Yesterday I was reaching for something on top of a bookcase when my hand bumped into an Aphrodite statue. I tried to make a desperate mid-air grab but I had a coffee cup in one hand and the item I was reaching for in the other . . . . . . well you know what happened, the evidence is right there on your left. Aphrodite-Chicago (that’s where she was purchased) shattered on my hardwood floor.
I’m still kind of in shock that she broke, and here we are 24 hours later and I’ve just swept up the last few flakes of plaster. I left her broken on the floor yesterday until my wife came home. I wanted her (my lovely Ari) to assess the damage and see if she (the lovely Aphrodite) was repairable. My wife instantly knew there was no going back on the bookshelf (or the altar) for this particular Aphrodite statue, but her attitude was better than mine. “We’ll bury her by the fairies at the lemon-tree” my wife told me matter-of-factly, and then she went to go change out of her work clothes.
I’ve had a few statues break over the years, and this is the fourth one to break so completely that it had to be retired. “Burial” is our general approach to broken statuary, but it never gets easier. I know that my Aphrodite statue is not Aphrodite, but as a depiction of a goddess I hold high in my heart I think her statue deserves a better end than the garbage can. Also, my statuary is more than simply a depiction of deity, in many ways my statues are working tools. They take their places on both our working altars and the seasonal “decorative” altars that are a part of our everyday living space.
I’m not a pat-rack but I have trouble getting rid of magical objects. When my coven changed its “center” candle out this past February I actually cried. That candle had been a part of two-plus years of ritual, and while it’s still in our Temple Room it no longer sits on our altar. Aphrodite-Chicago was never in all that many rituals at our house (she was the fifth of five Aphrodite statues) but she survived a move out to California from Michigan. She had also survived my constant, seasonal statue tinkering; changes that saw her move from our living room to our Temple Room to on top of the office bookshelf (where she met her end).
Burying statuary is the only honorable end my wife and I have been able to come up with for the images that grace our altars. In the case of Aphrodite-Chicago burial will not really be “the end.” Our lemon-tree is where we leave our libations post-ritual and where we honor the fairy-folk. In some ways it’s just as much a part of our coven and worship as our Temple Room. So now mostly buried in the earth our “broken statue” will continue to watch over us in a place of honor.
Hail Aphrodite-Chicago, I will miss you (and I’m sorry!) but I look forward to our new adventures together.