How to alter Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan Altar? – Personal Sacred Space 2021

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In this article, you will learn about setting up a Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan altar. We will cover topics such as where is the best place to put witch altar, what to include on it, and how to keep an altar when you are closeted (in the Broom Closet).

If you want, you can also see the video on How to Set Up Witchcraft Altar on my Witch Journal YouTube channel. Subscribe to never miss witchy content like this!

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What is the Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan Altar?

An altar is a center of worship and ritual. It is a sacred space that you use to enhance your magical workings. It acts as a place that brings focus and attention to your practice as well as connects you – the practitioner with the Divine. In this article, we will go over the most common Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan altar ideas.

Many modern pagans and witches create a separate, sacred place for their magical workings. Nowadays this practice is highly connected to pagan and witchcraft aesthetics and the witchcore movement on social media.

Altars come from religious terminology and are a big part of many practices such as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Modern Paganism. Other common names for sacred spaces are Shrine, Sanctuary, Tabernacle, Temple, Stupa, Grove, or Circle.

Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan Altar is used to meditate, conduct spells, worship deities, and perform magical rituals and practices. It holds objects that are sacred to your craft. In the examples below, we will go through the most common items that you can include in your altar.

photo of a pagan altar with pentacle

Why sacred space for practicing witchcraft is important?

Practicing at an altar acts as a separation between mundane and spiritual work. It is designed to bring desired focus and attention for conducting spells and rituals.

When you establish your magical practice, the sacred space acts as a quick portal between etheric energies and dimensions. It is the center of your power and with time it accumulates energies that make it easier to tap into desired states of being.

Sacred Space meaning

Sacred space acts as a bridge between the spiritual and physical world. It is a center of worship, meaningful practice, and conducting rituals. There are many examples of sacred spaces that can be either religious shrines, sanctuaries, and temples, or personal, witchcraft, Wiccan, or pagan altars created to enhance magical practice. A sacred space is a place that you feel safe and comfortable to perform any magical workings.

photo of a pagan altar

Wiccan altar setup

A little disclaimer: I am not a declared or practicing Wiccan. This information comes from Grimoire for the Green Witch and is here to provide you with some basic inspiration for creating a Wiccan Altar.

Wiccan altar usually faces North.

On the left side is the Goddess Area and on the right is the God area.

On the left side, you can keep a Divine Female representation, chalice, water bowl, wand, supplies such as herbs and oils.

In the right area, you can keep a Male Devine representation, incense, bowl with salt, athame/boline, food, and supplies (matches, lighter).

In the middle, you can keep bells, pentacle, cauldron, libation bowl, and book of shadows.

photo of a witchcraft altar

Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan altar supplies

 Altar Table

It is a surface that you host your altar space on. It can be a small table, a shelf, a desk, a counter, a fireplace mantle, or a window sill.

Where is the best place to put witch altar?

In some traditions altar space should face North, in others, it can be facing East. Outdoor altars are also popular and things such as flat stones or tree stamps can be used for that purpose.

 Altar Cloth

The altar cloth is a sacred space cover. Usually, they contain patterns, sacred geometry, corresponding colors, and witchcraft symbols. The best altar cloth collection from small and independent businesses can be found on Etsy.

 Altar Supplies – What to include in your Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan Altar?

There are countless ways you can set up your altar. Below you will find some common altar items that you can use for your sacred space. What’s more important is that your altar place feels empowering, personal and unique to your path.

If you are interested to learn more about altar supplies, here is a full article on Tools and Ingredients used in Witchcraft.

Crystals, stones, shells, bones, sand, dirt, soil, salt, twigs, flowers, leaves 

These can be either bought or found in nature. One of my favorite altar decorations is seasonal gifts from Mother Nature – flowers, leaves, acorns, chestnuts, pine cones…

To purchase crystals, I highly recommend checking Etsy and supporting small businesses.

Statues of Deities or Gods/Goddesses

Not everyone is worshipping a diety when setting up an altar and that is ok. If you have a connection with a Higher Power, you might want (or not) include some representations of the Divine Force you worship. You might also want to include a specific offering for your Deity(ies). Check out the Devotional altar section for more information.

