I have to say, I love my altars. I have a 5-tiered shelf that I painted to match the sky blue walls of our bedroom that serves as my main altar and holds all of my tools and is basically a shrine to the elements, directions and spirits of each. For me, the correspondences are (starting with my top shelf): The South holds my water scrying bowl and is affiliated with, what else? The element of Water, of course. The womb of the world: Water. The birthing place, the place whence we came, and will come again. Waters that help shape us, clean us, nourish us, keep us. I relate the closest to water, having my sun sign in a watery way. I understand well the beauty and treachery of Water. I keep a decorative blue genie bottle of water, a small blue votive candle, a little half shell and a soft, fuzzy blue fabric to set it all on. I have a deep purple velvet covering for my scrying bowl (which is a simple but gorgeous glass potpourri burner on top of an elegant iron base) to keep the dust out. For awhile I had a necklace made of blue glass beads and a small chunk of smooth coral as a focal point charm, but I’ve since put it with the rest of my ritual jewelry so I can keep the altar a wee less cluttered. It’s the top-most and smallest shelf. Oh, and I have a string of bells that I acquired in San Francisco when I was 10, and a bell necklace from my deceased mother-in-law that I use in ritual to call the spirits.
The second shelf is dedicated to the East, which is Fire for me. The burning sun waking, beginning the day with a giant ball of fire rising in the sky, renewing the Earth with its bright light of flame. I keep a gorgeous gold fabric that is studded with the tiniest of rhinestones and little speckles of paint. Upon that, I keep a pewter statue of a dragon, a gold and clear genie bottle, a yellow beeswax candle, a pipe, a small clay vase with dried sage, my fire wand that is an unknown, smooth wood with a tiny rose quartz crystal glued to the tip, which to me signifies gentle, healing, directed self-love and projects the same to all things. There is a bloodstone kept there along with malachite. It also holds my new (wonderful, awesome, amazing gift from the wonderful, awesome, amazing Hubster) tiny cast iron cauldron, its cute little legs holding its rotund belly of fire-proof spell power!! I love this little thing! It even has the most perfect pentagram on it! I also keep my tiny but sturdy metal “athame”, which is actually a letter opener that I rescued from someone’s desk being cleared out, and another, tinier letter opener that my uncle got me that has a little scene of Jerusalem on the handle.
The third shelf represents the West, the dying autumn west, and to me, the grounding element of Earth. The place we start to die, returning to for renewal, and rebirth. The autumn, the dying of the year. The West, the dying flame of sun setting, the glow we walk into before death. On this shelf, there is a soft, pink, crushed velvet fabric that lines the shelf, a mulberry red candle that has these awesome little cracks in it because it’s kind of old. There is a red genie bottle, a Wolf figurine, some acorn tops, a hunting knife, an amazing piece of wood that I found amongst some things my Mum was getting rid of, my handmade, green, polymer clay pentacle, two wands that I found (also from wood unknown) and used my wood-burning tool to create some fun little pictures onto one (spirals, the maiden/mother/crone moon symbol, a naked man and woman at the top, a crow, and some other things) and beaded spirals and ribbons on the other, and I keep a little plant in a special pot and hand painted porcelain saucer from my paternal grandmother. I kept getting air plants to put on there as well, but they kept dying so I’ve given up.
The fourth shelf is for the North, and to me, the element of Air. The death of the year, the death of all things, the cold North holding all life suspended in its bosom, waiting to be born anew. Sending its frightfully chilly breath of regeneration deep inside, outside, up, down, all around, into space and beyond. Air, the creating winds. Ideas, creativity, life is fanned by the winds of the North. This shelf is covered in delicate white: some fabric and lace left from my making my wedding dress, pure as snow. I keep my beautifully hand carved, wooden sword and sheath made by Joseph the Carpenter at the Renaissance Festival, a purple genie bottle, white votives and four blue and black candle holders that I made in ceramics class that hold my ritual candles, a matching tiny ashtray that I made as part of a whole set of things in ceramics that holds a tiny piece of the deep purple velvet and two stones: an amethyst and a clear quartz crystal. I have a large bowl of rocks from Lake Superior, candles, a picture of a bald eagle and yet another wand that isn’t really a wand…I’m not sure what I consider it, but it’s top is split in three branches, and I sanded it roughly and attached a feather and a shell to it. I finally made my own besom, and that is on this shelf, too.
The fifth shelf is sort of an all-purpose shelf with things that are special, reverent, but that don’t fall into my Elements. I’ve got that lined with a special Star Wars pillow case from Hubby’s childhood (the whole series, the Jedi’s, the Force and Yoda are all special to me: dork alert!), and on that I keep my “The Star That Never Walks Around” tarot deck which is wrapped in purple velvet, my scrying charms necklace that I made and which is the most incredible and awesome beauty that is kept inside a little purse I made out of the same purple velvet and has beading applique based on the Tree of Gondor that I am especially proud of. There are little cups hand thrown by my mom that I keep little things in: a utility knife for herbs and such, some miscellaneous handcrafted sabbat oils. I also keep a potpourri bowl filled with a green silk camisole that no longer fits me but was the first lingerie by husband bought for me (35 pounds ago!) that I use sometimes for added vibes. I have my handpainted “turtle box” that is purple and has a turtle that my mom gave me glued to the top, and it houses my handmade, wooden pendulums. I also keep a ceramic plate (one of the black and blue set) that I use as a fireproof surface, a flask of homemade mead, a bottle of salt, another little made-by-me ceramic cup that is filled with gemstones, and a sprig of dried oak leaves.
I keep a lovely little bench that usually is just decorative, but serves as my active altar during seasonal rituals or spell workings. I have another set of shelves that is quickly turning into MORE altar space. I’ve dedicated a lot of it to my ancestors, and one deity. I also have a dedicated witchy book shelf for all of my books, articles, goose quill pens and india ink set, my Ramones lunchbox portable altar kit, another beaded purple velvet purse with Tarot of the Magical Forest, and tons of handmade decorated feathers, incense, dried bouquet of dandelion leaves, and other miscellany.
I absolutely love our bedroom space. It is the perfect place for my spiritual space as well as for relaxation, quiet repose, and gentle love 🙂