Your Altar

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Kiama's Avatar
Kiama  Kiama is offline
Dancing to the Vodou groove
Join Date: 06 Aug 2001
Location: Cardiff, Wales
Posts: 6,273

My altar serves as a method of following the seasons, as well as a mental focal point for my spiritual growth and interests. Unfortunately, I am always interested in so many things at once that to many people my altar can look cluttered! It changes constantly, and I tend to pick things up on my travels and walks around cardiff that end up on the altar - such as the raven feather I found lying at my feet on the day I got the results of my degree. I've never found a raven feather before, so this stuck out and begged to go on the altar! Needless to say, it meant a lot to me, on a personal, spiritual, and emotional level.

The altar itself is very large (I am lucky in that I live in a shared house with a few other Pagans, so do not need to hide anything.) It is made from a modified dark-wood dressing table, so has many 'levels' on which to put things (works wonders aesthetically!) It also has five large and sturdy drawers beneath it which are hidden by the altar cloth, and serve as storage space for items that aren;t currently residing on the altar, as well as a growing collection of deity imagery.

It's safe to say my altar isn't subtle. It is, however, highly eclectic. It is still 'dressed' for Lughnassadh (I don't celebrate the Autumn Equinox very much, so didn't update it for that), and bears upon it a Gaia statue, a statue of the Labrys Goddess of Crete, a small mother-goddess offering bowl I made myself; white roses in a vase; Tarot cards (Hanged Man and Empress); John Barleycorn imagery; pictures of Mary and Jesus; a chalice; a sickle; raven feather; a few stones and shells; three small black haemetite skulls; and two masks: one for Summer Solstice, and one for Lughnassadh (I made both myself.)

Interestingly, when I do deity-specific work I do not use this altar. I create an entirely new one in another part of the room, and fill it with images and objects specific to the deity I am working with. So far, I've done this with Baron Samedi, Maman Brigitte, Odin, Mithras, and Brighid.


Top   #31
tarotbear's Avatar
tarotbear  tarotbear is offline
One of the original 100 members
Join Date: 05 Aug 2001
Location: Under a pile of embroidery floss and perle cottons
Posts: 11,189

Milfoil - that's a writing slope? It's absolutely beautiful and what a wonderful new use you have turned it into! (My mother has one she uses for a silver chest). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Top   #32
Milfoil  Milfoil is offline
Bending Clouds
Join Date: 01 Mar 2005
Location: x
Posts: 13,991

You are right Tarotbear - it is (or was) a writing slope but before I found it, it had been stripped of anything worth having in order to restore other writing slopes. The banding was brass but I had to simply fill it with white wood filler, the front had been forced to open the lock and a lot of wood was damaged which needed to be tidied up, the interior had more or less been stripped, no writing surface, no secret compartment etc but a little tlc and a new direction have given what was a very poorly looking box a new lease of life.

I now have fingers covered with french polish but it was worth it, it feels special and 'mine' now.

Glad you like it too.

Cheers . . .
Top   #33
tarotbear's Avatar
tarotbear  tarotbear is offline
One of the original 100 members
Join Date: 05 Aug 2001
Location: Under a pile of embroidery floss and perle cottons
Posts: 11,189

It's packed or I'd try to post a pic, milfoil, but once I found a yucky - and I mean YUCKY small wooden jewelry box in a junk/thrift store and bought it for $1. I ripped out the cheapo fake silk interior and oil soaped the wood to get the grime off, then polished the oxidized brass fittings to find a gorgeous chinese-styled box under it all - and a fitting home for some prized tarot decks. All it took was a little work and a little time.
Top   #34
Shade's Avatar
Shade  Shade is offline
Join Date: 28 Aug 2002
Location: California, USA
Posts: 2,863

here's my grove's Samhain Altar. The lower ltar is where we honored our beloved dead with gifts the top altar is the main altar.
Attached Images
Top   #35

WolfSpirit's Avatar
WolfSpirit  WolfSpirit is offline
~ Collector of words ~
Join Date: 10 May 2002
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 14,216

Milfoil ~ what a lovely box ! I hope I will one day find something old and "repairable" like that.
Shade ~ I like all the photos of people that have passed on, that makes it so personal.
I've been to a shop that sells household items and I saw they sell wooden trays with an "old look". That will go well with my nature-themed pieces, I think I will pick one up and give it a nice place I will have to fill it with items or my cats will try to use it for sleeping place !
Top   #36
Ankou's Avatar
Ankou  Ankou is offline
Join Date: 27 Apr 2005
Location: DC/USA
Posts: 484

Wow... I'm so happy to see this thread. Shade your grove's alters are beautiful! I particularly like the earth alter. What a wonderful way to worship together! First assembling the items then putting them together then gathering in that space... wow...

Milfoil, I also love your solution. Simple and beautiful... and doesn't have to live anywhere but where you are.

All the alters shown and described here are so fantastic, and come from so many places, it's just the way it should be.

I grew up the child of a Lutheran pastor in the Bible Belt. I used to play by the alter all the time and always loved the central sacred space and the care that went into dressing and maintaining it. I always set up little special places of my own, but never called them alters until recently. Now I have a pantry where all those special things live, and little spaces all over the house which are set for contemplation and energy focusing. I'm a bit of a clutter bug and so are my little alters, but I'm trying to keep them in check for the sake of living in the same house with them! (and my husband!)

Here are some pics from the pantry...
The first is the primary alter space, It has a tooth from a dragon tree which my brother fought valiently for, an ivory fetish, reminders of my grandmother, including one of her paintings, a statue of Saint Juan Diego, and an Eagle feather (gifted by a native friend for worship).

The second is specifically for the doll wrapped in blue, whom I made and then refused to be treated like anything less than (ummm...word for a statue which contains spirit?)...

And the third is my book shelf with two aspects of the Goddess.

The place is in terrible clutter, but well loved and attended despite, I just had to share

Love and Light,

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Top   #37
BlueLeaf's Avatar
BlueLeaf  BlueLeaf is offline
Join Date: 24 Oct 2005
Location: Denver Coloardo
Posts: 65

I'm on a crafting message board, and a few months ago we did banner shrine swaps. Basically it is like a tapestry with spiritual significance. Some people puts pockets to hold charms and items in, some people put ribbons to tie prayers and spell on. It was a lot of fun and a different way of making shrines. I put mine over my regular shrine, but this idea would be perfect for people with very small spaces who want something "permanent."
Top   #38
Silverkitten's Avatar
Silverkitten  Silverkitten is offline
Join Date: 31 Jan 2005
Location: WA State
Posts: 208

I have had a wonderful time reading this thread. It has shown me how broing and drab my altar is, LOL. I have always kept it simple and efficient. Nothing of a personal nature. Just the basics to get the job done. For meditation I use a different table with nothing but a single candle.
This has inspired me to re-make my altar into a beautiful, personal, sacred place. Someplace that I would wnat to spend time at, instead of just finishing my task and leaving. I think I will also re-do my meditation table for the same purpose. I need to learn to slow down. And maybe it will help me to dwell there a bit longer

All the pictures of everyones altars were incredible. Shade, your groves altars are inspirational, moving.
Milfoil, I love your little altar. What a beautiful box.

Top   #39
Milfoil  Milfoil is offline
Bending Clouds
Join Date: 01 Mar 2005
Location: x
Posts: 13,991

Its incredible how different and diverse everyones altars are. Thankyou so much for sharing, I have learned so much.

I am incredibly impressed with the passion and diversity of worship apparent from the different altars and everyones descriptions. How liberating it is to finally be unconstrained in devotion.
Top   #40
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