Of course there is no way I’m going to start this thing without doing A is for Altar first. I’m an altar guy, pure and simple, I make no apologies for it. Altar work is something that is very important to me. It always has been. When I started down a pagan path when I was about 13 or so, the first thing I did was set up an altar. I have always had some sort of an altar in every residence I’ve ever lived in, whether that be my childhood room, apartment, dorm room, or house.
I consider an altar to be an outward representation of my inward spiritual work. It’s a place to consolidate power, and a home for the gods and spirits I work with. While I fully recognize the difference between a shrine (i.e. a place for a specific entity to dwell) and an altar (a place to do “work”), many modern pagans don’t make a distinction and combine the two. Whether the practice is right or wrong, I tend to fall into that category and my altars often consist of specific areas dedicated to various deities or spirits, with a central shared working surface.
My altars are also very low to the ground. I don’t know if this because I tend to gravitate to Chthonic deities or not, but I need to be able to sit on the ground when I work, a chair or standing simply will not do! They are also very dynamic and fluid, I never consider an altar finished, I’m constantly re-arranging it according to inspiration and direct spirit contact/instructions. If one has sat still too long, it feel “stagnant” somehow.
I recently re did the altar again and here is the current layout.
I’m trying to go for a “less is more” layout. In the center is of course Herself, the lady of the crossroads surrounded by representations of Earth, Sea, and Sky. To the left is the area for Old Horny. The skull represents my ancestors. The right area is dedicated to spirits, with 3 different spirit fetishes. I’m sincerely hoping to get into more bone work, and as I do those bones will grace the altar.
The various bowls are for offerings, and to the left also are my Ebony wand that I’ve delegated mainly to Hekate/Dark moon/Necromancy work, my snake vertebrae prayer beads, and tarot cards. All of the candles are beeswax and hand made.
The picture above the altar is “At the Crossroads (Hekate)” By Jeff Cullin.
Oh and are those impressions on the left are a trick of light or ECTOPLASM TENTACLES. You decide!
It is as always, a work in progress and I fully expect it to change.