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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 28,408,753  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 45

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Question of the Week: 37 - 4/16/2001

What's On Your Altar?

What is on your altar, disir stone, hearth or horg? What tools do you have and which ones-be honest!- do you actually USE? Does your altar/stone/hearth/horg change with the seasons or is it a permanent set-up? Is your altar/stone/hearth/ horg a meeting place or honoring place for the Old Ones/Ancestors/Gods/Goddesses or is it a place to work magick-or both? What does the altar, stone, hearth/horg mean or represent to YOU?

 Reponses:   There are 45 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

My Altar Is A Wonderful Collection Of Bits And Pieces. The Centre... Apr 15th. at 9:00:43 pm EDT

Riki Crosado (Christchurch, New Zealand) Age: 34 - Email

My Altar is a wonderful collection of bits and pieces. The centre is taken up by the pentical that I made a couple of years ago. (I am very proud of my pentical.) The altar candles are black and white for full moon and dark moon rites, and for the sabbats I have gold and silver candles. Beside the candles are the diety figures, Both are very plain, and simple. (just the way I like it.) On the left side of the altar are the following tools, cencer, salt dish and white handled knife. (When I get one that I like.) On the right side are the following tools, chalice, bowl of water and athames. On the ground in front of the altar is the sword. Other items sometimes find themselfs on the altar, on the different sabbats. Like the horned helmet, cords, cakes, fruit and wands. My altar is a growing altar, and it will always be a growing altar...

Merry Meet! I'm Fortunate Enough To Have A Permanent Altar Situated In... Apr 15th. at 10:04:05 pm EDT

Dag MacLugh (Mentone, California US) Age: 61 - Email

Merry Meet!

I'm fortunate enough to have a permanent altar situated in my garage. I've modified a former drafting table by carving a pentacle in its center (the protecive circle has runes at the cardinal directions). From floor to ceiling on the wall behind the altar, I've glued a collage from photos from the National Geographic: sea scenes on the bottom, people directly over the altar, and the universe above. Beside the usual candals and incense holder, at the left rear is a large flat stone on which I've painted the Venus of Wollendorf; aat the right rear is an upright phallic shaped stone. Directly behind the altar proper is "Yggdrasil", a small brass tree with spangly leaves. To the left of the altar is propped a besom; to the right, a magnificent 6' tall stong (staff)that I found in a creek bed, and simply stained. Above and behind the altar is a large pentagram fashioned from weathered fence posts.

Other than my candles and incense, I generally use only my stong for "circling" (and then, only on Sabbats). My altar principally serves me as a focus for prayer. Increasingly, I find I'm substiting concentration for ritual; paradoxically, the more elaborate my altar becomes, the simpler are my rituals--and tools.

Blessed Be,

Dag MacLugh

My Altar Is A Field. I Don't Use Artifices Like Tables And... Apr 15th. at 11:27:50 pm EDT

9;2;2 (Derby, Kansas US) Age: 16 - Email

My altar is a field. I don't use artifices like tables and the like. Well, okay so I have a branch staff, but that's besides the point :) My "altar" is a grassy plain, a tiny opening in a forest, the coast of a lake or pond, even a space locked away in my home. The only tool I have is a wooden staff, and I use it to carry herbs about in a pouch. I rarely use my staff to channel. But, I basically perform honoring rites, and sometimes a magickal working or two. But I do more honorary rites than workings.

The altar to me is a place I go to honor the Gods and Goddesses, to honor those who have slipped into the Land of Eternal Summer, or to simply play a few tunes on my ocarina during a Sabbat. No fancy candles, no flowing, billowy altar covers (I use only a towel to sit on), no pretty knives (though they're nice), no special-effects wands or other stuff...

...just me, the Gods, and the Earth - and that's what makes it *REAL*.

