Updated: Apr 30, 2020
For a witch, an altar is more than just a place of worship. An altar is where we can cast spells, do rituals, call in energy, check in with Spirit, meditate and connect with our deities. A witch’s altar has objects and tools that represent the directions and elements as well as her craft and spiritual path. I have my everyday altar, but sometimes I also make special altars for sabbats and rituals.
First decide on the foundation of your altar. Begin by asking yourself some basic questions! What do I want my altar to be displayed on? Do I want to be able to move my altar? Do I want to lay a cloth down first? My altar is on a little wooden table from the 1800s. It sits low to the ground so I can move it when I need too and kneel down to it for my morning ritual. Although, I will say, my cat does get into my altar because it is so low!
Decorate your altar with sacred talismans and tools. Choose objects that have a significant meaning to you and represent your craft and path. Most of the objects I’ve collected were gifted or found over time. I am always updating my altar, switching out talismans and finding new inspirations. Many witches turn to a signature list of magical tools because there are some objects that perfectly represent certain powers. Scroll down for a list of magical tools!
You can honour the elements and the directions by the way you organize your altar. For example, my altar is facing the south and I’ve grouped my sacred objects based on their relation to the elements and directions. On my altar, I have a dried sunflower that I’ve placed in the south and it symbolizes the sun and fire; my hand made pentacle is placed in the centre, representing spirit (or aether) and my ascension; my athame, a war knife I got in Morocco, is placed between east and south. Sometimes, though, I simply place my objects based on an intuitive knowing.
Ideas on how to represent the directions + elements:
East + Air —> Athame, Feather, birds, incense, smudge sticks.
South + Fire —> sunflower, candle, snakes, dragons, orange and red crystals.
West + Water —> womb, sea salt, seashells, seaweed, beach glass, cup, mermaid, blue crystals.
North + Earth —> herbs, bones, skulls, tree of life, broom, pentagram Center + Spirit —> quartz ball, wand, clear quartz, pentacle, purple crystals, personal objects, angels.
Think about how your deity will be represented on your altar. If you worship a specific God or Goddess, you could include a symbol of them on your altar to connect and show your devotion. A statue, picture or craft are a few ways to include a deity. I worship the Snake Goddess, so I have snake skin on my altar board that I’ve placed in the north which also honours my ancestors and rebirth.
Place your altar somewhere safe and accessible. Protect your altar by placing it in a sacred space that will be respected by every in the house (including your pets!). Personally, I like to place my altar where I can see it so I have a daily reminder to check in with my altar and Spirit.
Athame is a ritual knife used to cast spells and circles. It represents south, east + air.
A bell or instrument can be used to invoke the Goddess, the directions, spirit guides, power animals and angels.
A book of shadows is your journal and spellbook. It is where you keep you magical notes, spells, rituals and wisdom. A book of shadows is also a written account of your personal and spiritual growth.
Brooms are used in cleansing, circle casting and bonding rituals.
A candle can represent fire and south. Colour candle can be coordinated with theme of magic!
A cauldron can represent the womb and be used to conjure spells. It can be used to burn herbs and represent fire.
A chalice or cup represents the womb, the moon, the west and water.
A crystal ball can be used for scrying and connecting with Spirit.
Crystals cleanse, protect and heal. Coloured crystals can align with the chakras.
A deity totem such as a statue, photo or talisman will represent the God or Goddess(es) you worship.
Herbs can represent just about anything including north and earth.
A pentacle is crafted 5 pointed star and is a symbol of protection. I crafted my pentacle with branches and hemp cord. Represents earth.
A pentagram is a 5 pointed star with a circle around it. It symbolizes all 5 elements.
Salt cleanses and protects energy.
A wand channels and directs energy. It is used to cast spells, circles, and crystal grids. Wands can also be used in energy and chakra healing.
Create a travel altar! Find a beautiful case (eg. makeup or pencil case) and fill it with your alta
must-haves. It will be easy to take out and clean up as you travel around!
Cleanse your altar and sacred objects with dried herbs each time you use it. Set your intentions as you smudge.
Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist or medical Doctor. This ritual + wellness advice does not replace the advice of trained medical professionals. Please seek a qualified Doctor when needed.