Category Archives: The Witch’s Tools

Let’s Talk Witch – The Magic Circle and the Altar

 The Magic Circle and the Altar


The circle, magic circle or sphere is a well-defined though non-physical temple. In much of Wicca today, rituals and magical workings take place within such a construction of personal power.

The magic circle is of ancient origin. Forms of it were used in old Babylonian magic. Ceremonial magicians of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance also utilized them, as did various American Indian tribes, though not, perhaps, for the same reasons.

There are two main types of magic circles. Those used by ceremonial monial magicians of yesterday (and today) are designed to protect the magician from the forces which he or she raises. In Wicca, the circle is used to create a sacred space in which humans meet with theGoddess and God.

In pre-Christian Europe, most Pagan religious festivals occurred outdoors. These were celebrations of the Sun, Moon, the stars and of the Earth’s fertility. The standing stones, stone circles, sacred groves and revered springs of Europe are remnants of those ancient days.

The Pagan rites went underground when they were outlawed by the newly powerful Church. No longer did meadows know the sounds of voices chanting the old names of the Sun gods, and the Moon hung unadored in the nighttime skies.

The Pagans grew secretive about their rites. Some practiced them outside only under the cover of darkness. Others brought them indoors.

Wicca has, unfortunately, inherited this last practice. Among many Wiccans, outdoor ritual is a novelty, a pleasant break from stuffy house-bound rites. I call this syndrome “living room Wicca.” Though most Wiccans practice their religion indoors, it’s ideal to run the rites outside beneath the Sun and Moon, in wild and lonely places far from the haunts of humans.

Such Wiccan rites are difficult to perform today. Traditional Wiccan can rituals are complex and usually require a large number of tools. Privacy is also hard to find, and fear of merely being seen is another. Why this fear?

There are otherwise responsible, intelligent adults who would rather see us dead than practicing our religion. Such “Christians”* are few but they certainly do exist, and even today Wiccans are exposed to psychological harassment and physical violence at the hands of those who misunderstand their religion.

Don’t let this scare you off. Rituals can be done outdoors, if they’re modified so as to attract a minimum of attention. Wearing a black, hooded robe, stirring a cauldron and flashing knives through the air in a public park isn’t the best way to avoid undue notice.

Street clothing is advisable in the case of outdoor rituals in areas where you may be seen. Tools can be used, but remember that they’re accessories, not necessities. Leave them at home if you feel that they’ll become problems.

Outdoor rituals such can be a thousand more effective because they are outdoors, not in a room filled with steel and plastic and the trappings of our technological age.

When these aren’t possible (weather is certainly a factor), Wiccans cans transform their living rooms and bedrooms into places of power. They do this by creating sacred space, a magical environment in which the Deities are welcomed and celebrated, and in which Wiccans cans become newly aware of the aspects of the God and Goddess within. Magic may also be practiced there. This sacred space is the magic circle.

It is practically a prerequisite for indoor workings. The circle defines the ritual area, holds in personal power, shuts out distracting energies-in essence, it creates the proper atmosphere for the rites. Standing within a magic circle, looking at the candles shining on the altar, smelling the incense and chanting ancient names is a wonderfully fully evocative experience. When properly formed and visualized, the magic circle performs its function of bringing us closer to the Goddess dess and God.

The circle is constructed with personal power which is felt (and visualized) as streaming from the body, through the magic knife (athame) and out into the air. When completed, the circle is a sphere of energy which encompasses the entire working area. The word circle is a misnomer; a sphere of energy is actually created. The circle simply marks the ring where the sphere touches the Earth (or floor) and continues on through it to form the other half.

Some kind of marking is often placed on the ground to show where the circle bisects the Earth. This might be a cord lain in a roughly circular shape, a lightly-drawn circle of chalk, or objects situated to show its outlines. These include flowers (ideal for spring and summer rites); pine boughs (winter festivals), stones or shells; quartz crystals, even tarot cards. Use objects that spark your imagination tion and are in tune with the ritual.

