Designing your own Wiccan altar is fun. You’re basically creating your haven – a sacred space for casting spells, praying, worshipping and connecting with the Divine. Having a Wiccan altar in your room will improve your wellbeing and harmony in the house. Designing one is a deeply personal process, but there are some basic items that most Wiccans place on theirs. Each item symbolises a different element – earth, water, fire and air. All of these should also be represented on your altar.
Here are some ideas for your Wiccan altar:
There’s a reason why candles are first on our list of altar items. They’re essential for a number of spells, magick rituals and spiritual cleansing. It’s a good idea to get different coloured candles for when you’re performing candle magic spells, as different colours correspond to different spells. Many witches place one candle on each corner of their Altar – black, green or brown for North; yellow or white for East; red or orange for South; blue for West. A white, silver or gold candle should be reserved for the central place of the Altar. You can find packets of candles in a variety of colours online.
Fill a small bowl with water and dissolve a dash of salt in it. Place it in the middle of your Altar. Together, water and salt represent the union of the water and earth energies. Not only that – both water and salt act as purifying agents, so you should make some space for them on your Wiccan Altar.
Ceremonial knives have been used in various religions since time immemorial. An Athame is a modern ceremonial knife, usually with a black handle. But don’t worry – it’s not meant to bring harm to anyone! If you want, you can even get yourself an Athame made of wood or carved stone. The Father of Wicca Gerald Gardner associated the Athame with the element of fire in his Book of Shadows, while other practitioners use it to represent the element of air. You can look at a wide range of athames for your Wiccan altar here.
Stereotypically, witches all have a broom. Wiccan witches are no exception. In modern Wicca practices, a broom or a besom is one of the strongest symbols for witchcraft. It is a tool that can cleanse and purify space, sweeping away bad energy. Wiccan brooms vary in size. You can find a number of tiny ceremonial brooms online or you can make a traditional broom and keep it next to the Altar. You’ll need a handle made of ash tree. Using pieces of willow wood, tie some birch twigs to the handle. (This may take a bit of practice.)
Useful for burning incense, performing candle wax divination rituals and creating ‘witches brew’, a cauldron is typically made of cast iron. It usually has three legs but cauldrons do vary greatly in size. Whether you buy a large one or a small one depends on how big your altar area is!
A Chalice is a must for your Wiccan Altar. You can go all fancy with a jewelled chalice, or make do with a simple cup or a wine glass. If you can afford to splash out, get yourself a silver chalice – silver is the colour of the Goddess, and the chalice represents this deity.
The fragrant smoke that incense releases is symbolic of invoking deities into the room and the sacred space of your Altar. The smoke also helps to create a magical atmosphere in the room, putting your mind at ease when you perform magick rites, pray, chant or meditate. Filling the room with the scent of incense feels like stepping into another world, filled with wonder and possibility. Frankincense is probably the most popular type of incense, associated with the masculine powers and used for purification purposes. Myrrh, on the other hand, is associated with the feminine power and used in healing. You can also use Pine and Cedar to cleanse your Altar of all negativity. If you’d like to rotate several types of incense for different spells and rituals, buying an incense set is the most practical way to go about it.
In it’s basic form, a pentacle is a five-pointed star, surrounded by a circle. It’s also the ultimate symbol for witches. Each of the five stars points towards an element – earth, fire, water, air. Yes, you guessed it – there’s one more! A fifth element called ether or spirit. The Pentacle as a symbol is more than 8,000 years old, and represents the idea of bringing Spirit on Earth. Every Wiccan should have one on her Altar, as it symbolises their place in the unity of the Universe. Most Wiccans place a pentacle altar tile or a pentacle altar cloth on their altar.
These babies come in all shapes and sizes. You can make a simple wand out of wood, or go for something more fancy, like a wand with gemstones. Just like the witch’s broom, a wand is also associated with magick rituals. It evolved from ceremonial staffs used by kings and religious authorities (Think of the story where Moses uses a rod to make the Red Sea part). The wand is used to perform a range of rites, from divination to blessings, protection spells and more.
As well as adding a nice touch to your witchy Altar, gemstones represent various qualities and aid healing powers. Gemstones are like containers of energy. They can help to soak up negative vibes and induce healing. For example, an amethyst can help to raise your vibrational frequency while a pearl helps to balance your emotions and bust stress. Make sure you thoroughly cleanse your gem stones though! You can wash them with soap and water, leaving them on the windowsill to dry out in the sun. Or you can get yourself a white sage smudge stick to cleanse both the stones and the energy in the room.
Successfully performing a spell is an art that comes about with practice. The better you are at working with magickal energy, the better your results will be. The Essence of Magick is a guide which teaches you how to cast spells that work.