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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,934,530  

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 

Hmmmmm..... Feb 3rd. at 6:39:32 pm EST

Allegra (Michigan, USA) Age: 15 - Email

Well lets see:

*Salt in a sea shell
*Water in another shell
*egg rock
*fire rock
*Dear antler
*Painted seed beads
*The alters made of wood
*Seasonal decorations

Altar? What Altar? Feb 3rd. at 5:30:20 pm EST

Tina Horn (Washington, DC/Columbia, MD) Age: 35 - Email

I have a box of stuff in the closet, but nothing formal set up. I guess that I feel that I don't need to make an outward display anymore.


More Stuff Feb 3rd. at 5:26:10 pm EST

Autumn (Greenville, NC) Age: 19 - Email

I forgot about my wand! It's a really long cinnamon stick. Some people find it odd, but I like it!

Stuff Feb 3rd. at 5:24:24 pm EST

Autumn (Greenville, NC) Age: 19 - Email

I am also a student, and I'm not allowed to have candles or open flames in the room. So, I keep my altar in a little moon-shaped box. It has a tiny shell, feathers, rocks, and dried cactus flowers (what I use to symbolize water, air, earth and fire) , as well as a rock with a Goddess symbol on it and another batch of cactus flowers as a God Symbol. I have a small stone box full of salt, and I usually use herbs or other natural materials in lieu of candles. I usually don't keep my altar out because there really isn't room and because I don't want to have one in a space I share with my roomate since she's not Wiccan. (She is, however, very cool about my religion and gives me time alone when she knows I need to do a ritual or on sabbats. She rules!!)

So What's On My Altar Then? Feb 3rd. at 5:14:57 pm EST

Hedaras (Southampton - England) Age: 19 - Email

Becasue I live in a small student room, my altar is actually *in* my wardrobe. Anyhow, it's always got loads of natural things on it. I tend to amass bits and pieces from all of the special places that I go to.
I've got a naturally holed stone from the top of the highest mountain in Ireland (I follow the Irish Tuatha de Dannan - so that's fairly significant to me) , as well as water from the Chalice Well in Glastonbury.
I keep all of my working materials on may altar, becasue i normally do rituals without one, or use a treestump or something, as I prefer to work outside. I've got candles to represent the elements, a couple of athames, and a couple of wands (I make all of my kit myself, so i tend to amass it over time) There's some birch bark parchment that I stripped off a fallen log before I used the rest to make wands and a staff, and there's jewellry that i've made that I sometimes wear.
Next to the wardrobe, actually visible in the room, I have a table with some candles on it and a shallow chalice full of blessed salt. I've got yet another wand (woven oak this time) leaning up against the wardrobe, and always keep a basket of whatever fruit is in season (or apples+oranges if nothing is) full on the table.

I think that about covers it.

Bright Blessings


My Alter Feb 3rd. at 3:50:28 pm EST

Nadine (Lincoln Ne) Age: 55 - Email

My altar has a short polished length of corkscrew willow. A stone and shell from the sea. A crows feather, picked up in my yard and several small hand thorwn pottery bowls. A plant which changes often, or a flower in season. The altar and it's contents are fairly constant. Other things come and go as needed. The stone is earth, the feather air, the shell water. A bowl of sand holds the incense stick or a cnadle for fire. Often things are pushed to the back of the altar... making room for one of the 'sacred' felines who often pick inconviente times to rest themselves amid the sacred.
I have many stones. most I have picked up during my travels. Some come in and out of the garden. Some are Guardians of the home. Some are used to bind that which I wish to change and some to add their serenity to my altar. I like stones. I like to hold them and feel the strength and solidity and deep peace they bring me.
The willow helps me move energies, sometimes it becomes a broom, to sweep away the old and what ever I want to move out of my life. The feather also does the same kind of thing. Instinct and intent decide which I use. Feather can also be a wand at times. So can cat's whiskers. (for light quick and graceful movement)
The only things bought are the star shaped candle holders the incense sticks and candles.
The altar and it's contents change according to need, desire and what's come to my hand.

