The Virtual Temple Project is an effort promoting the sharing of polytheist worship spaces online using multimedia technology. Building on the foundation of virtual shrine webpages, virtual temples make use of sound and video to make active worship available to anyone with Internet access. Beautifully appointed worship spaces elevating the Powers of polytheist religious regard designed for the express purpose of sharing online can support private worship efforts and make worship and prayer a more accessible experience.
Why Make Virtual Temples?
Modern polytheists primarily practice home-based worship, which might be shared with members of the immediate family or with a small group of like-minded believers. While functioning temples and worship spaces relevant to our religious concerns are becoming established, access is limited by geography and other factors. Online video media is free to access, easy to share, and can be enjoyed privately at any time, in nearly any place.
Worship spaces with these kinds of accessibility features allow people without ready access to physical temples the chance to experience sacred Presence and to participate visually in worship activities. People with home-based shrines can also find their practice enhanced by participating in the Presence shared online.
What Does a Virtual Temple Consist of?
A virtual temple should include elements that evoke an emotional state appropriate to sacred engagement. This often includes a specific altar within the temple space, sacred art, an icon of the Power being honored, candles or other forms of illumination, incense, offering plates or bowls, ritual implements, and other tasteful decorations.
A virtual temple, like its physical counterpart, includes the altar (where the icon is housed or displayed) the space surrounding the altar (where items supporting the sacred presence are found, and shrine space (the place where interaction between deity and worshiper takes place).
All together the icon, altar, and temple elements combine to create a multi-layered, multi-valent expression of sacred Presence. The multiplicity of physical manifestations and their interlocking nature distinguish this temple space from more straightforward altars and shrines.
Finally, for the purposes of this project a virtual temple is also fundamentally designed for public use. Each part of the temple is created with the knowledge that this will be seen by people around the world, likely by people inside and outside of our faith communities. Personal discretion and privacy should be an integral part of any virtual temple creation.
How Can I Use a Virtual Temple?
Participants can watch the video on YouTube or as an embedded video in their own site or blog. Watching worship in progress allows the participants to meditate, contemplate, pray, or experience Presence. The footage is intended to facilitate spiritual connection; the video can be used to guide one’s own worship and devotional activities, to supplement efforts, or to substitute for one’s physical participation in these activities when one is unable to do so.
People with injury, illness, disability, or other restrictions on regular religious activity will no doubt find benefit in the accessibility of a virtual temple. People traveling away from home or who are experiencing limitations in their personal religious expressions can access the virtual temple with the help of any Internet-capable device. Temple videos may find use in ministerial work, public outreach, public ritual, and other projects.