Professional Shrine and a New Image for the Muses/Mousai

While working from home, I have had a fleeting opportunity to establish a small work-related niche for library science and creative activities in general. In the morning, I turn on the rechargeable candles and ring the bell, and I turn them off in the evenings. The prayer is informal and quick. I would not be able to do this ringing of the bell or brief prayer in my actual office because I would be breaking what seems to be a social taboo around visibly praying in the workplace. However, for now, it is a nice ritual that is far more casual than what I do at my main shrine every morning. After we start returning to onsite work in summer, I’m not 100% sure how this small shrine will evolve.

A wall shrine made of a wood square shelf containing sacred images.

The piece for the Mousai is new, and it is lovely — I’ve secured it to the wall so it doesn’t topple by using a hook. The relief joins an owl for Athene, a metal statue of Hermes, and two-dimensional images of Apollon and Seshat.

Relief of the muses.

It has also been an addition long coming. I found the piece in early November on Etsy (CassiopeiaShopStore) at the beginning of the postal service cataclysm that lasted for several months. The first came to me over a while after ordering it (seven weeks), and it was broken. I contacted the shop, which was apologetic because they could not send me a new one until they received new stock. It was a chaotic time of year everywhere, so the replacement didn’t actually come until a few weeks ago owing to the shipping time from Greece and the logistics of their restocking. I was happy to see it intact, but Etsy apparently closes reviews after a short period of time, so I wasn’t able to give the shop a five-star review, and I even went into a chat with support to confirm that Etsy couldn’t reactivate my ability to review on the backend.

The broken relief. I was really sad.

It’s so rare to find images of the Mousai that are not sexualized or incomplete, so I’m happy that I have something to use during prayers that fits the purpose of the agalma — to bring each of us closer to the Gods and to be a fitting representative vessel for them in the world.

The same shrine in black and white with candles lit.

And that’s not the only thing I’ve received over the past few weeks. First, I was vaccinated (Pfizer dose 1) on Saturday. Second, a book I preordered came eleven days early (what a happy accident!), so I can get started on poking at it with enough time to leave a review close to its release day at the end of the month, which I want to do because its representation of where the Henads are in Proclus’ system is incorrect (but it probably isn’t the author’s area?), and even though I am enjoying the formatting and find the translations pleasant, I am burning with concern about the number of people who may read those few sentences and internalize what the author wrote as true.

Greek Poems to the Gods by Barry Powell

2 thoughts on “Professional Shrine and a New Image for the Muses/Mousai

    1. Thank you! I think someone cut it off of a piece of antique furniture and sold it on Etsy, so it was a very lucky find! I’ve only ever seen one other.

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