I’m participating in the 2012 Pagan Blog Project. For more information, go to this URL- http://onewitchsway.com/pbp2012/
The premise of the Pagan Blog Project is that each week, myself and other Pagan bloggers will write about at least one thing related to our spirituality, practice, or Pagan way of life. These posts will always be released on Friday. This week, the prompt is that we start with the letter A. Pretty fitting, for the beginning of the year. New beginnings and all that. I’ve chosen to write about altars.
One thing that has always been important in my home is my altar. No matter how my space has changed, I always have had some sort of altar up. My very first altar was a TV stand that I purchased at Walmart, with just a few carefully chosen tools on it. When I first started practicing, I shared a room with my little sister, but everyone was supportive of my path…. or at least not outwardly uncomfortable with it. I have film photos (before digital cameras were developed) of many of my seasonal altars as a beginner. Not much Work was done at these altars, as I was just getting comfortable with my practice, and rarely did full circles or spellwork while I was getting used to the basics. During my subsequent home moves, my altars changed in many ways, and now I have a pretty large altar.
One common thread that bound together all of these altars is that of careful creation. When putting together an altar, each item chosen is for a reason. Some reasons are practical- “I need a bowl placed here to pour my water into,” and some are spiritual- “the seeds represent new beginnings.” Altars are a place to do the Work, whether it’s spellwork, ritual or other spiritual work, and so will naturally be a blend of practicality and spirituality. Some believe that altars hold more energy that other places, because of the energy work done at the altar.
My current altar is all dressed up for Imbolc. I practice a Wiccan tradition, so in addition to the seasonal touches on my altar, I have my bottles of water and salt, along with dishes for them, my candle, and my incense, collectively representing the four elements. My God and Goddess candles are easy to pick out, elevated above the rest of the altar. My altar cloth is red, and I have my Brighid’s cross out, as well as my statuettes of a sheep and a cardinal. In the center of my altar, you’ll see the offering bowl, and my pentacle. Offerings go in the offering bowl, and the pentacle charges any items that lay upon it. My practice includes healing work, so I have my Brighid healing candle as part of my altar, as well as three smaller candles that I charge, write symbols upon and use for distance healing.
My altar is my focus during ritual, but when I’m crafting together oils, etc. I usually craft them elsewhere and bring them back to the altar for consecration or charging. When I feel energetically “stuck,” I find that the act of creating the altar helps to get the spiritual energy flowing. It’s a big part of my spiritual life- just looking at my altar can bring my attention back to being mindful. Altars can inspire, as well as be a powerful tool in power raising and ritual work.