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>Light Wicca Forum - Southern Hemisphere >Witchcraft & Ancient Wisdom >Altar >

The Altar

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Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/01 22:38:38
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55


What's There
Altar Cloth (over a chest of drawers)
Candles & Sticks (brass)
Pentacle Platter
Candle Snuffer
Tarot Deck (not normally)
Two Mortar and Pestle (not normally)
What's not there but usually is Book of Shadows
Salt & Water (Consecrated)
Censer & Charcoal Common Items I do not useGod/Goddess Icons or figures
(I do not worship a specific deity "borrowed" from a long dead civilization) I use Lord and Lady

Athame (Magickal knife)
The Athame (pronounced at-ah-may) is used for cutting, not of the physical plane, but of the astral. It is used to direct energy and as a power manipulation device. Also used as the symbol of the Masculine in conjunction with the chalice.

The bell is a feminine symbol used to invoke the Goddess, evoke good energies or to ward off evil spirits and spells.

A besom is a hand-made broom of ash staff and birch twigs, these can often be found in garden centers at (usually) a reasonable price. The besom is used primarily as a purifier, and many Wiccan rituals begin by sweeping the area where the sacred circle is to be cast in order to remove any negative energies. The besom can also be used as a protective implement by laying it under the bed, across a windowsill or across the threshold of your property.

Book of Shadows
The most important "tool" of all. Your Book of Shadows is where you keep all your information relating to spells, rituals, invocations... Traditionally this was hand written, but some people now have a computerised version. Do remember however that it is not much good in having it on your PC when you are in the middle of a clearing performing a ritual - you will need printed copy.

The archetypal tool of the Witch! The cauldron is used for scrying and as a container in which magickal transformations occur.

You will need a good stock of candles, mainly you will need white, but other colors will be required for candle magick. Alter candles are green to represent the Goddess and red to represent the God.

Cup or Chalice
Usually made of silver, brass or gold, and is used to contain ritual beverages. Used to symbolize the feminine in conjunction with the Athame.

Used to ground and celebrate the Goddess bounty following your Ritual before releasing the Circle. May be cakes, cookies, breads or even fruits.

Used to burn powdered incense and herbs. Get small charcoal discs, not the briquettes used on a barbecue!

Some find it difficult to divine the four directions, especially when working away from home, so a compass may be a useful tool to take with you when you travel!

Of Varying thickness and colors are used to mark the boundaries of the Circle by some, and by others to perform Bindings. Some will not perform Bindings at any cost, as they feel that it breaks the Rede ('An it harm none, Do as Ye Will!'), but others do feel that in exceptional circumstances (such as when someone is acting in a self harming manner) they can be justified. Whatever your own personal views, you have to remember that the Three Fold Law says you'll get back times three what you do to others, so proceed with care!

Goddess Wine
Red or White wine, blessed for use during the Ritual, though you can just as easily use Ale, Juice or Water.

Used for Healing and Magick, can include fresh, dried and frozen herbs and spices. They can be used to burn, to make tinctures and potions or as compresses.

Holy Water
Used upon the Altar to represent the Water Element, and also to cleanse and consecrate Magickal and Ritual tools and areas. It's basically consecrated water that has had some consecrated salt added to it and been blessed. We like to get the water from a local spring ourselves (that's located in a powerful local area), just to be sure that its 100% natural. Water is considered Female in its symbolism, so goes to the left of the Altar.

Available in stick, cone and powder form and is used upon the Altar to represent the Air Element during Rituals. Certain types of incense have various Magickal uses.
Incense burner (Censer)
This is usually a bowl or cup half filled with sand upon which incense is burned during rituals. There are lots of expensive ready made burners available on the market, but chose what you feel happy with and what your budget can withstand. Cone, stick or block incense can be used, but raw or granulated incense is preferred (and doesn't contain glue to hold it together and smell when burned!).

For lighting candles and Incense. Can be a good idea to tape a spare box underneath the Altar for emergencies, and don't put spent matches into the Censer, keep a separate bowl for them underneath the Altar itself.

For use in Scented Oil Burners and in Ritual use (such as Dedicating Tools and Self) and also for the Ritual Bath.

Parchment / Paper
Used for writing special spells and notes.

Used either for burning with Herbs, or for marking the boundaries of your Circle

Sea Salt / Rock Salt
Used upon the Altar for representing the Earth Element, and for cleansing the Circle during it's casting. Salt is considered Male in it's symbolism, so goes to the right side of the Altar.

Can be used in Magickal and Ritual workings, especially at the Imbolc Sabbat and for symbolizing new beginnings, such as at a Handfasting, Wiccaning or Dedication Ritual.

Smudge Sticks
A stick of Herbs that is burnt at a slow smolder, used to smudge (or cleanse) during and before a Ritual.

Used for Binding and Cord Magick, and to keep poppets and other Magickal Packages sealed together.