The circle is usually nine feet in diameter, though any comfortable able size is fine. The cardinal points are often marked with lit candles, or the ritual tools assigned to each point.

The pentacle, a bowl of salt or earth may be placed to the North. This is the realm of Earth, the stabilizing, fertile and nourishing element which is the foundation of the other three.

The censer with smoldering incense is assigned to the East, the home of the intellectual element, Air. Fresh flowers or stick incense can also be used. Air is the element of the mind, of communication, movement, divination and ascetic spirituality.

To the South, a candle often represents Fire, the element of transformation, of passion and change, success, health and strength. An oil lamp or piece of lava rock may be used as well.

A cup or bowl of water can be placed in the West of the circle to represent Water, the last of the four elements. Water is the realm of the emotions, of the psychic mind, love, healing, beauty and emotional spirituality.

Then again, these four objects maybe placed on the altar, their positions tions corresponding to the directions and their elemental attributes.

Once the circle has been formed around the working space, rituals begin. During magical workings the air within the circle can grow uncomfortably hot and close-it will truly feel different from the outside world, charged with energy and alive with power.

The circle is a product of energy, a palpable construction which can be sensed and felt with experience. It isn’t just a ring of flowers or cord but a solid, viable barrier.

In Wiccan thought the circle represents the Goddess, the spiritual itual aspects of nature, fertility, infinity, eternity. It also symbolizes the Earth itself.
The altar, bearing the tools, stands in the center of the circle. It can be made of any substance, though wood is preferred.Oak is especially recommended for its power and strength, as is willow which is sacred to the Goddess.

The Wicca don’t believe that the Goddess and God inhabit the altar itself. It is a place of power and magic, but it isn’t sacrosanct. Though the altar is usually set up and dismantled for each magical ritual, some Wiccans have permanent home altars as well. Your shrine can grow into such an altar.

The altar is sometimes round, to represent the Goddess and spirituality, though it may also be square, symbolic of the elements. It may be nothing more than an area of ground, a cardboard box covered with cloth, two cinder blocks with a board lying on top, a coffee table, an old sawed-off tree stump in the wild, or a large, flat rock. During outdoor rituals a fire may substitute for the altar. Stick incense may be used to outline the circle. The tools used are the powers of the mind.

The Wiccan tools are usually arranged upon the altar in a pleasing ing pattern. Generally, the altar is set in the center of the circle facing North. North is a direction of power. It is associated with the Earth, and because this is our home we may feel more comfortable with this alignment. Then too, some Wiccans place their altars facing East, where the Sun and Moon rise.

The left half of the altar is usually dedicated to the Goddess. Tools sacred to Her are placed there: the cup, the pentacle, bell, crystal and cauldron. An image of the Goddess may also stand there, and a broom might be laid against the left side of the altar.

If you can’t find an appropriate Goddess image (or, simply, if you don’t desire one), a green, silver or white candle can be substituted. The cauldron is also sometimes placed on the floor to the left side of the altar if it is too large to fit on top.

To the right side, the emphasis is on the God. A red, yellow or gold candle, or an appropriate figure, is usually placed there, as are the censer, wand, athame (magic knife) and white-handled knife.

Flowers may be set in the middle, perhaps in a vase or small cauldron. Then too, the censer is often centrally situated so that its smoke is offered up to both the Goddess and the God, and the pentacle cle might be placed before the censer.
Some Wiccans follow a more primitive, nature-oriented altar plan. To represent the Goddess, a round stone (pierced with a hole if available), a corn dolly, or a seashell work well. Pine cones, tapered stones and acorns can be used to represent the God. Use your imagination nation in setting up the altar.

If you’re working magic in the Circle, all necessary items should be within it before you begin, either on the altar or beneath it. Never forget to have matches handy, and a small bowl to hold the used ones (it’s impolite to throw them into the censer or cauldron).

