This is a topic we have visited before on the website but since it is getting warmer, supposedly, in the Northern Hemisphere it a great time to find a forest preserve or any other place you feel comfortable doing a ritual. This is wear your travel altar will come in handy.
If you have a travel altar and would like to share pictures of it with us, we would really like to show them off to other witches. Send the pictures to email@example.com. Subject line should read “Travel Altar”
This is an introduction to help explain the title question. Today’s post is just going to answer frequently ask questions I have gotten over the years. Some of the other topics for this series will include but not limited to magickal tools, herbs, essential oils, crystals, precious and semi-precious gems, stones, your Book of Shadows, your altar and what you want to put on it, spells, rituals, etcetera. Most of the topics have other posts about them on Coven Life and Witches of The Craft. I also might add viedo links and/or a link for a general search on that day’s topic.
If you have questions about things in any of the post please ask them in the Comment box located below each post. This way if other people have the same question I only have to answer once.
If at anytime you want to share a picture of how you do something for that days topic please email it to LadyBeltane@aol.com subject line should have “For Sharing” please include your first name only or you pagan name and a short description about the picture. At the end of each days post the top I for tomorrow will be there. If you get pictures to me by 8:00 PM CDT for the next days topic I will include them in them post.
Any questions please ask them in the Comment section and I will reply to them by 8:00 PM CDT.
Tomorrow’s topic will be “Magickal Tool.” I look forward to learning different ways of doing things for every topic with you.
For this weeks reading:
For a site with yummy recipes, Angel advice, tarot card advice, and an oracle card pull, history on more then just witchcraft I strongly suggest my dearest sister’s website ….
Her website is not that old but it is all chocked full of interesting information. I think she also takes suggestions for posts so she can bring you magickal, spiritual, and non Witchy things as well. I think you will like it enough to want to follower the Silver Sage Witch on a daily bases.
For NewFound-Life’s Youtube channel, which offers a new Angel And Tarot Cards Advice every Monday and than Thursday brings us The Witching Crossroads which bring us information about different paths of The Craft.
Once in a while you will even see a post from me on New-FoundLife.com
The Silver Sage Witch is my go to if I do not have time, want a second opinion on a question, or just do not want to do my own Tarot Card Reading. Her reading ability is one of the best tarot card readers I have ever come across. SHe also will do spells and/or rituals by request. If you would like a Tarot Reading or a spell done, etc by Silver Sage Witch click here CharmingMagick.com
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Over the years I have made altar clothes out of many different things from plain material to washcloths sown together. There is nothing saying you have to use a premade cloth with pagan designs or they have to be one solid color. Your altar cloth can be made from whatever you want it to be and look however you want it to be it plain or with a design.
My newest altar cloth for Samhain is a dishtowel I just bought with a black cat in a witches hat sitting on a pumpkin. Now some may say this is disrespectful because of the importance this Sabbat has with honoring our ancestors but most of my ancestors that I knew in this lifetime had a great sense of humor so with this cloth I feel I am honoring that part of them.
I also have a piece of dark blue with a small white flower design on it that I use on my mother’s birthday. This piece of cloth is a leftover from a dress she mad herself. So it helps me to concentrate on the spell I wrote to talk with all of my ancestor going back to pre-historic time.
I have a piece of chocolate brown material I use when I am doing spell work that Earth will make it stronger. I use it anytime I am working with protection spells or rituals.
Another one of my altar clothes is made from sewing 5 wash clothes together. Yellow for Air, Green for Earth, Red for Fire, Blue for Water and White for Spirit. How I made it is I cut all of them in half diagonally then stitched one have of each together to form a pentagram. This was when I was just starting out on my witchy path and did not have a lot of money.
A good way to get material for an altar cloth without it costing too much is to go to a fabric store or hobby store that carries material and look in the remnants bin. Almost all of these types of stores have one. Or you can buy a dish or hand towel plain or with a design you like and use it. While at the store you can look for fabric paints, patches, sequins, embroidery floss, yarn used in making baby clothes as it is usually very thin or even cotton like used to make doilies.
I also have 2 beautiful altar clothes one I bought and one was a monthly give away from Magical necessities. Here is the link so you can look at the altar clothes offered on there: https://www.witchesofthecrafts.net/altar-cloths
In other words, make as many altar cloths in whatever style suits you the most when using your altar. The only limitation on altar clothes is your imagination! This is also a project you can do with your children by letting them make their own altar cloth for use for when they get older and do make their own altar or honor their creativity by using it during a family ritual.
