Creating an altar is a place to get creative and express yourself and your individual spirituality. This is not limited to witchcraft and many spiritual workers of many different beliefs and ways of working use altars for their sacred space.
You can display many different things and arrange it in whatever way resonates with you.
It is useful to know which way is north in relation to your altar if you would like to represent the elements on your altar and have them arranged/facing the corresponding directions.
The idea of an altar is a sacred space to:
- symbolically strengthen your intentions/focus
- honour your deities
- celebrate moon phases
- celebrate sabbats/holidays
- keep sacred spiritual tools such as wand/athame/chalice
- display crystals/crystal grids, candles, tarot/oracle cards, spell book (or Grimore/Book of Shadows), flowers, plants, statues/figurines
- display and burn incense, essential oils, resins and smudging herbs (see what is smudging)
- display anything else to support your spiritual work/celebrate your spiritual self and beliefs
You treat your altar as a scared space and should keep this cleansed regularly, both physically, and energetically.
Rose water is excellent for physical cleansing of the surfaces and spraying into the air/on fabrics and using scared smoke to smudge objects and the area. At least once a week is good practice for cleansing your altar.
When first set up you consecrate your altar using a consecration ritual that you can create yourself.
A basic ritual might include burning sacred/ceremonial herbs/oils/incense, lighting a white candle (associated with divinity), opening a circle, inviting in the elements, your higher self, your energetic support team and deities (see how to cast a circle) asking them one by one to bless and protect your altar.
You might ask each element (clockwise North > West) in turn to consecrate your altar, and perhaps even each tool on the altar, saying something like:
“Through the power of Earth, I cleanse and consecrate this altar/wand/book in the name of the universe, in all that is, according to divine will, my highest truth and for the highest good of all souls involved. And so it is.”
There are lots of examples of altars on places like Pintrest for inspiration.