Though we may setup images of the Goddess and God, we’re not idol worshippers. We don’t believe that a given statue or pile of rocks actually is the deity represented. And although we reverence nature, we don’t worship trees or birds or stones. We simply delight in seeing them as manifestations of the universal creative forces-the Goddess and God.

The altar and the magic circle in which it stands is a personal construction struction and it should be pleasing to you. My first Wiccan teacher laid out elaborate altars attuned with the occaion—if we couldn’t practice outdoors. For one Full Moon rite she draped the altar with white satin, placed white candles in crystal holders, added a silver chalice, white roses and snowy-leafed dusty miller. An incense composed of white roses, sandalwood and gardenias drifted through the air. The flowing altar suffused the room with lunar energies. Our ritual that night was one to remember.

May yours be the same.


Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Scott Cunningham

WOTC Extra – Element Shrines

The Dragon Guardian

Element Shrines

An element shrine is a place where you can connect with one element or all four. For example, if you build a water shrine, you can include a crystal goblet of water, a small water fountain, shells, river stones, and pictures of waterfalls, rainstorms, or calm lakes. You may place a soft blue scarf under these objects and perhaps add a clear quartz crystal or two to represent ice. A fire shrine may be a collection of candles in reds and golds on a crimson cloth, perhaps with a small copper or brass figurine of a lion or a dragon. The important thing is to think about what the element means to you and to gather a small selection of items that evoke the feeling that element inspires in you. It is important to remember that a shrine is not an altar. The altar is a place of focus consecrated to the spiritual use of the green witch. It is used as a place to hold tools and equipment during a spell or ritual, and a place to work on charms and witch crafts. An altar can be permanent or temporary. Many witches set up a temporary altar each time they wish to work. As shrines may be used to honor deities or elements, the altar is not required for this purpose, and thus can be considered more of a workspace. Many green witches use whatever surface they wish as an altar, perhaps using the same cloth to spread over various surfaces each time they set up their altar. In this case, the cloth itself becomes the altar, carrying the energy associated with repeated spiritual workings. Green witches follow their intuition, and so may not perform rituals or work spells in the same place each time, choosing the location according to what feels right for their purpose. For the green witch, this means that a workbench or a craft table may sometimes serve as an altar. The practicality of the green witch determines where she works, and very often these sorts of tasks are undertaken in a variety of different places. Potions and salves may be created in the kitchen, while the creation of a protective wreath may take place in the garage. You may choose to formally consecrate your temporary altar each time you set it up, or not, as the mundane is sacred to the green witch. A simple blessing with the four elements can serve to consecrate the surface you have chosen to use as an altar. As a green witch, you may also consider using a stone or stump as a permanent outdoor altar in a corner of your yard or balcony, if you have one.

A shrine, however, is a place to honor something or someone or to leave offerings, a place where you can collect things of personal significance and various energies to weave together an energy that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. A shrine creates a location for a certain kind of energy. The wonderful thing about a shrine is no one has to know what it is. It can be as simple as a photograph, a candle, a seashell, and a colored ribbon grouped together on a shelf. You know why those particular things are together; anyone else looking at them will likely think that it’s simply a decorative arrangement. What’s important is that the energy produced by combining these objects accomplishes the goal you envision for it.

An element shrine doesn’t have to be in a place generally associated with that element. For example, you don’t have to put an earth shrine outside, or a water shrine in the bathroom, or a fire shrine in your kitchen.

Experiment with having four separate shrines in four different places. You can try building the earth shrine in the northern part of your house, the air shrine to the east, the fire to the south, and the water to the west, which is how they’re usually associated with directions in various traditions of Western occultism. Or think about the kinds of energy you feel in various areas within your home, and site a shrine accordingly even if it’s not in one of the traditional directions. If you have a room where a lot of thinking and communicating take place, try setting an air shrine there. If you have a room where everyone relaxes and feels at peace after a long day, try setting up an earth or water shrine there. Make sure to have one shrine for each element so that your home remains balanced.

