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Altar Tools Of The Pagan, The Wiccan and The Witch

Updated on January 28, 2016

Our Various Altar Tools

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PentacleAltar AthameAltar AthamePentacleChalice 1Chalice 1Chalice 2Chalice 2Candle SnufferSoapstone Candle Holder - Antique - From and eBay estate auction.Soapstone Candle Holder - Antique - From and eBay estate auction.SaltAltar overviewCauldronAltar overview
Pentacle
Pentacle
Altar Athame
Altar Athame
Altar Athame
Altar Athame
Pentacle
Pentacle
Chalice 1
Chalice 1
Chalice 1
Chalice 1
Chalice 2
Chalice 2
Chalice 2
Chalice 2
Candle Snuffer
Candle Snuffer
Soapstone Candle Holder - Antique - From and eBay estate auction.
Soapstone Candle Holder - Antique - From and eBay estate auction.
Soapstone Candle Holder - Antique - From and eBay estate auction.
Soapstone Candle Holder - Antique - From and eBay estate auction.
Salt
Salt
Altar overview
Altar overview
Cauldron
Cauldron
Altar overview
Altar overview

Atlar Tools and Space

Do you have an altar and/or sacred space that you have such tools upon?

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The Use Of Pagan Altar Tools

Altars are sacred space that Pagans and those who practice witchcraft use to work magic, spells, give thanks, ask for blessings, do rituals and rites. The altar is within a sacred circle that is created by the participant of one or more of the above. Creating a sacred circle will be another article at some time in the future.

Here we will discuss various altar tools that are used on the altar and within the sacred circle. I would like to note that tools are not required to perform any type of sacred work, as visualization can be employed. Altar tools are used to help us create focus for our thoughts and energies while working within the sacred space.

An altar can be any space you set aside for work as mentioned above. Some folks use temporary altars and take them down after using them. This is especially true for those who cannot openly display that they are of a Pagan path. Others have a more permanent setup, such as a table or counter where they leave everything in place after doing their sacred work. We are in this category. Our altar space is in our living room on a table we had donated to us, a rather nice, old wooden coffee table. It is large in the eyes of some, however, it seems that we have out grown it at times!

Various altar tools:

Athame - An athame is a ritual knife/dagger. A sword may also be used in the place of an athame. You can purchase an athame, or use a favorite knife of your own. Once you select which to use, you need to cleanse it and only use it on the altar. An athame is used in the sacred circle for various purposes. Most commonly it is used for directing and banishing mystical energies and summoning. It will also be used to create, open and close a sacred circle. Your athame is never to be used for cutting, stabbing or a weapon. It is your magickal tool used specifically for magickal purposes only.

Cauldron - Most of these will be cast metal, usually iron with three legs. They represent the feminine energies and can be used to burn herbs, mix herbs, hold candles and also, as we use one for, to place prayer requests in. About once a month or so, we burn off the requests that have built up in the cauldron.

Censer - There are many types of censers out there. The choice is up to you on what type you may use. We have censers that hang, that sit on the altar and a bowl of salt that we place stick incense in.

Chalice - A chalice is used to hold various liquids. Most commonly you will find that it is used to hold water and is symbolic of the element of water. The chalice can be made of any substance, however many will use ones made from metals. Silver and silver plated are common. A second chalice can be used for holding wine that may be used within your sacred circle.

Pentacle - This is a five pointed start that is set within a disc or saucer. Pentacles are used for protection and also used to consecrate various altar tools such as your chalice and censor. You just place them on the pentacle. The Mother Goddess is represented by the pentacle and is symbolic of the element Earth. They can be made of metal and wood. You can make your own using a piece of wood and carving your own pentacle on it.

Salt - Salt is usually placed within a bowl and represents the element Earth. Many people will use sea salt, however, I have found all salts work. Salt is a very powerful tool for purification and ridding your area and tools of negative energies and vibes.

Candles - As an eclectic Pagan/Witch, it has been my experience that Pagans have to stock up on many candles! Fortunately they are not expensive, but they do add much ambience and spirituality to your altar and sacred space. Commonly a white candle is used to create a source of light on the altar, but many will use a colored one that corresponds with the deity or desire that you may be working with at any particular point. Four candles are used in the four corners of the altar that represents the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Colors are associated with all aspects of altar candles, however, I have found that any color will work as long as they are charged with the proper intent. I will not go into specifics on colors, uses and further placements due to the large amount of space needed for such. This is a thought for a future hub. Tapers are best used on the altar however votive candles and tea candles will work just as well and are less expensive.

Candle Holders - Candles need holders without a doubt. Any type of holder can be used. I have found that glass works well and is easy to maintain and cleanse. Also, picking up some unique holders at various thrift stores and such is great! As with any tools or items introduced into your sacred space, always cleanse them first. I would advice against using wood for holding your candles for obvious reasons.

Wand - Us witches really do use magickal wands! The wand is a symbol of the element Air, however some traditions use it as being symbolic of the element Fire. The use of the wand is to direct mystical energies.

Altar Bell - At times your ritual may require the ringing of a bell. There are many types of bells, but what works best is a small bell that can be lightly struck to get that subtle ringing noise.

