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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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112. Elders: Who Are They and Do We Really Need Them? - [74]

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,931,229  

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 

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Simple But Pure Feb 4th. at 9:11:49 pm EST

Christine (Northern Ireland) Age: 40 - Email

I wish someday to be like those who are wise. But for now I have one ritual which I perform at will

. I have a bowl of pure white sea shells, which I gathered with the help of my family, on a beach near my friends house last summer. In this bowl, I also have a starfish, which my 10 yr old son presented to me, on that same summer, with love and amazement in his eyes. I place them all on my kitchen windowsill, along with a bowl of pure white flowers, and I ask the Goddess, to be with me............. In ALL MY BEING. Blessed Be, and may gentle breezes be with you.

Shells... Feb 4th. at 7:42:45 pm EST

Michelle (Pennsylvania) Age: 43 - Email - Web

I have seashells that I collected from various places in my travels...
some are from the Gulf Coast, some from the Atlantic coast on
Folly Beach Island, SC, and the Outer Banks, NC....I have them there, as
they remind me of the beauty of the places they came from, and I use them
for water and salt on my altar....
My favorite natural gift, is a huge beautiful amethyst crystal that was
given to me as a gift, and wrapped carefully in sterling silver wire by
a wonderful witch from Florida....that crystal is simply my favorite...
I always let my tools 'talk' to me....somehow that just works best for me!
My altar is a simple wooden table, with a cloth, that I change from season
to season....with my Godess/God candles, shells, cauldron, offering bowls, and
censer. It can vary from day to day depending on what I'm doing. My altar
tools have their own special 'witch box' that they are kept in when not
in use.

A Simple Altar Works Best For Me Feb 4th. at 7:02:30 pm EST

amethyst sunrise (upstate ny) Age: 38 - Email

Well...i consider the whole earth my altar. But when i am feeling more formal i love to put fresh flowers and my quartz crystals, and that is on top of a star burst quilt i have sewn just for this.

My Home Is My Alter... Feb 4th. at 4:43:22 pm EST

melanie favire (stationed at Miesau Army Depo, Germany) Age: 29 - Email

Basically my whole house is my alter. I have geo's and candles. I have a tiny morter and pedistal. I have sea shells and green plants and any wonderful item that catches my eye and "speaks" to my soul. Never be afraid to express your self, have fun and go wild!

Natrual Objects Feb 4th. at 2:17:05 pm EST

Aquilea (England) Age: 13 - Email

Yes I have sticks and stones on my altar mainly representing earth. I came by these when I was walking and I felt drawn to them or they looked particularly interesting.
I have things on my altar representing things but normally I feel drawn to objects and what they would be used for e.g a glass ice cream dish from a charity shop servs as my chalice.
My favourite piece of nature on my altar are my crystals because I think that they are very useful and pretty. I use them in divination and feel calm when I look at them.
I have all things representing the elements on my altar, a god and goddess candle, my athame and my wand and anything else I need during ritual.

Blessed Be,

Natural Items Feb 4th. at 1:55:56 pm EST

Kelly (MD, USA) Age: 16 - Email

I have sea shells and sand dollars, rocks, and I a had the clever idea of filling a clear jar with snow and adding the appropriate food coloring dye. I used that instead of candles on Imbolc. The only thing is that the snow melts so it only last for about one ritual lol. I saved the melted snow though... just in case, we might not get anymore snow for a long time!

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