Hi, my loves and welcome to Wiccanow. Recently I’ve been all over the show, covering everything from lavender, to a botanical witchipedia to a healing spell and also my top magickal plants for indoors to promote healing. Today I want to veer off in another direction again and talk about something I haven’t covered yet, which I probably should have, namely how to set up your witchy altar!
As I mention all the time, how you want to do things like set up your witchy altar is completely up to you. There are some guidelines that I’ll outline below about how many people like to set things up, but just because most people do it one way, definitely doesn’t mean that you have to follow suit.
Altars are a very personal thing and each and every one of us will set them up differently. Some people love to have an elaborate altar in a prominent position in their home and others prefer a more simplistic and pared-back version somewhere out of the way. Because your witch’s altar is so personal, choose whatever you are more comfortable with. I’d suggest starting out simple and then adding to your altar if it feels right.
My 7 Top Tips for Setting Up Your Witchy Altar
So, let’s get into it! Here is my guide to setting up your witchy altar.
Witchy Altar Tip #1 Figure out what’s important to you
Your altar is a personal space, which celebrates and symbolises your spirituality. It’s the place where you’ll put representations of your hopes and dreams and where you’ll set intentions for spell work you might be doing.
Figuring out what’s actually most important to you and your life is vital here. What are your future plans? Why do you want an altar? What energy do you want to channel? Why are you drawn to witchcraft? Do you honour a deity? Are the cycles in nature important to you? These are all good questions to set about answering before you start setting up your witch’s altar.
Witchy Altar Tip #2 Choose your location
When choosing a spot for your altar, think about how often you’ll be using it and how much space you want to dedicate to it. Some people will have an entire altar room (I don’t know many people who have that much space but that’s beside the point really) and others will have a very small space set up in a corner of their desks. Either is totally ok and you need to decide how much space you have to spare.
When choosing a space to set your altar up in, be aware of getting in the way of other people that you live with. Maybe you have housemates at home and the dining table might not be the most appropriate place to set up on. Maybe you’ve got kids and that lower side table might be in reach of inquisitive little hands. Maybe your cat (this is me) is a little less graceful than she might like and enjoys jumping onto things only to find herself falling off again and sending everything crashing onto the floor. What I’m saying is, pick an appropriate spot that won’t bother the other creatures you’re living with.
When thinking about the location of your altar, it’s also nice to consider how good the energy feels in that space. I tend to get morning sun in my apartment and I’ve positioned my altar to make the most of that. I love that it gets bathed in natural light every morning and I feel like this brings a really special energy to my altar. Maybe you have a favourite plant you’d like to incorporate? Or a favourite window? A favourite room? Your altar is meant to be a space that feels special to you, so choose your location accordingly.
Witchy Altar Tip #3 Direction of your Altar
Did you know that many people choose to face their altars to the north? If you’re curious as to why this is, let me explain.
The 4 directions on a compass have a corresponding natural element that they represent.
Elements and their corresponding directions
Because Wicca is an earth-based religion (and I’m coming at this from a Wiccan perspective), many of use choose to have out altars facing to the north.
This is absolutely not something you have to follow, however, and feel free to choose whatever direction you want for your altar, even if this is no specified direction at all. Maybe one of the elements speaks to you more than the others, or maybe you appreciate them all and choose to rotate your altar every 3 months. Decide what’s important for you and go with that. Test out different orientations and see which works best for you.
Witchy Altar Tip #4 Altar Decorations
This is such a big one, that I’m going to write a separate post on all the things you can add to your Witchy altar and the reasons that you might add them. Check out my witchy altar decorations here.
In the meantime, here is a small selection of things you might want to include. Again, choose things that you love and that give you good energy and raise your vibrations.
- Salt – keeps away malevolent intents (see this post for my recipe for banishing salt).
- Water – It’s great to represent the 4 main elements.
- Favourite plant – this represents earth in the 4 elements.
- Candles – I actually use one candle to represent air (fire can’t burn without oxygen) and one to represent fire. In this way I’m covering my 4 elements.
- Anthame – for drawing energy to you.
- God and Goddess figures – this can be whoever you choose to worship to. It can be just one, both, many or none depending on what you believe.
- Pentacle – this is a common one within the Wiccan community. If you don’t identify with it that’s totally ok too!
Possible Witchy Altar Layout
Witchy Altar Tip #5 Free Space
To me, it’s really important to leave a little free space on your altar. I know that it’s really tempting to fill it up with everything you love, and realistically you’ll find more and more things to add to it as time goes on (if you’re like me and love flea markets). This being said, everything needs some breathing room. Think about how you feel when you’re in a room full of way too many things, it’s stifling! Your altar feels the same way. Make sure that you only add things that are relevant to you RIGHT NOW.
Adding too much clutter can end up making this weird mash of energetic energy that doesn’t quite know what it’s doing. Too many things hold too many ideas and the whole thing ends up confused. Again, this is just my opinion, so if you love lots of things then go for it!
Witchy Altar Tip #6 Crystals
While this falls under Altar decoration, it can be an important addition to your altar. Crystals carry a lot of power in them, so if you want to add them to your witch’s altar, make sure you know what kind of energy they are bringing with them before you add them to the altar.
I really like adding crystals to my altar, and depending on how I’m feeling or what spell or ritual I plan on performing I will change what’s on my altar. Amythest has written a few posts on different crystals and their properties, check out her posts on amethyst, sodalite, emerald, rose quartz and peridot.
Witchy Altar Tip #7 Have fun!
While creating an altar can feel heavily loaded and full of ways you can “mess up”, remember that we’re not talking life or death and this is something that is meant to bring you joy and make you feel good.
An altar is there to enhance your craft, not to make you feel guilty or to browbeat you with a set of rules that you feel like you have to follow. A witch’s path is meandering and what you liked yesterday you may not like tomorrow. Remember this when creating your altar, and don’t fixate on how you might be doing something “wrong”. If you aren’t a ceremonial or super traditional witch, then you have all the freedom in the world to create an altar which brings you joy.
Do you love plants? Make a plant altar, with herbs, cacti, flowers and whatever you love most. Enjoy crystal more? Cover all your bases with crystals which correspond to each of the 4 elements. Do you love cooking? Make your kitchen your altar and your kitchen knife your ceremonial knife.
My loves, whatever you do on this path, make it your own! I’m here to give you suggestions and tips but never feel like you have to follow anything said here 100%. Being a witch is all about claiming your own power, and if you have ideas different to mine, embrace them!
You’re all forces to be reckoned with, don’t ever forget it.
Blessed be and until next time,