Let’s Decorate An Altar!

This one?s for all of you baby witches out there who are maybe just coming out of the broom closet, or who have moved into a space of their own and can finally create their own magickal place in their homes. Or maybe some of you are more seasoned witches who just want some creative new ideas for an altar set up.

Either way, let?s get creative today, Witches, and find some awesome ways to decorate our altars.


Materials

First of all, let?s decide what kind of material our altars are going to be made from. Quite honestly, your altar can be anything from a split log you found in the woods behind your home, to a repurposed computer table, to an actual oak table that you bought specifically for the occasion. If you?re feeling connected to something, go for it!

Of course, different woods have varied symbolic connotations, and different Pagan traditions believe that individual types of wood are the most powerful. But let?s just take a quick look at a couple kinds of woods and their symbolism.

Oak: This is one of the strongest types of wood out there, which is why many witches choose it for their altars. They believe that its strength helps to strengthen the spell or ritual they may be performing upon it. Oak symbolizes protection, strength, defense, and prosperity.

Maple: Maple is another strong wood, but rather than defensiveness, Maple symbolizes peace, healing, and purity. 

Rowan: Rowan symbolizes ancient magick. It?s an especially good wood for those witches who tend toward divination as it helps to open up and enhance the innate psychic abilities of a witch.

Pine: If you?re as yet unsure of your particular path or are an eclectic witch, pine is an amazing wood for your altar, as it draws upon all the elements in nature. 

Elder: Elder wood should be used by a witch with only pureness in their heart, as it is a sacred wood. It symbolizes protection and healing.

There are so many different kinds of woods (and other materials) that you can make your altar out of, but we?ll leave it at that, lest this blog gets far too long.


Altar Cloths

One of my favorite parts of my altar. I love my altar cloths, and I especially love switching out altar cloths as I see fit or as the mood moves me. 

You can find so many gorgeous altar cloths online to buy to suit your every need. Personally, I switch mine out quite a bit. I have a different one for every Sabbat, and oftentimes, depending on the ritual or spell I?m working on, I?ll use one in a color symbolizing the intention of that spell.

Now, obviously, you don?t have to be as crazy about altar cloths as I am. But you should have something that carries some symbolism or feels some type of way to you. Altar cloths have been used in religious practices for thousands of years. Even the Abrahamic religions use them. They are used for both inspiration as well as protection of your altar itself, and the sacred items you plan to place on it.  

Which brings us to our next section.


Decorations

Every altar should have a few things. An athame, a wand, candles, incense and incense holder, a cauldron (or another fire-safe vessel), a small broom for sweeping away energies, and symbols. 

As with all things witchy, whatever you feel belongs on your altar, does belong on your altar. That?s what I mean by symbols. There isn?t a single witch in this world who will tell you that something you feel is sacred doesn?t belong there. That?s kind of one of the beautiful things about our paths, isn?t it? We all may practice different traditions, Pagan religions, or spiritual paths, but what brings us together is our mutual respect for one another?s chosen path.

But I digress.

If you are taking a stroll through the woods one day, and you spot a particularly beautiful rock that just calls to you, pick it up, and put it on your altar. If you have a familiar, put a small framed picture of them on your altar. If you have statuary relating to any chosen deities you may worship, put it on your altar. If you?re out thrifting one day and you see this weird little knick knack that most other people would balk at and you can?t figure out why you?re drawn to this weird little chicken-goblin-weasel thing, put it on your altar!

Yeah, that last one was speaking from experience, in case you were wondering. The point I?m trying to make is that there is no wrong when it comes to decorating your altar. Have fun with it. Place things on there that give you inspiration, or remind you of happy times, or that you?re spiritually connected to, or that just look cool and remind you of your craft. There are no hard and fast rules. 


The bottom line is this, Witches, make your altar your own. You don?t have to copy other witches or do specifically what someone says in a book to a T. If you want to put that chicken-goblin-weasel thing, whatever the hecate it is, on your altar, do it. No one is going to stop you. This is all yours. And honestly, we can?t wait to see what you come up with! Please share it with us when you do.

About the author: Coven Cloud
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