My Altar Is A Permanent Set Up. I Have A Statue Of... Apr 16th. at 3:40:54 am EDT

Autumn SilverFerret (Montoursville, Pennsylvania US) Age: 22 - Email

My altar is a permanent set up. I have a statue of the goddess in the center of it. A box with my prayer beads in it ( my own creation ;) ), my tambourine, a small white candle, censer, and my wand at the back. It's cover with a purple scarf with multi-colored flowers on it. I use it to honor diety. I have another altar which is very plain. It's one I made with some help ;) It's low to the ground, painted black with a single candle on it. This altar I use for meditation and such. I also have a stang which was given to me as a gift from one of my good friends. She made it for me. I decorated it with different sized and different colored beads and a tiny bell at the crook. I use it as focal point for outdoor prayer and such.

Love and Blessings All!


A Bookshelf Houses My Altar (no Great Surprise Right?) On Top Is... Apr 16th. at 7:45:32 am EDT

Trish Telesco (western, New York US) Age: 40 - Email

A bookshelf houses my altar (no great surprise right?) On top is a small potted violet, a hand potted cup, a hand made stone knife, a labradorite cat figurine, a jade totem pole, a bronze image of Vishnu, sopestone jar of incense, a rose quartz crystal ball, an oil lamp and a large piece of aragonite. As for using them? LoL not fair! You caught me - this is almost like my treasure box. Many of these items were gifts and I just enjoy looking at them. I really don't use many tools in my spells and rituals, and seeing them generates happiness from the thought behind each.

My Altar Was A Small Tv/vcr Cabinet In A Former Incarnation... Apr 16th. at 8:35:12 am EDT

WyndeHawke (Fredericksburg, Virginia US) Age: 31

My altar was a small TV/VCR cabinet in a former incarnation. My altar is set up on top and the cabinet underneath provides ample storage for my books and other supplies. It's set up in the corner of my bedroom and most of the items on it are there all the time. Permanent "fixtures" include a number of brass and wrought iron candle holders of various design and from all over the world. My pewter chalice is currently holding a couple of Ostara eggs, as well as my immran (Celtic prayer beads). An incense holder presently houses an Irish punt coin (it has a picture of a stag on one side). Other items include a deer antler, my ancestors bundle, a braid of sweetgrass, A fan made from blue jay feathers, and several altar stones with words carved into them ("Goddess", "L'chaim", "Dreams", and "Spirituality"). Underneath it all is a sarong printed with Celtic designs.

Of all of these, I use the feather fan, the chalice, the beads, and one of the candles the most. Some items are seasonal, like the Ostara eggs currently decorating the top. Fall foliage decorates the top around Samhuinn. I have what I consider to be a "portable" altar as well (good for camping trips), which is a basket with various stones, feathers, shells, a smudge stick, small candle and an altar cloth I hand quilted.

My whole bedroom winds up being a meeting place for the Spirits, especially after doing a ritual - I usually have powerful dreams that night. My altar is a physical manifestation of my spirituality and as I grow and continue along my path, items come and go.

Howdy Do! Well, I Have Two Altars In My Home, And One... Apr 16th. at 10:46:11 am EDT

Heidi the smith (stump city , Oregon US) Age: 35

Howdy do!

Well, I have two altars in my home, and one in the garden, that is under construction.
My path is ancestral, Celtic, Slavic and Germanic, so I honro the deities of these paths.
The first altar is in the kitchen, and it is dedicated to my Matrone, or Disir if you will. My female ancestors.

I sculpted an image of three seated women, each one represents the three strains of ancestors I know of in my family. Celtic, Slavic and Germanic.
One the firstis a warrior woman, a Celt. The middle is a mature woman, a Ukrainian, the last is a Germanic woman. They are made so I can place offerings in their arms or laps. Not very tall, only 10 inches.

I surround them with flowers, shells, rocks I take an interest in, glasses of mead or ale, they also get tea and coffee. Candles too, and whatever bread or food offering from the feast.

The second altar is to the Vanic Gods. Freya and Frey, and also Thor. It is also used by husband, and he has donated a large, heavy wood and steel table for the altar itself. It is covered with a deep red cloth, the Germanic and Slavic color of life and vitality, in the center sits a wild boars skull.
The skull was found on my friends California property, a mountain lioness had eaten the boar, and left her dinner bones about. He brought it to me as a gift.
It is festooned with strings of amber. There are antlers from a buck that I found while walkng in the woods on my birthday, I had asked Frey for antlers as a token of His might. Best birthday present ever!
Two iron candle sticks my mate gave to me that he forged.
Chunks of red ocher, amber, a bronze torc, my drinking horn made of blown glass, and other small items found in nature.

