The altar is a principle part of magick, ritual, and daily life. See if you can set up a sacred space in your home with an altar. Your altar does not have to be big. It does not have to be complex. What is important is you feeling of comfort with the items. You may vary the items on your altar with the seasons, holidays, other things. You can place your altar where no one else can see it - or in public view. The size and shape of your table or table top can vary and reflect the purpose of your altar.
What you should prepare on your altar
There are two Cloths. The first cloth is usually a specific color that relates to the purpose of the altar. It covers the table before anything else goes upon it. Most people I know uses one with a design created for this type of work. The working cloth goes over it. It is a cloth that is safe to drip things on, like wax or oil. This is to protect the usually more expensive altar cloth, which often has a symbol pattern design on top.
Four Quarter Candles in colors that are appropriate to the element and quarter they represent. Yellow or White= Air and East; Red or Burgundy= Fire and South; Blue=Water and West; Green or Brown= North and Earth. Quarter candles are not always on the altar. Many circles will put free standing pillars or stands to place these candles upon on the out side edge of the sacred circle for ritual. This is one of those areas where a ritual altar may differ from the home altar used daily. Illumination candles- are there to provide light. They vary in size, color, shape, and scent. The Goddess candle is a silver or white candle (provided that the East candle is yellow and not white) that represents the Goddess. Matches or lighter.
The Candle Snuffer is used to put out candles at the appropriate time. There are many viewpoints on weather of not this should be used in place of simply blowing them out or snuffing a candle with wet finger tips. If you have a candle that has been burning long enough for a lot of liquid wax to be present, blowing it out can also get hot wax in your eyes or on the other altar things near by. Snuffing candles with your fingers, even if they are wet can cause injury.
The Cauldron is a symbol of the Goddess and corresponds to the element of Water. It is used in ritual as a container in which Magickal transformations can occur and is often a focal point of a ritual. During spring rites, it can be filled with water and fresh flower petals and in winter, fires can be lighted within the cauldron to symbolize the rebirth of the Sun. It can also be filled with water and used for scrying. Cauldrons are often three-legged and made of iron.
The Chalice symbolizes the Goddess and fertility and is related to the element of Water. It can be used to hold water or ritual wine. The chalice can be made out of any substance, silver, brass, wood or soapstone.
The Wand is an instrument of invocation, and corresponds to the element of Air. It is sometimes used to direct energy, to scratch Magickal symbols in the ground, or to stir the contents of a cauldron. Woods such as willow, elder, oak, hazel and apple are traditionally used for the wand, but any fairly straight piece of wood can work. Many carve special symbols into the wood, or attach gems and stones to personalize the wand.
The Censer or incense burner, represents the element of Air. It can be a big, swinging metal contraption like those used in Catholic churches or a small wooden stick incense holder. A bowl filled with sand or salt can also be used. The sand or salt absorbs the heat from the charcoal, or incense sticks or cones can be pushed into it.
The Athame is the magical knife commonly linked with the element of Fire. It is never used for cutting purposes, or for any purposes outside the circle. The Athame is used in ritual to direct energy and is an instrument of power and manipulation. The blade is often dull and double-edged and the handle is usually black to absorb power.
The Pentacle represents the element Earth, and is often used as a symbol of protection - it can be hung over doors and windows or worn around the neck as a pendant. The five points on a pentacle represent each of the five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. In ritual, the pentacle is used to evoke spirits and to consecrate other ritual tools. It can be made brass, silver wood, clay, or any other material that can be engraved.
The Broomoften is used to purify space before a circle is cast. It is related to the element of Water and is used in many water spells that involve cleansing. It also historically has been used to protect the home by laying it across the door. To make a magick broom, it is suggested that you use an ash staff, birch twigs and a willow binding (ash is protective, birch cleansing, and willow is sacred to the Goddess.)
Consecrated Oil is on the altar for anointing and blessing of tools and circle members or the solitary practitioner.
Herbs used alone or in combinations with other herbs
Bell [Harmonics - Tones]
Book of Shadows is a collection of spells, rituals, invocations, dreams, ideas and thoughts, information and personal observations of a witch or group of witches. It is a personal document, written for, and by its readers