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Thrifty Witch: Elements on Altar for the Cheap

Updated on September 8, 2017

Elements In Our Craft

Using elemental representation in one's craft is very common due to the fact that each element represents a variety of aspects that one may want to work with. Each element carries a different energy, focus, and uses in intent. Not every witch uses the elements in their craft but most do. So many witches struggle to represent some or all of the elements for a variety of reasons. Some may not be able to afford the fancier representations like a silver cup for water, or ornate bowls to hold the elements. Some may struggle with where they live to obtain certain elements such as living in the desert may bring some difficulties in obtaining naturally made water. The following article hopefully helps is creating new and cheap ideas on how to represent the elements without spending much or any money!


Earth often used to represent fertility, nurturing, and grounding is one of the easiest elements to find on the cheap to be represented. Here are some ideas you could use to represent earth.

If you own crystals, you can use agates, hematites, onyx, or green or brown colored crystals.

You can use color as representation such as earth based, or fall colors like green and brown.

You can use symbols such as a pentagram, bovine toy or a piece of a real one like a bone, or even something like a snow globe since it also represents the direction north and the season winter.

The easiest option is to walk outside regardless of where you live and look around you. You can use anything from dirt, sand, rocks, leaves, grass, bark, roots, flowers, petals, even berries but be aware those do go bad. Most have an unlimited availability of the outdoor resources to represent earth. You can even, depending on how stationary your altar is, have a small potted plant as a representative.

And the easiest option, write down a picture, word, or symbol for the earth on a piece of paper.

Fire is the element you have to be most careful with in representing. Fire tends to represent the sexual, cleansing, or destructive aspect.

If you use crystals, use garnet, amber, or ruby. Or any other red colored crystal.

You can use the color representation for fire which is red.

Symbols you may want to use is an ethane, reptiles, such as a sluffed off skin or a toy or wood carving, even something that represents summer since it is the season associated with fire along with the direction south.

The most common and easiest representation for fire is to use a candle. You don't need an expensively decorated candle to use. You can buy multiple-sized candles at the dollar store and often many colors. I always disclaim to make sure the candle is in a safe place if you use the real thing. A safer idea is to find a battery powered tea light candle. It still represents fire without being a danger. You can use incense as well but this also can be used for the element air. Incense is also easily found at a dollar store. You may also want to use something a bit different like charred wood, a piece of coal, just a match stick, or an empty lighter to represent fire.

And the easiest option, write down a picture, word, or symbol for the fire on a piece of paper.

Air is probably one of the hardest element to represent in a physical way, but it can be done! Air tends to represent movement, intelligence, and suspension.

If you use crystals, use citrine, mica, fluorite, or any yellow crystal.

You can use the color representation of yellow.

Symbols you may want to use are wands which can be just a twig or small branch. You may want to use a bird representation such as feathers or a figurine of one. The season is spring and the direction is east which can be represented by photos of sun rises, new born baby animals, or even using seeds. Many seeds use the wind to spread themselves across the land.

The easiest options are to find a feather, to be honest, but you may want to use a hand held hand fan battery powered or traditionally made. It represents air by creating air. Also, incense, as stated with the element fire, can be used for both. You can see the air move by the smoke used.

And the easiest option, write down a picture, word, or symbol for air on a piece of paper.

Water is an element that is part of our human make up and what we need to survive, so it is one of the most important elements available to us. Water tends to represent purifying, the natural flow of things, healing.

If you use crystals, use pearls, coral, aquamarine, or a blue crystal.

You can use the color representation for water is blue.

Symbols you may want to use is a chalice if you have one but it can just be a regular cup with water in it. You can use a representation or bone from a fish or even a sea shell. You can also use a mirror because it is reflective like water. Another representation you can use is something that relates to the season of Fall such as dried corn or a mini pumpkin. You can a picture of fall images or sunsets since the sun sets in the West and that direction is associated with water for most.

The easiest options for a witch on a budget is the water in a cup or even a compact mirror most women have on hand. If you want to not use tap water, use a rain barrel or rain catcher especially if you live in an area that there isn't a lot of rain or go to a body of water if you can such as an ocean, lake, river, or creek to obtain naturally sourced water.

And the easiest option, write down a picture, word, or symbol for water on a piece of paper.

Spirit next to air is also intangible so it is difficult to represent on an alter but it can be done! Spirit tends to represent spirituality, motivations, and transformation.

If you use crystals, use clear quartz, selenite, and amethyst. Any purple or clear crystal can work.

You can use the color representation by the color purple, white, or gold.

Symbols you may want to use is a cauldron or mortar and pestle. Owls and doves also represent spirit so if you can find a feather from either, even a faux one, would work as well. Spirit doesn't have a direction or season it really is represented by, but using images that encompass all the elements or even small representations together can work. Images of the universe also can be applied.

The easiest options are using images of circles or the infinity symbol which using a rope can work. Also, bells also represent the spirit and most of us have one somewhere or can be purchased cheaply. The third eye symbol can also be used.

And the easiest option, write down a picture, word, or symbol for spirit on a piece of paper.


There are always a variety of options available when you are trying to create an altar. You don't need any money or very little to supplement for the more fancy and ornate objects some others may use in their craft. Remember, the focus should be on the representation of the element, not how much you spend on that representation.

I added a series of elements that I did on Youtube below if you are interested in more information on elements and what you can use to represent them in your practice!

Element Series

© 2017 Lippy Witch


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