You can also experiment with creating a single shrine to all four elements. Place this shrine where it feels right to you. This may be near your own personal sanctuary, near the door so that it is the first thing you see when you enter and the last before you leave, or near the center of your home. In a shrine to all four elements, you don’t need to collect multiple representations of a single element. Instead, choose one or two objects to symbolize each element and group them in an arrangement that pleases you and feels right. Shrines are fluid things; you can add objects as you feel drawn to or remove objects when you feel they no longer serve their purpose. Make sure, however, that you always have at least one item to represent each element at all times. Traditionally, a small dish of salt or sand holds the energy of earth, a candle holds the energies of fire, a small dish or glass of water holds water energy, and a stick of incense or a fresh flower holds the energies of air. If you’re worried about salt or water being knocked over, try a small potted plant or a stone for earth and a shell for water. Light the candle and the incense only when you are in the room. Doing this once a day for a few minutes can help you collect your thoughts and your energies. It gives you a moment of peace to commune with these four basic building blocks of nature.



The Way Of The Green Witch: Rituals, Spells, And Practices to Bring You Back to Nature

Arin Murphy-Hiscock

WOTC Extra – Dowsing Tools You Can Make & Use

Spell Caster

Dowsing Tools You Can Make & Use



It is no coincidence that wizards and shamans everywhere are depicted with a staff, though its purpose is very rarely understood – it is not a fancy walking stick or an accessory to make the magician look more imposing. The staff is a portable world tree or cosmic mundi, which connects the magician to the three realms of the heavens, middle earth and the underworld.

The stang is a forked staff that represents the Horned God when placed in the circle. Cut the wood in winter when the sap is down. Remove any side twigs and branches. Leave the bark or remove as desired, burn on patterns with a soldering iron or a heated knitting needle. Allow the stick to dry out for several months before varnishing, if wished.


Use twigs from the birch cut in the spring for the broom part, an ash pole for the shaft. The shaft should be smoothed and sanded. Carve a point in one end and bore a hole a couple of inches from this point. Insert a wooden peg into this. Gather the birch twigs around this and tie on the binding above and below the peg so that it is held on safely. Cut willow for tying when the tree is in leaf. Split these and put in hot water for 20 minutes to make them pliable.


Cottages up and down the country were once lit with home-made rush lights, rather than candles or lamps. They are easily made from rushes with white spongy centres such as Juncus effuses. Soak them in water for six or seven hours and leave to dry outdoors in the sun. Peel the skin on one side, leaving it on the other. Heat wax in a dipping container and dip the rushes one at a time, allowing the wax to set in between each dipping. Aim to dip them four or five times in all. Clip the rushlight to the side of a bottle or candlestick using a bulldog clip.


Many of the folk names for mullein, such as Hag Taper and Candlewick Plant, are a reference to the fact that it was used as a wick before the introduction of cotton. Dried pieces of the stalk were dipped into suet, tallow or pitch and used as candles. In Britain in the Middle Ages the stalks were dipped in suet to burn at funerals.

Hearth Witch (The Eight Paths of Magic)

Anna Franklin


Poppet Pattern


Print and cut out this pattern to make your own magickal poppets. [Enlarge the pattern to whatever size you want the finished poppet to be. Remember to make it about a half-inch larger all the way around to allow for the seams when sewing it together.]


1 12-inch by 12-inch square of felt or other material to match skin color or magickal intent
sewing thread
sewing and embroidery needles
cotton batting or fiberfill for stuffing (optional)
herbs, incense, stones, and candles appropriate for purpose
a bit of fingernail, lock of hair or other momento of person for which poppet is intended
embroidery floss or fabric paint to match eye and lip color
yarn to match hair color
small scrap of fabric in the appropriate color for heart (green or blue for healing, pink or red for love, etc)


1. Print and cut out the poppet pattern.

2. Fold material, right sides together.

3.. Pin the pattern on the material, then cut out.

4. Proceed with poppet magick.


Poppet Magick

Before we get into the process, let’s take some time to look at the magickal theory behind poppet magick, a form of sympathetic magick.

