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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: 21,226,529  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 103

Lurker/Post Ratio: 318 to 1

Question of the Week: 97 - 2/2/2003

What Natural Objects Are On Your Altar?

Do you have sticks or stones or shells on your altar? How did you come by them? What do you use them for?

Do you go by the traditional correspondences in using your ritual tools (colors, gemstone properties, elements, etc) or do you let the object ‘tell’ you what it is to be used for?

What is your favorite magical/magickal gift or tool from nature? Why?

How do you set up your personal altar(s)?

 Reponses:   There are 103 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Lots Of Things Feb 4th. at 9:53:39 pm EST

Oneiric Silver Fox (WA) Age: 24 - Email

I've a seagull feather that I've found walking home one day from Sailing. My first year as a Wiccan found me picking up numerous feathers from everywhere that I walked. Mostly raven feathers, plus a few others like ducks, seagulls and hawks that I've come across.

There's also several seashells picked up from the beach and stones from numerous places, either found or bought. Two acorns I swear have materialized out of nowhere and pinecones.

Nature's Treasures Feb 4th. at 9:54:25 pm EST

Ailsidhe (Central Texas) Age: 25 - Email - Web

I have collected treasures from nature since I was a small girl. I picked up rocks, sticks, moss, feathers, leaves, shells, flowers, and fossils on my journeys. I still do this, only I am more selective and more respectful towards the spirit of the place that I find theses gifts. I also am more careful about keeping these treasures. Often as a child I would leave my treasures outside and eventually left them behind after we moved. Nowadays, when I find something special, I thank the spirit of the place where I found it and I keep these gifts around me and include them in my magickal work.

Here are some of my most treasured objects.

I once found a half a soda-can sized piece of petrified wood behind my apartment complex in a construction zone. It was half buried in clay. Washed, it was smooth to the touch.

I have four smooth, round river stones. I use these in my crystal matrixes.

I find feathers outside and clean them of mites with soap and water and dress them with a tiny bit of cedar oil. With these, I decorate my dream catchers, instead of buying feathers at a hobby store.

I find fallen branches and sticks on my walks in the woods and create beautiful wands and staffs from them. I never cut a living tree except for a few leaves or flowers.

I found a partially fossilized mussel shell in a creek bed. It had fused together with two other shell-halves and one end was broken off making it perfect for holding a few herbs, a paper spell, or salt.

My wand is made of a twisted deadfall branch. It was worn and gray. I annointed it with oil and sanded it down. It is now a silky brown color and adorned with tiny amethysts and a quartz crystal.

You see... most of my most favorite things are from nature.

Altar Goodies... Feb 4th. at 10:12:41 pm EST

Typhaine (Murfreesboro, Tn.) Age: 50 - Email

I have a quartz cluster and a large engraved cameo shell. I rotate my orchids when they come into bloom.

On My Altar.... Feb 4th. at 11:04:29 pm EST

Catherine (Pittsburgh, PA) Age: 33 - Email

As a novice, I feel that following my personal insticts is part of what I do, and the other half is to follow some of the books that I have read.. Cunningham, Ravenwolf, Starhawk, etc. Right now, I have stones that I have collected, shells that my children have given me, and the only items I could find in the house (my husband and I are both out of work) that are black and white to represent the Diety are my 2 beanie bears. Does it work for me? Yes, will it work for another, I am not sure. I do like having the shells there to focus on the ridges, and remind me to calm myself as I meditate. Thanks for having such an interesting web-site, and question for someone new to chime in on and be part of the collective. Catherine

