A Shrine to the Spiritual Father

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Jon Haase 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Jenny Resnick

    Jordan and I put together a new shrine from items we already had on hand that we wanted to share. We are also looking into getting some new items for it, however we thought this was a good start until all our new items arrive 🙂


    At the moment we’re only able to put together a small individual shrine, and personally we felt drawn to making a shrine to the Spiritual Father first.


    For our shrine, we used Shiva, the Spiritual Father in the Hindu tradition, because we already had this statue on display. We are looking into replacing it with most likely a statue of Svarog instead, because his mythology has been inspiring to read lately, and hopefully making a full shrine with the trinity on it.

    However, this statue of Shiva “Nataraja” is also interesting — it is said to be a depiction of Shiva as “the cosmic dancer” or “the lord of dance” and the dance is said to be the “dance of bliss” and in which the universe is created, maintained, and dissolved.


    We used a pine tree branch and some pine cones from the trees outside the house — thankfully there is a never-ending supply of that here 🙂 . The base of the altar is just a small square white wooden table we had that was perfect for the job, covered with a white cotton cloth.


    For our candle, we had a glass candle holder with blue accents (and a bit of green as well) that we thought would work. The candle holder glows golden in the center, however, once lit, so we’re thinking we’ll replace it with a more solid blue that casts more of a blue shadow (this one does too, but it’s hard to capture on camera).


    We’ll share an updated version of our new shrine once it’s ready.


    Matthew Butler

    Thanks for sharing Jenny, looks very nice. That candle holder in particular is very ornate.

    Do you know where you can get wooden boxes like the one you have the statue placed on? We’re starting to get around to assembling a simple shrine, and I was thinking our statue could do with a platform to elevate it a bit like that, because it’s not very big and gets a little lost in the display otherwise. But there was nothing at hand that looked nice enough. What you have there works well.


    Anne Linn

    A beautiful altar. I love that candle holder and the pine branch and cones. It’s interesting that Shiva’s dance is said to be the dance of bliss, – somehow I found that very intriguing.

    Looking forward to seeing pictures of the new shrine as well.



    That’s a really nice setup Jenny, thank you for sharing! I like how you placed the altar under the window (eastern or north-east I suppose)? I was thinking to do the same in our practice room for the “trinity” altar, as I wanted to see the effect of the morning sun hitting the shrine…

    I also like very much how you added the century plants to the whole set up, like the guardians of the shrine! 🙂 The color combination is also very nice – the dark brown with green and white, feels very serious and fitting for the “father energy”.

    I find the Shiva Nataraya also very inspiring, how he is depicted in his “cosmic dance”. I guess I really like everything dancing, swirling and rejoicing. 😀 So it also makes total sense to me that he would feel very blissful while dancing his dance…

    Looking forward to the updates, as I am sure your shrine will only get more beautiful from now on!

    P.S.: I can’t believe I have the exactly same small candle snuffer. 😀


    Jenny Resnick

    Thanks Matthew. That’s actually the precise reason I wanted to use something to elevate Shiva with. It’s a very small and subtle statue and it just got lost amongst the other items. Using a wooden incense box did the trick though to bring the Spiritual Father into focus more.

    This particular box I got from a friend, who in turn got it from a thrift store. In the past however I had many such boxes, and got them from several sources:

    – thrift stores (for those in Ontario, Canada, Value Village often has interesting items like this that are often extremely affordable — I’ve picked up boxes like this for example for under $5 in the past. They also often have nice candle holders, incense dishes, etc.).

    – Etsy usually has an abundance of items like that (I actually really like looking through older or “vintage” decorative items on there when I’m looking for something).

    – Hindu shops that sell decorative items and trinkets (for example, there are some shops like that in the Little India area in Toronto, or there’s a shop in the Annex that’s really good, but can’t remember the name now).

    – Tibetan shops (in Toronto our favorite place to visit is on Queen St. West, as one example, though there are many of them around).

    – Shops such as Ten Thousand Villages, which sell ethically sourced (fair trade) decorative items from around the world.

