Often, we are asked, What is an Altar? and How do I set up my Altar?
It is my belief that there is no wrong way to set up a witch’s altar. Your altar is just that, yours. You might perform rituals, burn incense, work on spells, or write petitions at your altar. One person might feel that their altar is a very private space, which is not meant to be on display, while you want to showcase your most precious ritual tools, magical herbs and spell candles for all the world to see. Guess what? Neither person’s altar is wrong!
A Sacred Space: Where to Build Your Altar
When creating your own altar, you need to think about what is important to you and to your spiritual practices before beginning to build it. Consider your altar as your most sacred space, which will be your magical workspace. Begin by asking yourself where in your home is the best place to set up your altar? For example, as soon as you open the front door, do you want everyone who enters your home to be able to see the altar? Or, would you rather keep your spiritual altar private, and only accessible to you and your close inner circle? The placement in your home of the altar is just as important as what will be showcased in the altar. So, you will want to take your time and carefully consider where to put the altar in your home.
Now that you know where in your home the altar is to be located, get your most cherished magical tools, herbs, candles , and anything else important to your spiritual practices. Put all of these things in front of you and close your eyes. Envision these magical elements organized in the most beautiful way possible. Then take that enchanted image from your mind and bring it to life. This will be your altar.
Very often an altar is assembled on top of fabric which we call an altar cloth. Your altar cloth should be personal to you and might include colors, seasons or elements which are significant to you and to your practice. As you bring your altar vision to life, remember that your altar will continually evolve and change. New items will be added, while outdated items, or items that are no longer important to you will be removed.
Basic Altar Supplies: Creating Your Altar
Throughout the years your altar will evolve as you do. Your beliefs, motivators and intentions will be reflected in your altar. Here are some items that you may want to include in your altar:
Cloth that covers your altar. This Altar Cloth will be of images, colors and fabrics that are significant to you.
Deities or spirits which are important to you. You can show these deities or spirits as pictures, statues, or figurines.
Spell candles, tea lights, or votives in meaningful colors. Candles are an altar favorite! Use candles for atmosphere, for spell work, or any reason that is important to you.
Purify your altar space, enhance focus, and invoke specific energies with incense.
Often altars showcase both masculine and feminine energy. A ceremonial knife or blade used for directing energy, casting circles, or symbolizing masculine energy is called a Athame. A Chalice symbolizes feminine energy. Find an ornate cup or goblet to be your Chalice. The Chalice can be used for holding water or other ritual liquids.
Gather ritual tools used for specific magical purposes. Tools like wands, cauldrons, brooms, and pentacles might be included in your altar set up.
Crystals and gemstones represent energy and intention. Use different stones depending upon your intentions.
Herbs and plants represent nature and are used in spells, potions, or as offerings. Mix it up and use live plants, dried herbs and beautiful flowers as part of your altar.
Divination tools like Tarot cards, runes, pendulums, or scrying mirrors are used for divination and receiving guidance and can be made a part of your altar.
Remember that the items mentioned are just some of the items that might be included in your altar. A witch's altar is a very personal space and will vary from witch to witch depending upon traditions, personal preferences, and specific magical practices. With everything that can be included in an altar, it might seem a bit intimidating to start to build your own. As long as you stay true to your beliefs and preferences, your altar will emerge as your most sacred space where you will feel most comfortable in your spiritual practice.
To learn more about altar supplies check out are article, ESSENTIAL PAGAN SUPPLIES EVERY WITCH NEEDS.