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Mini Magic for Your Altar

Your altar is a sacred space that is entirely unique to you. (If you’re new to altar building, Nikki Van De Car, bestselling author of Practical Magic, walks through the basics in our post “Magic 101: How to Create an Altar”). Here, we offer enchanted suggestions for adding our cherished mystic minis to your personal altar along with ways to incorporate this tiny magic into your daily rituals.

Rituals Mini Incense Holder

Photo of the "Rituals Mini Incense Holder Set" box and included holder and incense, next to floral decor

The Rituals Mini Incense Holder is the perfect way to symbolize the elements of fire (through the glowing red ember) and air (through the scents and the smoke of the incense). The ritual of lighting a mini stick of incense is a great way to initiate the intentional time spent with your altar.

An important safety note from RP Mystic: Start by finding a safe place within your altar where your incense can burn without being positioned near anything combustible.

Next, if you’re able, open a window to let some air in. Find a comfortable seat beside your altar and take a few deep breaths to ground yourself and focus on the present.

Hold the flame of a lighter or a match near the end of the incense stick. Allow it to catch fire, then after a second or two, blow the flame out. You’ll see a small red ember glowing at the tip, with smoke emitting from it. If the ember goes out, simply relight the tip until it burns on its own. Once your incense is lit, simply sit with it until it burns down. Appreciate the aroma and watch as the stick gently turns into ash. Consider writing a list of things you’re grateful for or setting an intention for the following day. Or simply sit and gently observe your thoughts as they come and go, watching the smoke dance in the air and appreciating the sensory experience.


Photo of the "Runes" box and included cloth, pouch, and rune stones

Runes are an ancient set of symbols and letters that were used for writing, magic, and divination in regions throughout Northern Europe. Rune means secret or mystery. The symbols were often carved into small stones put in a bag and hung around the neck. In the Runes mini, you’ll find a small burlap cloth, a soft bag, a set of glass stones with rune carvings, and a mini book about runes.

Intended to be a tool to self-knowledge, helping you find the answers that lie deep within, your runes can have a home within your altar, waiting patiently to guide you through whatever issues come up as you sit with your sacred space.

When you’re ready to cast your runes, start by placing the burlap cloth on a flat surface near your altar.

Find a comfortable seat, and take a few breaths to ground yourself. Focus on a particular issue or concern. Rather than presenting this issue as a question (should I pursue a friendship with this person?), focus on a general statement (understanding the meanings of my friendships). Concentrate on your statement as you shake the runes within the bag.

In this example, we’ll cast 3 runes for a past, present, and future spread. Gently cast 3 runes onto the cloth by allowing them to fall from the bag, or intuitively select them yourself.

Use your intuition to decide how each rune relates to your particular issue:

Rune on far right: represents the situation or issue at hand; the past

Rune in middle: represents opposing forces acting on the issue, or what the conflict is; the present

Rune on far left: represents the action most likely to happen if you stay on your current path; the future

I cast the three rune spread to connect with myself on how I feel about my new and old friendships. Here’s what I uncovered:

Rune on far right/the past:

RAIDHO (rye-though)


MEANING: ride, journey

ASSOCIATIONS: progress, riding, the right order or right way to proceed, rationality, growth

I interpret this particular rune as an acknowledgment of the ways my friendships have grown and changed in the past, and also how I have tried to take a rational approach to friendships.

Rune in middle/the present:

FEHU (fay-who)


MEANING: cattle, wealth

ASSOCIATIONS: success, wealth, abundance, increased income, possession, happiness, financial gain

I interpret this as my present self struggling to balance my financial gain (through my work), my health (through ways I nourish and move my body), and my happiness (through fostering friendships and making new friends). Since I moved to a new city, it has been challenging to adjust to balancing all of these things while making time for long-distance friendships and local friendships.

Rune on far left/the future:

GEBO (gay-bo)



ASSOCIATIONS: sharing, hospitality, blessings, exchange of oaths, generosity, personal relationships

I took this as a reminder that I can trust my intuition when it comes to balancing all of the things I value in life, including my friendships, my work, and my health. This reading left me feeling more sure of myself and my friendships.

Stone Stacking

Photo of the "Stone Stacking" box and included stones, wooden tray, and sand

The Stone Stacking mini provides a small yet powerful source of calm and meditation that is a wonderful addition to your altar. The sand and the stones also represent the element of earth, offering a way to connect with your senses of sight and touch.

The act of stone stacking is more about the journey than the result. Start by preparing a solid foundation by spreading the sand evenly on top of the wooden tray. From there, you can start stacking, perhaps with a larger stone, giving yourself grace if and when the stones fall and you have to attempt another arrangement.

Every time you visit your altar, you can set a new intention for your stone stack. Perhaps you stack stones as a way to practice gratitude, with each stone representing a person, place, thing, or animal that you’re grateful for. While I stacked stones, I voiced one thing I appreciate about my physical body with each stone I placed on the tray.

Potions Mini Mortar and Pestle

Photo of the "Potions" box and included guidebook, mortar, and pestle

Since a potion is all about intention, preparing a potion before working with your altar, or while you work with it, honors that intentional act. The Potions Mini Mortar and Pestle is the perfect way to start exploring the world of potions.

Here, we’ll share an Empowering Tisane that you can consume while you sit with your altar. The act of preparing a tisane, or tea drink, and sitting with it at your altar, adds further intention and brings out the fire within you. The process of making the tisane connects you with all of the elements––water through the steeping of the tea, earth through the grinding of the herbs and spices, air through the smells as the tisane brews, and fire as you feel the warmth of the tisane as you drink it.

Here’s the recipe for the Empowering Tisane, inspired by traditional Ayurvedic masala chai, which you can easily prep with this mini mortar and pestle. A note from RP Mystic: Find even more potion recipes in Potions: A Guide to Cocktails, Tinctures, Tisanes, and Other Witchy Concoctions by Nikki Van De Car.

Empowering Tisane

2 tsp whole fennel seeds

2 tsp dried mint

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp dried parsley

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

3 bags green tea

Grind whole fennel seeds, dried mint, dried thyme, caraway seeds, and parsley until it resembles the texture of broken gravel.

Place in a pot, add the fresh ginger and tea bags, plus 3 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, turn off, and let the mixture steep for 10-15 mins. Strain and serve.

Inhale its bright spicy fragrance. Take a sip, hold it in your mouth, and feel the fire within you.

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