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How to set up a discreet altar?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:16 am
by kana-
Don't know if this is the right group to post to but anyways, I live with my parents who are devout catholics and I have been planning to start my journey in pagan witchcraft for a while now. Many beginner witchcraft guides mention setting up an altar. I have looked into this and as beautiful as they are, my parents (mainly my mother), would not approve. Anyone have any ideas on setting up a correct but discreet altar?

Re: How to set up a discreet altar?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:08 am
by Corbin
Depends how nosy your mother is and how likely she is to find it / the aggravation it will cause.

An altar, shrine or temple on the Astral perhaps?

Re: How to set up a discreet altar?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:26 am
by SpiritTalker
A discrete altar Is really easily done with creative substitutions. The goal is to Create No Drama & still function. The altar can't look witchy &' be discrete. A pentacle, cauldron or athame are out of the question & wands are dead give-aways since H.Potter. Real-flame candles need permission. You can't disguise smoke, but aromas come in many forms. Don't bait the Snoop Sisters with the obvious shoe box collection under the bed.

The main things to include on an altar are symbols of the Elements (air, fire, water, earth) and your concept of deity. It leaves no trace to breathe on a mirror & draw symbols in the mist. Most of us have collected feathers, shells, leafy twigs & stones at some time & a jar with a few stones for weight &' marbles in 5 elemental colors plus oak or pine twigs & wheat stalks can represent the Elements & Deity. Start looking at random objects & imagine how they can be repurposed. Use ordinary household items for tools just as the modern icons of broom & cauldron were once repurposed from the ordinary kitchens of a former era; bowls, flower pots, letter openers & scissors have potential. Any flat surface with a bit of space to work on can be used. Most homes don't have the space for a full-time altar so it's usual to set-up for each use & after to redistribute tools in plain sight.

Just FYI: a standard magical table set-up is divided into 3 sections (left, center, right) & works to keep a balance by energy polarity (-/+) . Energy flows from (-) to (+) in Nature. This arrangement of balanced polarity aids spell work. Elements of Earth & Water are passive (-) polarity & are associated with receptive-feminine, lunar energy & go on the left. Fire & Air are active (+), solar, projective-masculine & 'go on the right. The pentacle represents all 5 elements so goes in the middle to balance & condense the altar's energy. The Crafter faces east toward sunrise (our nearest star) across the table, or north towards Polaris. These directions have imbedded meanings & energy alignments.

There's no way to disguise the smell of smoke so replace incense with diluted woodsy aftershave in a spray bottle or as a reed diffuser; make a kitchen herb & spice potpourri jar or dream pillow & shake as needed to release the scents. Or combine Air\Fire in scented candles if real-flame is OK. If not then use battery-powered candles or strings of Yule lights. Use your pointing index & middle fingers like a two-edged athame to direct energy; drink from a cup of water; dip a finger into the water & trace a temporary star on a smooth stone or in a saucer of salt for the Earth pentacle. A very small bottle of olive oil will last a long time & is traditional for anointing. Olive brings vitality & victory.

A Few Discrete Symbols:

.Goddess: (-), silver, Moon, lily, lotus, rose, wheat, cornucopia, bear, horse, reindeer, weaving, loom, flame/light
.God: (+), gold, Sun, pine cone, grape vine, oak acorn, wheat, stag, wolf, reindeer, plow, flame/light
.Guardian spirit: their animal symbol, guardian angel, saint image (printed photos)

Air: (+), E, yellow/white, aromas, potpourri, bubbles & pipe, fan, kite, birds, flute/harmonica
Fire: (+), S, red/orange, battery-candle, Yule lights, chili pepper, coal/ash, dragon, guitar/violin
Water: (-), W, blue/aqua, cup/bowl, H2O, sea shells, driftwood, mirror, fish, rattle, jingle bells
Earth: (-), N, green/brown, 4-Way X, salt, stones, brick, clay pot, potted plant, road map, drum
Ether: is unmanifest energy, purple/iridescent, anointing oil, angels, fairies

Just as the up-right pentacle reps the 5 elements, the four-way compass directions plus center also reps the elements. An X in a circle is both a solar & an earth symbol. The 4-way X is also a popular altar layout with the elemental symbols placed in their associated quarter of the X instead of by (-/+) polarity. It confuses energy flow if you mix the polarity & 4-way layouts.

Lots of Christian households use personal shrines with Psalms for meditation. Psalms have a long history of use for spells. See: psalmic-magic-t25185.html. & novena-candle-with-psalms-t36487.html . A prayer-nook is a discrete possibility. The 4 archangels actually do represent the 4 cardinal directions & 4 elements; patron saints & guardian angels are guardian spirits. Any strand of string with spaced knots or beads can serve as prayer beads & chanting counters. Any pendant can be used as a pendulum & a standard deck of playing cards used for divination.

Re: How to set up a discreet altar?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:07 am
by CleverlyDisguised
I used to have an emergency altar kit, everything I needed for a spell casting altar contained in a small pouch I could fit comfortably in my jeans pocket

Re: How to set up a discreet altar?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:05 am
by TheChimera
I agree with what Spirittalker mentions about using the saints as many of those have corresponding or similar deities in other cultures if that is something you want to connect with. There are also many resources these days on Christian witchcraft and I'm dead sure you'll find info on blending that with Catholicism if you want to use that as a means to practice covertly without using symbols that would give you away. Spent many years in the closet myself and it's not fun having to hide yourself like that from people you love. unfortunately a judgmental nature exists in all of us to an extent. If you're outdoorsy you can collect stones/ shells and feathers etc and use that as an excuse to have something that you secretly associate with your craft, just be careful though, some parents are aware of the symbology, so if you feel like it's too obvious don't use it.

Re: How to set up a discreet altar?

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:59 am
by SpiritTalker
@ lookingforanswers: Re boot for you