TYPES OF POPPETSThere’s a lot of room for creativity in poppet magick, as you’ll soon see. If you don’t have sewing supplies on hand, use wax or even potatoes. Some have been known to stuff gloves. The possibilities are endless. For some creative examples of poppets, go here.

Wax PoppetsThis is an intriguing poppet. If you saw the movie “Witches of Eastwick”, you saw Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle whats-her-name make one of these.

Take 7 white candles (new candles, not used) and melt down in a double boiler on low heat. You don’t want to melt them down to liquid, just soften them so they can be worked with. (If indeed you do liquidize them, just let them cool until they can be handled.) Remove wicks.

Rub lavender oil on your palms and fingers before working the wax. When the
wax can be easily shaped (don’t burn your hands!), begin to shape your poppet. Oils, herbs, and personal effects (hair, nails) should be kneaded into the wax. Try to incorporate some of the features of the person. Are they thin? Stocky? Any distinguishing features will help.

When the figure is shaped, place a representation of the heart in the chest area. This can be a piece of copal resin, a small piece of tourmaline, or any other stone or item that represents the heart. Take a pin or other pointed object and draw your magickal representations on the figure.

A variation on this process would be to rub an oil that corresponds to your magickal intent on your hands as you shape the poppet. Rose if it’s a love poppet. Patchouli for a prosperity poppet. Any oil that you would incorporate into the spell would be appropriate.

Cloth poppetsMy favorite method. Cut two identical gingerbread shapes from fabric. (See
pattern). Felt, cotton, or muslin is suitable, but so is fabric from the subject’s old shirt or any piece of clothing. Embroider, draw, or paint magickal symbols, words, anything meaningful to the spell on the right side of one piece of your pattern. Green eyes? Dark hair? This is where you add those details. Right sides together, sew the shapes together, leaving a good sized hole to stuff it with.

Prepare your herbal mixture. For those of you into numerology, one method is
to choose a number that corresponds with your magickal intent and add that number of herbs. I use multiples of three in my poppet blends. Using multiples of three, a prosperity blend might include patchouli, honeysuckle, and basil. If I’m adding honeysuckle flowers, I might add 6 or 9. I mix my personal effects with these herbs (hair, fingernails, a cut up picture, whatever I have.) For a money spell, I might shred a dollar or add three silver coins. For a healing spell, I might add a stone that represents the ailing body part and use herbs that would medicinally treat the sickness. This is where you can get entirely creative. I like to place representations of the heart inside cloth poppets. Again, a piece of copal resin or tourmaline would do nicely if stuffing inside. Some sew hearts on the outside in a color corresponding to the purpose of the spell.

You don’t have to stuff the poppet entirely with herbs. You can include a small herbal mixture with other kinds of stuffing — batting, shredded paper, whatever you have on hand. I just love the smell and feel of poppets stuffed entirely with herbs. Once you’re satisfied with the stuffing, sew the poppet up and consecrate.

Paper PoppetsThe easiest of all. Cut a gingerbread figure from a piece of clean paper. Write the name of the person for whom you’re making your poppet on the paper. Draw your sigils and any other distinguishing signs. This is a very quick, yet surprisingly effective alternative to putting hours into poppet design. Anoint the paper with herbal oils corresponding to your spellwork. For the emergencies or impromptu spells.

Root or Wood PoppetsSeveral herbal roots and wood are very well suited for poppet magick. Of course, there is the mystical mandrake. This wo/man-shaped root has been used for centuries in sympathetic magick, especially love magick. To activate a dried mandrake, place it on the altar undisturbed for three days. Then place it in warm water overnight. The root will then be activated and ready for any magickal purpose. A human shaped mandrake root is going to be very expensive. Substitute ash roots, apples, root of the briony, or the American may apple if the cost is prohibitive. Ginseng root has a human shape, and is especially good for protection, love, and healing spells. Ginseng is expensive too, though!

