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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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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.
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| Not Only Do I Have A ŌmainÕ Altar In My Bedroom; I... ||Apr 19th. at 10:30:50 am EDT|
|Sunfell (Little Rock, Arkansas US) ||Age: 40 |
Not only do I have a ŌmainÕ altar in my bedroom; I have mini-altars on top of my computer monitors both at home and at work.
My main altar is a lovely old cherry armoire that I purchased while stationed in England. It is laid out in a blend of the Rosicrucian and Wiccan styles, with silk flowers that are changed at the equinoxes and solstices, candles, and the incense altar. Incense is burned daily. The armoire has a lovely oval mirror and side shelves that hold my statues of Bast and Horus, and my various crystals, feathers, sacred jewelry and other goodies. The drawers and cabinets contain my tools, candles, incense, tobacco and cornmeal (for Native American workings), and divination and circle items. The sword from my now-disbanded military coven (Runehaven) is parked underneath, awaiting rededication should I ever start another group.
My monitor at home has several interesting crystals on it, a bronze statue of Bast given to me by a friend who is now in the Summerlands, and a colorful titanium Ankh blu-tacked to the upper center of the bezel. My work monitor is a little less blatant, but still contains a couple of small crystals, a stone from the Between the Worlds stellium I attended last year in Delaware, a Beanie Baby tiger (a guardian) and a blue jay feather I found on the grounds of my workplace. A silver and lapis Ankh is blu-tacked to the center of the bezel, and a tarot card of the Rider-Waite High Priestess with a laptop in her lap graces the side. I get a lot of Christian visitors back here, but no one has said a thing about my monitor shrine. I guess they think the Ankh is a cross.
One can never have too many altars- I have my main one, but the mini-shrines and foci are also important. My east facing kitchen window is a small shrine to the plants in my life, and the top of my TV is a minor focus point when I am in there. It holds my Goebel panther and a pair of candles. This panther isnÕt snarling, instead, it has a serene look in its face, and the mouth is closed. A minor incense altar sits on top of one of my Klipsch speakers and a serene sculpture of Mr. Spock meditating sits on top of the other.
I take care of my altar by dusting it down every month, emptying the incense ash bowl, and polishing the brass tray that the incense burner sits in. Eventually, I would like to have different silk flowers for each month, when my budget permits. I will need to do the research to find out which ones bloom in which month. My altars are always changing, depending on what work I have going. IÕve done stuff like charging water, jewelry and crystals there, and IÕve parked the motherboard of the new computer I am building underneath it to give it a special charge. Since I consider the computer a magickal tool on par with the athame and wand, making sure its parts are properly aligned for the future work I will be doing with it makes sense. Perhaps in the future, IÕll have a workbench altar- it couldnÕt hurt!
| My Altars Always Seem To Be Set Up On Top Of Bookcases... ||Apr 19th. at 12:30:59 pm EDT|
|Rhiannon Hawkwing (Hartford, Connecticut US) ||Age: 42 |
My altars always seem to be set up on top of bookcases oriented to the directions of east and/or north. This is likely due to working mostly with dieties associated with the cardinal direction of East and its attributes. As for tools, my athame is always there, along with a pentacle tile, 2 bowls, a white candle, a dragon-shaped bell, Florida Water, and a Goddess figure. The Goddess figure and candle colors change with the season or celebration. Any other additions are also holiday-dependent. The altar is dual-purpose; I worship there and work magic there. The altar is a focus for energy needed for the rask at hand. Therefore, any space with a symbolic focus may serve as my altar when needed.
| Weeeellll.....my Altar Is A Celtic Reconstructionist Altar, So It Is A... ||Apr 19th. at 1:20:33 pm EDT|
|Aedh Rua (Prophetstown, Illinois US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
Weeeellll.....my altar is a Celtic Reconstructionist altar, so it is a little different, though not too much. Let's see. My altar faces East. On the East side is any one of several JDL deity images which I own, flanked by a pair of candles. These are all images of various Celtic deities, both Continental and Irish, for reasons too complex to go into right now.
