In the previous installment of the Ares 101 series, I discussed the types of offerings one might give to the god. Once you get to know Ares and have made a few offerings you might begin to wonder whether or not you should build a shrine to him. There are a few things to consider when contemplating setting up a new shrine. Please note this is not the “how to” section; that comes next. These are just things to consider if you do think about setting up a shine for Ares.
Are you going to use it?
This seems like a silly question, but it’s something you should seriously consider. If Ares isn’t a focal point of your worship, does he really need his own shrine? I have one shrine for all the gods I worship infrequently, with gifts or images of them in a centralized place. I have two images of Zeus, one of Hera, and one of Hestia. I also have dedicatory offerings for Dionysos, Apollon, and Athene on the shrine. This shrine sees use for other gods, too, but because I don’t do much ritual for them, they don’t have their own shrines. If your plan is to keep things casual with Ares, a shrine may not be needed.
Do you have the space?
Shrines, over time, tend to take up a lot of space. They may start out as simple as a bowl to contain offerings and maybe a small statue or framed picture, but may eventually hold multiple offerings, require their own storage space, or more. With sprawl come dirt, and with dirt comes miasma, which in turn means more work.
Is it necessary?
You can worship piously even without expensive statuary, fancy incense burners, and other fancy trinkets. Wine can be poured out onto the ground and incense strewn into a bbq grill. You may only want a small shrine for the occasional ritual, and that’s fine too. Also, even if you do feel it is necessary to build a shrine, does it need to be separate from others? Ares’ temples were often shared with Aphrodite’s, so there’s no reason to say that you couldn’t do the same for a shrine.
Some really good reasons you’d want to create a separate shine to Ares:
Ares tells you to. The most obvious answer is this of course. It’s never very wise to upset a god.
You want to. The second most obvious answer to such a question. The purpose of this post is not to discourage you from creating a shrine, only to cause you to examine your motives for doing do. You’re (most likely) an adult, so you can do whatever you please.
Keeping up the cultus. This is my favorite reason, and the reason this blog, and especially this series, exist.
Hopefully this helps you decide whether or not you want to build a shrine to Ares, which is incidentally the topic of the next post. If you want to go deeper into Ares’ cult, I suggest staying tuned in. In the next few posts, I will be covering shrine-making tips, symbols for representing Ares, holy days and more. If you have any topics you wish to see covered, or have any suggestions or comments regarding your decisions about whether or not to build a shrine, let everyone know in the comments. Until then, hail Ares!