Since this is a highly personal subject, only you can determine which objects to place on your altar. If you belong to an organized religion or follow a faith with specific symbols and deities, you might place symbols or images related to your faith on the altar. This will connect your home with the energies of your spiritual practices. A Wiccan, for example, might include a statue of a Moon goddess on her altar.
Fire, in any form, is a frequent addition to altars, for it has long been revered as sacred. Candles are quite appropriate, as are their antecedents, oil lamps. Candles in glass jars-often called “seven-day” candles-are ideal for altar use. They can be left burning for several days with relative safety and are available in a wide range of colors, making them useful for their symbolic meanings.
White candles are often left burning continuously on household altars to promote spirituality and peace within the home as well as to honor deity. Use the colors that seem right.
Charms, amulets and personal-power objects also can be placed on the altar. Favorite stones, shells gathered on distant beaches or any other objects that you feel are special and important belong on the altar as well. Many of the charms mentioned in this book are perfect for altar use.
If you decide that a pile of fossils will guard your home like nothing else, add them to your altar, where their powers will be enhanced.
Choose objects that have special meanings to you, that are related to the house (tiny brooms, pieces of brick, a picture of the structure) or that are magically potent (four-leaf clovers, feathers, coral or turquoise).
In some parts of the world to this day such altars are decked with flowers, greens or fruit, which are cut with simple thanks to the plant providing the sacrifice. The flowers and leaves maybe fashioned into garlands, wreaths or leis. Any seasonal flowers that you enjoy can be added to the altar to increase its powers and appearance. These are seen as sacrifices to the energies, but are also admired for their beauty.
Salt is often present on the altar as well, in a box, bag, bottle or cut-crystal jar. It cleanses and purifies the altar and also lends it the power to prevent poverty and financial misfortune.
Incense burners, another common altar object, provide a convenient means of honoring the divine. Lighting incense daily and placing it in the burner not only “pleases” the gods, it also clears the house of stuffy vibrations. Burning incense regularly is a highly recommended magical household practice. Perhaps the best incense for daily use is the joss-stick type, which can easily be lit and placed in a bowl of sand or an incense burner. Choose incenses not only for their scents, but also for their powers and influences.
If you are a practitioner of magic, you may want to place your ritual tools and objects-drum, rattle, magic blades, crystals, cords, wand and pentacles-on the altar. All will be intimately linked with the house’s well-being and spiritual current.
Aligning the altar with the four elements is a common practice. The elements are the sum of the universal forces divided into four basic types of energies. Invoking their presence in your home lends it their specific powers.
A fragrant bloom, feather or smoking censer can represent the element of Air, which brings intelligence and organization to the home.
The element of Fire is symbolized by a burning candle, an oil lamp or a chunk of volcanic rock, such as obsidian, olivine or lava. Fire blesses the home with warmth, passion, energy, protection and health.
A dish of water or some quartz crystal signifies the element of Water, which brings love, contentment, spirituality, psych-ism and a sense of family unity to the home.
Finally, a bowl of earth, a clay pot, a pile of stones or a container of salt tunes in the element of Earth. This element lends your home stability, physical strength, a nurturing atmosphere, money and food.
One object for each of the four elements can be placed on the altar to bring these influences into your home.
The Magical Household: Spells & Rituals for the Home
Scott Cunningham; David Harrington.