalgia or creativity about our home planet earth. Building an earth shrine together as a community can help to express your own, or your groups’, feelings. You can make a shrine by adding special stones, branches, candles, even text in which you explain your intention. Community members can add to the shrine and place small offerings such as notes, photos, candles, or objects which reflect their personal feelings.
• an earth shrine might be a celebration of life and the beauty of nature, a particular forest, park, or tree….
• an earth shrine may be your response to current local events that affect nature where you live
• an earth shrine may allow you to commemorate a particular piece of land, it’s beauty or the pain it experiences
• an earth shrine may reflect your concern for the state of the planet
• an earth shrine might be part of a demonstration or environmental action
• an earth shrine might be a simple piece of land art, inviting others to pause and reflect
How to. Creating earth shrines, we can draw on our intuition and the intuitive knowledge of folk traditions that we already have.
Go for a walk somewhere in the city, in the park or in nature and look for naturally occurring focal points in the landscape which could be used to create a shrine. In each place, stand and see if some action comes to mind which seems to enhance the quality of the place. What could you add to the place in order to enhance the quality of beauty or bring peace to a damaged piece of land?
Think about how others might be affected by your shrine. Do you think others would feel likewise? Do you think they would like to add do the work that you have begun? Write an invitation for others to add to the shrine that you have begun. If you use printed paper, consider laminating it to protect it from rain. A good alternative for printed text and laminated paper is to use acrylic markers on dried wooden branches.
If you feel like it, share your earth shrine and location on our social media feed so that others all over the world can commemorate with you.
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