As a witch develops their connection to their inner strength and natural gifts, eventually they will find themselves wanting a place in which to work their magic. Some prefer to go out into the woods, or to a beach, or to a circle of stones. Some prefer a table surface indoors for more privacy. In truth, the entire world is an altar for those who are consciously connected. But even those of us who are very aware of this often prefer a specific place in which to meditate, work spells, create potions, read tarot cards etc. For this we create an altar. I have often said that an altar is used to alter our perspectives and conscious awareness. Many people misspell the word, and I think that this may be because on some unconscious level they are recognizing that they are being altered when they are working at an altar.
An indoor altar can be any number of things. Some prefer it to be as simple as possible, so a clear table top will do. Some prefer to have it quite elaborate, so you will find all sorts of tools, candles, crystals, athames powders and potions and so on on their altar. Some like their altar to look rich and luscious. So various color schemes will be chosen in order to bring that energy alive.
I have worked with altars as simple as a circle of stones and as elaborate as something that looks like it comes out of a church. I am rather eclectic that way. I also have various altars in my sacred space. One is dedicated to nature, with plant kingdom representatives. One is dedicated to Ancestral Spirits, with skulls and photos of ancestors and such. One is my healing altar. This is the one I use when performing energy healing, meditation, tarot readings, prayer, and so on. This is the one that I will tell you most about.
One of the first things people will notice is that I have an idol as the focal point of my altar. Understand that this does not represent any god or deity as far as I am concerned. It represents my own Higher Consciousness. So if I am connecting with this idol, I am actually just connecting to a more wise and knowledgeable part of myself. Behind the idol is a mass of green vine, giving a nod to the Great Earth Mother. Amongst the vine are fairy lights, which acknowledge the caretakers of our Sacred Earth. To one side of the idol is a candle, representing Spirit and the element of Fire. In front of that is a bowl of water, representing that element as well as the aspects of the emotions and the soul. In front of the idol is the censer, representing the element of Air, but also the aspect of communication with Spirit through conversation, meditation, prayer and so on. To the right of that is a River Rock, representing the element of Earth, but recognizing that earth can be molded and shaped by water. Behind that River Rock is a stand for my Crystal Ball, representing our psychic connection to all that is throughout the Dream Weave. There is also a smudge feather combination of White Swan and Raven, honoring my connection to the Spirit of these two beings. There is a turtle form, honoring Turtle Island and, in fact, the entire planet. There is a rattle which is used to move energy. To the left of the water you will find a wand, an athame and a pipe, each with their own purposes in my healing practice. As you can see, there are also tarot cards and oracle cards laid out, which I do every day to give me outside persepective on things that I may need to consider through the day. To the left and right of the idol you will find two crystal balls in skull stands. The blue represents the divine feminine and the red the divine masculine. The blue one is dear to me as it belonged to my late sister. The red one was a gift from a good friend. Above the idol is a pentacle representing the doorway between realities. Up and to the left is a lantern which I light in honor of the divine feminine and to the right is a lantern that I light in honor of the divine masculine. Although the staffs are not technically a part of the altar, I decided I would mention them because they are in the photo. These have artificial skulls on the ends, one human and another goat. The skull represents the containment field of the pituitary and pineal glands which correspond with the Third Eye chakra and the Crown Chakra. The Goat has often been associated with witchcraft through the centuries, but not because it is connected in any way to “The Devil.” The association actually stems from something very simple. While men were out battling in wars or working the fields, women were taking care of the livestock. So the goat became associated with women, and later women were associated with whitchcrat. Funny how that is, considering that there are so many male witches as well!
On the face of the altar I do have magnetic decals and such, each representing certain things with which I resonate. And on the shelf below are simply supplies for the altar. When in full “ON” mode, the altar takes on an energy that is impressive. This altar is more elaborate that what I have been known to create in the past. But, like the changing season, this may last a while or it may be fleeting. I look at an altar as a sentient being, and as such it communicates to me what it needs to do its work to the best level possible. And, like the changing seasons, there are often changes in honor of those seasons, which is completely encouraged. After all, time does not just stand still.
I encourage you as mystics, healers, witches, shamans, medicine people and holy people, to find what works for you for your personal altars. After all, they do provide us a place in which to focus our minds and our skills!