Candles, incense, essential oils, and herbs 

Candles, incense, essential oils, and herbs are very common additions to the witch, Wiccan, or pagan altar space. They can have corresponding colors and attributes or work as an offering to your deities. Things such as essential oils and herbs are used for creating spells and dressing up candles.     

Pictures of your ancestors

If you want to create an ancestral altar, you might want to use some old photographs of your beloved passed ones. It is a beautiful way to keep the love and nurturing relationship even if they are no longer around us. You can read more about the ancestral altar in the section below.

Trinkets and personal items

On your altar space, you can also include things such as jewelry, small gifts, and souvenirs that have great meaning to you and your practice.

Witchcraft Tools

Wands, athame, cauldron, tarot cards, pendulum, Book of Shadows, etc. – Some witches, Wiccans, and pagans use ceremonial tools for their practice. The altar is the best place to keep them on hand and fully ready for a ritual.

Read more about Witchcraft Tools in this article:

Representation of Four (Five) Elements 

Most witches like to include representations of various elements on their altar. Earth representations are crystals, stones, bones, bowls of soil or sand, flowers, and potted plants. Air representations are feathers, images of flying insects, or wind chimes. Fire representations are candles, matches, lighters, flint, oil lamps, or lava rocks. Water representations are bowls of water, moon water, seawater, representations of water animals and shells.

photo of altar supplies

How to use Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan altar?

The altar should be used devoutly for all spiritual, ritual, or magical workings and only for that. It is a sacred space, that is very personal and unique to you. You might not want to share your altar space with anyone as it might interfere with the personal and magical energies that are accumulated there.

Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan altar space can be used to perform spells and rituals, pray, meditate, leave offerings, write in your Book of Shadows, journal, do any sort of divination work, or energy healing. You can also use the altar to combine herbs, dress candles, or keep all your magical tools.

Your personal altar works as a shrine and tribute to the Divine. It is a holy and sacred space for your practice and should be treated with proper respect.

Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan Altar ideas:

This printable is a simple inspiration for your altar space. You can print it out and include it in the Book of Shadows or a Magical Binder. 

infographic with altar ideas

Witch, Wiccan, or Pagan Altar types:

General (Permanent) Altar

This can be a permanent altar where you do most of your magical practice. It is best to be set up in the North or East corner of the room and have a space for all of your magical tools as well as an empty counter for magical workings.

Devotional altar

This type of altar is dedicated towards a specific Deity that you work with. You might want to include some statues, a place for a devotional candle, plates of offering, and associated items.

The devotional altar is a great place to worship and communicate with your diety, pray, ask for guidance and leave offerings.

The best place to get unique devotional items for your witch, Wiccan or pagan altar is on the Etsy marketplace.

Seasonal Altar

Many witches and pagans decide to embrace the seasonal changes with decorating their altar space. There is a lot of decoration that you can include for each of the eight sabbats. For example, you can have red and green candles, some oak and holly branches, and winter decorations for your Yule altar.

Similarly, for Litha (or Summer Solstice/Midsummer), you can decorate your altar with yellow, orange, and golden colors, representations of the sun, flowers, natural treasures, etc.

Check out my Wheel of the Year series for some Sabbat altar decoration ideas.

photo of a seasonal wiccan altar

Intention Altar

Some witches, Wiccans, and pagans like to create intentional altars that are designed to bring a specific outcome into their lives.

Intention altar can be dedicated towards protection, family, love life, money, health, losing weight, or whatever you wish to bring into your life. It can act as a sacred place for your intention that has physical representations and correspondences of this specific outcome.

Intention altar can include a vision board, corresponding colors of candles, some herbs and crystals, small trinkets, and anything that brings your intention vivid and gives it the best physical touch.

To increase the chance of your manifestation, you can work at your intention altar daily and include gratitude, affirmations, and meditation at this sacred space.

Ancestral Altar

In some cultures, people give thanks to their ancestors. It is common to have a space in their home dedicated to those that passed away. You can honor your loved ancestors by keeping their photographs, personal items, dedicated candles, and by burning incense.

