An altar is an ever-changing, constantly evolving sacred space. It can be as small as a matchbox or it can fill up an entire room. Your altar is a place where you can centre yourself, meditate, work magic, or prepare yourself for the day. In short, your altar can be whatever you want to be.
I’ve had so many questions lately from little witch babies who are ready to make their own altar but aren’t sure where to begin. Here are my thoughts!
“May your heart be an altar.” –- Rumi
My altar is on a hot pink table in my living room. There’s a big mirror hanging above it, and it reflects an even bigger mirror on the opposite wall, which is meaningful to me: it’s symbolic of expansion, amplification, brightness and light. Having mirrors around my altar makes me feel like whatever I do in the space is magnified and protected. I have notes taped to the mirror directly above my altar, like this.
The centrepiece of my altar is a spell I did with Veronica Varlow at a massively pivotal moment in my year. It’s there to remind me of what we created together, keep me focussed on what I want, and remind me that working with someone else is hugely powerful!
On my altar: I love to get custom carved candles at Enchantments, so I am almost always burning one of those. I keep it burning while I sleep and only blow it out when I leave the house. I re-set my intentions every time I light the candle: it’s a great way to bring your mind back to the task at hand A deck of tarot cards. At the moment, I’m obsessed with Oliver Hibert’s deck, but The Wild Unknown are a close second Candles of Ganesh and Lakshmi A silver pentagram disk I picked up at Spellbound Sky in Los Angeles So many crystals: an enormous rose quartz wand, so much amethyst, citrine, etc. An Instax photo I took in Los Angeles which embodies one of my dreams and helps keep me focussed My miniature cauldron
Underneath my altar (because a witch needs some storage): More tarot decks and oracle cards Palo Santo Pink glitter beeswax candles (yaaassssssss) Essential oils and herbs for spellwork Incense Rose petals Matches More crystals… (Always more crystals!)
MAKE YOUR OWN!
There is no right or wrong way to make an altar: it is a creative act! However, given that I’m constantly being asked how to do it, I figured a few guidelines might simplify the process for those of you who are keen to give it a go!
The most important thing is to have your altar in a place where it won’t be disturbed. You don’t want someone’s fingers (or energy) all over your altar! When I lived at home with my parents, I kept mine in the closet, but you could make an altar in a drawer or even an altar in a jar if you need to keep it really quiet. It should be a space that feels like it is truly yours, where you can express yourself and your spirituality freely, without judgement.
You might want to add: Objects symbolising earth, air, fire and water Crystals that you charge up under the Full Moon Sage or Palo Santo for clearing space Photos or mementos Candles Tarot cards Handwritten notes or mantras Cash Statues (of deities, power animals, etc.) Bowls or dishes for ritual work Matches
Your altar should reflect your taste! If you prefer things to be clean and minimal, lean that way. If you’re into excess, go nuts. This is your space to do with as you please, so take that opportunity and run with it. Create an area that makes you happy! I do believe, however, that everything on your altar should be either significant to you or beautiful (and preferably both).
Clear quartz for days! Love the brass pyramid in the middle.
This is a very traditional set-up with the Goddess on the left and God on the right.
Fresh flowers and herbs, totem animals, and a bundle of sage in an abalone shell make a beautiful outdoor altar.
More ceremonial tools — you can see an athame, chalice and cauldron among the crystals and candles here.
Photos of the dearly departed surrounded by religious artifacts and curios.
COOL STUFF FOR YOUR ALTAR
None of these items are essential, but they sure are cool, beautiful and fun…
An enormous rose quartz crystal Moon Goddess offering bowl statue (it comes in black too) Miniature cauldron (YES to burning your wishes in this!) Love drops Palo Santo stars Casting powder (so so cool) Sacred herb and flower vials Black cauldron sand Abalone shell (for smudging) Athame (ideal for carving candles) Triple Moon copper bowl A selenite wand Amethyst pyramid Silver pentagram tile Florida water (there’s some history and info on how to use it here)
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.’ — Joseph Campbell
LINKS AND RESOURCES
Gabby Bernstein made a video of her altar as well as making some suggestions for how to create your own.
Try Fuck Yeah Altars on Tumblr, too!
A Fanciful Twist’s house is full of little altars!
If you like to do things by the book, here’s a traditional altar set-up that’s easy to follow!
Want to create an elemental altar? Earth, Air, Fire, Water…
If you enjoyed this article, you might like House-Witchery: 13 Easy Ways To Infuse Your Home With Magic And Attract More Of What You Want too!
Have fun creating your own altar! I’d love to see photos of what you create on the #radicalselflovecoven hashtag!