Here’s a story, of a lovely lady – skreeeech. Oh dear, sorry. That was the wrong one. Let me try again.
When I started out on this path, *mumble mumble* years ago, I was just a generic Pagan. I had just gotten married and our first apartment was small. I didn’t even have space for a permanent altar at the time. When we finally bought our home, I had a room of my own, that I could decorate and design anyway I wished to. I didn’t have a personal path at the time, so most of my very large collection of doodads was neatly stored in boxes. Eventually, I got my room painted the way I wanted it – it now looks like the sky during a morning or late afternoon thunderstorm. After all of the bookshelves were installed, I put up the corner shelving that I wanted specifically for an altar.
It consists of five corner shelves, one small and four larger ones. The smallest is at the very top and is used to hold the draping cloth on each side of the altar itself.
This is my main ritual altar. I can easily stand at it or sit in front of it and still reach everything that I need. The figure on the lowest shelf is a handmade icon for the Mhorrighan, based on some of my personal imagery for her. I use the small boxes to hold either offerings or spells. The next shelf up is the main level with handmade beeswax candles (combined with the incense burner below) for my Fire, offering bowl/plate, and my Well – a glass vase etched with a knot-work tree. I’m currently working on a new Tree image for my ritual altar – a bead and wire sculptured tree similar to this. I found a beautiful Apatite and Jasper stone to use as a base, which currently lives on my meditation altar in my bedroom. The next shelf has the statue I use for Arianrhod. On this shelf I tend to store spell components that I use regularly. Just off to the left of this is my Freyja statue – She is just too tall to fit anywhere on my altar. I’m beginning to feel that she wants to be out on my Nature Spirits altar in any case.
My meditation altar started out as a relatively simple one, but is now much more than that. The cloth that everything sits upon was a gift from a friend after her trip/pilgrimage to Egypt. On it, I have a calcite candleholder for the Fire, a slightly twisted quartz crystal piece for the Well, and a black onyx obelisk for the Tree. I’ve also added some amber and stone leaf beads for my Norse patrons and my rainbow obsidian crystal ball that is my healing focus and dedicated to Brigid. This is my morning and evening devotional altar and I find that even just looking at it brings a comforting feeling.
I recently re-organized the area near my recliner (home office) in my family room, and noticed the over-abundance of candles (both hand- and commercially-made) and the fact that it sits directly in front of a window that looks out onto a ‘Double Delight’ rose tree. So I decided that this made the perfect Nature Spirits altar – complete with a little redheaded witch fairy that I’d bought many years ago, a Chinese protector dragon (a gift from a friend after my home had been robbed), and a doll (strangely also with red hair) that was also a gift from that friend, a little harp and the required pocket dragon. The penguin in the green corset in the back? Don’t ask ;-D
I am currently planning both an outdoor altar area and an Ancestors altar.
For my Ancestors altar, I want to get, or find, a three or four drawer dresser to put next to Nature Spirits altar. On the top of the dresser will be photos of family – as many as I can fit up there, as well as a couple pieces that are currently on my Nature Spirits altar – the little purple girl was a ceramic piece made by my paternal grandmother when I was 5 or 6, and in a black jewelry box is a completed Jungle Book charm bracelet that my father got for me. I’m going to use the inside to store my yarn – which I feel is appropriate as both my maternal and paternal grandmothers taught me to knit and crochet respectively. Putting my yarn in it will make me think of them whenever I knit.
For my outdoor altar, there is currently a raised area in the back corner of my backyard, with a beautiful tree in the center. Currently, I have a statue called ‘The Four Winds’ next to the tree. Eventually I’d like have a waterfall fountain in that area. But that will take some planning and negotiation with the husband.