It's common for witches to have an altar in their home. An altar is a place to honor your deities or other beings your work with. It can be used for deity worship, spellcasting, ceremonies, divination, prayers, or chants. An altar is usually a table (big or small), a box, or a stool, on top of which tools are placed. Each item on the altar provides energy, inspiration, and focus for your magical work. An altar is a place for things that have spiritual use or importance. An altar can be permanent (one that stays in place all the time) or semi-permanent (one that can be moved, the items removed and replaced). Some witches have a special spiritual room in their house where they have a large permanent altar. Many also have a semi-permanent altar that they can take with them when they travel; such travel altars are usually a suitcase or a box where altar items are stored. Many younger practitioners also have semi-permanent altars if they don't have space for a permanent one in their room, or their parents aren't accepting of witchcraft so their altar needs to be hidden.
Altars usually have an altar cloth on them. The altar cloth can be for practical reasons if you're mixing herbs, or making handmade candles, smudge sticks or spiritual tools. In that case, it shouldn't be very expensive, because it will get messy. A more expensive and formal cloth can be used in rituals and celebrations. You don't have to have many altar cloths; if you're good with one, you don't have to get more. Altar cloths come in many different fabrics and patterns – they can add to the look and theme of your altar.
Here is a list of things you can have on your altar. You don't have to have all of them – pick the ones that have meaning and use to you.
- Candles (if you're Wiccan, you should have at least two: one for the God and one for the Goddess).
- Cauldron (e.g. for burning items or storing materials for magical work).
- Bowls (for keeping materials needed in your work, such as salt or water).
- Censer for incense.
- Flowers you've gathered.
- Serving plate (for leaving offerings).
- A ritual cup or goblet (for wine or juice).
- Items to represent your deities or the beings you work with (in Wicca, masculine energy is on the right and feminine on the left). These can be statues, stones, flowers, candles, or any other items that remind you of the deity/being.
- Your Grimoire (so you can reference it or record your experiences). If you don't have room for it on your altar, you can put it on the ground next to the altar.
- Magical tools (wand, athame/knife/dagger). If you have a broomstick, place it next to your altar.
- Inspirational items (representations of things you feel connected to; maybe a type of animal or plant).
Here are a few altar setups you can use as inspiration for placing items on it. For more ideas, Pinterest is a good place to look.
NOTE: If you only worship one deity, place the candle in the middle, near the upper edge of the altar.
"Creating Your Personal Altar", site: paganspath.com
"Witchcraft Terms and Tools - Cauldron", author: Luke Mastin, site: witchcraftandwitches.com
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A Guide to WitchcraftSpiritual
This guide covers the basics of witchcraft: practices, rituals, beliefs, magic, items. It is mostly directed toward beginners but anyone can benefit from it. Everything is explained clearly and definitions of possibly confusing or unfamiliar words a...