Just to the west of the deity image, but still in the East of the altar, is a chalice. Chalice??? Some of you are no doubt gasping in horror. In the East??? Yes, that't right, in the East. The East, in ancient Irish symbology, is the direction of "blath", or prosperity, symbolized by the Cauldron of the Dagda, of which the chalice is the symbol.
In the Southern quarter of my altar is a chain of silver bells. This is the Druid's Chain, a symbol of the Otherworld. It is in the South because in the same ancient Irish system, the South is the direction of "seis", or music, and has Otherworld connections.
To the West is a hand-carved wooden spear which was given to me by a man at this last year's Sacred Harvest Festival, in southern Minnesota. It is a very treasured gift, and is the symbol of "fios", or wisdom, in the same Irish system.
Just to the east of the spear, but still to the West of the center of the altar, is an incense burner. This is placed there for regular offerings, and is merely located where convenient.
In the Northern quarter of my altar is my scian, or athame. The North is the direction of "cath", or battle, the real symbol of which is the sword. The scian is a stand in for my sword, which looks better on my wall.
In the center of my altar is a large pillar candle. This is a symbolic "tenlach", or hearth. Near it, and somewhat off center is a
fist-sized stone. This is the symbol of the "lia fail", or Stone of Fal, which is sacred to "flaitheas", or sovereignty, the quality associated with the Center. Eventually, I want to get a symbolic bile, or world pillar/world tree. This will also go on the center of the altar.
Also, my altar has a green cloth. I suppose this symbolizes the Earth beneath us, though it also just looks good, and has a nice feel. This altar, by the way, is located in my bedroom, and is always out. Though I am not very public about my religion, I do feel the need to remind myself of my beliefs and values through symbolism in my own private space.
| On My Altar I Have The Basic Tools Of Working. Candles, Incense... ||Apr 19th. at 4:32:25 pm EDT|
|Selene (St. Augustine Bch, Florida US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
On my altar I have the basic tools of working. Candles, incense, salt, and water. But I also keep several items of importance to me to harmonize myself and lend me power. I have a set of five stones that I keep in a clear plastic box. One stone in each of the four compartments (the elements) and the fifth sits on the top (spirit). Also, since fire is my element, I keep an old candle holder on my alter where I keep a lump of wax from every candle I have completely burned away. Candles hold a great amount of power and these little bits of wax give great energy. I also keep a small box that holds a few odds and ends. So far there are several beads, a rose petal, a bracelet and a ticket stub. The the special thing about this box is that everything in it has something to do with my fiance. Keeping it on my altar lets me see it when I am working my magic and always puts a smile on my face. I also like to keep a small plant on my altar. Any plant that is let to sit on an altar grows very healthy and the one I have now is springing up quicker than the plant I cut it from.
But my favorite and most special thing is a dried rose that my fiance gave me last November. I keep it on my altar as decoration and sometimes use it as a wand in magical workings.
The most important thing to have with an altar though is personality and individualism. It's not what you have on it, it's what those things mean to you.
| Hello From Almost As Far South As You Can Get Without Living... ||Apr 19th. at 6:49:09 pm EDT|
|Annwyn (Christchurch, New Zealand) ||Age: 30 - Email |
Hello from almost as far South as you can get without living in Antarctica!
Well, as a broom-closetted pagan still living at home with her Mum (I'm also a full-time student, so it's keeping costs down...Goddess Bless all Mothers!)
my altar is something of a "quick, set it up and celebrate" situation. I'm also something of a (wait for it, a label!) Eclectic/Pre-Gardnerian/Celtic/Egyptian/Kitchen Solitary, so all things are possible!
I tend to use the dining room table (I know, there's a bunch of you all going 'shock, horror'!) with a cloth coloured appropriately for the celebration. The table is a large oval shape, so forgive me if things seem placed a little oddly! The table is placed in the North corner of an Easterly facing room, and the early autumn sunlight is streaming onto it as I write this...(drifts off into happy places)
Anyhoot, along the back of the table (the back is the long side that faces East) I place my Goddess and God candles; Goddess on my right (when facing the front) and God on the left.
Between those candles, goes my celebration candle, and the cakes/food offerings. That's the back row done.
