Hey babes!!! So today I am going to continue my All About Wicca theme and this post going be about altars!! Having an altar, a place where you can go to worship, pray, do spell work, etc. is really important as a Wiccan. However, much like the rest of Wicca, it is very personalized to each specific person.
If you are a new Wiccan, first, welcome! If you’re completely new to Wicca and you have no idea where to start you can check out my post All About Wicca: Religion, Magick, and Mystery.
And if you are curious about how you can practice Wicca in your daily life you can check out my post Everyday Magick: My Witchy Wiccan Routine.
Again, if you are a fellow Wiccan and you do not agree with the things that I believe that is fine, everyone practices differently and that doesn’t make anyone right or wrong.
Now, without further adieu, let’s get into this post!
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Just so we’re clear, altars are not exclusive to Wicca.
There are plenty of faiths, such as Catholicism, that also uses altars in their worship. That being said many people and faiths use their altars for different things as we will get into in this post.
An altar is essentially a place where you go to worship your deities, hold rituals, pray, do divination etc. Basically, anything you do in your Wiccan practice, you can do at your altar.
It doesn’t need to be something super elaborate, it can be something really simple like a bedside table, a coffee table, a sturdy box turned upside down; the one requirement is that it is a flat surface so you can place things on it without them rolling off or breaking.
Personally, I like having my altar on the floor in front of me, so if you don’t have access to a flat raised surface you can have your altar on the floor and it will work just as good!
Should your altar be in a sacred space?
It is preferable that your altar is somewhere special to you, not someplace with a lot of foot traffic like a bathroom or a kitchen but again this is really up to the Wiccan. If you’re a kitchen witch then it would make plenty of sense for your altar to be in the kitchen if that’s what you chose to do. Remember, these ‘rules’ are really more like guidelines.
The place where you have your altar can be cleansed, both physically and spiritually if you so choose but again this is not mandatory but it is nice to do. I like to sprinkle a bit of salt water and visualize the access energy being washed away before I set up my altar, easy peasy lemon squeezy!
There are some Wiccans who prefer to have their altar facing a certain direction, north, east etc. There is no right or wrong way to do this. If you have a particular attraction to a certain direction or element, you can place your altar to face that direction but if not you don’t have to.
What should you put on your altar?
On your altar, you should place things that are special to you and your practice, things you’ll need for any ritual or magick you may be doing such as:
Crystals and stone
Symbols of the goddess and god (these can be statues, candles, crystals, etc.)
Book of Shadows
What you place on your altar can be set or it could be different every time, it’s really up to you.
Sometimes I decided I only need a candle and my book my shadows on my altar and sometimes I want something a bit more elaborate. Altars are very personalized so whatever you feel you need at that moment is what you should have.
Why have an altar?
Honestly having an altar is not a requirement to practice Wicca. Yes, it is nice to have one, however, if you decide you don’t want or need one you aren’t going to be shunned.
An altar is a place where you can go to worship, meditate, work magick, pray, think, cry, read tarot; anything necessary to your practice you can do at your altar. However, you can also do these things in the car or lying in bed.
For me, my altar is a way of centering my thoughts and getting me into the right mindset in to do whatever witchy thing I plan on doing. The act of cleansing and setting up my altar grounds me and keeps me in the present moment which is essential for me and my practice.
However, I have a friend who does not use an altar in her practice. She simply sits on the floor with her book of shadows, casts her circle and boom she’s done. For her, that’s what works and I urge you to try different things to figure out what works for you.
I’m in the broom closet, what if I can’t have an altar set up all the time?
That’s totally fine!!
There are three different kinds of altars: permanent altar semi-permanent altar and traveling altar.
There isn’t one that is better than the others because they all serve the same purpose but some work better for certain people.
A permanent altar is one that you keep set up, usually, this is somewhere in your home whether you have a separate room for it or it is set up in your closet for secrecy.
Permanent altars can be very nice if you have a routine of going to it often and don’t want to have to set it up every time you need to worship or pray.
Also, if you have the extra space and you live alone or if you have roommates but you have your own room it can be beneficial to have a permanent altar set up for when you need it.
A semi-permanent altar is an altar that you set up when you need to use it.
So if you have a desk or a table that you use for your altar but you can’t keep it set up all the time due to parents, roommates, spacing issues then you would just set it up and take it down when you’re done with your practice.
If you chose to do this I recommend keeping the items and tools you want on your altar safe and tucked away somewhere so that they don’t get lost or damaged.
A traveling altar is a kind of semi-permanent altar but it is slightly different.
Traveling altars are usually smaller than a normal semi-permanent altar and can usually be carried around in your pocket, purse or backpack.
Altars like these are especially useful if you are a student and you spend most of your time at school or at work and you want to take some time during the day to practice.
Also, since traveling altars are much smaller they require a lot less maintenance than other altars too.
My altar of choice??
I use a semi-permanent altar AND a traveling altar.
Yes! You can have two or even all three of the different types of altars and it’s totally okay!
Usually, when I’m celebrating a Sabbat or esbat I will use my full-size semi-permanent altar which includes:
Crystals (to represent the goddess and god or for spell work)
My Thoth tarot deck
A candle or two
A bowl of salt
A bowl of water
Book of shadows
These rituals are planned in advance.
Also if you haven’t downloaded my free beginner’s guide to the Wiccan Sabbats you should totally do that!
However, I always keep my traveling altar kit with me in my backpack for when I feel the need to connect with my deities, do a short reading, cast an impromptu spell etc.
This kit includes:
A birthday candle
A small incense stick
A packet of salt
I just keep these things in a little pouch, similar to the one that I keep my tarot cards in, and keep it with me at all times.
I like to keep my altars very simple and straight to the point, however, that’s just my personal preference.
Can I move my altar?
If you decide that you would rather have your altar somewhere else in your house it is totally fine for you to move your altar.
You don’t have to be nailed down to a specific place even if you do have a permanent altar because it is yours you can do whatever you want with it.
This is also a part of the reason I use a semi-permanent altar.
Do I have to decorate my altar
Absolutely not if you don’t want to.
It’s personal preference.
Some Wiccans like to decorate their altar for the holidays which is great and fine if that’s what you want to do but it is not mandatory and you won’t get in trouble if you don’t.
Like I said before I like to keep my altar very simple so I normally will not decorate my altar unless I see something that I just have to have.
How should I set up my altar
Any way that you want.
I have a sample altar below but there is no set way you have to set up your altar it’s really about what feels best for you and what is best for your needs.
If you like, you can get an altar cloth or an altar board to set your items on and there are some really nice ones on Amazon that I’ve seen.
Personally, I like to keep things simple so I do not have an altar cloth.
Keep in mind you can make your altar as simple or elaborate as you want. If you want to have all of your Wiccan tools and items on your altar then do that, if you want a bare altar with just the essentials that’s fine too. It’s all about figuring out what makes you the happiest and the most comfortable.
I understand that this might be a lot of information to take in at once but it’s important you understand that your altar does not have to be perfect. You will change things as you grow as a Wiccan. You will figure out what you do like and what you don’t like. It will become easier the more you practice I promise!
Below is a basic altar set up. You do not need to have these tools or items, this is just a basic set up.
This is the way I set up my altar minus the wand and athame because I don’t use those tools. I prefer to use my finger.
Well darlings, that is it for this post. I hope it was helpful to you and I really want to continue this All About Wicca series.
Blessed be lovelies!
If you haven’t done so already go ahead and download your FREE guide to the Wiccan Sabbats below!
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