There are many ways for one to set up their altar. I, personally, change my altar according to the season. The Altar in the top left picture is my current Fall altar. The altar in the top right was around Imbolc, and the altar on the bottom was during the spring/summer time. Some people like to change their altar up like I do while others keep theirs exactly the same year round.
When you are preparing to set up a permanent altar, clean the space thoroughly – the carpet, wood, furniture, etc. You may also want to think about the direction in which your altar is laying. Generally in ritual, the altar is facing North. If you can’t face the altar in that direction for certain reasons, choose a space that feels the most comfortable to you.
Altar Cloth – You can choose to have one or not. This is a cloth that sits under your ritual tools. You can coordinate the color and/or symbols on your cloth with your ritual or spell work to enhance your magick.
Pentacle – This is one of the main altar tools. It can be made of wood, glass, ceramic, metal, etc, and usually has a pentacle upon its surface painted or carved. Your pentacle can have any symbol that you wish upon it such as the tree of life, the triquetra, or the triskele. This tool typically represents Earth and has grounding properties. It is feminine.
Athame – Not everyone has an athame but I like to keep mine on my altar. The athame is a ritual knife used for ceremonial purposes only. It is generally used to focus and direct energy. It is also considered one of the four main ritual items to have. This item can represent Fire or Air depending on your tradition. It is masculine
Wand – Another of the main ritual tools, the wand is used similarly like an athame. I tend to use my wand when working with elemental energies and spiritual work. This tool can represent Fire or Air, and in some circumstances, Earth, depending on the tradition. It is masculine.
Chalice – This is the last of the ritual tools and usually represents Water and the feminine aspect. The Chalice is used in Cakes and Ale.
Representations of the Elements – I like to place representatives of the 4 elements around my pentacle and cauldron. I use a bowl of salt for Earth, a red candle for fire, a bowl of water for water, and an incense holder with incense for air.
Cauldron – This is probably my most beloved tool. It represents all the mysteries of the feminine divine and Witchcraft. I have my cauldron placed upon the center of my pentacle as a representation of the spirit and its fathomless depth. I burn herbs and my intentions within the cauldron during ritual and spell work.
Crystals – I like to place crystals that are representative of the season upon my altar to enhance my spiritual work. They can also represent the Earth.
Herbs – I tend to infuse my water with herbs to enhance my spell work. I also like to burn them upon coal within my cauldron.
Sage Bundle – I like to keep a bundle of Sage nearby for quick cleansing.
God/Goddess Candles – If you worship deities, you may want to have them represented on your sacred altar. I keep a God and Goddess candle – with respective colors – upon my altar. My Goddess candles lays to the left which represents mystery and the feminine aspect and my God candle lays to the right which represents power and the masculine aspect.
Charge Box – I place my Charge Box upon my altar every so often when I feel that I need secrecy and something to enhance my spell work. This box holds certain items that need to be charged with power.
Statuary – Some people prefer to have statues upon their altar that represent their deities.
Decorating Your Altar:
Here is a list of some extra decorations you can place upon your altar with intention: