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12:32 AM

A Wiccan Altar

Posted by Chérie De Sues

Short History of Pagan Altars

   In many of the world's religions, practitioners reserve a place in their homes where deities are honored with prayers and offerings. Petitions are made to the gods of the home altar for things desired or needed: health, wealth, success, love, protection, and other blessings. This practice originated in ancient magickal ritual. Places of spiritual significance can be found in the dwellings of the earliest civilizations

Exactly what goes on the altar varies by Witchcraft tradition. Some common elements include: candles, a bowl of water, salt, incense (and incense holder or censor), a statue or picture of gods or goddesses (either gods or goddesses related to the specific ritual being performed, or gods or goddesses that are special to you). Flowers, berries, crystals and rocks, leaves, twigs, just about anything natural, wine glass (and ceremonial wine).

Representations of the elements (earth, air, water, and fire, for most Western traditions, or the five Chinese elements of metal, water, wood, fire, and earth), a ceremonial knife (called an athame), a wand, any ingredients for the rituals or spells to be performed, any special tools of your Witchcraft tradition, and anything that you feel helps connect you to the divine or to Witchcraft.

Whether permanent or temporary or some combination of both, the altar becomes a personal expression of your spirit, your spirituality, and your magick. Your altar should be both decorative and functional. Your altar should "feel right" to you.

Churches were frequently built over ancient sacred Pagan sites. The Christian altar was placed on the East side of the church, however, a Pagan altar was sometimes included and was placed by the North door.

Churches in as late as the 11th century had a Pagan altar. These north doors of most churches were walled over from the 1300's onward as Witches were less tolerated.  ~Taken from Squido~          

      Whether you're a lone practitioner or belong to a coven, you may want to create your own altar.

      Things You'll Need:

  • A sturdy surface to build your altar
  • Represent Air: try incense and censer, feather, wand or tarot cards
  • Represent Fire: try a red candle, red scarves, athame, bolline, matches, or lighter.
  • Represent Water: choose a chalice, cauldron, or seashell
  • Represent Earth: anything from gaia, like salt, soil, stones, crystals, herbs, or pentacle
  • Your personal Book of Shadows
  • One silver or blue candle (Goddess)
  • One gold candle (God)
  • Various seasonal decorations for the altar.
1.  Choose a place without a lot of traffic. A sacred space will be for you and the Divine; working magick takes concentration. Somewhere with natural light, quiet for meditation and charged for raising energy

2.  Use a steady permanent surface like a night stands coffee table, and trunk. The God and Goddess won't be swayed by fancy or expensive, your devotion is more important. Some Wiccans choose to bind or roll their altar items in a cloth or rug for portability and storage.

3.  Using representations of the elements and deities will center your focus as you invoke or cast spells. The four basic elements are air, fire, wind, water and have a symbol and direction of either East, West, South or North.

4.  Burn incense for air in the East, try a feather, or use another air-related item to the far-right portion of the altar. Some choose to place their wand and divination tools here as well.

5.  Use a red candle, athame, or boline (white-handled knife for cutting/inscribing) for the South.

6.  Water (West) is represented by a chalice, a nice cup used in ritual to hold your wine (juice or herbal tea if you choose) for feasting, or a cauldron or water bowl to hold Holy Water. If you can't use water, try using a seashell or water-related gem. (aquamarine, turquoise, sapphire).

7.  Earth is the North Quadrant, use a dish of earth or salt, a coin, stones and crystals, or a pentacle (a round dish in which a five-pointed star (a pentagram) is inscribed) to consecrate and charge tools. Salt also can be used for purification and cleansing.

     Represent your deities however you want. Many Wiccans use a gold candle to represent the God along with his symbol and a silver or white candle to represent the Goddess with hers. You can choose to decorate your altar for each Sabbat to welcome in the new season. Sprigs of mistletoe can be displayed in a small glass vase for Yule, a tiny jack-o-lantern for Samhain, plastic eggs and silk flowers can adorn the altar for Ostara, and colorful corn husks can be used for Lughnasadh. Altar cloths, either made or purchased in natural linen or cotton are an easy way to dress up your altar.























































  • Step 2
    * A more permanent altar should be set up on some sort of table or surface. Night stands, coffee tables, trunks, and even cardboard boxes are all good candidates for an altar. The God and Goddess don't care about how fancy your choice of materials are. For portability, some Wiccans choose to use a small cheap rug and put their materials on top of that so that they can roll it up and store it safely when they're not using it.































  • Step 3
    Wand Symbol









     










    Wand Symbol
    Most Wiccan altars have a physical representation of the elements and deities that they wish to invoke. The four basic elements (Air, Fire, Wind, Water) are each represented by symbol and direction. You can choose to represent Air in the East by burning incense (bought or made), obtaining a feather, or placing other air-related items in the far-right portion of the altar. Some choose to place their wand and divination tools here as well.































  • Step 4
    Athame Symbol









     










    Athame Symbol
    For Fire (South), the obvious route would be to burn a red candle. However, this is not always the safest option, so you can use an athame (dull black-handled knife used for directing energy), matches or lighter. A boline (white-handled knife for cutting and inscribing) can be placed here as well.































  • Step 5
    Chalice Symbol









     










    Chalice Symbol
    Water (West) is represented by a chalice, a nice cup used in ritual to hold your wine (juice or herbal tea if you choose) for feasting, or a cauldron or water bowl to hold Holy Water. If you can't use water, try using a seashell or water-related gem. (aquamarine, turquoise, sapphire)































  • Step 6
    Pentacle Symbol









     










    Pentacle Symbol
    The North Quadrant, Earth, is easy to represent with a dish of earth or salt, a coin, stones and crystals, or a pentacle (a round dish in which a five-pointed star (a pentagram) is inscribed) to consecrate and charge tools. Salt also can be used for purification and cleansing.































