There are various methods and ways by which you can set up an altar to use as your sacred magical working space, depending on which author or book you read, and personal preference. However, the main thing to remember is that on any altar, no matter how small or big, there are representatives of the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) on it.
For air, you can have incense or a feather; for fire, a candle; for water, a cup of water, for earth, a crystal or stone or maybe salt. If you wish to include the fifth element (ether), you may wish to have a phial or bottle of anointing oil to consecrate or bless items or objects.
Other items may include a wand or an athame, a bell, a sistrum, rattle or drum, a pentacle, a crystal ball, a statue of the goddess, an incense burner or ash catcher, and a cauldron etc.
If you are asperging a room to cleanse it for your sacred space, you may like to consider employing something simple as incense to represent air and fire, and salt water to represent earth and water.
In case of ‘emergency’ situations (i.e. when called upon to do magic in someone’s home with no paraphernalia), it is possible to use household items to represent the four elements, I have used pot pourri to represent earth and a fan for air for example. The key to remember is to improvise with what you have to hand.
Before you use any ritual items, it is advisable to bless or consecrate them first. This can be achieved by pouring a small quantity of oil or water on your hands, holding the item and saying, ‘I bless this …….in the name of the god and goddess ……so mote it be’, making sure the oil or water is evenly distributed on what you wish to bless.
To make a wand to direct the art of magic, you can use a stick of wood or a piece of copper tubing. These you can decorate with any magical symbols as you feel appropriate, or different coloured ribbons. You may also like to add crystals or feathers to personalise it.
Something else that you may wish to consider is obtaining a portable compass from a camping or outdoor shop, so that you can tell where north is if outside or at someone else’s home. If you are in unfamiliar surroundings this can be a problem, especially when it comes to calling the quarters. Remember that east is air, south is fire, west is water and north is earth.
Hope that these notes help.
© Sarah Rooke 2015