My Altar has always been my most visible ‘thing’ of my paganism. When I started out on this path in my teens with Cunningham’s Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, all swept up by the storybook feel of what Wicca was, buoyed by TV shows like Charmed and the whole Wicca-for-Teens thing that started showing up in books, I was very focused on the magic and the ritual parts. That mainly showed in a lot of reading and gathering of info from various books and websites and not much actual practice. However, The Books dictated I should have an Altar, so I did. I set it up as it should, according to the books, with representation for the elements and the God and the Goddess and so on. But it was mainly just something that I should have, not something that directly connected with me.
As time went on, and I grew comfortable with my path and what I felt, what I needed and what I wanted, Wicca mostly fell by the wayside. I’ll always retain some things, purely because it was the first thing I learned, but I have grown into my own. Polytheistic versus just the God and the Goddess, and more emphasis on spiritual practice versus magic/witchcraft and ritual. I occasionally do spellwork or a small ritual thing here or there, but my main expression these days is internal and silent. And as that has evolved, so did my feelings toward, and connection with, an Altar. It started to pull me in.
In high school I had made this big clay statue of a (hugely!) pregnant woman: Mother Earth. She was the first thing that resonated with me, and so I built a devotional space around her. That started still in my teens, and that is what the picture shows. Mother Earth safely inside the cupboard, with a nature image in the frame before her. And to the left behind me you can see, vaguely, a jar. It has sand in it, and feathers stuck in that.
Over time, I added more items that meant something to me, versus items that I was ‘supposed to have’ . And with every item, Altar, as a concept, became a part of me. And the more that happened, the more the appearances changed, and so on. The rules-and-regulations approach got replaced by one based on intuition and feeling, especially as I started to incorporate more mind-stuff into it (meditation, general mindfulness), culminating in the present day with the entire top of the dresser in my bedroom dedicated to my faith (and my craft, even though I use it little).
I wish to build a connected universe in my Altar. So the base of it is formed by a goat skin (which I found at Ikea, of all places, but my wallet liked it 😀 ). On top are signifiers for the elements, which is something that originates in my Wicca beginnings, but fits very well in my nature-based approach. There’s three bowls, for the three realms of Earth, Sea and Sky, but also for the elements of Earth, Water and Air. The Earth bowl is light green and filled with rocks, a pinecone, a fossil, a (fake) spider and such. The Water bowl is light blue and filled with shells. The Air bowl is light grey and filled with a glass sphere with air bubbles inside, and feathers. For Fire there are candles. Beyond that I have variable things there, like egg-shaped rocks, postcards featuring Mucha art depicting Spring as young women, and spring candles (bright green and yellow) that I placed there this spring. And when I tweak the Altar for summer (probably next week), I will replace the eggs and postcards and candles with different things, depending on what feels right. Probably, though, the green candle will be replaced by an orange one. And there will be flowers on it more often and so on, all through the seasons.
Next to that I also have statuettes/figurines of those deities that are special to me, and whom I worship. These are Bast, Egyptian Goddess of, among other things, Cats; and Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War. Both will get their own post in this project, although poor Athena will have to wait for next year. I will post a new picture of the Altar once I’ve changed it, but here’s a somewhat recent one I already posted back in February when I changed my bedroom. This was before my new dresser so everything is much smaller.