There are many other items you may find on an altar, but this is a good list to start with. Some Pagans will wear a cloak that can be bought or handmade. Also, you may find a second knife on the altar which is used to carve on candles as well as cutting up of herbs. This knife is called a boline. A candle snuffer is always a great tool to have as well. Using a snuffer shows more respect to the elements than blowing a candle out.

A Book of Shadows is commonly part of the tools found on an altar as well. This is a journal that is kept for spell work, your magickal experiences and various insights you may have. In the past the Book of Shadows was always handwritten, and that tradition is still carried over today by many. Others have taken to using the computer to create their Book of Shadows and then printing it out and placing it within a journal or binder as well as saving it on disc and such.

Our Imbolc Altar for 2012

Wiccan Altars - Some Examples

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  • Dale Hyde profile image
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    Dale Hyde 4 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello Nell! Our altar is a main item in our home. It is in the living room and we like it there as we are always able to center and ground by easily being able to see it. Of course some folks can not have an altar in an open "common" area for various reasons.

    So gllad that you stopped by, read and shared in comment. :)

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

    HI Dale, I too have an altar, so this was fascinating reading, nell

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello, Daniella. :) Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. Altars are very personal and that is what is so unique about them. They fit the person and their needs. Blessed be to you as well and hope you have a great blue moon tonight. :)

  • Daniella Lopez profile image

    Danielle Lopez Newcomb 5 years ago from Arkansas

    Great article, Dale. My altar is very simple and basic, but it works well for me. Blessed be and happy hubbing! :)

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Thank you, Raptorcat.

  • Raptorcat profile image

    Raptorcat 5 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

    No problem. I will send it back channel to you.

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    I did find some music to place there for the time being off of YouTube from their library. It is taking a while to be applied, but it is on the first video above. Please do email me the info on the musicians. :) Thanks Raptorcat.

  • Raptorcat profile image

    Raptorcat 5 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

    If need be, I can provide a list of Renn faire musicians that may give you written permission, as long as you list them as the artist, to use their renditions of traditional music.

    And all of them have CD's (THEY HAVE CD's?!!). :)

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Thanks for that suggestion, Raptorcat. I had been looking around but had not come up with anything yet. I will look into that area as well. With the views that the video gets, music certainly would be appreciated as well. :)Again, thanks! :)

  • Raptorcat profile image

    Raptorcat 5 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

    As far as Music, there is a lot of good music that is no longer owned by anyone that would work. Much of it can be heard at renaissance/medieval faires; plenty of bagpipe music (my personal fav) or many of the really good Irish traditional tunes can also work if you can find instrumental it's even better and less distracting.

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello rasta1. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. I also appreciate the heads up on the hub of yours I was awaiting! I shall go and check it out and share it with my wife as well. :)

  • rasta1 profile image

    Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

    Some of the alter tools I have seen before like the chalice. In a totally different environment though. The hub is reday, https://hubpages.com/health/Spiritual-Uses-of-The-...

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    I agree with the music as adding to any video, Raptorcat, however I have ran into a few problems with my videos being monetized on YouTube. That first video I had here, of the various altars has had over 24,000 views. If I add music, I have to unmonetize it or it gets flagged. Youtube has warned me previously. I have used some creative commons music in the Yule Altar video I have up on Youtube and that one appears to have went okay. I guess I need to find some creative commons music along the lines that you describe. Thanks. :)

  • Raptorcat profile image

    Raptorcat 5 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

    Well, most anything by Enya is always a good choice, or Mummer's Dance by Loreena McKennet, there is also a Pagan singer that goes by the name Gypsey. She has some pretty good choices on her cd by the same name.

    I have a HUGE iTunes library of music that I sometimes use for my personal Youtube videos, some of which contains some fine examples of medieval, Pagan and world music. Some types of meditation music might be good for that video, too.

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello Raptorcat! I agree the video could use some music. That is the first video I ever made from several years ago. :) I was just filming our Imbolc altar and will upload that video here shortly as well. No music, however, and I hesitated to sing!

    I agree with robes and cloaks. I have them all, but rarely wear them unless I am doing something formal such as a wedding or a public thing, where it is expected.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • Raptorcat profile image

    Raptorcat 5 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

    Nice video. Needs music, though.

    Not too sure that a cloak or robe is really a necessity, after all, traditionally, way back before the rebirth of the religion, the villagers (Heathens - people of the heath) would wear whatever clothes that had to wear.

    Another good article and a beginner will certainly find it helpful.

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello Gradmapearl! Thanks for understanding about the spiritual connections. :) Always wonderful to have you drop by, read and comment on my hubs! Thanks for voting up as well!

  • grandmapearl profile image

    Connie Smith 5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

    Dale I was fascinated by your Hub. Learning about all your altar tools helps me to better understand how and where you make your spiritual connections. Very interesting and enlightening. Thank you for sharing. Voted Up and Interesting

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello Mr. Happy! I am no expert myself. The video shows various altars and most look different. I feel that your altar or sacred space should conform to what resonates with your heart and your connection to the deities. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. Always good to see you!

  • Mr. Happy profile image

    Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Interesting.

    I suppose all altars look somewhat different ... especially for pagans.

    Belonging to no sect, cult or spiritual denomination, my altar looks very different.

    I guess depends on the Gods one prays to and such ... I am not an expert on altars by any means. Haha ...

    I enjoyed the read. Thank You.