If you’re just starting your journey into witchcraft or you’re feeling pulled into a different direction with your craft, you may be wanting to create an altar that really speaks to you in a more personal way. There’s no right or wrong way to create your altar and here are some tips for helping you curate one that you vibe with.
1) Incorporate items you feel a personal connection with
Every witch's path is personal so be sure to use items that you feel an energy from. If you practice Green Witchcraft you may want to have some dried herbs that you picked from your garden. If you practice shadow work you may want a notebook to journal your inward explorations. If you honor a deity, include offerings to them and symbolism that refers to them and their powers. Whatever your path, you'll want the energy of your altar to heighten your craft so trust your instincts and incorporate what feels right to you.
2) Add tools you will actually use in your craft
It may be nice to have a bunch of things at your altar that you think you need but when it comes down to it, you're going to want tools that you use. It will create a better atmosphere for you to practice in when you don't feel obligated to work around things you know you don't need. You'll also free up literal space to practice with the tools you need instead of fumbling around the miscellaneous items. I don't have an athame at my altar but I do however, always have at least 3 lives plants which I use frequently. There's no right or wrong way to create an altar so make it true to yourself and your path.
3) Work with the space you have
You don't need a huge, tiered, vintage wooden cabinet in its own room to have an effective altar. Honestly, you don't even need a permanent altar! Try creating your own "travel altar" like the picture below. This can be a small container that you keep with you that includes small items that you can set up when you're needing to get magickal. You can set up your tools in a temporary location when you perform rituals and then break it down afterwards. Choose a surface that can be used safely during your practice. For example, if you're creating a money jar you can use your kitchen counter. If you're journaling plant energy you can set up an altar on some rocks outside. When using candles, be sure to use a heat-safe surface. If you do have room in your home for a permanent altar, you may want add an altar cloth as part of you ritual in beginning the magick. You can designate a portion of a desktop for candles, crystals, incense, and other tools and add more as you go and as needed.
4) Utilize items you already own
You do not have to run out to a metaphysical store and start spending tons of money for a bunch of tools because chances are, you already have plenty of items to work with already. An athame is a ceremonial blade so you can use a simple kitchen knife in place of an officially crafted dagger. Customize and fashion an altar cloth from an unused sheet - make it your own! Include intersting rocks that you've found outside. Collect some twigs from outside and use it as your source of Earth. Get creative and don't be afraid to use substitutes and alternatives for tools. Remember, the tools are just tools - the magick is inside YOU.
5) Decide the orientation of your altar
Something that can affect the vibe and energy of your altar is the direction it's facing. You can have it face North, South, East, or West. Deciding which direction is up to you and what makes sense for your spiritual path. If you want to face toward the Earth element, you could position your altar to face North. You could point it east towards the rising sun. This is up to you and what feels best.