My Mother Earth Window Feb 3rd. at 3:45:45 pm EST

Holly Heart Free (Wisconsin) Age: 56 - Email

I have a large, deep-silled window in the main part of my old farmhouse, and I call this my Mother Earth Window to the world at large, but pagans gathering in my house know it to be an altar. I started it to encourage my grandchildren who are being raised in a Protestant home, to embrace and respect all things earth-connected. Anything that a child brings to this window sill is considered sacred. It gives us a chance to talk about what they have 'found', where it comes from, what it means, what part of the life cycle is it in. It's a wonderful way for children to learn. And it's not a bad thing for the Grandmother, either. We have had so many interesting things gifted to that altar-from nuts to berries (a good time to teach children to be able to identify plants before they put them in their mouths) , leaves, wonderful stones, feathers, nests, interesting sticks. Each item is examined and talked of. We learn what kind of bird this feather might be from, and from where on the body. We look up the bird in the book and learn about the nesting habits and types of food it eats. I now have several children that are intense 'rockhounds'. A shed snakeskin brought shivers to some children, but they touched it and found that it wasn't slimy. I try to bring a bit of the magical into each item without revealling my own earthly thoughts on faiths. Last year we had most of a turtle shell on the altar. Children were fascinated by the holes in the shell for feet and head. Amongst all the partial eggshells that visit us every shpring, last year a whole chicken egg found its way to the altar. And enterprising child, that one. Dead birds, frogs and body parts are encouraged to return to the earth, to become one with the soil again. It is a wonderful way to honor those spirits that have passed by planting flowers in this burial area. A wonderful way to learn renewal and rebirth. We've talked about the hollow reeds that Native Americans may have used, and what we migh use those for today. As an aside, these do change the taste of chocolate milk. Perhaps one of my favorite found objects were found just a few feet from one another. I was walking after a bad storm one morning and found a small wrens nest. It was of particular interest to me because woven in amonst the grasses were some small feathers from our chickens, and several red hairs from our Highland cattle. I was so amazed at the beauty of this nest, and the wonderful tight weaving the wren used to keep her children safe and warm, that I nearly stepped on the head with bill intact of a long dead bird. It was not the maker of the nest, being too large. That bird must have died and stayed in the tree until the winds blew it down. I have kept the skull inside the nest ever since. It's a beautiful sign to me of the wheel of life, bringing birth, death and renewal. I hope my grandchildren, and the others that visit us learn to respect the earth, to feel the need to protect her and use care with things that will go into the earth.

Nature Leads And Instructs, I Follow And Learn Feb 3rd. at 3:09:16 pm EST

Starwalker (down east, NC) Age: 54 - Email

There are always many somethings of nature on my altar (s) ... as I came to my beliefs and my practice originally, and more, from what the Elements have to say than from any book-learning. My altars (I have a central altar to the Lord and Lady located at the center of my dwelling space, and altars to the elements and directions in the appropriate places on the perimeter of my dwelling) almost always contain something of nature.. often stones, shells, plants (living as well as cut and/or dried) and parts of plants.. leaves, seeds, seed pods, etc. and things of nature... feathers, bones (thought I have had to mostly discontinue the use of these items ON the altars since the cats tend to run off with them) .

The items are seasonal and both celebratory/thanksgiving in nature as well as evocative of themes I seek to empower...

I am much more likely to follow my intuition than anything else, but I DO read and incorporate thing that I have read, if my intuition concurrs. As for correspondances, often my practice is in line with "tradition" (whose tradition??? I have noted variations!) and sometimes not. Being a practical, northern-bred and north-aligned Taurus "Does it WORK?" is my main criteria.

