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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in pagan altars
A Pleasant Disquisition Upon That Inveterate Haunter of Pagan Homes, Known Otherwise as the Altar Creep

We come now to that inveterate haunter of the pagan household, known since antiquity as the Altar Creep.

Authorities agree that the wight known as the Altar Creep takes the form, variously, of a small, round man (or woman) dressed in ritual robes. Whether seen or unseen, it manifests in its actions, to whit: the unfailing tendency of any otherwise unoccupied vertical surface in a house to turn into an altar.

It is said that a certain pagan family in Devon awoke one morning to find that, while they slept, every flat surface in their home had undergone such a transformation.

More often, this process of altarization is a gradual one, but the end is never in doubt: that in time, the house becomes unlivable, since no profane space remains on which to do the practical work of living: exemplo gratia, the preparation of food. This point reached, the sole possibility remaining to the unhappy inhabitants thereof, is to remove to another habitation.

It therefore behooves the pagan householder to avail him- or herself of these powerful prophylactics against said Altar Creep, to whit:

  • Item: The maintenance of a number of flat, unoccupied surfaces in the home, on which no item is permitted to rest for more than a brief time.
  • Item: That such altars as are to be found in the house be faithfully maintained: kept tidy and clean, and in good repair, with offerings duly made and cleared away.
  • Item: That such altars be not suffered to remain ever unchanging, but be constantly renewed and rearranged as the Wheel shall turn.
  • Item: Do not feed the Altar Creep. This is best accomplished by not acquiring more pagan  chatchkes than your immediate environment can bear.

This rune is said to be sovereign against the Altar Creep and is best pronounced while dis-assembling an unintended altar:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Your Personal Samhain Altar

On October 31, the veil is thinnest between the two worlds of the living and the dead. It is of vital importance to honor the dead. One way to do this is to create a special altar for this day, a tradition that comes down to us from the Celts among others. Create a new shrine just for this occasion with a chest of table in your home where people will see it and acknowledge your ancestors. On the altar, place photos, letters, and any mementos that will bring the energy of your late loved ones close.

 Place candles on the altar and light them during twilight. While it may seem uncomfortable at first, talk to your ancestors and tell them about what is going on in your life. Share memories and speak about whatever you feel inspired to speak of—grief, hopes for the future, troubles, all you need to share. Take as much time as you need with this. Place the bowl of water with white flowers—gardenias are an excellent choice—on the altar and leave it overnight.

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Witchy Crystals: Power Stones for Your Personal Shrine

By building a crystal and stone shrine, altar, or power center in your home, you will create a place for daily conjuring, rituals, and thinking. This will set the stage for you to focus your ideas and make them grow. Having a shrine in your home allows you to rid yourself of personal obstacles and invite friendly spirits. Your shrine will spark your inner flame and bring daily renewal. The more use an altar gets, the more energy it builds, making your spells even more effective. Prosperity stones should be to the far left on the altar, in the money corner. Romance crystals should sit to the far right on the altar. The rest of your altar should consist of meaningful, personal symbols. They should reflect your spiritual aspirations. I keep fresh wildflowers in a vase, a statue of a goddess, abalone shells, a magnetite obelisk, and a rock-crystal ball on my altar.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sacred Summertime: Outdoor Altars

Outdoor altars are usually of a temporary nature and are all the more lovely for it. The beach is a wonderful place to set up a one-day altar on driftwood with seaweed and shells. There, unless the beach is too crowded, you can commune with the water deities and seek your deepest reaches of spirit. Forest, farm, and meadow offer earth and sky and the sanctity of our mother earth upon which to build your altar. As you do so, reflect upon your connection to the ancients, We follow in their footsteps.

 

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We're the Keepers of the Flame: Hestia's Hearth Altar

Vesta is the Roman cognate of the revered Greek goddess, Hestia, “first of all divinities to be invoked” in classical rituals. In Greece, they had public hearths called prytaneums that came under the domain of the most revered Hestia, protector of “all innermost things,” according to the great philosopher Pythagoras, who also claimed that her altar fire was the center of the earth. The altar of Vesta in classical Rome was tended by the Vestal Virgins and was also believed to be the very center of the earth. The insignia for the goddess Vesta was an altar table with flames at both ends, forming the Greek letter “pi,” which is the numerological symbol for the Pythagorean sect.

 The Vestal Virgins were the keepers of Rome’s eternal flame. It was believed that if the fire of Vesta’s altar went out, the Roman Empire would fall. In the fourth century, C.E., Christians extinguished the vestal fire and began the process of erasing pagan religions and symbols.

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The anything goes altar...

An altar is a very personal thing and I firmly believe that unless you follow a strict tradition that sets the layout for you that you should ‘go with the flow’ with your altar and put things on it that your intuition guides you to.

An altar doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be fancy, just a vase of flowers on a window sill is good enough to be a focal point for your altar.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
An Altar Should Be How High?

“So how high is the altar?” I ask.

I'm talking long-distance with the director of our regional pagan land sanctuary, planning the upcoming Midwest Grand Sabbat. I've never been there, but I know that there's a standing altar in the grove.

At Old Style sabbats, the altar is a throne, where the Horned sits to receive His people. So it needs to be of at least a certain height.

The answer was readily forthcoming.

“It's high enough so that someone laying on the altar can have sex with the priest standing in front of it,” he tells me.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I once heard a rabbi call the Exodus description of the Mishkan (tent-shrine) and its furniture as the "most boring Torah portion.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Exodus, right. Lest anyone cavil, scholars are pretty much agreed that the architecture, furniture, cultus, and vocabulary of the
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    FYI, you're right that all discussions of altars being cubes and cubits are derived from Torah (via the Golden Dawn and their desc

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