Then, on the left, the incense burner, a chalice of water, a dish of rocksalt - or one of my pet rocks.
On the right, a chalice of juice/wine, my wand, athame, candlesnuffer and lighter/matches.
**Just a point here, there is usually a fire extinguisher/bucket of water under the table in case Loki decides to pay a visit and something becomes a burning offering...which he has done, with sometimes frightening effect. "Zoiks! Quick, the bucket!" LOL**
In the centre of the table (directly in front of the celebration candle and the foodie) goes my Spirit/Me candle, and the terracotta pentacle.
My BOS (which is a large lever-arch folder) tends to find itself relgated to a nearby chair, with the appropriate pages on the front centre of the altar.
Because I celebrate mainly during the day (for broom-closet reasons only) I don't use illuminator candles, but there are often four quarter tealights around the circle.
Well, that's mine for this time. In time, when I finish getting an 'eddycayshun' and re-enter the working world, I will get my own home, and then, oh boy oh boy, a full-time altar will appear! I look forward to that time, and with interest to see how I set it up then...
| I Used To Have A Specific Space Set Aside In My Bedroom... ||Apr 20th. at 12:18:38 am EDT|
|Megara (Jxn, Michigan US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I used to have a specific space set aside in my bedroom for my altar. Two candles, a handful of eyecatching rocks, my Goddess image & chalice adorned it with whatever else I thought pretty. When I worked, I set it up on the floor. Currently, I don't have a set altar. Instead, I make my entire bedroom my altar. It's my own sacred space, & I scatter photos & personal pieces that would have otherwise been concentrated & crammed onto my altar. I can't really explain, but it makes sense to me. Basically because my old altar, though it represented a part of my life set aside for the Goddess, was for cluttering up with bills and clean clothes. By intergrating my "spiritual" things into my entire space, I've worked the Goddess into all aspects of my life, and not just a once a week, see you next Tuesday. If that makes any sense ...
| Gondar From 3 Rivers; I Have 3 And I'm Working On A... ||Apr 20th. at 12:37:22 am EDT|
|ed francis (St.Louis, Missouri US) ||Age: 50 - Email |
Gondar from 3 rivers; I have 3 and I'm working on a 4th altar. The first is my Personal altar, which represents my very best; my essential identity I have long worshipped Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom, Helmeted Warrior of Truth. She is on my altar. My Astrological Symbol, Gemini, is represented and a Affirmation of Love. I have a deep burgundy cast of a swarthy Gunga Din, my strong faithful companion, prince of the east. Pictures of my beloveds? Naturally. Lots of small things including a red laquered (round) heart box, with a clear glass top.
I have an ancestor altar across the room, which honors All Who Have Come Before Us. On a white cloth, representatives from the Black Apache and Black Crone. Baby Buddhas, a boy and a girl, to encourage reincarnation for those who wish to come back; and memorials, testimonials, to those who have died.
In the hall way, leading to my rooms, I have erected an Orisha/Santaria type of guardian altar which honors Esu/Eleggua, Ogun, Lord Chango, and others. Above this altar is a large 3 dimensional textile Vagina, Clitoris, and Vulva, in Gigantic Proportions!
Working on a new altar to honor a recent initiation and life change. Ganesha and Pele (& other Hawiian Diety) will be prominent!
| My Alter Is A Desk In My Room. On The Wall I... ||Apr 20th. at 2:07:21 am EDT|
|Nick (twin cities metro, Minnesota US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
My alter is a desk in my room. On the wall I have a black light poster of the Sun and Moon joined instead of a statues or candles to represent the God and Goddes. below that I have a cerramic dragon cause it looks cool. Though I don't have all my tools and I haven't used the ones that I do have yet I still keep them on my alter. the tools that I do have are my athame, my pentacle (melted wax in a putter dish), my challis(a wine glass I got at my Sr. prom), and a couple of incence burners. The rest changes from time to time. I like to keep little trinkets on it like an indian arrow head that I got when I was in Callifornia, little meatle pentagrams and crosses that broke off of neckalaces, or any rocks or feathers that may catch my attention. Soon I'm hoping to have a wand to take it's place with everything else.