Copyright 2018 Lady Beltane
When setting up your altar you should have a candle that represents you. This candle would be lit first and then used to light the incense if you are using one, and your candle representing Fire or to start burning anything you may need to burn during for ritual.
First chose the type of candle you want, a pillar or a 12 inch/30.48cm taper candle or a smaller candle. Using a smaller candle means making your personal candle more often. I find the taper candle is the easiest to work with when lighting my incense and the Fire elemental candle. If you chose a pillar candle it should be unscented. The color can be any color with the exception of black. The color could be your favorite color or whatever color you feel drawn to make it from. Next using your Atheme or another sharp object if you do not have one yet (You can bless a kitchen knife you rarely use or even a letter opener as an Atheme – some Witches would disagree with me on using one of these objects but as I know how money can be tight and you might not be able to purchase a regular Atheme I figure use what you already have to make the item into one) inscribe your first name and last name you were given at birth or adopted parents surname you grew up and if you have one your Witches/Spirit name. You can write the name or names in the alphabet of your country or with Runes, Ogham or other “Magical” alphabet there are samples of different ones on this website, to find them use the search box and put in the word “alphabet.” Hold the candle in your non-writing hand start your name from the end with the wick showing going downward. Turn the candle each time you write a name so you have a fresh surface to write on, the exception being your given first and last names they should be in the same line. Next starting from the top and moving in a downward motion use your favorite or an all-purpose essential oil saying this spell “This candle is a sacred representation of me to be used during meditation, spells, and rituals to light my way”. You will use the oil three times turning the candle so it covers different parts of it each time and repeat the spell each time you apply the oil. Pick out a special candle holder that you either already have that has a special meaning for you or you can purchase one that when you hold it, it feels as if it is supposed to be with you from a dollar or thrift store. You can also get out Magical Necessities for one that catches your eye. Some witches say you should not blow a candle out but use a snuffer others, myself included say it is ok to blow them out. I usually blow mine out because of the belief that the smoke carries whatever I used the candle for out into the universe.
Any question please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have always been of the firm belief that to create one’s own tools of the craft is to imbibe them with one’s own personal “magick”.It all begins with the seeking process and ends with an item that will be treasured always.I myself have found that holding the intent that one wishes to do this is always the best place to start…and often what you are seeking will FIND you first!By sending out our request to the universe we are setting in motion the magick that will make this happen.Thus…I did just this to find my own tools throughout the 30 years[on and off]that I have been practicing my craft and have acquired quite a collection now.Those that are pictured are only some of the many…and are perhaps the ones I use the most.The very first tool I ever created was a Willow Wand, which unfortunately I no longer have..for reasons I can’t quite remember,but since then I have made several others.
The Wand pictured is crafted from Apple wood and has an Amethyst crystal point in the tip.Living in the suburbs[at that time],I had no access to an apple tree, so I decided to call up an apple orchard farmer and told him I was in need of an apple branch, for a “craft” project[I wasn’t lying!]He was very obliging and so I traveled the one and a half hour drive to seek my wand out.I found it in a pile of off-cuts he had and I knew there and then it was the “one”.Of course,I had previously put out the call that I was searching for one…and just “Knew”, when I had found it !I had intended initially to use this wand for Faery Witchcraft,but over time it became my favorite and therefore,multi-purpose.The crafting process entailed firstly sanding all the bark from it and then varnishing it.During this whole project,I held it’s purpose firmly in my mind, thereby giving it a reason for it’s beingness.Next,I glued green felt around the handle part and then dug a hole in the tip,in order to insert and glue in place, the Amethyst point.I mixed a little of my own blood with some red paint and daubed it around the tip first.Lastly, I decorated it to my desire-I wrote my craft name in Ogham[using a permanent marker] and a sigil that I had devised and then it was all ready for cleansing and consecrating!
