I’m a big supporter of Keep It Simple. Altar setups that are overflowing with magical goodies seem to collect a ton of dust, and dust is a magnet for negativity. If you’re a busy person , with friends staying over, siblings or children running through your room, and the cat jumping on and off your altar surface at will, collecting a bunch of stuff to set on your altar may not be such a good idea. If you are in college, especially in a dorm room, there’s no telling what might happen to your magical items. We tend to form an attachment to our magical tools, and a missing wand or cauldron can send anyone into a tizzy. If a magical tool of yours could decide to “walk off,” don’t despair. If it’s gone, it’s suppose to be gone. Sometimes magical things leave us for a good reason. Perhaps something better is coming your way.
In the last few years, the idea of having a personal altar has gained popularity outside of the Craft environment. However, often what people are calling “altars” are actually shrines dedicated to a deity or a particular energy the person would like to bring into the home. The altar, for a Crafter, is a working magical surface, where a shrine is more of representation of your spirituality and a place for daily, weekly or monthly offerings. In some Craft traditions the shrine is called the high altar, and the separate, working surface is called the low altar. Where prayers and petitions are given at the high altar, the messy work (such as grinding herbs, working with wax or spell work that required you to make and then put together a particular object) is done on the low altar.
A basic altar setup requires only the four elements. The beginning Craft altar adds a statue of deity; two illuminator candles (one for the God and one for the Goddess); a flat centerpiece for focus (usually a geometric symbol: pentacle, hexagram, lunar crescent, the zodiac ring, and so on); the wand; and if your family environment supports it, the athame.
If you have more space and plenty of privacy, you may wish to use the traditional altar setup use by most Wiccan practitioners when they first learn about the tools of the Craft of the Wise.
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