Dear Reader: Welcome back! Another installment of your magickal newsletter has finally arrived. I am excited to be be back ready for another year of magickal blogging. Spring is here, Earth is awakening from the long Winter slumber, and that energy that permeates through the soil and plants seems to transfer to us humans as well. We feel the urge to purge home and selves of negative and stale energy collected throughout the Winter season.
I have several topics already lined up for the weeks to come, I think the following topic is a good one to kick-start this year’s blog. Let us begin!
The subject for this week’s post is Altars. Their uses and how to enhance, or set up one for spiritual work.
Altars have been in use since the early civilizations. Although it has been suggested that they go as far back as the Paleolithic Age, there is no actual sustained evidence as to this. But! It is from Paleolithic Age that, the connection to our ancestors to help in daily life, which was survival and hunting for them, had its beginning. From there further along our human history, other cultures began to make the connection between ancestor worship and setting up “special” places (altars) to connect directly to their essence.
Fast forward to the modern times, and the idea of altars in the home has been infused into our “subconscious collective” to the point that without conscious thought, we create little islands of special knickknacks, pictures etc. around ourselves.
For example, a wall in your home, which is dedicated to family pictures, is an outward need to honor those who are part of our blood “tribe.” It is a way of expressing the love we have for them, whether they are alive or not. Far away or nearby. This, we may do unconsciously. Without a thought that what we are doing, is honoring our roots, our family.
Knowing that there is intent behind the action, brings a different layer to those special places in the home we choose to set up as an altar. There is no set or fast rule as to how many altars we should have. After all, spiritual needs vary, we are not only confined to let’s say an altar for love matters. We can have a different one in several corners of our home. Or just have a general one. Which we change according to the magickal work. We can even set up altars according to the compass points and follow the Feng Shui school of thought.
We can also have seasonal altars. Changing the theme to suit the current seasonal months. The creative has no limits really. It is up to us, to figure out, what is it we want to accomplish by setting up an altar. So, taking this into account, what are the themes and items utilized for setting up an altar?
A general list of items:
- Statues or pictures of a deity or representation of Goddess/God, etc. In the case of let’s say, a representation of the Goddess, small knickknacks of butterflies, fresh flowers, or a picture that to you represents Her energy for example.
- Candles. Candle holders.
- Incense holder, for when you burn your incense. Or incense sticks all ready for next time you activate the altar’s energies.
- Water in a pretty cup, which is only used for the purpose of a blessing extension of your altar.
- Crystal/Tumbled stones either in groups on small plates or one per each corner of the altar.
- What I call a “request” vehicle. This can be a plate, a bowl, even a pretty planter which its used for petition papers or small items that might be found on walks. Like small feathers, sticks, leaves, stones etc.
- You can choose to have a bare surface or place an altar cloth. Altar cloths can be made if you are crafty, washed with blessing herbs (by hand is better the first time if you are using herbs). Then after drying, you could iron it, spray with a blessing blend before its placed on the altar. Or you can just buy something that calls your whimsy and still go through the same blessings process.
- Also, items that hold a special significance for you. This varies from person to person. Go with what feels right in your heart.
- Flowers. Fresh flowers are best. You do not have to have flowers each day of the week, but whenever you can, or when working your magick! It is not necessary to break the bank to accomplish this part. Flowers from your garden, no matter how small. Even herbs that flower, like for example Lavender or Basil, Rosemary etc. Or from the supermarket. You can find low prices for a small bunch of pretty flowers.
As I mentioned before, you can make it seasonal and add items that represent the season, like seashells for the summer season or leaves to represent Autumn. Or for example, it can be like the picture to your right, a one-time altar. A temporary Altar set-up which you will use for a special petition.
The following are a couple of examples of the altar setups:
The one below was provided by a lovely friend of mine. This is how her altar looks most of the time. She changes according to the season. In the example below, she wanted a representation of Spring, thus the ladybug teapot and the flower petals around her petition candle. As you see, through the items around the centerpiece, she reflects and engages her belief in the magick created in her special place.
This is a temporary garden altar I put up a couple of years back. It was used for a Summer solstice ritual. As a conduit of the magickal work for that specific day. It created a connection between the beginning work and the way I chose to close it. After several hours it was dismantled and brought it inside the home.
If you are into gardening and love all things nature, then an altar in a corner of your garden, can be constructed or set up an as a special place to connect more directly to mother Earth. It can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.
After all, altars, are a personal expression and extension of your spiritual life, practice, and creativity. Each unique and special. There are plenty more ideas which you can incorporate into it.
The above are only suggestions and basic tools for the setup.
The most important thing is that it is created with a deep understanding of your spiritual needs. Knowing that what you are creating is a connection to Goddess, Universe, etc. A place where you spark your whimsy, rest your worries, heal, and let your soul soar from a place rooted in love and belief.
I hope, that with this post I am leaving something, a little nugget of re-discovery. Something that engages your imagination. Which in turn will spark your personal passion and transform your quest of all magickal.
Thank you for being part of this magickal blog!
Until I write again,
Copyright© 2018-Witch’s Gazette-Magickal Newsletter
First Publication: 2014
A Flower Power House Publication.
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