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Magic 101: How to Create an Altar

EVERY WELLNESS WITCH SHOULD HAVE AN ALTAR. IT SERVES AS A place to focus her thoughts, prepare for meditation or spellwork, and keep her home in the state of soft, resonant power that it should have. But each altar is personal to that witch, and it will change as she changes and as her practice changes.

Here are some things to consider, just to get started: You’ll want to keep your altar in a somewhat out-of-the-way place, to avoid unwanted questions—if that’s a risk—and also to keep others from messing with it. Your altar is yours alone, and it is private. Many witches keep them in a corner of the bedroom or on a dresser or bookshelf. This is a sacred space, but it doesn’t have to take up a lot of room. You may want to incorporate the elements, so consider the following symbols:

Candle | Volcanic stones | Spices like cinnamon or pepper
Feather | Diffuser | Wind chimes
Seashell | Empty cup | Jar of rainwater
Bowl of loam | Horn or bone | Sedimentary rock

You’ll also want a central symbol for your altar, perhaps an image or figure of a deity or loved one, a pentagram, a powerful crystal, an incense burner, a bowl, or a chalice—your central symbol will change as you and your needs do. Those are the basics—the flair is up to you. Enhance your altar with any stones or essential oils that speak to you and any found items like lost keys, shells, driftwood, or bits of string—many altars look like a magpie has been at them, and that’s a good thing. You’ll want to refresh your altar on the changing of the seasons by reflecting on what still feels true and right to you and what needs to be put away for another day.