My "Natural" Setup Feb 3rd. at 2:07:25 pm EST

Pluto 6 (Denver, CO) Age: 40 - Email

A deep sedimentary rock core sample forms sort of the "anchor" of my altar. When I got my hematite rune set, I took out the blank rune, as it has no historical basis, and decided to keep it on my altar as a representative of earth, along with the core sample. I usually keep a bowl or my cauldron full of herbs on my altar, what kind just depends on what I feel is right. Right now I have my cauldron full of oak moss and some ginger. My favorite piece has to be my walking staff, which I use as a large wand. I'm not sure what wood it is. I got it about 4 years ago at a Renaissance Festival.

My Altar Feb 3rd. at 11:19:20 am EST

clio (York PA) Age: 30 - Email

My dresser top has many natural items there (perhaps too many sometimes) :

Figure of reclining Chaac Mool carved from a solid block of turquoise (the reclining Chaac can be found atop one of the Mayan pyramids at Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico) .

Handmade clay statue of Kokopelli (I didn't make it. Someone else did *S*) .

Minerals galore! Flourite (Chaac Mool holds the smaller of my two pieces) , four pieces of amethyst (all of which nestle around Kokopelli's base) , 15mm labradorite sphere, green calcite, chrysocolla, rough turquoise found in the bed of an arroyo outside Ajo, Arizona, and a smooth rock I found on the shore of South Bass Island, Ohio two summers ago (this rock has a hole in it, water bored no doubt. I found a tiny perfect shell that day which nestles in that hole perfectly) .

Feathers galore (in a fetish pot and mugs) .

Red fox skull found on the Gettysburg battlefield.

Strip of inner bark from a pine tree with a hardened blob of sap stuck to it.

My wand (cherry wood with an amethyst and quartz crystals wrapped at the top)

My pentacle (painted pine wood)

Seashell with a bit of charred sage in it.

Piece of driftwood (found last summer) shaped distinctly like Poseidon's trident.

Teeny piece of white coral, found the same day I found the driftwood.

If I had more room, I'd organize better...

Depends Feb 3rd. at 11:00:04 am EST

watrfae (the 'burbs, MD) Age: 24 - Email - Web

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?
--- currently my altar has become *very* stripped down, just for the holiday. I do always have water and salt on my altar though. During the summer there are often fresh flowers, and found sea shells on my altar, and in winter you can usually find pine cones and acorns there as well.

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?
--- usually I find the traditional correspondences work for me.

What is your favorite magical/magickal gift or tool from nature? Why?
--- a giant sea shell my mother found for me in hawaii, I'm a 'cancer baby' so the sea has always been my friend...and having something 'found' for me just makes me feel connected

How do you set up your personal altar (s) ?
----- it depends. I usually have a simple set up with 2 candles, a calice, cauldron, athame, and incense holder. Depending on whatever spellwork or holiday is going on there could be more (a painting, a book, jewelry, flowers, offerings, etc..) or nothing at all.

I Love Reading What Others Have On Their Altars.... Feb 3rd. at 10:23:12 am EST

amberphoenix (Spartanburg, SC) Age: 46 - Email

I have a nice wooden Altar as my, 'main' altar. I has 2 small drawers on
front for storage..I have personal items such as:
a rose quartz, moonstones,
small sea shells,
a special bird feather I found,
various flowers depending on the season,
acorns and a pinecone
a blackberry vine
dried orchids
my candles, a container of water obtained during a magnificent Thunderstorm,
various other items as I feel the need, it changes by season..
My most cherished item is a large red stone I found when I lived in
the countyside. Now that I live in the city it brings me
comfort..I miss the forest..
I also have an altar dedicated to the Goddess Yemaya, with sea shells,
her colors, sea glass, and a decorative plate with the scene of the
ocean and playful dolphins swimming and a siver candle in a crystal holder.
My other altar is one dedicated to the Goddess Kuan Yin, I have a
very nice statue of Her and a small bowl of water which represents
her and a small bamboo plant that my daughter gave me for a Mothers
I feel all my personal items are magickal to me and they help me to feel
close to my Goddess and God. They give me great comfort..

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