My Athame was constructed from a bought Kitchen knife that was initially single bladed and I had to file the other other side down , in order to make it double-bladed.I wrapped the handle with black leather and inserted a Quartz point[which I entwined the leather around]I had to use a little bit of glue in this process, but tried to keep it as minimal as possible[as I didn’t want anything coming between the crystal and the wooden handle]and decorated it to my desire.My Goddess and God statues were made from craft clay.I could never find a statue that I really liked, that I could afford!The best ones are always costly…and so I decided to make my own.It took some moulding and shaping, but eventually I achieved the look that I desired.My Goddess represents Danu[in her guise as Moon mother] and Cernunnos[in the guise of green- man] and the hours I spent forming them were instilled with much energy…of which I am sure they would have been proud!I painted them with regular acrylic paint and decorated them as was fitting.I initially had my “Green-man” naked, but my husband suggested putting an oak leaf over his privates and I thought this was a fabulous idea…so I did!My Danu wears a plastic crescent moon head-piece [care of the craft store] and until I find a silver one…it will suffice.They are not the most beautiful Godform statues, but they are my time and energy[ and love] and hence…they serve me well!I have a store-bought pentacle [in the picture]which I use mostly, at present, but I possess several others that I have also crafted myself.I have a pentacle to suit all purposes and needs-one for Moon rites, one for solar rites, one for Green witchcraft and also one crafted from clay.The Faery star is a substitute “pentacle”, that I use for Faery witchcraft.For this, I used a 10 inch wooden disc, which I bought from the craft store.I found a suitable Faery Star on pinterest, which I then printed, cut out and glued on to the wooden disc.It was originally uncolored…so I painted it with acrylic paint and made it my own.Again, the time and energy put into this act made it uniquely mine and utterly con-joined to my energy….thereby making it more powerful[and I know the Faeries like it!].Lastly, my Book of Shadows….ofcourse I HAD to make this my own…and thus, it is crafted from a plain and simple ring binder, which I covered with black leather and glued in place.The Triple Goddess sigil is also from leather[white] and has a wooden pentacle in the circle[Full Moon]and amethyst crystals surrounding it[which are glued in to place.I then used some silver paint to add the border touches and finally, I made a BOS Protection pouch bookmark[my own idea][.I stitched a length of black satin ribbon on to a black velvet pouch that I had made and filled the pouch with protective herbs and crystals, and a lock of my hair.I also stitched a silver bell on the outside of the pouch[to add more protective qualities] and lastly,I anointed it with a drop of my blood.I then charged the end product with my intent and it was done!My offering bowl, and salt and water bowls are store bought,but I intend constructing my own of versions of these one day also…perhaps from earthen clay or such like….it is in the cards.The satisfaction from knowing that you have made it yourself [in my mind] far outweighs the bought items and I believe that …not only do your own creations retain a substantial amount of your own energy…but they also develop an energy of their very own, that increases with time and use.When I created each and every one of my tools, I infact gave them “life”, and just as a mother to her child…I gave them birth.
By Susan member of Coven Life’s Coven
Many of us are on tight budgets so cannot afford to go out a purchase fancy things for our altars. Most of my tools have come to me from garage sales, thrift stores, gifts, and my kitchen. Here are some ideas of things you can use in your magickal workings that will cost you little to nothing because you already have them in your kitchen or around the house. Just remember to cleanse and consecrate them for your magickal workings and do not return to using them as an everyday item.
First, let me start with directing you to Dollar stores if available where you live. They carry many cute useful items as well as seasonal one to decorate your home and/or altar with.
One set of my containers for Earth and Water came from a candle set I was given at some point. They are clear glass volite candle holders measuring about 1 1/2 inches tall and about the same in diameter. Another set I have are wooden leaf shape dishes, I think meant to be used to hold candy or nuts, that I picked up for $1.00 each at a thrift store. You can also use any small glass or bowl you have but do not use every day.
My ceremonial knife is a small kitchen knife my mom gave to me when I started to learn to help cook. This is another item you can usually find at a flea market, resale, dollar store or thrift shop.
The main wand I use came from a beautiful Red Maple that grows in my front yard. I also have a small clear quartz crystal that I found on a 50% off table in a new age store. Take a walk around your neighborhood, a park, or forest “listening” for a tree that calls to you then ask the trees permission to take a branch to use (a wand should measure from the crook of your elbow to the top of your middle finger and be straight). You can leave the bark on the branch or strip it off and decorate it however you want or just leave it plain. If you would rather have a stone or Crystal wand check new age stores or online for sales. Another place to look would be a gem show but these will have a much higher cost.
My Atheme is a gift from my husband. Its original purpose was as a letter opener. but as it looks like a small medieval sword I asked him if I could have it. My sword is a short one that was given to me by a neighbor. I love as the holder for it looks like a pile of stones with a red Dragon wrapped around it. You can find a double edge knife fairly cheap at a flea market to be used as your Atheme.
My candle holders come from many people as well as thrifts stores and dollar stores. My personal candlestick (actual name for a candle holder) was a gift from my husband many years ago for my birthday/Beltane (same day). It is black wrought iron that stands about 6-7 inches tall and has a spiral coming off of both sides to which I have attached some of my hair (got it from my brush) to personalize it more. I have many shape and sizes of candlesticks. These two can be picked up many places cheaply, especially with Yule items already showing up in most stores.