This altar is where we hold our blots, or offering rituals, to the Gods, where i sit to meditate and talk to Freya, and where the cats like to sit and look out the window. They are Her little minions, so who amI to tell them to scoot?

Behind the altar stands a large oak tree branch, it is a stang with two branches, or prongs, and third in the middle carved to look, well phallic. It is Freys stang, and has antlers on it, hair from two stallions tails, one clipped from a living stallion ( a buddy of mine), one the old fiddle bow strings of a friend. There are also charms and other magical geegaws hanging from it. Bells, May day ribbons, a horse shoe..

The outdoor altar is a horg, of large river rocks. we are stil arranging them, so we have not started using it for blots and ritual yet. But soon!

Have a grand Beltain all!
heidi the smith

As An Asatru Gothi, My Personal Altar Is Set Up With A... Apr 16th. at 11:02:48 am EDT

Edred Wodener (Roseville, California US) Age: 35 - Email

As an Asatru gothi, my personal altar is set up with a Wooden Blot Bowl, Thor's Hammer, candles, A Set of Runes made of Ash, a Drinking Horn made from a Bull's horn, and various candles, I am currently looking for an oath ring. My personal altar doesn't change except for an image of the god or goddess that I am honoring and the tree sprig that goes with them, usually pine and I use all of my tools. I use my altar for personal honoring of the gods and I use it for performing magic. My altar is my daily reminder of my ties with the gods and my troth to the Aesir and Vanir.

My wife and I lead a group of men and women of various traditions and have a pernament altar set up outside in our circle, the actual altar tools change, depending on the circumstance, the reason for the ritual, and who is leading the ceremony. This altar is also used for honoring and shamanic magic work.

Both of my altars remind me of my ties with the gods, my outside altar s also a representation of the family that our group has become and our ties that have grown through the year that we've been practicing. We call it our altar of kirth and kin.

My Main Altar Is Set Up And Taken Down For Rituals, As... Apr 16th. at 11:15:30 am EDT

Marea (Niagara Falls, Ontario CA) Age: 30 - Email

My main altar is set up and taken down for rituals, as I have two cats who would tear it apart if left to their own devices. Most of the items which are used during ritual however are carefully stored on my elemental altars which remain up constantly. There are four of course, one for each of the elements. Each altar is draped with the appropriate color and holds the representation of that element as it is used in ritual, as well as the corresponding tool and ace card in tarot. Each altar also has an appropriately colored candle and some additional items which reflect that element's character:

Air: A beautiful bird's nest found dislodged from a tree - with two robin's eggs which miraculously survived the fall, feathers found on walking trips, spring flowers, jewelry of birds, feathers, pegasus, etc.

Fire: Gold jewelry, including my and my husband's engagement rings from our youth, a bottle of well-aged chili oil, charcoal and ashes from various special fires

Water: A constantly filled bowl of water, plenty of shells, my scrying crystal, lots of silver and abalone jewelry, esp. turtles, fish, and starfish. I intend to replace the bowl of water with a small fountain, eventually.

Earth: A box of rock salt, stones of various importance including one from Pompeii and another from the Berlin Wall, barks and branches of various importance, three sprigs of wheat for the Mother, and my beloved oak leaf earrings ;)

I occasionally add and subtract items as the spirit moves me, and have plans to eventually make each altar more interactive and animated, with living plants and animals, as well as a permanent central altar - but that's for someday when I have a temple room with a door and much more space.

I Have A Slightly Odd Altar. It Lives In My Bedroom. (i... Apr 16th. at 1:32:46 pm EDT

Jenett Silver (St. Paul, Minnesota US) Age: 25 - Email

I have a slightly odd altar. It lives in my bedroom. (I have a one bedroom apartment)

It's on two plastic-board shelves (they're about 3 feet high or so, and are pushed together. The total surface area is about 1' by 1' by 2' or so. One has open shelves, where some of my Pagan/Wiccan/magic books are, the other has drawers (and rather prosaically holds my underwear and socks and such)

It's against the north wall, mostly because that's the place that had a convenient nook for the shelves and no baseboard heater.

