Seven Days editor and co-founder Pamela Polston sent these photos of public shrines spotted during her flanerie in France. From left to right: 1) a Mother Theresa niche (creneau? lieu saint? autel?) in Nice 2) little fellow in the "medieval village-turned-mall Saint Paul de Vence" 3) Virgin Mary in unknown location. And 4) in L'Hotel de l'Amphitheatre in Arles, of which she says, "Not exactly a shrine but it might as well be. And that must be the saint of breakfast."
This ghost bike memorial altar comes from frequent contributor Nate Rulf, who spotted it at Hollywood and Harvard a few days ago and reports that his friend "saw a kid get hit on his bike by a car and killed there." I haven't been able to find further details on a Hollywood bicycle death online, so please feel free to share anything you know. For some mysterious reason that Nate couldn't relay, the photos have a watercolor effect to them. You can read more about ghost bikes in this previous post.
Materials: White-painted bicycle, votives, flowers, bottle of water
This just in: memorial altar at Burns + Virgil, at the border of the East Hollywood and Silverlake, sent from Nate Rulf. The memorial is most likely honoring Leonardo Gabriel Ramirez, a 17 year old Latino kid shot on May 23rd, six days ago, for unknown reasons. Along with flowers and candles, the altar has a wooden crucifix, blue bandanas, Modelo cans, and a lone hundred-length cigarette. The sign has green wire shaped to spell "Roller", and what is legible to me says "I love you homie / Rest in paradise / Roller x [name]".
Spotted by Aerienne + Evan while driving around the high hills of Silverlake, this roadside shrine is "somewhere on Effie St" and has the distinction of featuring four Disney "princesses": Snow White, Belle, Ariel, and the only actual princess, Princess Aurora.
Unusual (!) food-laden sidewalk offering spotted at Olympic + Westwood, via Nathan Rulf.
The lovely producer Bianca Hernandez sent me this shot from Walnut Creek as a birthday-altar-present.
This beautiful shot of a house-front altar in Pasadena comes from Lynell. She tells me that the "house's exterior is always fancifully decked out for holidays year round, but the altar is always there," and describes the scene as a "theater on a busy north/south-bound thoroughfare."
Both the illustrious Professor Jenny Cool and MVA student Shirin Raban spotted this streetside memorial on the way to the Visual Anthropology end-of-year celebration in Santa Monica, and kindly made sure to pass it on.
This altar is a "working", in-home altar generously shared by Hayley, self-identified "history major and baby-witch." Hayley says she's indifferent to whether the magic is "real" or not, "whether the red candle actually brings power and the green actually brings money, or if they're just symbols of a concept I want to invite more of into my life. There is something comforting in the ancient-ness of the practice, connecting me with history...Also I like a good arts and crafts project." She explains many of the altar's elements, and her descriptions follow here.
On the left are two incense stations, right now burning a palo santo stick for clearing and dragon's blood incense used as a "booster" for the green candle in the center. The green candle is carved to appeal for "a gig, if not a job" for a boost of money this month. She burns this candle on Sunday, "success day", but notes that this type of candle would also do well on a Friday.
In the front of the altar is a hunk of tourmaline, for "protection both from outside forces and from myself if there is anything in the working that might not be in my best interest." There is a small piece of green calcite as well, also acting as a "booster" for the green candle. She explains, "Green is mostly a healing rock, but also green for money - money heals when we ain't got any."
The bottle is a "traditional DIY witch bottle" that has its origins in the 16th century, and is used for protection and deflating negativity. It doesn't cause harm, but is meant to mirror negative intent back on the ill-wisher.
The orange is "a month gratitude working." Everyday, she puts in a clove and states "I'm grateful for everything I have and I'm ready to move forward."
The red candle is a "dragon" candle. This candle is again another booster "to give the money candle more power." Hayley explains, "The idea is I'll get out what I put in, so I put a lot of 'power' into this altar."