    I’m guessing Etsy is your best bet — I just did a quick search on there and there are lots of options. Good luck!


    Jenny Resnick

    Thanks Anne Linn. I like the dance symbolism as well, and the fact that it’s a blissful dance. We’ve had this statue for a long time, but when I read that about the dance and its meaning the statue took on a very different meaning.

    As a side note, speaking about Shiva Nataraja’s dance really reminded me of the song “Lord of the Dance” which is about Jesus (a Christ/Son figure, not a Spiritual Father figure, to be clear). I just looked it up and turns out the author of that song, Sydney Carter, apparently wanted to write a song about Jesus but was also inspired by a Nataraja statue that was on his desk because he said he saw a lot of the “dance” happening in the description of Jesus’ life events and teachings, so the song became a tune about both. There’s a very simple / gentle version of this song by Donovan, and a very catchy version of it by The Dubliners, as some examples. The lyrics are posted here. I always thought the choice of portraying Jesus as a “lord of dance” in that song was an unconventional and intriguing choice, and now it makes a lot more sense knowing it was inspired by Shiva’s sacred dance 🙂


    Jenny Resnick

    Hi Lucia,

    Our alter faces North, as it’s the only workable option for the moment. But yes, ideally I’d love for it to face the direction of the rising sun directly, so it can catch the rising sun as well. Outside this window you can see the giant pine tree I got the branch and cones from, so looking outside is kind of like a continuation of the shrine in a way 🙂

    Those plants just happen to “live” there — unintentional placement, but they do frame the shrine nicely, along with the dark brown curtains.

    I really like that little snuffer because it’s very small and subtle — perfect for a small shrine.


    Justin Norris

    It is a lovely shrine. It’s interesting how the pine really brings it to life.

    Thanks also for sharing that research about the Lord of the Dance song Jenny. I’ve always liked that song (there is a version by Benjamin Luxon & Bill Crofut that is very well done, as a medley with the hymn “Simple Gifts”) and I’d always wondered about the song’s use of that term, as it seems distinctly related to Hindu tradition. The backstory makes it all make sense.


    Jon Haase

    Great looking shrine to start from, simple but meaningful.



    Yes, like others have said, this is a very beautiful shrine. It has an elegant simplicity that makes it shine.

    I live in the subtropics, so getting a lovely pine like the one you have will be a real challenge! I think I will need to concentrate on a Shrine for the Mother as flowers are much easier to come by here.

    Thanks for sharing this and also for sharing and reminding us of the Lord of the Dance song. I had never looked into it and it is quite profound; plus I can see the parallels that you mention.




    This is very beautiful Jenny. The combination of the pine tree (I really like the vase you placed it in), blue/golden candle holder, the box/incense holder, the brass – it emanates harmony and strength. I like how you have that ‘continuation’ of the shrine outside – facing the shrine you will also be looking at the pine tree. Thanks a lot for sharing 🙂



    Thanks guys. I like the pine branches especially, and like others say, how your shrine ‘extends’ outside.

    The many ways symbolism can be incorporated into a shrine is intriguing to me.

    Perhaps for the father a carving into Oak wood specifically can be significant. And perhaps such a carving or representation of him can somehow be made not to touch the ground, signifying his abode of residence is above and beyond— the heavens.

    So many things could be added to make meaningful shrines I think.



    Hi Jenny, actually I have been thinking that for a Father specifically, I would probably chose North as it seems to me like he is connected to that direction most symbolically, with the North often symbolising the most spiritual regions.

    And how beautiful for a pine tree to grow right beyond your altar; I guess you could not ask for more!



    Lovely altar Jenny.  I like the idea of elevating the statue figurine – it reminds me of the murals that depict the Egyptian gods/goddesses on platforms to show their divinity. I burrowed that idea for my altar that I have dedicated to the Spiritual Mother – I noticed the impact it made to it.

    The view of the sky, natural light and the forest peeping  through the window above your altar sets a beautiful and natural background for it.

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