Every Hrizontal Surface In My House, Is An Altar Feb 4th. at 11:49:24 pm EST

LaJacaranda (Cape Coral, FL) Age: 43 - Email

When my Boyfriend first came to my house, he noted that 'every surface is an altar, ' and I had never really noticed it until then. Yes, we have seashells, rocks (people bring me rocks from their travels) crystals, sticks, pinecones, feathers, fossils from Canada and Pennsylvania. Neatest things? A branch of "Irish Bells" --dried branch of a flower someone gave me last St Pat's day; Two Birds from Walmart, made with styrafoam and feathers (Crow) , (Owl) ;'lighter-naught' wood that has been stuck by lightning. (I also have a lot of storebought things on the Altars.)
The Main Altar faces East, and is Celtic themed. There's sage, lots of dried flowers, seashells, Feathers.
Our Staffs of wood live in a tall basket behind the front door.
I am working on another Altar, Floridian-Themed, on a door over two file cabinets in my Garage, also faces East. The Florida Altar has collections of tree findings from Florida (native and non-native species) ; vertabrea bones from a Florida fish; a dead roach, (This IS Florida!!!) and a bunch of Buzzard feathers in a container of Borax. (The bird was road kill; the feathers are being cleaned, will use somehow.) Oh, there's a wing of a small bird that the cats killed. I have to figure out what it is. It is in the Borax thing, too. And a snake skin, a guy I work with killed a little corn snake in his house, brought it into work, and I took it and cleaned it (more Boxax, ) and plan to use it to wrap a wand. {I use the drawers of the file cabinets to store Sage, and other stuff. {This Altar is where I make and prepare magiacl things, and arts-and-crafts projects.) Some of the Altars have posters or things hung on the walls above the surface.
Back in the House, another Altar (faces West) is composed of photographs of my family members, and a wooden boomerang my father brought back from Australia; on that is a seashell holding other seashells on there, and driftwood.
Another Altar on the West wall, is a shelf above a small desk. It has lots of things dear to me, bells, my wands (one is a Mangrove shoot that is over 1ft long, found in the Caloosahatchee river, ) and more feathers. I also have a container of Sand from the local beaches. (This came in handy when my daughter started a FIRE in her ALtar in Her Room; luckily I had enough sand to put the FLAMES out, and she burried that in the backyard.
My Boyfriend has two Altars, they both face North.
I have another Altar (West) on a book shelf with things I collected when I lived in Spain (Seashells and rocks) 30 years ago.
I have been collecting rocks and feathers ever since I can remember, becasue that is what my Mother taught me to do. (The coolest thing she ever found was an abandonded hornet's nest, it was as large as your Head. She entered it in a 4H contest, and won a ribbon! I find that by putting things in different locations, it helps me remember where they came from. Most of these things are decorative, or to be used for future projects. I tend to do most of my Magick outside.

Feather Warning Feb 5th. at 2:28:27 am EST

SusanJane (Hayward, CA) Age: 42 - Email

Unfortunately this post is going to be buried in this thread. Those of you that have made it this far need to be aware of the consequences of taking feathers. Some states have fairly draconian laws about this. It is always better not to take a feather. The following is a synopsis of the federal protection legislation. This applies to a large number of birds. Even Ravens migrate. Please, please, please be careful -- say a prayer and leave the feather where you found it!

Migratory Bird Treaty Act
This Act, officially passed in 1918, provides federal protection for migratory birds. Under the Act it is unlawful to take, import, export, possess, buy, sell, purchase, or barter any migratory bird. Feathers or other parts, nests, eggs, and products made from migratory birds are also covered by the Act. Take is defined as pursuing, hunting, shooting, poisoning, wounding, killing, capturing, trapping, or collecting.
Migratory bird hunting regulations, established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, allow the taking, during designated seasons, of ducks, geese, doves, rail, wood***, and some other species. In addition, permits may be granted for various non-commercial activities involving migratory birds and some commercial activities involving captive-bred migratory birds.
Individuals or organizations may be fined up to $5, 000 and $10, 000, respectively, and may face up to six months imprisonment for misdemeanor violations of the Act. Felony violations may result in fines of up to $250, 000 for individuals. $500, 000 for organizations, and up to two years imprisonment.
States Rights
States and Territories, by suitable legislation, are not prevented from making or enforcing laws or regulations which give further protection to migratory birds, their nests, and eggs within their respective borders. The provisions of the Act apply equally to Federal and non-Federal entities.

