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Nimýric Household Shrine

A place of worship in Nimýric households.


Main Body

Household shrines mostly consist of a tall upright wooden board with a smaller shelf at a height that can comfortably be reached by an adult. While cheap versions mostly keep to rectangular shapes, more expensive shrines tend to feature rounded edges and support structures.


One embellishment that all of them share is the sun symbol of Saphéne the Mother Goddess. At the very least it is drawn onto the wood with yellow paint. Depending on the wealth of the owning family, it can also take the form of painted carvings, inlays of brass or goldleaf applications.


They usually have multiple hooks along their upper edge for hanging decorations such as flower garlands. One popular plant for this is the Tépýmura, a vine bearing deep blue flowers. Saphéniró flowers are another common sight. Besides the flowers, it is also customary to cover the shelf with a green or blue cloth, representing either the flourishing plant life or the sky.



Household shrines have been common for as long as the Church of Saphéne is known to exist. Also called "family shrines", they are still an important place for remembering lost loved ones today. However, the religious aspect is beginning to fade in this age of scientific progress.


The shrine is traditionally kept in an attic room among stored food supplies. One reason is that the attic is closest to the sky where the divine entities reside. Another is that crops and cattle are seen as gifts from Saphéne, so keeping the food and the shrine close together reminds the worshippers of what they should be grateful for. Yet another reason is the belief that burglars or greedy family members would be more hesitant to steal from a room that is dedicated to the Mother Goddess.

Associated Rituals

Household members come to this shrine in order to pray to Saphéne, but also to her sister Palia the Night Goddess and other divine entities. The shelf is meant to carry a chalice for buring incense, flower petals and other fragrant substances during worship.   Another important custom is adding the names of deceased family members to the shrine. They are often hung on the vertical board in some form, such as a tablet of wood or a framed piece of paper. Besides keeping those people in memory, this was traditionally believed to involve them in the prayers and help them earn Saphéne's favor.
Table of Contents
Item type
Religious / Ritualistic
~ 0.55 x 1.85 x 0.25 m
Raw materials & Components
wood, brass, various decorations

Cover image: by Kathrin Janowski


Author's Notes

This was supposed to be a rather short article, just one step closer to the Mapvember badge. First I had no real idea what to write, but then I ended up with 600 words anyway. No new art (for now), just recycled images from other articles.

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