As for a broom I just inherited two from my mother before that I would make mine on the Spring equinox. The handle depended on what tree we pruned in the last year and I attached boughs from my Pine tree to it. I would then use the old one to light my Litha/Summer Solstice fire. You can also use Weeping Willow branches to make the sweeping part of the broom or even straw.
As for altar clothes, I look in the remnant box at my local fabric or hobby store or even Walmart.
My chalices again are gifts or bought at thrift stores. All of mine are clear or etched wine glasses. I also have a cup with a matching lid that I use if I am having a hot beverage. But the lid I always use as an offering dish for bread, crackers or whatever.
Crystals and semi-precious stones I pick up a bag or two of small ones for $3.00-$5.00 at our villages festival. You do not have to have a large size crystal or stone to work with, remember it is your intent that gives it power, not the size it is.
The statues I have of Goddesses and Gods aga were either gifts from other Witches or bought inexpensively. My favorite statue that I use as my Beltane Goddess is a ceramic doll my mom made for my 12th birthday. For Gods, I mainly use pine cones, a plastic deer statue from my dad or acorns.
For spirit, I use many different things from purple or white candles to different sizes and types of Angels I have found here and there on sale. Again I suggest going to a Dollar store this time of year they usually have a lot to pick from.
As for my traveling altar, I use a coin purse my sister gave me that come from Denmark. In it I carry a wooden matchstick for Fire, a small heart shape red stone I found walking in my neighborhood for Earth, a small feather for Air, a small seashell for Water, an Agel that came from a pair of earrings I had and lost one of them and a Pentacle that is about a 1/2 inch in diameter. To protect it and make it look like the chain purse it is supposed to be I have some of my hair in it, a little white sage, and a little sweet grass. For the God and Goddess, I picked up a tiny set of a bride and groom at a hobby store. Plus I charmed it for people to just maybe give it a glance than not think any more about it.
So see your altar items if you want them do not have to cost you very much at all. I would say over the last 40+ years I have spent maybe a total of $100.00 out of pocket for items to go on my altar. Most of that has been on replaces candles until I started trying to make my own.
Copyright 2017 Lady Beltane
When setting up an altar it is nice but not necessary to have a lot of magickal tools.
A basic altar can be set up using different colored tea lights or candles to represent the five elements, Spirit, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. To make the candle burn a little longer and drip less keep them in your freezer until you are ready to use them. You can put your personal candle back into your freezer after it has cooled down for at one hour after use. Place your elemental candle in the shape of a pentagram. You can use a piece of chalk to draw the outline of a pentagram wherever you are setting up your altar. When you are done with the circle and have removed all things off wherever your atar was set up just use a wet paper towel to wipe off the chalk. It may take more than one depending on how hard use pressed with the chalk when drawing the pentagram. When I to this I either bury the paper towel in one of my gardens or burn it in my outdoor fireplace as a sign of respect for the remains of the pentagram it holds.
A few other ideas to use for the elements are:
SPIRIT: A statue or picture of an angel or a picture of ancestor
AIR: A feather or incense stick or cone or windchimes
FIRE: A book of matches or lighter or wooden matches
WATER: A seashell or any type of aquatic wildlife statue or picture or a small container of water
EARTH: A stick or some rocks or a small container of dirt or salt (not sea salt but regular table salt)
The Goddess and God you wish to have present can also be done by using a candle or tea light. Some other objects you could use are:
GODDESS: Eggshell or birds nest or a statute of a woman of any size or a picture of a Goddess
GODS: A pine cone or small tree branch with leaves or a statute of a man any size or a picture of a God
You can take a glass r cup and a small plate of some kind from your kitchen that you rarely use to consecrate for use as your chalice and offering dish.
Your personal candle you will want to use a bigger candle so you do not have to dedicate and personalize one every time you use it in a circle. I have a 12-inch (30.48 cm) taper candle works very well for my personal candle and lasts about 2 to 4 months depending on how often I make a circle.
As for your Book of Shadows being on your altar or not is up to you. I keep a couple of pieces of paper and a pen on my altar when doing a circle, especially if it is a circle meditation, just in case something happens during the circle I want to remember. My BOS is a three-ring binder with lots of empty pages in it so I do not have to cleanse them before using them on my altar or placing them back into my BOS.
WAND: Your do not absolutely have to have a wand to do a basic altar. But if you live near a park, forest or have trees in your yard look on the ground for a fallen branch. Ask the tree if you can have it for your personal use as a wand and leave a small token of appreciation such as a little water, a small stone or whatever else you feel might be appropriate.
SIDE NOTE: Left handed people sometimes put their Personal Candle on the left and BOS on the right.
Copyright 2017 Lady Beltane.