One of my favorite LJ communities to watch (and occasionally participate in) is pimp_my_altar. They showcase stunning, creative, and endlessly inspiring altars, shrines, and magickal work spaces. You name the religion, they have it. I’ve seen serene Catholic shrines, vibrant Hindu shrines, simple college altars to the elements, elaborate Samhain altars, expansive Voudoun / Hoodoun work spaces, elegant Etruscan altars, and so much more.
They have been as small as a bedside table, to one altar taking up the entire width of a living room with numerous shelves and fireplace mantles to boot!
So with that in mind, I thought I would share with y’all my current working altar. Because I just feel like it and on some level I hope it inspires you to create a little altar in your home. It doesn’t have to be magickal “perse” or even religious. I know of folks who have a small shrine set up for a departed pet, or a simple stone next to a pen for a writing altar, or candles and flowers near the bird bath outside to honor the coming of spring. Whatever works for you because that is the essential factor: what works for YOU. Not the neighbor down the street, not your MOM, not even your spouse / partner in crime.
What I love about altars is they can be so eclectic and so original. No two are alike. Altars and shrines help connect us to energies we wish to have in our lives. Think of them as conduits. The more energy, thought, and intent you put into them, the greater the benefits.
For me personally, I have several altars all through out my home. I have two traveling altars (one for writing, one for magick) made out of Altoid tins which I wrote about last month. I have a small shrine to my Embers Grand Dame. I have an outdoor shrine that is simply a fae statue and a bird feeder to honor the creatures of Air. I have a goddess shrine set up in my closet due to lack of space, but She doesn’t mind.
My working altar is comprised of an old wooden china hutch an ex of my best friend gave me. Of course, when they split the bastard demanded it back (I use the term “bastard” politely because this guy was a true piece of work and deserves a much harsher moniker), I advised him it had become part of my altar and was infused with four years worth of magick. He changed his mind. Smart man. Atop is some black shelving innowen handed down to me and it fits perfectly with my hutch.
Along the top is my Universal Life Church Clergy Certificate, yes I am a legally ordained minister. A certificate I waited to get until I completed my 3rd degree of tradition studies and was earned the title Priestess. I figured it would have more weight for me personally if I waited. There are also candles (real and LED), a wooden Spirit egg I got on Ostara, Dark Mother statue and picture, images dedicated to my totem, objects I’ve found in nature, a firebird figurine / card, and an incense bowl.
Within the hutch is all my magickal supplies right there for my convenience. Last year I did some spring cleaning and, WOW, I had no idea I had accumulated so many items. I placed the ones I use on rare occasion (but still need) in storage, and the rest I donated to the pagan community.
On the second shelf is where I house my current tarot deck, ritual jewelry, and shamanic items. The lower shelf is where I house my BOS, lighter, and incense bowl when not in use.
To the left are tokens I have received at all the festivals I’ve ever attended. And to the right are my drums, a brass cauldron full of incense, walking staff, and a chest full of powdered incenses and herbs.
My altar has grown and shifted along with me over the past 14 years as I’ve walked (stumbled) on this path. Once it was only a little coffee table. Then it was a three level shrine in my living room as I used an old gardening work station to create it. Now I’ve pared it down to the bare essentials and so far I’m really liking it. I know some who have even smaller ones and those who have GINORMOUS ones. Yet I love checking them out all the same (with permission of course).
So tell me. How do you pimp your altar?