In Wicca, an altar is a workspace just like a Circle. It is sacred to the God and Goddess and a place of power. Most traditions do not believe that the God or Goddess inhabit it. I believe that an altar is a focus of power and a place where the God and Goddess can best hear the petitions and worship of a Witch. It is also a place where you can honor the divine, your ancestors or any other powers that you find meaningful.
The decoration of an altar is yet another avenue where your personality can be expressed. An altar should be set up in an orderly fashion so that during rituals, tools can be used without fumbling or searching. Where the altar resides can be dependant on different factors. Within a circle altars usually face a northerly direction in the center of the circle, however, the direction can be changed to best suit the spell and ritual work you intend to do. Altars can also be set up anywhere within an area. These are usually permanant or semi-permanant constructions. What is on the altar itself can be your decision along with what you choose to use as your altar.
Where you practice your Craft should be the first consideration in choosing the form of your altar. Working outside, a rock or stable natural surface to work upon can serve. You could choose to bring a portable surface with you. Inside you can use a table, a window ledge, a box or a chair. As long as your altar gives you space for all of your tools, it's perfectly fine. You might want to find an out-of-the-way place, to store all your supplies, such as candles, herbs, oils and incense. Again, this can be wherever is convenient. Portable alters made from boxes are useful not only for travel but for those who must conceal their beliefs from the ignorance of others.
On your altar, traditionally the left side represents the Goddess, while the right side represents the God. All the tools that correspond to the God or Goddess are placed on their respective sides. A candle, statue or picture can be visual representions the God and Goddess. An altar cloth of preferably a natural fabric, can be placed on the altar to decorate it and even protect your tools from outside influences. On the altar cloth the pentagram or other designs used by your tradition, can be embroidered or drawn. Let your creativity flow if you wish to decorate it and don't feel hampered by preconceived notions of what is 'right' or 'wrong'. Anything that is meaningful to you is right.
Suggested items that can aid in ritual, and are easily located, are: candles; incense; oil burners; cords; paper; matches and herbs. Some witches also include items that represent the elements of fire, earth, air and water. All items placed on the altar should be purified and/or consecrated to the God and Godess.
Short List For The Placement Of Tools
Censer and Caldron can also be placed in the middle.BACK