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Altars?

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Altars?

Postby Allthepacas » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:34 am

I want to put together an altar but I don't really know what an altar is.
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Re: Altars?

Postby smogie_michele » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:53 am

An Altar is a place of worship and/or and working place.

The set up of an altar is different for everyone- some people don't even have one. Personally, I have two large white candles for the god and goddess, a red, yellow, green and blue candle for the elements, and one black candle for my spirit. Aside from the candles, I don't keep too much on there.
There is a Altar page somewhere on this forum where others put pictures of their altars, so you can get ideas from theirs.
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Re: Altars?

Postby Allthepacas » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:55 am

Ok, but what do I do with an altar?
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Re: Altars?

Postby Seraphin_npocampo » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:00 am

An altar is an area dedicated to your Craft and/or Magick, a place where you pray and honour your Deities -- associated with the service of the heart from which our faith, love and trust of Divine is based, a place where we perform rituals and/or spells or create talismans, amulets, charms and potions. This is usually a permanent fixture in the home, or room or garden, but some people do have temporary portable altars which they put up and take down as necessary.

My altar symbolizes my true magickal enthusiasm and total spiritual investment. As a sacred space, it has to be saved for more important things, the study of my Craft, prayer and the pure Divine and spiritual service. Many folks believe that altar tools shouldn't be used for the mundane stuffs, I'm one of them. The altar tools are used only for magickal, spiritual and divine works, something that is elevated to higher consciousness and holiness.

Some Polytheistic people also believe that there altars or shrines are today's Divine temples. Some believe that the depiction of the temples before and its instruments is also a description of their altars and tools. Just as the purpose of the temples was as a dwelling place for a Deity on this plane, so also the altar is a dwelling place for a portion of Deity here below.

A table, shelf, chest or box are most commonly used as an altar. Boxes and chests are most useful if you can't leave your altar up all of the time, your tools can be safely packed into them when not in use.
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Re: Altars?

Postby Allthepacas » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:05 am

I am in the broom closet so should I make a mini altar, I want to make a portable one, can I fit one in a altoids tin, what is the difference between an altar and a shrine?
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Re: Altars?

Postby Seraphin_npocampo » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:38 am

It's up to you really. An altoids tin is very small though, I don't know what sort of tools would fit in it. :D

For some folks, an altar is a focal point for spells, rituals and magickals works while shrine is a little devotional home of things that represent your faith, worship, respect to a certain Diety. To me however, they are the same.
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Re: Altars?

Postby Allthepacas » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:46 am

Could I just have a pentacle cloth with representations for all the points?
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Re: Altars?

Postby Seraphin_npocampo » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:50 am

Whatever you choose, just give some thought.
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Re: Altars?

Postby Allthepacas » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:00 am

Ok thanks!
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Re: Altars?

Postby Blackthorn » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:17 pm

If you want some ideas for altars, you can go on etsy and search "altar kit"- people have made pre-made altars. A lot of people have put together portable altars, and looking at them gave me some ideas about how I'd like to construct mine :)
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Re: Altars?

Postby AnaisStar » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:49 pm

It can be anything you want which is pretty awesome.

I have altars for each of the dieities that I work with. Mostly these are used for worship or dedication. I also meditate and pray in front of them.

Most of my spell working is just done in the kitchen. I dont have an altar like you see most people have. I would look through the altar section and look at everyones pics and get an idea of what people use. Then really think about what purpose you want your altar to be for.

I like to include elements from nature in mine, as my practice is pretty nature based. So I have stones, driftwood, shells, acorns, crystals etc on mine. As well as statues for diety, candles, things that mean something to each one.
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Re: Altars?

Postby DPhoenix » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:51 pm

Just like Seraphin said, an altoid tin is really really small, you might want to think of something a little bigger. The very basic altar imo should include something to represent the Goddess, God & elements. The pentacle satisfies the elements/directions and I suppose Spirit could represent the union of the Goddess & God.

I don't know what kind of budget you're on but here's a few ideas:
*A handkerchief would make a good foundation for a mobile altar. You could get one you like or get a plain one and paint it with fabric paint to make it how you want it to look (paint a pentacle, tree of life etc)
*Athame-you can use a little nail file or letter opener (represents God)
*Wand-you can use a chop stick & if you like paint it and add symbols to it. (represents God)
*Pentacle-make one out of dough or clay, use something to cut it in a circle then use something to carve a pentacle before you bake it or let it air dry. If you don't want to carve it you can paint it. You can also go to a craft shop and pick up a wooden disc to use as well..
*small bowl- second hand shops are awesome! Goodwill, salvation army etc... if you keep your eyes open eventually you'll find a cute little candy or something small you can use on the cheap. Or you can use dixie cups though they'll be disposable. They are used to hold water & salt.
*incense- incense burners don't need to be big. If you get a cone incense burner and cone incense it won't take up much space at all. (represents fire & air)
*candles-someone here on the site uses bottle caps. They put melted wax in the bottlecap with a wick. I haven't tried it myself but I'm tempted.
*chalice- again, second hand store. every now and then they get in little brandy glasses that are super cute!
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Re: Altars?