Poppet shapes can be carved from wood. Apple wood is a great choice. This can be labor intensive unless you are a wood carver or just happen to find a nicely shaped branch or stick.

Clay PoppetsBuy clay or gather from the riverside. When your figure is formed, hollow out a hole in the heart area to place hair, nail clippings, herbs, or other magickal ingredients. Cover the hole with clay and proceed with spell. Clay poppets may crack if dried too quickly. If cracking occurs, wet fingers and smooth clay over cracks. Repeat daily, if needed, until poppet is dry.

Mr. Potato HeadPotatoes can be carved into poppets. Apples too. A carrot would make a good fertility poppet. Are you getting the idea that just about anything will work as a poppet? Focus and magickal intent are the keys.

CONSECRATING THE POPPETAs with all magick, it’s best to perform it when the moon and other astrological signs are favorable. (For a list of moon phases, signs, etc and their magickal correspondences, go here.)

Gather your materials. Cast a circle. Construct a chant to use while making
your poppet. This can be as elaborate as a sigil or as simple as repeating
the name of the poppet’s intended or a rhyme stating your magickal purpose.
Visualize your magickal intent as you work.

When the poppet is finished, lay it on the altar and repeat this or
something like it:

Though separate you were,
Now you are one.
The link of unison has begun.
Continue with your spell, visualizing what you intend to accomplish. Close the circle.

CARE OF YOUR POPPETSAfter performing your magick, wrap the poppet in a white cloth and store in a safe place. You should keep the poppet safe until the magick has manifested. I’ve worked magick on the same poppet more than once. I’m one of those witches who sees no harm in repeating spells (as long as you don’t obsess over your magick). Some witches are strongly opposed to this.

DISPOSING OF YOUR POPPETSTake it apart and bury it after the magick has manifested. Be sure to sever the magickal connection between the poppet and the person it represented with this or a similar chant.

By the Moon and Stars
and Goddess above.
I now sever this link
with thanks and love.

ETHICS OF POPPET MAGICKNever manipulate another person through poppet magick.
Never manipulate another person through poppet magick.
Never manipulate another person through poppet magick.

Poppet magick is a very powerful form of magick. For this reason, it’s
important to use it with care. Never make a poppet to represent another person without their permission. This is the psychic equivalent of rape. Never construct a poppet for malicious purposes, that is, to torment or harm another person.

Ever mind the Rule of Three
Three times what thou givest returns to thee

Poppet Doll

The Healing Poppet is a Wiccan title assigned to what has traditionally been known as the Voodoo Doll; however, the two cultures differ greatly in their uses of the magical dolls. The Wiccan cultures do not use these type of dolls for cursing, or for any negative purposes whatsoever. On the other hand, cursing, and hexing are the primary uses for such dolls in the Voodoo culture. The dolls are usually made from socks, shirts, pants, or any pieces of clothing or a cloth, as long as it belongs to the person you are directing the magic toward. Ideally the closer the association between the person and the material all the better. The first thing you will need to do to make your Healing Poppet is to lay out the material you have from the person you wish to heal, and draw a pattern of the doll you want to create using a pattern similar to the one illustrated in the next picture. Keep in mind, you will be hand sewing the doll together, so you may want to keep the size of the doll fairly small. After you’ve drawn the front and back of the pattern, cut them out, and place them together so they match up. Now, you can begin to sew the sides together with your needle and thread. I do not recommend the use of a sewing machine to complete the doll, as this will detract from the potency of your magical intentions. The easiest way to sew the doll up, with respect to filling it up later with herbs, would be to begin on the shoulder area, and work your way down the body, and back up to the other shoulder. To make the body of your doll more aesthetically pleasing, you can turn the doll inside out after you sew the body together; although, you will not be able to do this with the head, and the stitches will still be seen. You are now ready to fill the doll up with your herbs, which will vary depending on the work you are performing. Use a pencil, or small stick to poke the herbs through the head to the legs and arms. When you have the entire body filled up, except for the head, you proceed to fill up the head area, as best you can, then sew it up to finish the doll. If you so desire, you can add finishing touches such as yarn for hair, and small stitches for the eyes and mouth. You can also highlight particular areas of ailment and illness by stitching marks where the illnesses lie. For the doll to be effective, the key is to concentrate on healing the sick person while creating the doll itself. Once the doll is completed, place it in a safe place, where it will not be seen, such as under the bed, or in a closet. You do not have to place the doll close to the ill person for this to be effective, nor do they have to know that the doll has ever been made.

