With the recent altar posts popping up, I can't help but throw in my two cents. I just wrote about altars on a yahoo group last week.
Practically speaking, you've got to set your magical apparatus up wherever you can and fit it into your lifestyle. That's pretty much a given. I'm looking at Jason's and Jow/Deb's and Ian C's multiple altars, and honestly, I'm a little overwhelmed. They've got altars on top of their altars, and I can imagine how challenging it is to set up and maintain that many different sacred spaces.
I don't have that many altars at all. I have one altar that is the material representation of all my spiritual pursuits and practices, and then I have an armoire with my other stuff in it. And a nightstand. And a bookshelf or two.But those aren't altars, as much as they are talismans with some space to call their own...
Which, I suppose, would be considered an altar.
But personally, I only worry about having one altar set up in my house. Everything else is more like convenience and decoration, but the formal Altar plays a very important role in my life. I see it as one of the key pieces of equipment in a magician's tool kit.
If you set it up right, you'll have every sphere of existence comprehensible to the mind of man represented. The intelligences and spirits of each sphere will be symbolically present, on site. You'll have conjured each spirit at the appropriate time to consecrate their talisman, which then is placed in the appropriate location to represent the powers of that sphere as they manifest on Earth. You have this for all the planets, the zodiac, and the Prime Mover. You've got the Nous and Logos all represented by the Lamp, and you've got the elemental weapons and the Angels of the four corners of the Earth and the Princes of the four realms there, and you've got it physically represented in one place.
It's the most concentrated manifestation device you could ever design. It represents the point where all the forces that mingle to create our sensory realm actually touch this sensory realm. You've got a super-charged table of manifestation right there.
Drop a symbol of what you want on it, just over on the corner, say a quick oration to the powers represented, and you can almost see reality bend as it works to manifest what you've planted. Uncross a client using their picture, call down wrath on an enemy, empower your business, land a job, make a sale, whatever you can imagine. Pretty much.
That doesn't mean you need a huge table in one room that is totally dedicated to the Great Work. Mine is currently on one shelf, and it fits nicely right there, out of sight from visiting children with big mouths and parents who ask uncomfortable questions when their kids go on about the daggers and cups and crystals and wands at my house.
And really? A whole YEAR has passed since Jason's twins manifested? Crap!