One of the *most* frequently asked questions i got from witch neophytes is:
“What do I need for my altar?”.
Let me begin by saying it isn’t what you really “need” for your personal altar but what you want to see on your altar, what you want your altar to represent, whether it will be an altar dedicated to a personal deity or an altar set up for just your craft. Those are the questions you should start asking yourself first as you start building it up.
My altar is very personal to me. I have color coordinated candles to represent the elements that aid me in my craft, i have little knick knacks from other witchy friends, photos of old and new pets, pentacles, figurines, bones, my book of shadows and preferred stones of choice based on the intentions that i need from them during that time.
Over time, i’ve found things at the beach or on hikes that have really stood out to me and that i was very drawn to, so i would take them with me for my altar as well. It definitely adds a personal touch.
Now, if you are still set on having a more “traditional” altar, here are some of the altar essentials you can start collecting as you build it:
Start by gathering items that represent the four elements, whether it be color coordinated candles or items you find from exploring. Some examples could be:
- Earth: green candle, stones/rocks, dried herbs and flowers, soil, photos of nature, plants.
- Air: yellow candle, incense, feathers, representation of clouds, pictures (or bones of, if you find them) of birds.
- Fire: red candle, lighter, ashes from something you’ve burnt, piece of warm fabric.
- Water: blue candle, jar of water from a special place for you (ocean, lake, creek water, etc.) sand, a mirror, seaweed, pearls, seashells, sea glass.
- Table cloth/Altar fabric: something to drape over your altar. color code it to an intent you will always want your altar to carry (yellow for happiness, purple for creativity, red for strength, etc.)
- Athame: a tool used for casting a circle before spell work.
- Bell: a bell is like the voice of the goddess. ring it before ritual/spell work. your gods and goddesses would love to hear the pretty sound. it can act as a welcoming to them, inviting them into your safe space to ask of their protection while you craft.
- Book of shadows: I think it is really important to keep your book of shadows on, or at least near, your altar. It keeps energy flowing through it at all times. Plus, it’s handy having your book of shadows right there in case you need quick reference when working on craft.
- Candles: candles can be used to represent the elements, a deity of choice, or used for specific intent in spell work and your craft. Stock up on candles and do research for what each color of candle means for you and your spell work.
- Cauldron: a cauldron represents knowledge and inspiration and brings feminine energy to your altar. A cauldron can be used to grind up and mix herbs in, to burn herbs or incense, or to be used in spell/ritual work that involves you burning anything. it’s a very handy, fire safe tool to have.
It is up to you to make your own personal working space for your craft. It is really exciting building up your altar over time and see it grow!
Remember to periodically cleanse your altar when you feel it has stagnant energy to it. It is a place that will hold lots of power, energy and meaning so it’ll be important to keep it cleansed and clear.