The wand is an implement of invocation. It may be used to draw magickal symbols on the ground, direct energy, and is often used when calling upon the Goddess and God.

(wicca chat)

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Post last Edited by Unity on 2011/01/08 10:47:42
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/08 10:49:29
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55


In learning how to build a Wiccan altar you will actually be learning a lot about your spiritual path and your individual role to play in Wicca. So it's not something you should rush or take lightly! A Wiccan altar is a very personal thing and you will realise that the power of the work you carry out at it increases in line with how attuned and connected to your work space you are. So the question should be more, how to build a Wiccan altar that is right for YOU.

The first aspect that you need to concentrate on is where you are going to place your altar. For the most part you will be leaving it in its designated space so choose wisely. It will need to be somewhere that is quiet and uninterrupted if at all possible. You should also consider whether or not you have enough room to manoeuvre as you will not want to restrict your magic by operating in cramped conditions. This can be important when it comes to circle rituals or any spell whereby you need to move around.

You will also need to consider casting a circle around your altar in order to keep it a sacred space (in much the same way as Christians consider a church to be a sacred place to pray). You will find that you work better when in a safe and secure feeling environment.

So, how to build a Wiccan altar in terms of solid basics is your next concern! To be honest anything will do in terms of a flat surface to work from. It should however be waist height for the sake of your comfort. But it does not have to be a specifically made table, built for purpose. As long as it works for you then it's fine. Again, round tables are best if you intend to perform a lot of circular rituals but if space is a major factor then a square table that slots into a corner will also suffice so don't worry. As long as you are comfortable with the table it will work for you. In fact I have known very accomplished witches work on anything from a decorating table to a bit of wood propped up with bricks!

However, you should also consider the long term prospects of the altar you choose as you do not want to build up a connection only for it to fall apart later on. Also, something with a draw or shelf under it to keep items you are not using can be extremely useful.

In learning how to build your Wiccan altar you will also be wondering how to lay everything out. It is a very personal affair and nobody can tell you exactly how to do it but there are a few standard practices so I will briefly cover them:

1) Masculine items, objects or icons should be placed on the right and feminine on the left.

2) You should view your altar as an embodiment of the 5 universal elements so you should represent them with water (chalice), fire (candle), earth (salt) and air (incense or a feather). You will be the 5th element of the spirit when you are working. You may also want to place a pentagram on your altar somewhere although this can be anywhere from in the pattern on your altar cloth to on your candle stick.

3) You will want to consecrate you new tools. This needn't be a complicated process and there is plenty of information out there on how to do it. However, cleansing in salt water or smudging will usually realign the energies well enough.

4) Keep your book of shadows in an easy to reach part of your altar. Don't forget to journal your progress in it too!

5) Place something personal and that you have a connection to on you Wiccan altar for the 1st few weeks or even months if you need to. This will make you feel much more at home and secure around your altar and will act as a kind of introduction to one another.

All in all, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you in how to build a Wiccan altar is practise. You will set everything up, imagine it all to be perfectly placed - only to find that a week later you are constantly having to re-arrange everything to fit in with how you work. Perform your favourite spells, get to know your favourite tools and even take into consideration whether you are right or left handed. Before long you will have established a flow and familiarity with your altar that you will see reflected in your work.


“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/01/12 10:15:38
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55


Why Is A Wicca Altar Important?

Any altar is a symbolic manifestation of your innermost self.

It is an expression of your heart's longing and your soul's potential.

It is also a focal point for your devotion . . . A spiritual practice arena for devotion to the Divine.

Temples Within And Without

We each have a Temple in our inner hearts. And any spiritual process is about entering and worshiping there.

But it's not easy to access something so abstract.

So, like your symbols and tools and Gods and Goddesses, you create something that comes through the gate of your senses. Something you can see and smell and touch. Even hear and taste, if possible.

The more senses you engage, and the more you balance your sense perceptions, the more you can access the spiritual levels that you seek.

In this context, altars are not some esoteric mystery, but the most natural expression of what has value to you.

Natural Altars

So, in the broadest terms, an altar is any collection of items that are personally meaningful.

Almost everyone has one . . . That collection of photographs on the bedside table. The mementoes that gather on the mantle place. These are altars to your loves and your life.

When you want to make an altar dedicated to your spiritual life, you simply focus a little more. You put only items that uplift your spirit and remind you of your ideals.

That's all any spiritual altar is - Wiccan or otherwise . . .

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2011/10/14 22:00:28
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55


Cleanse your altar before and after each Pray session.

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
Unity Submitted on the 2014/05/01 09:51:38
By: UnityUnity is offline
Location : South Africa
Wicca Ranking : Wicca Master : 200200200
Total count : 5006
Joined : 2010/12/31 06:44:55


When setting up your Wicca/Pagan altar it doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate it really comes down to personal choice and how you want it to be. This is your personal sacred space so you need to have your altar the way you want it to be.

“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
C.G. Jung
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