Since there has been a lot of interest lately in how to create an altar, I thought this would be a good time for a lesson on the basics of putting one together.
First, you need to decide where and if you can leave a permanent altar or if you will have to put it away each time.
For a permanent altar, you can use any kind or size of table preferrably wood but it doesn't have to be. Rounded tables are easier to get around when moving around them in your circle. Some people also like to have tables that have shelves or drawers built into the bottom to hold magickal supplies. My best suggestion if you are going to buy a particular table for this is to try some of the used furniture places or even garage sales. You'd be amazed at what kind of treasures you can find there. Make it a personal choice. Be open to your inner divine voice and you will find the one just right for you.
For temporary altars, you can use your kitchen or living room tables. You could even use a board that you cover with cloth to lay in the floor. Sometimes you just have to adapt to the situation that exists in your home. There are times when you just can't leave one out to show the world because family and friends won't be very understanding. The point is to be able to create space when you need to do that. You'll find the right way that works for you.
Now that you have the altar table, you need to decide on tools and set up. It is traditional to set up an altar facing the North or East but if you need or it feels right to set up in a different direction, it is okay. You should buy you a piece of cloth of the color of your personal preference to cover your altar. You can leave it plain, decorate it, or even use different colors for particular rituals. That is something you will have to decide which is best for you.
Wiccan tools...... the list can be very long or it can be very simple and short. I will give you a general idea and location that you can lay the tools on your altar. I also suggest that you go to my wicca site and read my page that gives a wide variety of tools and their descriptions on the Ritual Tools Page. You can use all of these tools or keep it simple and use only a few. This is entirely up to you and how you feel will serve you best in rituals and spells.
Left Side of the Altar (Items sacred to the Goddess):
Asperger (used to sprinkle water)
Any other item that would be associated with the Goddess
Center of the Altar:
Censer or Incense Burner
Libation Dish (for offerings to the Deities)
Right Side of Altar (Items sacred to the God):
Matches and Cup for Used Matches
Plate of Cakes
Athame (Magickal Knife)
Boline (knife used to cut things)
Items that Can be placed Anywhere:
Book of Shadows
Pen of Arts (pen you use to write in rituals)
Candles for Magickal Purposes
Ornamental items like crystals and flowers for the particular occassion
You can create a physical circle with ribbon, stones, crystals, or other items for around your altar if you want. You can also have whatever symbolic decorations you desire around your ritual space. Most people use candles of the associated color for the 4 quarters positions in a circle but you can also use larger stones or something that is symbolic of that particular elemental power.
Hopefully this gives you an idea of how to get started in creating your altar and sacred space. Your assignment is to create your altar and turn in a description of how you decided to create your sacred space either at the class club or directly to me. Tell us anything interesting that occurred when looking for tools. If you have already created your altar, then your assignment is to just tell us a little about your set up. If anyone needs help with suggestions for how to get or make particular tools, you can email me or post at the club. It will help you to hear others ideas at the club. This is an important step in your walk and one that can be very enjoyable as well as an oportunity to find some valuable connections with the divine. Good luck with it.
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