The Virtual Temple Project should empower people to develop their own worship spaces for sharing online. To this end, I’ve put together some tips and suggestions to help get you started.
Three primary characteristics distinguish this project. These characteristics should be shared by all videos that become part of the project’s network. Participating videos must:
- Facilitate worship, praise, contemplation, meditation, and sacred communion. Although magic is certainly a part of many polytheist and pagan practices, this project is not intended to facilitate these particular goals.
- Emphasize the presence of Powers relevant to polytheist and pagan concerns. Project participants – including myself – should not take it upon themselves to define who is and is not a deity or a Power worthy of veneration. We are discovering new Powers all the time and our relationships with Them are continually growing through prolonged engagement. Because this project is intended to bring worship spaces to people, the Powers emphasized in these projects should – in your opinion – be worthy of veneration, adoration, and religious love.
- Display a space that is specifically intended for public viewing. Sharing private worship spaces is not recommended. Your personal religious engagement deserves discretion, although if a space is yours, you may feel free to share it with the world. Do not make videos of worship spaces that you do not personally control. Pagan Pride Day altars, altars in temples you visit, your friends’ shrines, and similar spaces should not be shared under this project. (You might choose to share these elsewhere; I can’t stop you.)
Please keep in mind that this particular project was developed specifically for worship activities in polytheist and pagan religious traditions and modalities. If you would like to create a witchcraft altar or a spellwork altar, please feel free to use this model to get you started. Although these projects would not fall within the Virtual Temple Project’s intended purpose, I would certainly encourage you to create and share videos that reflect your personal magical practices if you feel motivated to do so. (You might even feel called to create a Virtual Witchcraft Project network of your own!)
Building a Temple Space
You will first need a space to transform into a place for religious engagement. This space will need to be under your control long enough to design the space and record its activity.
Create a shrine layout that celebrates one or more specific Powers. Utilize sacred art, colored altar cloths, candles, incense, oil lamps, ritual implements, special offerings – anything that helps evoke the sensation of sacred presence.
Make beauty an offering. Strive for an attractively composed shrine; develop an altar with multiple levels to draw the viewer’s attention to the Power’s presence. Select flattering lighting. Use a mixture of color, texture, and material.
Don’t be afraid to take your time. This is an offering you are giving your beloved gods and your fellow believers. Take time to find or make the items that will adorn this special space.
Recording Sacred Space
Finally, set up your video camera – or smart phone or webcam or whatever you have (though please do try to create the best quality video you can). Record the temple space in action. Burn incense, let the candles or oil lamps flicker, play soft music in the background. Record long enough to get about five minutes of really good footage, then drop the video clip into an editor; YouTube has a video editor built in.
Be sure to tell us a little bit about the space you have designed in the video description: who is the temple dedicated to? What pantheon or tradition are they part of? What offerings are being displayed? This information will help people engage with the video you have created.
Make Worship Accessible
Once you make your video, upload it to YouTube as a reply to the video temple for Loki Herself. This will help other people find the worship space you have prepared for them.
You can make one video or several. You can make a video temple celebrating important holy days in your tradition. You can showcase the many facets of your beloved Powers. You can create a collaborative worship space with other people. Make video temples to well-known Powers, lesser-known Powers, and Powers that you want everyone to know about. Be creative, be passionate, and then share the results with your fellow believers.