In most practices of the Craft, an altar is where the magic happens (I went there). Your altar should be a peaceful place of good energy where you feel most at ease carrying out your rituals. For a lot of witches, this space is outside. Many witches keep an outdoor altar since many spells and rituals require the pure light of the moon. For an apartment dwelling witch like myself an indoor space can work just as well. I have chosen the hearth of my fireplace as the spot of my altar. It’s spacious, fireproof (which is important!) and out of the way.
There are a few main tools it’s good to have on your altar for most practices and below I’ll list some of my favorites and their uses.
Obviously candles are important. Candles can be used to enhance a spell by choosing colors that correspond to intent (pink for love, purple for psychic strength, etc.). I also always keep large black and white pillar candles, for balance and a silver candle is always good to have for moon magic.
Often referred to as a besom in most Wiccan texts, the broom is used to both literally and spiritual cleanse the space through ritual. Most anything you do at the altar can be started of by sweeping around the altar deosil (another often used witchy word meaning clockwise). As you sweep, visualize yourself sweeping negative energy from the space. Truly prepare the altar for what’s about to take place.
The broom I use is actually a Filipino style broom that my dad bought when I was younger.
An athame is a dagger, usually dual edged, used for ritual purpose. I use it to channel and harness energy when casting and uncasting a circle (I can get into that in a later post). I use mine in the place of a wand for any ritual that calls for the use of one. I also like to heat mine for carving runes into candles which is why the end is so black.
There are a lot of really fucking cool athames, greatly varying in prices. Mine is pretty basic and I got in on amazon for like $15 I think. My athame was one of the first thing I bought when I started out, so I didn’t wanna indulge myself too much.
The chalice can be used for the cakes and wine ceremony or any other ritual that calls for a drink. I got this chalice from the Cincinnati City Flea. A chalice is pretty self explanatory!
Mortar and Pestle:
A mortar and pestle is used for grinding up herbs, leafs, flowers etc. The one I have is fairly small but still useful for most rituals since they usually don’t call for a great deal of ingredients. I recently tried to make bath salts with this and it was a little too small and kind of made a mess (hence why my altar looks so dusty) so maybe down the road I might get a bigger one that I could use for cooking stuff too.
I got this at Enchantments, the oldest witch store in New York, when I went this past spring. I got it there just as a souvenir basically but you can get these at most kitchen stores or, like everything else, from Amazon.
Bells are used to signify the beginning or end of a practice. Usually, I ring a bell 3 times when opening and closing my circles. Again, pretty self explanatory.
I got this bell at an oddities shop in Covington called Hail Dark Aesthetics. I really like this bell because of the crescent moon handle and it’s hard to see, but there’s a triple goddess on two sides. I think it was like $15 .