Household Gods

“You often-comers, you sleepers in things,

Who arise brightly..

Once more be it your morning, gods..”

-Rainer Maria Rilke

All houses are haunted in one way or another.

The very old are haunted by relics of the past, ghosts, impressions, or emotions that can’t fade away, the very new are haunted by the possibilities that come flooding in with each new person who crosses the threshold.

Most houses live somewhere in between. They are haunted by past, present, and future; by the good and evil their owners do, by hopes, desires, and memories. “Desires are memories from our future” says Rilke, but too often we forget and let the distractions of today take over. They rise up like demanding little gods that fill up the corners of our homes until there is no room for the others; the domovoi, the helpful friends who tend the stove at night and clear away the cobwebs.

In our home we have an abundance of both. We have the distractions that gather behind the stove, whispering their impatience at night, collecting dust and blowing it upward to coat the rafters.

We have the three relics who walk in the birches, guiding the frightened at night; and the Icons at the altar – keeping the darkness away. In the early mornings, before we gather for morning prayer and coffee, they chant their prayers to the rising dawn, reminding me that each day is a new beginning.

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