Outdoor Altar

Most Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans work closely with nature. Some of them choose to have outdoor altar spaces in their gardens. Others might want to set up a temporary outdoor altar for a specific spell or ritual.

Your outdoor altar can be set up on the ground, blanket, a specific tree stump, or a flat rock. You might want to travel to sacred places and other natural temples to perform your magical workings.

Whenever you set up the outdoor altar, remember to respect nature and its habitat. If you wish to leave an offering, use only organic items and always clean up after yourself. Never use salt or burry things that won’t rotten with time. I don’t approve of the common idea of burying glass jars and other items in nature. If it has no way to compost within your lifetime, don’t leave such an impact on Mother Nature.

photo of a nature altar

Travel Altar

Travel altar is a smaller version of your permanent sacred space. It can be a small box with the ritual items that you want to use when traveling or on the go.

Some of the items you might wish to include in your travel altar are a small altar cloth, small candles, a couple of crystals and herbs, cords or ribbons, and other supplies that might come in handy on your travels.

If you are looking for a beautiful and ready travel altar set up, check out CrescentAuras shop on Etsy.

Etheric Altar

This is a concept that I read in a “Rebel Witch” book and I dearly loved it.

The etheric altar is a non-physical sacred space that you visualize and visit in your meditations or astral travels. Some other names for this setup could be the astral altar, mind altar, or imaginary altar.

The etheric altar can be constructed to your liking. You might want to set up the beautiful scenery, a nice place for energetic and mental working and meeting with your spirit guides. It can have whatever shape and form you envision it to be.

I know that some people have a hard time visualizing, so for that purpose, you can create an altar vision board with all representations and meditate with the image of it. It might also make your visualization process a bit more fun and accessible.

Additionally, you might want to include the guardian of your etheric altar, that way you’d know there is no outer interference with your astral plane.

photo of a travel altar

How to set up an altar and practice witchcraft in the broom closet?

Some of you, my dear readers, are probably practicing witchcraft in secret. And there is good news! You can still practice and work on your magical development, even in a Broom Closet!

Most of the magical workings are based on energy and intention… and the good thing is, no one can see them apart from you. If you wish to have some physical representations of your craft, you can set up a hidden altar in a box – and keep it in a safe place (like under a bed, or in between the socks).

Another idea is to keep your Book of Shadows in a code and make special, mundane covers for your witchy books. You might also keep only digital copies of your notes and read books on your electronic device (a great thing to try is a free month of Kindle Unlimited!)

Another thing you can do is to focus mainly on psychic, energetic, and mental practice. You can read an amazing book “Psychic Witch” that will help you tap into your powers with no tools needed. And set up a practice based in the etheric realm. You can visualize your etheric altar (read about it above) and even have space in your mind especially directed to practice and store information on witchy topics.

Our mind is an amazing tool and it has more to do with the physical world than you might think! That’s what people have been discovering for centuries and believe me, every concept, idea, product, and outcome is created first in the mind. That’s why practicing in secret doesn’t have to be upsetting. I know that having all this beautiful witchy aesthetic around you is tempting… but is it essential?

Alter vs Altar?

Many people confuse these two words and use them in the wrong context. Alter is a verb and means to change something. The altar is a noun and it means a flat space used as the focus for a sacred ritual, especially when working with higher powers and deities.

So we can say: How can I alter my altar? Meaning – how can I make changes to my altar?

Have you alter your altar yet?

There can be a lot more written on the topic of setting up an altar. If you wish to see a specific post, such as protecting or cleansing your altar, let me know in the comments! And if any questions arise in your mind, you can always send me a private message – by using the contact page.

Books about Altars and Sacred Spaces

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Eva Maria
Eclectic Witch with tons of interests (Buddhism, Yoga, Ayurveda, Alchemy, Naturopathy, Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Climbing, Traveling, Jewelry making, Crocheting, Arts and Crafts and all sorts of readings). Creator at @witchjournaling and host of the witchcommunity.com

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