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I know a lot of people consider their altar something so private they won’t even allow photos of it, but some are more open about it, and I feel like sharing mine.
This altar is really special to me, it’s actually handcrafted. I drew out the plans, had my boyfriend at the time cut the parts for me, and I assembled and detailed it. It’s lovely thick pine with routed edges and a door on the front that opens down on large hinges with a magnetic catch at the top. I had intended to stain it, but after all these years I still haven’t gotten to it. It has a large gouge in the top where a decorative blade fell onto it. I haven’t decided whether I want to fill it in or just let it have the “scar” to show it’s been through things.
I found that piece of fabric by chance and fell in love with it. I wanted royal blue, but it only came in light blue. I love the design though. I did the hemming myself. The books on the side are filled with spiritual notes, herb and stone meanings and so on. You can barely see it at the top of the image, but there’s a string of bells and stones that hangs from the ceiling.
Most of what’s on the altar has been with me for over a decade. Right now there are the candle holders in the back corners, the brass incense burner sitting on a doily that my current mother-in-law made me, my salt dish (actually a candle holder), a selenite spiral, a candle plate and candle, my ritual knife (I long ago quit calling at an athame), tarot case, and the card I drew today. I used to have sterling silver chalices, offering platter and ritual bowl, but as much as I love silver, I didn’t love the constant polishing.
I’ve actually been wanting to do something different on there, but I haven’t been able to decide what. I’d love to have a dragon sitting there, but I haven’t been able to convince myself that spending $50-80 for a nice one is okay. A lot of this setup is just throwback from my Wiccan days, but I still like it and it feels mostly right. I store a lot of things inside the altar and they come out when I need them, like candles, stones and a wooden offering/spell plate.
Even though I got tired of the dogma of Wicca and their inflexibility, I still like the altar. I still use it when I draw my daily cards, when I want to recharge, or on the rare instances when I want to do a traditional spell. I actually chuckle a little inside when I realize that most people associate altars with either witches or Satanists, even though all sorts of faiths use altars of various types. I had to giggle once when someone came over to my home, saw the altar, and with a pale look of fear on their face asked “You’re not going to curse me, are you?!” I replied “Only if you get on my bad side”. It’s both funny and sad the misinformed ideas that people get into their heads.
Just for the record, I don’t do curses or love spells. I’ve never sacrificed a living animal. I don’t commune with evil spirits or the devil. I’m neither Wiccan nor Pagan anymore, this is just something that I picked up along the way and kept as part of my own practices. It’s something that I like and it’s a way for me to focus energy and it’s a visible reminder of my spirituality.