Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Creating an Altar

Altars are as unique as a person is. They reflect our spirituality, personality and mental state. It can become our sacred space where we leave the mundane behind to create something magical. But it also is an important place of worship for our Gods as well as our Ancestors.

So how to create one? Like I stated before, altars are very individual but here are several common features of modern Pagan ones:

- Figurines or Art- representations your patron deities, ancestors, etc.
- Spell Book or Spiritual Journal- other names depending on your path are: Book of Shadows, Grimoires, etc.
-  Elemental Representations: like Candles (for fire), Feathers (for air), Shells (for water), Soil (for earth).
- Wand- this can be made of anything, mine for instance is made of a long white antler tip with a quartz on the end. The point is that the wand is used to focus and channel your energy.
-Crystals- these are used in spell work by enhancing it; giving your energy a boost or grounding yourself.
-Divination tools-  such as: Tarot cards, scrying bowls, crystal ball, scrying mirror, ogham staves, runes, rods,  pendulums, etc.
-A Small Cauldron- great for spell work of all types where you need to burn things. Also it can be used as a scrying bowl.
-Chalice or Drinking Horn-  used symbolically or ritualistically, used to toast to the Gods etc.
-Incense or smudge stick- Used to cleanse/ purify your sacred space. Incense can also be used as a divination tool or aid.
-Offerings-  this can include anything you deem to be fit to give your deities. I happen to use different herbs as my offerings, but you can use food products, handmade gifts etc.
-Altar Cloth- a great item to liven up your altar, which also can have practical uses.

Now where in the world are you going to find this stuff- especially when your'e on a budget? A lot of the items on your altar you'll find are handmade by yourself- like your spell books/ journals, wands, offerings, and some divination tools. But what about Cauldrons? Chalices? Altar Cloths, etc? Well, a lot of the things I mentioned can be found out Garage sales. I have found sooo much stuff while out and about that work as great ritual items! Also check thrift stores and consignment shops,  a local shop of mine that sells mostly consignment clothing has some home items and I found a great mortar and pestle there! Check GoodWill as well,  I have found dozens upon dozens of cauldrons there. The one I currently use is actually from there! As for an altar cloth, you can use scarves or tapestries!
Next, CHECK YOUR PARENTS KITCHEN. You would not believe the stuff that you'll find there, like old glass goblets that can be used as a ritual item. Also you can find great small offering plates! All of which were tucked away in the back of a cabinet. Just don't forget to ask if you can have them!

But, hey, what if your thinking: "I want an altar, but I'm still in the broom closet!!! What should I do????GAHHH!"
Well here is what you can do, as much as it is a hassle to do, you can get a large old wooden travel trunk to hold all your altar supplies. Then, when you need to do a ritual or just meditate you can set it all up on the top of the trunk like a table. When you are finished, just place the items back inside and slide the trunk under your bed. Another option is that you can set up a small altar in the corner of your closet. This way it is out of sight, but you can still have it permanently set up.

So I hoped I helped some, and if there is something that I missed that you would like me to address, leave me a comment below!

Bright Blessings,

P.S. The picture above is a photo of  my own Altar! :D


  1. So true about finding items for your altar while thrifting! That's where about 95% of my stuff is from. Goodwill is great for glass goblets and candle holders. I always feel like things like that make an altar more special.
    Saving money is nice, too haha

  2. Brittany, I just wanted you to know that I have just nominated you for a “Very Inspiring Blogger Award.” I enjoy your blog so much and I hope that you accept this award in the spirit in which it was intended! So, here are the rules should wish to accept this award: Display the award logo on your blog, Link back to the person who nominated you, State 7 things about yourself, Nominate 15 others for this award and link to them, Notify those bloggers of the nominations and the award's requirements.

    Love and Light,

  3. Dear Brittany,
    I love this post. Can you elaborate on your beautiful "Book of Shadows" shown on your Alter. The aged cover, the type of paper you use? Can we remove or add pages? I am a very new person to this, though have been interested since childhood.
    Thank you for your help and the lovely article.
    Love and Light to you.

  4. @Desi Simm The book is made from completely all natural recycled paper, unfortunately since the paper is bound, it can't be removed from the book. If you ever wanted to make your own book, definitely check out Book Binding tutorials! As for the aging process, typically I paint the pages but you can also burn the edges!
    Bright Blessings,

  5. I really liked this post, and this whole page as well. I always see blog posts about Wiccan stuff, but never how to actually make many those things in any detail, such as the wand post you have which I thought was great! My altar was done on the cheap. Like, super cheap. I have no money for figurines. I printed some beautiful art work to rep the god/dess and put them in dollar store picture frames. Took up less space on the altar, so win/win. I used small glass cups, filled with pebbles from my backyard, and dollar store taper candles. Voila, candle holders for the god/dess candles. My reps for the elements are a couple shells, a small bowl with acorns a friend picked from the ground, my incense burner, and a cheap feather quill pen I was gifted once upon a time. The most expensive item is the fancy chalice I bought for $20 as a gift to myself. And one of my mentors' altar is so discreet, for years I had no idea that's what it was. My group of friends are into renaissance fairs and fantasy genres, so we all have some "weird stuff" around our homes. She had a huge array of fun oddities on top of her dresser, so I thought it was just a bunch of knickknacks on display. Nope, it was an altar! So discreet. If you're in the broom closet, that could be a way to go to have an altar out in the open, but hidden in plain sight. If you're like us, get a fancy goblet, some crystals, a weird looking stick or something as a wand, and people will probably just think it's decoration. If you have pentagrams or other obviously occult-like items, those can be in a small locked jewelry box behind some books or tucked away in a drawer that you can take out when needed. So anyway, as you can see, it's so easy to make an altar on a budget or a secret altar. My cauldron was a gift as well, but it's really an old cast iron pot.