Monday, August 30, 2010


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!


  1. I tend to agree with you.

    However, I like to separate some things. For instance, I like to have a space at the top of my bookshelf that is for Offerings to the spirits of location only, and I like to have a mini altar for the HGA (which is kinda *your* idea). I don't really want those things on my main altar, and I don't really have room for it.

    And it doesn't appear that my altar is going to become more free of space as time goes on -- what with the 4 elemental kings, the tools, the candles, the seven planetary talismans, and I'm not even *done* yet?

    I'm still wanting to learn more about practical uses for this set up, by the way. I'm getting a pretty damned good handle on this whole Hermetic Magick deal, and I'm ready to have some fun with it...

  2. I kind of agree. But, I do like to separate and compartmentalize because I'm not a fan of mixing too many depicted theologies in one place. So naturally I have a couple altars. But I try not to run amok because I delight in simplicity. I mean, I like the look of ATR styled altars, but it just seems like it is way too much to be practical for me. I guess its just a matter of personal taste, wouldn't you say?

    So anyway...

    I have my Working-altar which is in the center of my temple room surrounded the GoS circle. So the stuff on this altar fluctuates with what is needed for the magic undertakings, evocations, and etc at that time.

    I also have an Oratory-altar where I recite my daily prayers, purifications, exorcism of tools and what not. This is housed in the walk-in closet of said temple room where most of my supplies are also stored. This one doesn't change much, but is used the most.

    I'm kind of new to this kind of blogspace, so when I understand how, I *might* share some photos. I go back and forth on whether sharing pictures of my oratory/working altars would by offensive of profaning my work. I don't know...

  3. My altar is my home. My familiar "imaginary" friends pick where they want to set up camp and I am ok with that. Their altars are all around the house, Venus and Haniel in the kitchen, Zadkiel and Ophiel in the lounge room Mercury, Saniel, Persephone and Hekate like to hang out in the study, whereas Zaphkiel, Athene and my friend "Death" like to camp in the spare room, the list goes on.... There are others and they are all part of my life, their altars are part of the home and are constantly funtioning.

    My daughter likes to hang the protection image that I painted for Michael of the Sun tarot card over her bed and keep Zadkiel's lapis lazuli talisman on her bed post. These things are part of our life. People ask less questions than you might think. As a brush off, if I cant be bothered, "astrology" works well as an explanation as a lot of my magic and the symbolism around the place is in some way planetary based. Most people do not bat an eyelid at astrology and dont understand it either so you could tell them anything. But honestly people dont seem to notice or care so why should I hide it.

    In a way the fact that I study psych seems to interest and 'scare' people more than my magic or herbalism. It is funny how times change and people are more rattled by different 'more fashionable' scarey things as time goes on. Change a few terms and you are talking science, and that really is scarey, even though, in comparison, science is still a baby... They see "crazy stuff" but that is somehow balanced out by all the "serious" looking study books around the place and the fact that I usually talk pretty openly about anything to most people.

    Altars, I am all for them. I like to make my 'imaginary' guests feel welcome and like they have a comfortable place to stay while they are here.

    For 'big' stuff or introductions and ritual I draw them down to my table of practice, other than that most ongoing relationships can be maintained and worked with pretty comfortably from where they choose to set up camp with their 'stuff'.

    Love Kathy

  4. And that was us consolidating! You should have seen it before! ;p For us, we too try to group our deities as reasonable and most of them have a very simple set up: small picture (or statue) and a small offering cup. We also don't have kids which I think does make it easier and my mom generally ignores all the statues except when she feels like asking questions that I have to figure out how to parse ("Well . . .Shiva and Parvati are part of the Indian Holy Family. Like . . .um, well, vaguely like Mary and Jesus? Kind of?").

    Also with me being a dilettante, I tend to collect gods (though I try not to at all at this point, the inn's full!) and I don't have a real formal practice so I more needed the work space for tricks and spellwork and storage. Mmmmm storage.

  5. @Ms. Sugar: LOL, the inn's full, all new gods must be born in the manger in the garage.

    And do not ask why there's a manger in the garage.


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.