Empowering Your Altar

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Setting Up Your Altar
Casting A Circle

You can further empower your special place as a reflection of the positive aspects of your changing
life by placing on it other small items that carry happy memories for you. These might include stones
or shells found on an enjoyable outing, presents from friends or family, a letter or even a printed email
written in love, pictures or photographs of places and people that are endowed with emotional
significance. Holding these can restore the pleasure of the moment and fill you with confidence, so
they are magical objects because they are endowed with the power of good feeling.
Some practitioners keep a book, for example a book of poetry, a copy of the psalms, the works of
Shakespeare or the I Ching. Whenever you lack inspiration, close your eyes and open your book – the
page will be chosen apparently at random but in fact your deep unconscious mind has chosen the most
appropriate answer by a process akin to psychokinesis.
Occasionally, gently energise these personal artefacts by burning a candle scented with chamomile or
lavender. The domestic altars of many lands were originally the family hearth and an unused hearth
will serve well as an altar. They depended for their power on herbs and flowers gathered from the
wayside in the days before petrol fumes. Many witches who have a hearth do still keep it well swept
and fresh with flowers or seasonal greenery.
Between your altar candles you may like to place statues, a god and goddess figure from either your
own spiritual background or from a culture that seems significant to you; this will balance the yang, or
male, energies with the yin, or female. The god figure may be represented by a horn, and the goddess
by a large conch shell.
There are a great variety of deity figures in museum shops as well as New Age shops and those selling
goods from particular areas of the world. You may, however, feel more comfortable with a ceramic
animal, bird or reptile for which you feel an affinity: a tiger for courage, an eagle for vision, a cat for
mystery and independence, a snake for regeneration. This is what Native Americans call our personal
totem or power creature. You may find some of these are, in some cultures, the symbols of divinities.
There is, for example, Bast, the cat-headed Egyptian goddess who protected women – especially in
pregnancy and childbirth – the home, pleasure and joy. Bast was originally a lion goddess who
symbolised the fertilising rays of the Sun.
Casting A Circle
All spells and rituals, however formal or informal, are based on a magical circle. This may be large
enough for an entire group of practitioners

Setting Up Your Altar
Casting A Circle

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