Flowers, Dawn (2012-03-24). The Spell Book of Wiccan Shadows (Kindle Locations 553-556). Under the Moon. Kindle Edition.

One Way to Make a Measure of You Cord

The length and how it is made varies widely according to who you read or talk to. Cleanse the cord before you start making your measure of you

Cleanse the cord before you start making your measure of you cord. This cord is made during your dedication to The Craft and/or a Goddess and/or God ceremony. I teach the cord should start about 7-9 feet long depending on how tall you are. It should be made of a natural material, so not nylon, such as silk or cotton (if you are on a budget like me you can use a piece of a regular clothesline). You hold it up so one end is touching the floor and put a knot there for your feet to help ground you. You tie one knot for 6 of the 7 main Charkas. Going from bottom to top one knot at each point – even with your groin, even with your belly button, even with your diaphragm, even with your heart, even with your throat. The last knot is tied even with the top of your head or crown Charka to connect you with the Universe.

On mine, I took small pieces of ribbon the color that corresponds to the Chakra it was tied for. So again starting bottom to top at groin would be a red ribbon, Orange next, then yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple at the crown Chakra.

Some people also measure their arm and leg lengths.

However, you choose to make yours cut off about an inch away from the top knot whatever cord is left over and discard. This cord is then tied around your waist during any gatherings, rituals or ceremonies you may attend. When not being worn should be kept in a small bag made to hold it. This is the most personal of all your magickal tools no one else should ever handle it.

Simple Altar Set-Up


One example of a simple, basic altar.

This is one way of setting up a simple altar for spellwork and rituals being done in a sacred circle. Some Witches leave their altars set up at all times and some do not. It is a personal choice whether you do or not. You can set your altar on a table, the floor anywhere you can walk completely around it to make your sacred circle. As you get more comfortable on your path it will reflect in how you do your altar and what you put on it.

We will start at the top or North/element of Earth – here you need a bowl of dirt or regular table salt or stones or a piece of wood or a green candle.

Next going clockwise (dorsil) is East/element of Air – here you need incense or feathers (real ones not store bought ones) or a yellow candle.

Moving to the bottom is South/element of Fire – here you need either a red or orange candle or a lighter or some matches. The above illustration shows a charcoal burner, but you don’t need that yet and it might be you never use one.

Next is West/element of Water – here you need a bowl of water or some sea shells or a statue of some kind of sea or ocean life or a blue candle.

For spirit, they have a God and Goddess candle. You can also use a statue or something that to you show the element of Spirit and you can put just one thing in either between Water and Earth or Between Earth and Air.

At this point, you might not have a wand or Atheme (ceremonial knife) yet which is fine. So do even concern yourself with that part of this above illustration. If you do have one then place them as shown on the altar.

You should have one taper candle that you have inscribed your name on, this is your personal candle. You need to cleanse it before inscribing it of all energy but your own (there is a post up on here about how to do that) If you have an Atheme use that to do the inscription. If not a favorite sharp kitchen knife will work. It sets on the altar one side of Fire or the other. It should be on the side your power hand is on. Your power hand is the one you write with. You will use it to light the incenses and/or other candles on the altar from.

Have your Book of Shadows and something to write with; with you always when doing spellwork and/or a ritual so you can either read the spell or ritual from it or want to write down something that happened in your circle. This sets on the opposite side of Fire from your personal candle.

Copyright 2015 Carla Schultz-Ruehl