Sunday, January 17, 2016

Over-writing Roadside Accident Shrines

Pagans and Magick-workers - this post will be a call to action.

Yesterday, during a fabulous workshop on trance work with Ivo Dominguez, Jr., we got into a conversation about the problem of roadside accident shrines. This is something that I, too, perceive as a problem and have been working on when I see them.

Roadside accident shrines are a serious problem for the following reasons.

  1. They keep grief from healing. They are not really shrines for the dead, they are shrines that often function to keep grief and suffering alive. This is obviously a problem for the people left behind, but those problems bleed over into the spirit world and cause harm to the deceased who is constantly being pinged by loved ones who are in despair.
  2. Every time anyone drives by and sees it, they have this second of "oh how tragic!" When you have an emotion, there is always a little burst of energy associated with it. There are entities that feed on the energy that is released by various kinds of emotions. It's their food, if you want to think of it that way. Entities that feed on our so-called "negative" emotions tend to be unwholesome for the well-being of humans. Now, that doesn't mean you should freak out every time you feel sorrow, anger, or fear...but it does mean that if you either HABITUALLY experience these emotions or are in a place that is filled with people who within that context feel them regularly, it is likely to have drawn those beings. In Christianity, they often get the name of "demons," but I think that is giving them way more credit and power than is my experience, they are rarely actually intelligent. Typically they are better starved than fought. So, these roadside accident shrines can become places where unwholesome beings congregate.
  3. Because of both aspects of #2, roadside accident shrines tend to create more accidents. First of all, when you are driving and see one and have your moment of "oh how tragic!" you are distracted. Secondly, although I don't believe most of the types of beings that we are talking about in #2 are particularly intelligent, like all other beings, they like to increase their food they are distracting on that un/subconscious level to most people as well. Never underestimate how much of the work of consciousness is below the surface. So, roadside accident shrines are physically dangerous and spiritually dangerous.
Here is what I do. I try to overwrite them and I'm going to now encourage you all to participate. I try to turn them over to Hermes by turning them into a Herm. Now, Herms were all over the ancient world. They were little roadside shrines in honor of Hermes - traditionally a pillar with the head of Hermes and then a phallus on the front of the pillar.  Here's a really traditional example.

Why a Herm?
  1. There is a ready-made appropriate traditional thought form already easily accessible in the astral for wholesome roadside shrines.
  2. Hermes protects travelers. Isn't that the way to transform that grief into something positive? May all travelers on this road be safe! Hermes is a powerfully wholesome influence.
  3. Hermes is also a psychopomp and, in my experience, is incredibly compassionate in that role. He can handle and carry over anything that is in those spaces that shouldn't be there.
Here, then is what I do...and I can do it quite quickly, although again, be careful because you don't want to be distracted to the point of adding to the problem by getting into an accident yourself.

1. I really quickly put the image of the Herm on top of whatever accident stuff is there.
2. I say "Hail Hermes, full of grace, I call to you to claim this place."

If it is a place I drive by regularly, I do it every time (at the moment, I am not living close to any).

That's it! If you should want to participate, I think this would be a good thing for any Pagan or magick-worker to do as service to the Greater Good.


Calla said...

There seem to be some assumptions made.
1. How do you know roadside shrines stimulate unhealthy grief? This appears to be an assumption. Similar to assumptions that grieving relatives should get rid of all the belongings of someone who died.

2. I have no opinion on this.

3. Roadside shrines cause an increase in accidents. How do you know this? This appears to be another assumption.

As for "over-writing" mostly Christian shrines with Pagan ones? There are some serious ethical problems with this. I wouldn't appreciate Christians doing this to any shrine I built.

Gwendolyn said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

1. I am making an assumption. I will admit that. It is also a generalization and could be argued. I am not suggesting that grieving relatives should get rid of all the belongs of someone who has died.

2. That is what I perceive. It is also what others who see the way I do have perceived and shared with me.

3. This issue has been a point of a great deal of public debate in numerous jurisdictions - typically with the local governments presenting evidence of the problems that includes noticeable increase in accidents around roadside memorials and then those members of the community who want them to continue. I was looking to see if there was a thorough national study and I haven't found one on a quick look, but you can easily find the debates on this online with roadside memorials hazard.

For the ethical challenge - I would never overwrite anything where I sensed an actual spiritual presence there from any religion...even if they do have a cross. I have yet to come across that on a roadside memorial (not saying it couldn't happen). Generally, I have seen seriously noxious stuff. On the other hand, as a Pagan, I'm also rather weary of having to be bombarded with crosses on what is usually public, tax-payer supported land. I wouldn't recommend actually putting up Pagan shrines on those, even if I could.

This is an area of great controversy and I don't

Anonymous said...

Christians generally don't create shrines like this anyway. They believe the deceased is safe with God so there's no need to create roadside shrines.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading what you expressed in your post.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Calla

GreenFlame said...

I've become somewhat uncomfortable with these shrines -- especially nowadays. 10 years ago, the loved ones would put up a small roadside shrine, keep it for a few months, and then they would slowly stop tending it, and the energy would fade out.

But now there are shrines that are 3" x 3" plots filled with silk flowers, flags, candles, stuffed animals, etc.

I'm trying to sort out why this is bothersome vs. having a flower & artifact-filled shrine in a graveyard. I'm not the most experienced spirit worker in the world, but I think perhaps having the shrine where the death took place is one factor, along with these deaths that are accidental or vio1ent, and at a higher risk for creating earthbound soul-parts. I intuit that the attention paid *there* might empower the soul-parts inappropriately. Also, graveyards have their spiritual Keepers, and random medians don't.

Christians absolutely do make these shrines. They don't believe intellectually that the loved one is there, but I think there is an unconscious inpulse being satisfied.

A lot of things to think about here.

The Professor said...

You and I usually agree on this sort of matter, but on this one I have to strenuously disagree. I am a devotee of Hermes, and I also lost my parents in an automobile accident. One of those shrines did, in fact, spring up at their accident site. I'm not sure how that came to pass; it wasn't anyone in my family. Divination at the time led me to believe it might have been the driver of the truck that struck them who planted it. Because I don't live in the area, I rarely drove past it (except on purpose to see it), but when I did, it never made me sad. I was more or less indifferent toward it, but some of my family members, particular my father's siblings, took great comfort in it. I would have been very, very upset had I know someone were intentionally overwriting that. As the keeper of my parents' memory, neither of whom was Christian, I couldn't even bring myself to remove the crosses people planted there. The presumption of removing or overwriting someone else's shrine seems quite arrogant to me.

Gwendolyn said...

Thank you for sharing. fI will definitely think about this. Again, I would NEVER overwrite someone else's shrine where I sensed anything that was spiritual or that was on private land. I've just run into enough of these things that have noxious entities around and their almost always on public land. However, you and others have given me a lot to think about and I will consider.

El Nigma said...

These are always something spiritual to someone.