November 6, 2022
Witchcraft Altar Essentials
An altar is a personal, sacred space where your tools are accessible and set out in a purposeful way suitable to your needs.
While it is not necessary to have a specific altar to conduct your spellwork, having a dedicated space is incredibly helpful for focusing on your craft and allows you to be further immersed in your rituals. The way you set up and decorate your altar is a reflection of your powerful, magickal self. It can be as minimalist or as maximalist as you’d like. Keep in mind that the way you set up your altar does not need to be static; it is likely to change as your practice develops overtime.
WHERE TO SET UP YOUR ALTAR
Deciding where to set up your altar is entirely up to you, however, we recommend setting this up in an area where you are least likely to be interrupted, experience distractions and where no one else will mess with it. Whether this be in a separate room, your bedroom or living room, choose a space that feels right for you and gives you privacy. You can use a table, a desk, a dresser, shelf or a windowsill, depending on how much space you require.
WHAT TO PLACE ON YOUR ALTAR
As mentioned earlier, your altar is a reflection of you, so get creative with it! We have collated some essential tools to help you get started with creating your very own powerful area for performing your rituals. Here are some altar essentials you should consider:
Altar cloths are a representation of your magickal approach and serve to protect your altar from burning incense, candles & hot cauldrons. Tapestries can also be used as an altar cloth if you feel connected to its design, or you can even hang it above your altar. For example, I have our Baphomet Wall Hanging set up above my altar; Baphomet’s symbolism serves as a reminder to me of all beings, balance, elements and the occult.
Cleansing your altar is essential if you want to conduct your spellwork from a fresh slate. You can cleanse with smoke by using incense, smoke cleansing sticks or resin blends. Cleansing with sound can be done by using an altar bell, banging pots and pans together or even by yelling.
Candles are an essential part of your ritual toolkit. Different candle colours hold different meanings and uses and are an important item to use in spellwork. For example, setting up black candles across your altar can help provide protection. White candles are useful for cleansing and purification. Pink candles can help with love and friendship spells. Red candles assist with self-confidence and power. Whatever your intention is, different candles and their colours can help ensure your spell is successful.
Herbs are necessary for effective spellwork. Different herbs contain a number of properties to help achieve your goal. Peppermint, Rosemary, Lavender and Black Cohosh are some highly recommended starter herbs to store in your apothecary. It is suggested to store herbs in airtight jars, out of direct sun within a cool and dry place.
Cauldrons hold many uses including mixing ingredients such as your herbs, burning loose incense on a charcoal disc, making black salt or to burn petitions. Cauldrons are also a symbolic symbol for witches. You can keep one or multiple cauldrons on your altar. Multiple cauldrons are handy for rituals where you need to keep ingredients separate. For example, you might be burning incense in one cauldron, burning petitions in another and need another cauldron for mixing herbs together with your hands. The amount of cauldrons you keep on your altar is dependent on how extensive your rituals become.
Tongs will help keep your fingers safe during rituals where burning ingredients is required. If you’re using a charcoal disc or need to place a lit petition into a cauldron, you need to hold it with a pair of tongs to prevent burning your lil' magickal fingers!
A notebook is essential for creating your own book of shadows to jot down the properties of the herbs you store, crystal correspondences, your spells, recipes and ideas. Your notebook doesn’t need to be filled with just magickal words, you can get creative with it and draw symbols and fancy fonts to your liking!
Oils can be used to anoint spell and ritual candles or for anointing your tools. The scent you decide on will hold its own magickal correspondence to aid you in manifesting your intention. For example, Lavender oil can assist with grounding and anti-anxiety spells.
Crystals can be powerful ingredients within your spellwork. All types of quartz help amplify the effects of your spell and hold onto energy you put into it. Petrified wood records energy similarly to quartz and is incredibly useful in protection spells as it will hold onto that energy and can act as a protective ward. Any type of calcite has the ability to balance energies. Amethyst is a fantastic emotional healer. If you use your crystals to record energy and you need to cleanse them, simply put your crystals outside under the moonlight when it is a full moon.
Seek guidance and find answers with the assistance of divination tools. Practicing divination is useful for further connecting with your spirit guides, ancestors and the universe and can aid you in your spellwork. Tarot cards, oracle cards, rune sets and crystal balls are perfect starter divination tools. Check out our Beginner's Tarot Guide to aid you in learning how to utilise this form of divination and gain further insight.
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Written by Melissa Belle, Tragic’s Witchy Consultant.