Questions Regarding Altar Setup

Hi everyone,

I’ve read the article on the website about altar setup, and it gave me a good basis to start with. However, I would like to dive into more of the technical aspects of altar setup, so there will be multiple questions here.

  • Do different kinds of altars have to be separate? For instance, does my altar for spellwork have to occupy a different space from my deity altar? Or can the two occupy the same surface (e.g. my dresser) but maybe just have some space between them?
  • How crucial is it for altars to face east? I’m buying a vanity for my room and am considering also using it as an altar to Aphrodite; however, the wall I intend to place it by faces westward.
    *When discussing altar decorations for the Sabbats, does that apply to spellwork altars?

Any information regarding these questions or just altars in general would be greatly appreciated! Blessings!

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I will be answering based on my laid back approach of no rules lol … In reference to how many altars and if they can be combined… I would think you would want your deity to be involved with your every day spellwork. Your deity could help make your spells more powerful and help you with your intentions. Then you can honor and thank them towards the end of your workings. I currently only have one altar and do all my work on it. I would like to eventually set up a small self love altar and a separate ancestor altar that will only be used for those things specifically. Those will be much smaller than my main altar which is a corner table.
In reference to your second question, I have heard that east is best because this is where the sun rises. My table is in the northeast corner of the room. You may need to do more research, but I really feel that the placement of your altar shouldn’t be a critical thing. What I would do is make sure your elemental objects, if you are calling in the elements for assistance, are in the correct areas on your altar with the cardinal directions, as much as possible. And those are my humble opinion of your questions. Again, I know there can be reasons why things are done in a certain way, but I also feel we need to be free to do things in a way that feels right for yourself. It’s your magick, it’s your spiritual path. It’s nice to read/see how others do things, which can give you knowledge and ideas. But, you be you and incorporate how you want as that ‘way’ will be meaningful to you. Blessed Be :rose:

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I don’t know how it will work for you, but if your space is limited, you have to make do and work with one altar. As the years have went by, I have three altars and one outdoor circle. I am lucky enough to have 3 acres of land and a place to put a 9ft diameter circle, where I do most of my work, during the spring summer and fall and the other three are inside. I have a separate dragon altar, which I have studied Dragon Magic for years. My main altar is in my dad’s old two-story workshop building and I have one in my bedroom. One of my most important things is my chest I have to put most of my spell work in, but I keep my elemental weapons and representation of my Gods on my two altars at all times. My main altar is where my library is, so if I need to help someone or do some spellwork, I can reach for a book. I have so many books now I have a library in my office near my bedroom. Anyway, as you grow and get comfortable you will spread out. There is a large pantheon out there. My main altar has Hecate, Gaia and Cerridwen on it and my bedroom altar has Aphrodite and Apollo on it. I also have a small altar dedicated to Hecate my patron Goddess of protection. In my office I have an altar dedicated to my favorite Asian Gods and Goddesses. Krishna, Quian Yin and Gonesh. I may also have a space for the Gods of my Nordic ancestors. The sky is the limit. When I started you could have never told me I would have all this. The Gods have been great to me and I am blessed.

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It is great that you wish to position and outfit your altar(s) according to tradition. Please do not spend so much time trying to get it right that that you loose some of the joy and impact of your spell work and your honouring. One of the most important things to know and remember is Your Intent. Everything can be backwards and upside down according to tradition but if your intent is from the heart The Universe and all its’ beings will accept and embrace you.

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That’s a really great point @Severin, and it sounds like it’s in line with what @NoctuaAstra was talking about. To me, having my vanity also function as an altar to Aphrodite feels like the right thing to do; if I had the room, I would make it face east as well, but that seems unlikely. I am curious to hear more on the subject, but so far I feel encouraged to simply do the best I can with setting up my altar(s).

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My main altar faces south because that is the only place I have room for it, but I place the directional portions in the correct spots. I do all my spell work on it, unless my work involves burning something, which I do outside (darn smoke detectors!). I have a separate altar for my healing work, I work with separate deities for healing intentions. I was taught that if something feels right for you, that is the right way to do it, no matter what someone else insists is the only proper way to do it.

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