On the east side, I have a candleholder which was a gift from a friend, with a plain white taper in it (the candleholder is Egyptian in style, but nothing even vaguely authentic - turquoise color and with assorted figures and heiroglyphs). That represents the light of knowledge and intellect. To the south I have a very small knife blade (it stays sheathed when not in use. I have a cat) to represent action. To the west, an electric pump fountain with ledges covered in sea glass and a few rocks for contemplation and meditation. Finally, there's a leather mask (acquired at the local Ren Fest) which is for mystery and the ideas of levels of depth at the north.

I usually have a few specific stones there (for use in charging if I want to use same) and an occaisional small candle or two for illumination. I keep lighters, a spare old candle to light the other ones with (so I don't need to singe my fingers trying to light the candles in glass jars) and a candle snuffer on the first shelf of the bookshelf side. I keep at least one of my Tarot decks nearby, usually on the floor next to the shelves, and a notebook and pen for any notes.

I don't use incense (this is my bedroom, and I'm sufficiently asthmatic that I don't want to risk causing problems in the place I sleep), nor do I use anyhting to represent the God or Goddess on my altar. Behind it, now, I have three pictures cut from the book of collected cover art for the Neil Gaiman _Sandman_ series (they all have green leaves as part of their design) and I have a just-acquired necklace (beautiful cobalt blue glass and amber pieces) hanging on a hook between two of the pictures.

The overall effect is quite simple but effective, and everything *feels* like it's in the right place to me, even though the candle in the east isn't very conventional, nor is the lack of a direct representation for three of the elements (rather, there are indirect ones).

I don't use tools much in my magical or ritual workings (the knife, for example, rarely gets actually picked up) and what I've been doing recently is libations of some kind (the cups and bowl for that usually live in the kitchen, though) so everything is more meditative than anything practical.

Right Now My Cats Are Maintaining The Altar. I Put Some Statues... Apr 16th. at 1:56:18 pm EDT

Darcie (Lawrence, Kansas US) Age: 40 - Email

Right now my cats are maintaining the altar. I put some statues of Bast on it, which they periodically rearrange, but never knock over. Sometimes they sit on the altar in perfect Bast pose, blending in with the statues. A few photos of this found their way into my Yule cards last year.

I Used To Use The Top Of My Bedroom Chest Of Drawers... Apr 16th. at 3:39:06 pm EDT

Jane Spacebat (Edinburgh, Scotland UK) Age: 20 - Email

I used to use the top of my bedroom chest of drawers as an altar. I used my mum's tea towels as altar cloths, and I changed them with the seasons. I always put them back in her kitchen afterwards. Now I have most of the stones etc on my mantel piece, because I live in my own flat now, and there's not enough space for the chest here. So I went looking for a smaller altar of some sort. And last night I found the perfect thing: a circle out of a tree trunk that someone had thrown out. Unfortunately the bark fell off when I lifted it, so I plan to sand it a wee bit and then wax the wood, so it doesn't rot. It's small, but the right size to put an offering bowl on and a candle to meditate. I might even add my element symbols: a Whitby ammonite for earth, a red candle I made for fire, a stone sculpture of a bird for air and a dried seahorse for water ( well I don't want to permanently risk the seahorse- I live with a Scottish wildcat). I think its too small for my pride and joy- a pair of copper candlesticks in the shape of cobras, which my dad bought me in an antique shpe. I just want this altar to be a focal point, like my old one was. If I can find a small, cat-proof plant, I'll add that too. Until then all my plants can act as little altars... I also saw a nice Goddess picture today, that I need to buy
(I think it was meant to be the biblical Eve, but who cares?) I plan to treat the wood and then sew a black velvet cloth, but I'm not sure how to use it. My current Goddess representation is a stone with a hole in it that a friend gave me; my God is a humongous trilobite that just looks God-like. Basically, my altar will accumulate fossils and other cool things I can find, but I think most of them will live on the mantle- I have a puppy tooth from my dog, and the collar of my cat who was killed by a car.

Blessed Be,
Jane Spacebat

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