See what I mean? There are other ways of honoring the element of air, your totem animal, spirit birds, and the associations with things that fly. This may sound like an animal rights thing, but I'm _not_ coming from that angle. Being responsible means following our laws.

Thank you for your time. Bright blessings and may wild birds bring you joy.

Blessings Upon All, Blessed Be The Earth, Our Mother Feb 5th. at 5:36:38 am EST

Kat Danbert (Northern BC, Canada) Age: 46 - Email

Now that I think about it, I do have an altar. Never even considered it before until I saw the question. I have a flat smooth rounded rock (sedimentary) that is about 4 inches round. On it, over time, I have placed: an bears claw (for strength, given to me by a First Nations youth I worked with) , a small jade malamute (my totem spirit) , a pewter feather (for flight) , a small jade apple (knowledge) , a small fragment of pea*** ore (irredescent, for beauty and the mysteries) and a small "fun" flower (symbolic of my era's "ideological/philosophical" bend) . My altar sits on my desk hutch and is surrounded by rocks, shells, candles and parts of a collection of dragon figurines. I would have to say that rocks, especially crystals, are my most favourite "tool" from nature. Have always been fascinated and drawn to the "bones of Mother Earth."

Good Point About The Feathers Feb 5th. at 1:12:51 pm EST

DolphinSmile (Austin, TX) Age: 22 - Email

I worked at a raptor rehab center for a while, and the birds that lived there sometimes lost feathers. These were always collected and kept in the office. I REALLY wanted some of those beautiful feathers, but it would be illegal for me to have one because all those birds are protected and you're not allowed to have any part of them. It makes sense. If you found someone with a bunch of hawk feathers, there's really no way to tell if they found those laying on the ground somewhere, or actually hurt or killed a hawk to get them.

If you do want feathers though, you can get some from domesticated birds like chickens or turkeys. I know they're not as interesting as hawk or eagle feathers, but some of them can be pretty too. I have a friend who has some feather from a goose, I think. She got it from someone she knows who owns the bird who lost them. They're pretty, and totally legal.

Natural Objects Feb 5th. at 1:50:33 pm EST

Appleluna (Palm Desert, CA USA) Age: 28 - Email

I have a beautiful feather that my husband brought home for me from his work. I have
also an amethyst, rose quartz, and crystal quartz on my altar also. I also have a pentacle
which is made of wood, that a friend got me for my birthday many years ago. I find that these
natural objects really help me focus and tune into nature. Especially since I live in an apt
and can't have my altar outside. Hopefully one day I will have my own backyard and can
have my altar out there.

Alter... Feb 5th. at 1:58:13 pm EST

Dawn (Ocheyedan) Age: 20 - Email

I have a wand made from a tree branch, I have lots of stones, Some that haven't been smoothed yet. Most of my stuff is herbs and inscense.

Simple Gifts Feb 5th. at 3:32:32 pm EST

Al (MA) Age: 32 - Email

My favorite natural gift came to me at the beach one day.
I was walking a long the water thinking "I would like a gift from the sea."
I few seconda later a muscle shell caught my eye.
I picked it up and washed it off and on the inside was a small imperfect pearl.
It is semi-round and fixed to the inside of the shell.
Definately my favorite.

On My Altar..... Feb 5th. at 7:56:07 pm EST

Mandy (Wisconsin) Age: 16 - Email - Web

My Altar is a very personal space. I have a bottle of Florida beach sand that I collected the last time I saw my grandma. I have some seashells. I have a lot of rocks and homemade candles. I had a small bowl full of dirt on my Altar, but I decided to return it to the Earth after my dear little feline friend (a sweet, but mischievous cat) tracked it all over my room. I usually keep natural things on my Altar, along with other items that are personal to me.

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