Altars Part 2: Cleansing and Consecrating
Once you decide what you will
use as your altar, now it needs to be set up. The first part of setting the
altar up, should be to cleanse and consecrate it.
You will need
something to represent all five elements of earth, air, fire, water and spirit
(or the gods). "Pass" each element over the altar to cleanse and consecrate it.
For example, you can use water for water, salt for earth, fire (of a candle) for
fire and incense or feather for air.
Sprinkle (example the water or
salt) or pass the object used for cleansing lightly over your altar while saying
something like "By the power of the element of west, I do hereby cleanse and
consecrate this altar in the names of my gods (insert names if you want to). May
their will and mine be done, with harm to none." By passing each of the elements
over or onto the altar, you are cleansing it with the power of that element.
You are consecrating the altar by declaring this altar to be used in the names
of your gods and in accordance with their ancient ways. To consecrate is to
Once you have cleansed and consecrated the altar you can
begin to decorate it any way you wish. Set up your altar however you want to
and in a way that is most comfortable for you. After all, YOU will be using
this altar, no one else. (The only exception to this would be if the altar were
a family or communal altar for a coven).
Your altar should also be
cleansed at least once a year. Imbolc is traditionally a time when a witches
tools are re-cleansed, but you can do it as often or whenever you feel the need.
Any time you get a new tool for your altar, always cleanse and consecrate it
before adding it to the altar.
I have on many occasion had a discussion
with someone who could not understand why their tools were not working as they
thought they should. After talking it through, we discovered that most of the
tools she had were bought second hand or given to them by friends who were no
longer in their lives. To correct the problem, the tools were cleansed and
consecrated and the problems seemed to end.
If you decide you will have
an altar always remember that it is considered a sacred space as well as a tool
to be used for your magic and/or for giving honor to your deities. So take care
of it, keep it clean both physically and spiritually.
Annette aka Autumn