A couple days ago, someone new to the Pagan path asked me about setting up an altar. I told her there was no wrong way to set one up. How the Witch chooses to represent herself (or himself) is totally up to her.
One of the main things to consider is where the altar will be set up. For example, I have one dedicated to the Santisima Muerte in my hallway. Santisima Muerte is the pre-Hispanic goddess of death. I put her in the hallway because I pass by her regularly going from one room to the next which allows me to interact with her.
Saint Death, as some people call her, is a bit jealous of other deities which is the other reason her home is an entire bookshelf in my hallway. It keeps her separated from the Buddhas and other effigies I have around the house.
Setting up a permanent altar doesn’t have to be done right away. Santisima Muerte’s altar is the only permanent one I have set up for the time being. I just moved into my house a month ago and I’m still trying to sort rooms out. For now, I have things for another altar set up on my dresser in my bedroom.
Once the altar is in place, it’s time to consider accessories. In reality, the only thing a Witch needs to perform a ritual or magic is herself or himself. The tools and other paraphernalia simply help with visualization. Plus, it adds a coolness factor to the mystery of making magic.
For the most basic altar, I recommend two things to get you started:
* Representations of the God and Goddess – This can be as simple as candles or as complex as a statue created by the Witches own hands. I use candles because I still haven’t discovered the perfect (to me) images that say God and Goddess.
* Representations of the four elements (some people say five, but the Witch would represent the fifth element) – Candles in colors associated with each of the elements would be a good place to start. I have candles and other representations for each element. I am most proud of the earth quadrant of my altar. I have a green five day candle surrounded by various stones I have picked up here and there.
That’s all there is to a basic altar. How and where a Witch chooses to set up her or his altar is purely a matter of personal preference. My only suggestion is to have fun. Create an altar that speaks to the Witch inside.