Because I'm new to wicca, I don't really know much about magick and I won't do anything unless I feal I know enough about it not to do any damage, My alter is realy only used when I'm medditating.
My alter is a place where I can sit and relax and get away from everyday stress, where the onley things preasant are me, my lazzy boy recliner(Who says you can't worship in comfort?), the God and Goddess, and whatever my subconsious decides should come in with. The more I learn, The more my alter will evolve, but right now it does what I need it to do.
| My Alter Is Well Hidden In Plain Site. It Sits On One... ||Apr 20th. at 7:35:01 pm EDT|
|Rose WinterFlame (Baton Rouge, Louisiana US) ||Age: 37 - Email |
My alter is well hidden in plain site. It sits on one of my book shelves, and on either side of the shelf are 2 candles, one in a silver holder and one in a gold. My goddess statue is toward the back, and I have an interesting collection of stones, chrystals, and feathers that looks like my 3-year-old brought them in. Gee, could it be that he did? I put a flower in the front, and change it out when it starts to wilt. And even though its in plain sight, only if you are spacifically looking for it will you find it.
| My Altar Is Not Permanent For Certain Reasons. However, The "table" That... ||Apr 20th. at 8:00:42 pm EDT|
|Sage (Quito, Ecuador) ||Age: 18 |
My altar is not permanent for certain reasons. However, the "table" that I have it on does remain magickal looking even when it is not in use. I have a sea green scarf that I put on it, representing water.
My altar does change with the seasons, having different altar cloths for each occasion. For esbats, I have a silver one with moons embroidered on it. Currently, I am working on other altar cloths. My offering bowl is one that I made myself, and has horses and dolphins on it. As you can tell, water is a main "ingredient" to my altar.
As for tools, I have an incense burner, an oil burner, various crystals (depending on the season), a river stone with a pentacle painted on it, and one white and one black candle for my God and Goddess. Other tools, such as the circle rocks, athame, wand and cup are safely stashed away from sight. My altar essentially looks like a neat table with bits on it, especially when it's in use. I use it for esbats, sabbats and magick rites alike. I don't have much choice.
For me, the altar represents a place where I can relax. Though it is not in a clearing or near the sea, it is calm and away from the daily traffic that goes through my house.
| Our Family Altar Is An Antique Cabinet We Found In The Barn... ||Apr 21st. at 9:28:28 pm EDT|
|A.C. Fisher Aldag (Bangor, Michigan US) ||Age: 30 - Email |
Our family altar is an antique cabinet we found in the barn, shrouded by cobwebs and restored. Most of our altar tools are battered by long use, sticky from children's fingers, or tarnished and worn. Some items are glued back together from being dropped on the floor by "just learning" little hands. We are trying to get new stuff, as we have just established a new group, and hoped to start afresh; however, it's hard to retire anything that has served us like an old friend. The altar also has the kids' latest school pictures, whatever spell or ritual we are currently working on, artwork pertaining to the latest holiday, greeting cards that involve lots of construction paper, glue, and crayons, and some "fancy" things that nobody is allowed to touch -- it's just for lookin' at! The cloth covering the top is a very old embroidered table runner. The tools are carefully arranged to cover the moth holes. We used to have plants on the altar but the cats thought it was a salad bar. It is truly a family altar!
| I Am Fairly New To Witchcraft I Have Been Studying For About... ||Apr 22nd. at 6:22:03 pm EDT|
|Erica Mason (Detroit, Michigan US) ||Age: 14 - Email |
I am fairly new to witchcraft I have been studying for about 4 years.
Ijust have gotton my alter, before this I just simply used the floor.
Well, I use an old phone table from like the twenties or thirties. It
has a storage part too. Well i went to a local pagan shop, and bought
a lpurple cloth with gold pentagrams and crescent moons. I have an athame,
wand, pentacle, lots of candles, and i use all of them. I add different
stones, hetbs, and candles with the seasons and sabbats.I currently have
a statue of an angel, cat, and dalmatian on my alter. I also have have a scrying mirror and an ankh made of rose quartz on my alter.
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