Hi, my loves and welcome to WiccaNow. Recently I’ve been talking a lot about some basic witch supplies, like this post on my favourite altar decorations, a post on witch wands, one about setting up a witchy altar and a post on mirror magick. I’ve also diverged into love a bit and talked about common ingredients for love spells and shared a couple of love spells without ingredients. Today I want to talk about something that many of you might already have at home, namely Wiccan altar cloths.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to alternate using an altar cloth with not using one. Sometimes I’m really into them and love the energy they bring to my altar and at other times I’d rather just look at the surface my altar is placed on. It might be because I tend to like changing things around a bit and don’t like when everything is always the same.
Like most things within Witchcraft and also Wicca, whether you use an altar cloth or not is a really flexible thing. There are no prescribed ways that you HAVE to set up your altar so you’re truly free to experiment and decide what works best for you.
In saying this, there are a few questions which had come up about Wiccan altar cloths which I thought I’d answer for you today. So here goes!
What is a Wiccan Altar Cloth?
A Wiccan altar cloth is something that many Wiccan and witch practitioners use when setting up their altars. An altar cloth is predominantly there to protect the altar itself from any damage that might occur through the objects placed on it. Its secondary function is to increase the power or intention of any magical workings.
Depending on what kind of altar cloth the practitioner chooses, certain ideas or powers might be boosted or called upon with the altar cloth. For example: You might want to petition the Triple Goddess to help you with something, in which case you might choose an altar cloth with the symbol of the Goddess on it so you are invoking her and representing her on your altar.
What can be used as a Wiccan Altar Cloth?
You can use anything you like! Natural material are definitely prefered (in my opinion anyway), so things like cotton, silk, bamboo fibre and wool are all great options. I try to buy organic cotton or wild silk when I can to stay as ethical and sustainable as I possibly can.
Choose a material that feels great when you pick it up and that you would like to be in close contact with. If you don’t like how it feels, don’t add it to your altar! I have a little obsession with silks and LOVE to use them when doing magickal work. I discovered vintage Japanese silks a while back and have been buying the most beautiful silk obis ever since to use as altar cloths.
What are the colour meanings of Wiccan Altar Cloths?
When you choose an altar cloth, the colour you choose definitely has a meaning! There are colours that correspond to the 8 different Sabbats on the Wheel of the year, and there are also general meanings for colours in Wicca and Witchcraft.
Colour Correspondences of Wiccan altar cloths for the 8 Sabbats
|Imbolc||White, lavender or any pastel colours|
|Ostara||Pale yellow, pink, white and any light spring-like colours|
|Beltane||Light greens, blues and yellows or pinks. White is also common for Beltane.|
|Litha||Strong yellows, greens, reds or golds.|
|Lammas||Lighter earthy tones of browns, yellows or reds.|
|Mabon||Darker earthy tones of dark browns, reds and yellows.|
|Samhain||Blacks, greys and dark blues and orange.|
|Yule||Festive colours like red, silver, gold, white or green.|
If you don’t want to use a different altar cloth for each Sabbat, its really common to decorate your Wiccan altar to represent the 4 seasons instead.
General Colour meanings for Wiccan altar cloths
If you are trying to cast a particularly powerful spell, consider choosing an altar cloth that corresponds with the intention of your spell. The table below outlines what each colour corresponds to in magick, so choose from this list accordingly!
|Red||Passion, lust, love, power, career goals, courage, strength and stimulating creativity. It represents the fire element.|
|Orange||Success, justice, attraction, intellectual pursuits, concentration and anything to do with the property market.|
|Yellow||Intelligence, happiness, clarity, memory, aids mental blocks, learning, persuasion. It represents the air element as well as the sun.|
|Green||Fertility, abundance, money, personal growth, physical healing, and nature. It represents the earth element and the Earth Mother.|
|Blue||Wisdom, protection, serenity, luck, spiritual inspiration, aids communication, patience and psychic work. It’s the colour of the water element.|
|Purple||Psychic work, spiritual power, knowledge, power and ambition.|
|Pink||Romance, affection, love, friendship, health, wellbeing and nurturing.|
|White||Peace, cleansing and purity. White represents the Goddess.|
|Silver||Telepathy, dreams, intuition, psychic connection and astral projections.|
|Gold||Happiness, success, luck, wealth, prosperity, help with disputes and compassion. Gold represents the God.|
|Copper||Career, money, passion and professional growth|
|Brown||Abundance, family, friendship, favours, animals and the earth. It also represents the earth element.|
|Grey||Loneliness, invisibility, negative energies and wisdom.|
|Black||Protection, wisdom, self-defence, negative energies and bad habits.|
How do you make a Wiccan Altar Cloth?
If you want to make your own Wiccan altar cloth, it’s really simple! Choose a beautiful fabric that you love and cut it to the size that you need. I always like to hem mine so they look neater. I often embroider things onto my altar cloths, I love having something to do in the evenings and enjoy embroidering while watching a movie or tv show.
You can paint your cloth, print on it, sew shapes onto it or leave it plain. You can choose just one colour or you can choose to use lots of different colours. You might end up making a few different altar cloths which you can pick and choose from when the mood strikes you.
I always think of my altar cloths as a fun addition to my space so I really encourage you to also have fun while making you own cloths. While Witchcraft and Wicca are both serious practices, they aren’t meant to feel overwhelming and like a burden. If you aren’t feeling it, don’t beat yourself up about it! Being stressed because you think you have to do everything perfectly just takes you down a long road of anxiety, so if the idea of making your own altar cloth freaks you out, buy one or just don’t use one! Both awesome, practical and effective options.
What do I need for a Wiccan Altar?
A Wiccan altar traditionally has the following:
- A God figure
- A Goddess figure
- At least one candle
- An anthame
- A chalice
- A cauldron
- A pentacle
- A wand
- An altar cloth
There are other things you can add too, check out this post I wrote dedicated to altar decorations for more info on each tool.
How do you set up a Wiccan Altar?
You can set up your altar any way you want, but a traditionalist would consider the left side of the altar as the female side and the right side as the make side. Objects considered “feminine” like a chalice, bowl or cauldron would be placed on the female side along with a representation of the Goddess. The right side would contain “male” (read phallic) items like the wand, anthame and candle.
A traditional altar will often contain something to represent the 4 elements and many practitioners choose to face their altars north as this represents the earth and Wicca is a nature-based earth religion. The middle of the altar is neutral ground and is where you might complete spellwork. The middle of the altar would usually be where you would place a pentacle or some representation of Wicca.
Personally, I don’t adhere to the right/left side thing at all. To read about how I set up an altar check out this dedicated post on the subject.
So my loves, I hope this clears up any questions you have about Wiccan altar cloths! Always remember that there are no strict requirements and whether you want to use an altar cloth or not is totally up to your personal preference! Run with that beautiful natural wood grain or a piece of stone if you have it. Embrace the plywood shelf in your room or the strainless steel bench in your kitchen! Let your imagination run wild and most importantly have fun!
Until next time,