Now that spring has sprung and my spring cleaning is done and I finally have a space clear on my dresser, I thought I'd put up a permanent altar. Usually I've had to rely on a little hideaway altar that's easy to put away due to spacing and tolerance issues.
I still have to kind of deal with those tolerance issues and I know that many pagans in un-ideal living situations do as well, so here's some tips on how to make altars look a little less like altars.
Here is my basic set up. First thing is first, your language. People are odd about language I find. You call something an entirely different word and they're completely okay with it. This is not your altar. It's your 'centerpiece', a 'decoration', it 'ties the room together'. You like to burn candles and incense for the ambiance and because it makes everything smell nice.
The plates I got at Michael's Craft Store on sale, they keep wax from getting everywhere on the wood.
Another great thing to have is an altar cloth that has two sides. One side of my cloth is decorative crosses, the other is plain purple with an embroidered dragon. If you know a lot of people are going to be around flip it to the other side, or just use a plain scarf or table runner; something that takes up the whole dresser or table so it looks more inconspicuous.
Altar cloths are great tools for hiding things. Hide crystals at the corners of your cloth. I have rose quartz, amethyst, unpolished ruby, and sandstone. The plate also hides written spells and flat things like that.
Not everything is always going to be able to stay static on your altar. I have a steel pentacle the size of my palm that gets brought out on special rituals and put away afterwards. Likewise, jar spells might have to get packed up afterwards and reset again the next time they are used if they take more than one day.
Another thing you can do is take the go big or go home route. Make your whole room your altar and just spread everything out. Your room is where you should be able to go at the end of the day and find solace from the outside world anyway. It makes sense that the whole place should be sacred space.
Have candles somewhere to the south of your room to represent fire, or hang a dragon picture on the wall. Keep a pet rock or a worry stone to the north of your room to represent Earth, or just have a small plant like a cactus.
Or instead of a bigger altar make it smaller. Take an Altoids tin and stick a tea candle, matchbook, and a crystal or flower, or something that reminds you of a particular God or Goddess you are close to. Now you have an altar you can take anywhere with you.
Here is an article on creating a portable altar. They don't sound like they'd be as small as an Altoids tin but you could still create one that is carryable. Here is another article/blog post about traveling altars. I really like how this writer made hers look. The one with the pink Goddess symbol look so pretty.
So I started writing this in March and I have just finished it. I can't believe I've been gone almost a whole year and then again I can't believe I haven't been gone from the blogging world for even longer. Once I started getting bots or ad messages showing up in my e mail as comments I figured I should probably find a way to post.
I have had the most hectic year so far, it's been really hard to blog. I've had a family member die due to another family member, I've moved twice and switched jobs to a less emotionally stressful but just as busy job at a nursing home.
There have been so, so many changes.
Part of the reason I haven't been posting is I've been sussing out this new job and seeing how much work I will actually have to do and what I can and can not get away with in terms of being online. As long as I do my job and look busy to visitors I don't truly think they care. I get caught on Reddit quite a few times without them saying anything. It's the cellphone that really bothers them.
Another thing I've noticed is that the Blogger app no longer works. I have typed out at least a quarter of this post on that stupid thing only for it to blank out and crash. But it's the best way I have of getting pictures because that seems to be the biggest problem I've been having with Blogger. Hopefully I can quickly post them and edit online like I did with this one. Otherwise I'll have to find another way that is not as big of a pain in the ass as past ways to get pictures on here.
Here are current pictures of my altar that I wanted to show off since I'm in a place where I can just fully be me and have things like this out in the open. Or really I should say pictures of my altar when I was in our old house before my roommates and I moved. I'll get pictures of the new one soon.
I'm so happy, or at least happier than I've been in a long, long time. And I have so many things planned for the next year that I want to get done.
I might not post again until January or at least after Christmas. I may be a Christian Godless heathen but the family unit isn't so I will be spending all of Christmas at my Mom's house with my siblings.
Happy Holidays to everyone and a Happy New Year as well!