Postby Blackthorn » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:26 pm

DPhoenix wrote:Just like Seraphin said, an altoid tin is really really small, you might want to think of something a little bigger. The very basic altar imo should include something to represent the Goddess, God & elements. The pentacle satisfies the elements/directions and I suppose Spirit could represent the union of the Goddess & God.

I don't know what kind of budget you're on but here's a few ideas:
*A handkerchief would make a good foundation for a mobile altar. You could get one you like or get a plain one and paint it with fabric paint to make it how you want it to look (paint a pentacle, tree of life etc)
*Athame-you can use a little nail file or letter opener (represents God)
*Wand-you can use a chop stick & if you like paint it and add symbols to it. (represents God)
*Pentacle-make one out of dough or clay, use something to cut it in a circle then use something to carve a pentacle before you bake it or let it air dry. If you don't want to carve it you can paint it. You can also go to a craft shop and pick up a wooden disc to use as well..
*small bowl- second hand shops are awesome! Goodwill, salvation army etc... if you keep your eyes open eventually you'll find a cute little candy or something small you can use on the cheap. Or you can use dixie cups though they'll be disposable. They are used to hold water & salt.
*incense- incense burners don't need to be big. If you get a cone incense burner and cone incense it won't take up much space at all. (represents fire & air)
*candles-someone here on the site uses bottle caps. They put melted wax in the bottlecap with a wick. I haven't tried it myself but I'm tempted.
*chalice- again, second hand store. every now and then they get in little brandy glasses that are super cute!


Those are all amazing budget ideas! I know it wouldn't be ideal as a main altar- but I actually found a mini altar in an altoid tin on etsy :lol: I don't want to post the link here as I'm not sure if it's against rule #12, but it is the cutest darn thing in the whole world. One could put it in their desk at work or something.
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Re: Altars?

Postby Thistle » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:49 pm

Yes, altoid tins are small but when you look them up, people manage to be very creative! I sometimes have an altar set up. We just don't have a lot of space. Budget is definitely a thing for me right now, so I'm glad for these ideas. I'd like to make an altoid tin one as well. Just to have!
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Re: Altars?

Postby Kassandra » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:59 pm

Allthepacas wrote:I am in the broom closet so should I make a mini altar, I want to make a portable one, can I fit one in a altoids tin, what is the difference between an altar and a shrine?

Check out these altar ideas: clever-altar-ideas-t24263.html



And here's what one person says about the difference between altars and shrines (I tend to agree with most of it):

An altar is a place where you practise your religion; a shrine is where a Deity, or several deities, have Their own space in your home or the community. A shrine is like a permanent or semi-permanent guestroom for a deity, or several deities, where one has created a space in one’s home specifically for Them. For purposes of space, a shrine may have a “threshold” area where one practises rituals, or at least lights a candle and incense daily or weekly (depending on how one’s religion honours the deity in question), but the rest of the area is usually left untouched, save for periodic days during the month or year when you perform maid service (still running with the guest room analogy), or when you get little gifts for the Deity and arrange them artfully in Deity’s space. On the other hand, an altar is assumed to be for you, the whole space is yours, and there is (usually) nothing on there that you don’t use at some point when practising your religion. The two things are very different in intent and purpose, so conflating the two as one in the same is to betray one’s ignorance.

Shrines are often more-or-less “permanent”; if it’s a fixture of the home, its location is often chosen very carefully (usually dependent on deity) and after the location is designated for a shrine, it’s not moved unless special circumstances (like ritual cleaning, or a move) require one to. An altar might require a special location or direction to face, depending n the religion, but it is, at most, assumed to be a “part time” placement, the lease can be cancelled at any time; it can be moved or taken down when not in use (even if one doesn’t, out of convenience or just plain laziness) and I’ve never heard of a religion that requires special reverence for taking down a mere altar that could be easily compared to the treatment of a shrine that needs cleaning or has fallen into disrepair.

Common fixtures of small indoor shrines include a representation of the deity, a dish for offerings like wine, a candle or two, a receptacle for incense, and (depending on how long one has worshipped the deity) lots and lots of items that are gifts for the Deity, such as coins, food items, or just trinkets and baubles made of or bearing images of stones, flora, or fauna sacred to the deity. Common fixtures of altars often include a candle or two, a receptacle for incense, a representation of a deity or two, and various ritual tools —which may be (but may not be limited to) blades/athames, wands, a goblet or chalise, etc.

Large “outdoor” shrines that are basically the size of a tiny house that can have standing or sitting room for a few people tend to have an altar inside them for the placement of offerings and candles and holding small rituals of reverence, but the aura of such an altar is less like leaving gifts at the threshold of a household shrine, and more like bringing a gift into another’s house as a guest; it’s the Deity’s altar at one of their many Earthly homes, not that liminal space at the borderline between your space and Theirs. Because there is some overlap in the characteristics of a small household shrine and a household altar (candles, incense, representations of Deity), people who don’t know or understand the differences between altars and shrines may confuse the two.

Source: http://thespiae.oddmodout.com/2013/01/0 ... d-shrines/




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