  • Step 7
    Triple Moon 
Symbol Representing Mother, Maiden, and Crone









     










    Triple Moon Symbol Representing Mother, Maiden, and Crone
    Represent your deities however you want. Many Wiccans use a gold candle to represent the God along with his symbol and a silver or white candle to represent the Goddess with hers.































  • Step 8
    You can choose to decorate your altar for each Sabbat to welcome in the new season. Sprigs of mistletoe can be displayed in a festive pencil cup for Yule, a fake jack-o-lantern candleholder for Samhain, fake plastic eggs and flowers

















































































  • Step 2
    * A more permanent altar should be set up on some sort of table or surface. Night stands, coffee tables, trunks, and even cardboard boxes are all good candidates for an altar. The God and Goddess don't care about how fancy your choice of materials are. For portability, some Wiccans choose to use a small cheap rug and put their materials on top of that so that they can roll it up and store it safely when they're not using it.































  • Step 3
    Wand Symbol









     










    Wand Symbol
    Most Wiccan altars have a physical representation of the elements and deities that they wish to invoke. The four basic elements (Air, Fire, Wind, Water) are each represented by symbol and direction. You can choose to represent Air in the East by burning incense (bought or made), obtaining a feather, or placing other air-related items in the far-right portion of the altar. Some choose to place their wand and divination tools here as well.































  • Step 4
    Athame Symbol









     










    Athame Symbol
    For Fire (South), the obvious route would be to burn a red candle. However, this is not always the safest option, so you can use an athame (dull black-handled knife used for directing energy), matches or lighter. A boline (white-handled knife for cutting and inscribing) can be placed here as well.































  • Step 5
    Chalice Symbol









     










    Chalice Symbol
    Water (West) is represented by a chalice, a nice cup used in ritual to hold your wine (juice or herbal tea if you choose) for feasting, or a cauldron or water bowl to hold Holy Water. If you can't use water, try using a seashell or water-related gem. (aquamarine, turquoise, sapphire)































  • Step 6
    Pentacle Symbol









     










    Pentacle Symbol
    The North Quadrant, Earth, is easy to represent with a dish of earth or salt, a coin, stones and crystals, or a pentacle (a round dish in which a five-pointed star (a pentagram) is inscribed) to consecrate and charge tools. Salt also can be used for purification and cleansing.































  • Step 7
    Triple Moon 
Symbol Representing Mother, Maiden, and Crone









     










    Triple Moon Symbol Representing Mother, Maiden, and Crone
    Represent your deities however you want. Many Wiccans use a gold candle to represent the God along with his symbol and a silver or white candle to represent the Goddess with hers.































  • Step 8
    You can choose to decorate your altar for each Sabbat to welcome in the new season. Sprigs of mistletoe can be displayed in a festive pencil cup for Yule, a fake jack-o-lantern candleholder for Samhain, fake plastic eggs and flowers

















































































  • Step 2
    * A more permanent altar should be set up on some sort of table or surface. Night stands, coffee tables, trunks, and even cardboard boxes are all good candidates for an altar. The God and Goddess don't care about how fancy your choice of materials are. For portability, some Wiccans choose to use a small cheap rug and put their materials on top of that so that they can roll it up and store it safely when they're not using it.































  • Step 3
    Wand Symbol









     










    Wand Symbol
    Most Wiccan altars have a physical representation of the elements and deities that they wish to invoke. The four basic elements (Air, Fire, Wind, Water) are each represented by symbol and direction. You can choose to represent Air in the East by burning incense (bought or made), obtaining a feather, or placing other air-related items in the far-right portion of the altar. Some choose to place their wand and divination tools here as well.































  • Step 4
    Athame Symbol









     










    Athame Symbol
    For Fire (South), the obvious route would be to burn a red candle. However, this is not always the safest option, so you can use an athame (dull black-handled knife used for directing energy), matches or lighter. A boline (white-handled knife for cutting and inscribing) can be placed here as well.































  • Step 5
    Chalice Symbol









     










    Chalice Symbol
    Water (West) is represented by a chalice, a nice cup used in ritual to hold your wine (juice or herbal tea if you choose) for feasting, or a cauldron or water bowl to hold Holy Water. If you can't use water, try using a seashell or water-related gem. (aquamarine, turquoise, sapphire)































  • Step 6
    Pentacle Symbol









     










    Pentacle Symbol
    The North Quadrant, Earth, is easy to represent with a dish of earth or salt, a coin, stones and crystals, or a pentacle (a round dish in which a five-pointed star (a pentagram) is inscribed) to consecrate and charge tools. Salt also can be used for purification and cleansing.































  • Step 7
    Triple Moon 
Symbol Representing Mother, Maiden, and Crone









     










    Triple Moon Symbol Representing Mother, Maiden, and Crone
    Represent your deities however you want. Many Wiccans use a gold candle to represent the God along with his symbol and a silver or white candle to represent the Goddess with hers.































  • Step 8
    You can choose to decorate your altar for each Sabbat to welcome in the new season. Sprigs of mistletoe can be displayed in a festive pencil cup for Yule, a fake jack-o-lantern candleholder for Samhain, fake plastic eggs and flowers





























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