Setting an altar and consecrating the tools
We have all set up altars at one time or another with a collection of photographs and mementoes placed on a bedside table or mantelpiece, as a natural expression of those we value in life and hold precious in our hearts. It’s same when you make a spiritual altar dedicated to a God or Saint or in this case a Wiccan alter that can give you energy through the senses you engage to attain the level of spirituality you seek. The tools you place on your altar will be the ones that you have a connection with and gives you energy. Since there are certain principals to be followed when setting up a Wiccan altar, it’s best that you take note of the rules that have to be applied before you start the process.
A Wiccan altar should be considered a part of nature’s elements such as air, water, earth, fire and spirit. Therefore the alter you set up should have a direct connection to you and the world that surrounds you on a high level of spirituality. Nature’s elements should be represented by a feather for air, a bowl of water, salt for the earth and candles for fire. If you have something more profound and personal to you that symbolizes the 4 elements, you can go ahead and place them on the altar, which should be set at waist height for easy access.
Try not to clutter your alter with too many tools which will only manage to cut the flow of energy and make it less effective. The alter can be of any shape although its more common to have round-shaped alters because most rituals are circular and therefore will be helpful for those rituals. Although it’s not imperative to ‘cast a circle’ many prefer to do so in order to get the feeling of being protected inside the circle and to have a sacred space for worship. Any tools or icons that are placed on the alter can have a connection to any deity; but since energy is divided into masculine and feminine, as in god and goddess, the feminine tools or icons should be placed on the left side of the altar and the masculine tools on the right side.
Anyone setting up an altar for the first time should remember to consecrate the tools as a means of recharging the energies. Although there are many ways in which the consecration can be carried out, the easiest and quickest is to sprinkle the tools with saltwater or better still, submerge them overnight. This will not only energize the tools but also purify them before being used to interact with the deity. This system, in fact, can be used to consecrate any magical tool including the clothes you wear or the alter itself, and especially useful if you’re not quite sure what these tools were used for in the past.
The final and most important tool is your ‘Book of Shadows” which should be placed in the centre of the alter. Every witch must have a BOS and this where all the traditions of Wiccan magick are written and spells copied to be used during a ritual. Keep in mind, the Book of Shadows is a sacred tool and should, therefore, be consecrated before being placed on the altar.