|Setting up your Altar
|Having a hard time deciding what to put on your altar? Well, first, an altar doesn't have to be
anything except a place you can go to meditate and do rituals. The magick is in you, not the
tools you use. A Witch's tools are an extension of herself and are used to help project her
That being said, every Witch wants to have a beautiful and useful altar so I'm going to list
some of the essentials you will need and also some non-essentials that are just nice to have.
But, remember, you don't have to buy expensive or fancy tools, they can be found in nature or
you can make them from items found in nature. They become more special when they are
something you have crafted yourself.
You can use a feather found outside to represent the element of Air. Something red or
orange can be used for the element of Fire. The element of Water is easy and all you need is
a small bowl. A stone or living plant can be used for the element of Earth.
An altar is a special place to do magikal work, relax, meditate and of course think about the
Goddess and God. Yes, you can think and talk to your Gods anywhere, but at your altar you are
putting all of your energy into paying attention to them. This makes it special. It should be
something that when you look at it, it reflects your Wiccan practices and makes you think of
Wicca, the Goddess and God, etc.
Your altar doesn't have to be fancy, just a small table, chest or even a nice colorful cloth you
can put on the floor. You can even have an altar set up outside in your yard. An old tree stump
or a large rock works well. One other great place to have an altar is on the ground, right on
Mother Earth. That is the best place of all!
Altars can be permanent, temporary, or even portable. It's entirely up to you and it really
depends on where you live and your living conditions. If you can keep it up all year round that
is great. A portable altar is good too, for example if you want to put your altar outside on
warmer days, it could be easily done.
Once you have decided on a place for your altar you need to clean it and find some magickal
tools to put on it. There are a lot of different magickal tools Witches use. They help us
celebrate our religion. Below is a list of tools that you can use. You don't need all of them, and
some you eventually come to use won't be on this list. That's OK, you want your altar to be
special, so if you find something you like,
~ Altar Tools ~
A nice cloth to cover it~It can be any color you like or you can match it to the Sabbat or
Moon you are celebrating. At the bottom I will list colors appropriate
to specific Sabbats.
Statues~Something that is very special to you that reminds you of the Goddess and God. If
you have a figurine with arms raised or looking up, that would be a good representation.
Rocks, gems or even a crystal ball
Bells and musical instruments
Flowers and leaves/tree branches~You should take branches and leaves that are on the
ground. If you pick a flower, be sure to say "Thank-you."
A water dish~try to collect rain water to use, or water from a spring. If those aren't
available, distilled drinking water that you bless in ritual will work fine.
A nice cup or chalice
Pictures~These can be pictures of family and loved ones, living or passed. Pictures of pets,
people or any place that is special to you.
Pentacle, bowl of salt or earth, plants, incense, wand, feathers.
Candles and holders~Always use extreme caution when burning candles and never leave
them burning when you aren't close by.
Quill and Parchment~To write down things that occur to you or pop into your head during
ritual. Sometimes it's handy to jot down a ritual that works really well so you don't forget
what you did! You can use notebook paper and a ballpoint pen. It doesn't have to be a quill and
parchment unless this is something you happen to have on hand already. The Goddess will
accept what you wish to use.
Book of Shadows~BOS, This is your journal to keep all your treasured
A small cauldron
~Tips for Special Items~
If there's a special holiday coming up you may want to put something on your altar to remind
you of that holiday.
All of the items you use for your altar are special and should be kept that way. They should be
kept clean if you keep your altar set up all the time. If you put your altar away, find a nice
special place to keep your tools like a fancy box, trunk, or even a dresser drawer that is used
just for that purpose.
If you keep your altar set up all the time, you need to decide where it should be. Some
Witches put their altar in the North or East. East is the direction of new beginnings. It is also
where the sun rises at the beginning of each new day. But, it is your altar and you can place it
anywhere that feels right to you. You may not have the room to face a specific direction due
to availability of space.
You can draw a pentacle on a stone or piece of paper and use any picture or statues to
represent the Goddess and God. Your altar can be for any purpose such as healing, or
remembrance of a loved one lost. You can use as many of the items or as few as you like. It's
all up to you! The best altar is the one you make that means something to you.
Just keep in mind that your altar is sacred, so make sure only you handle the things on it and
no one else touches them. Certain people can touch it like your closest family members, people
you love and members of your coven if you belong to one. Ritual items will pick up the energy
of those who touch them so you want to make sure they don't get handled by just anyone.
~Altar Cloth Colors & Items For Your Altar~
Starting with the beginning of the Wiccan year, Samhain, below is a list of colors appropriate
for the specific Sabbat or Moon you are celebrating.
Of course, the colors for a Samhain altar cloth is orange or black. Items you can put on your
altar specific for Samhain are:
Triple Goddess Candles
Harvests of the Season (apples, squash, pomegranate, starfruit)
The few remaining Garden Flowers
Colors for Yule are many, especially red, but you can use gold, silver, green or a combination
of all of them. Items you can put on your altar specific for Yule are:
Gold or yellow altar cloth is suitable for Imbolc. You will need a gold or yellow candle at least 3
inches in diameter and 6 inches tall. This will be your Sun Candle.
A white candle, it can be a pillar also but must be smaller than the Sun Candle.
White or pale yellow flowers
Pale green leaves (silk is OK)
Garlands or ribbons
Cakes should be sweet (see the Imbolc page for recipes)
Wear a white robe and a veil is a nice touch.
Altar cloths can be pale pink, lemon yellow, grass green, robin's egg blue, any pastels. Items
you can put on your altar specific for Ostara are:
Seeds for potting
Colors for the Beltane altar cloth are pastels, spring colors to celebrate the return of life.
Pink, lt. green, lt. blue, lavender. Items you can put on your altar specific for Beltane are:
Colors for the Litha altar cloth are maize or golden yellow, green, blue and tan. Items you can
put on your altar specific for Litha are:
Flowers, especially sunflowers, and these can be fresh or silk.
~Lughnassadh~Also called Lammas~
Colors for the Lammas altar cloth can be yellow, gold, green, orange or
light brown. Items you can put on your altar specific for Lammas are:
Baskets of bread
Colors for the Mabon altar cloth are red, orange, deep gold, brown, russet, maroon or violet.
Items you can put on your altar specific for Mabon are:
A basket of apples
A small bowl of hazelnuts
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Last update 10-14-11.