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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Altar


Altar: At the center of the circle is placed the altar, which magically represents the center of the universe and the center of the self. It is the working surface of ritual, the focus of awareness and power. When there is no space for a material altar, one may be visualized in the astral. The altar is square on top, cubic or doubly-cubic in dimension, and should be made of, or contain, natural stone. All these aspects symbolize that the altar is the material foundation that supports the work; it is the fixed place, the earthly buttress, where power is manifested and made actual in the world.
source: The Truth about Ritual Magic, Donald Tyson


An altar is really a work bench holding your magickal tools. Usually it is placed at the center of the circle or working area. Sometimes it may be moved to face any of the four corners. Traditionally it is composed of two equal size cubes, one on top of the other.


Creating a rune amulet
Modern rune rituals are sometimes done entirely with visualization - the runes are made in the astral world and are never actually written down or carved on any material. This technique works fairly well, but it is not in harmony with the ancient ...
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Ostara Ritual
Setup Items needed for this Ostara ritual include: Four green altar candles for the directions; Two lavender or purple altar candles for the Goddess and God; At least one cut flower for each participant in the group ritual. For solo ritual, have a ...
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Litha Ritual
Setup Items for the Litha Ritual include: Six candles for the altar; A basket of cut flowers; enough to lay out your circle (there can be space in between them); A basket of marigolds; Drums, rattles and other percussion instruments. If working solo ...
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Imbolg Ritual
Setup The items needed for this ritual include: Six green candles for the altar; Enough candles to place at the perimeter of your circle; A white altar cloth (white is the predominant color to symbolize winter’s hold, with the green candles ...
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Lughnasadh Ritual
Setup Items needed for this ritual include: Six pieces of fruit, vegetables or a combination placed in a basket near the altar; Chalice; A wand or athame can be used to cast the circle; Honey mead or other honeyed drink such as chamomile tea; ...
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Mabon Ritual
Setup Items for this ritual include: Two brown or yellow candles for the altar; Chalice; A basket of apples; enough for the circle boundary (they need not touch each other); Three additional apples; A sharp knife to cut the apples; Several gourds; ...
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Beltane Ritual
Setup Items for this ritual include: Two white candles for deities; Four candles for the directions in pastel shades or colors of bright flowers; Chalice; Athame; Sweet juice such as peach nectar; Shelled sunflower seeds on a plate suitable for the ...
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Black Mass
Introduction: The so-called "Black Mass" (possibly, at least initially, a literary invention) was to be performed by an ordained priest—Catholic, Anglican, or Episcopal—(in later descriptions he was supposed to a de-frocked priest). It ...
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Samhain Ritual
Setup Items for this ritual include: Two white candles and four black candles; Four small sprigs of bittersweet; One branch of bittersweet; Strands of black, white and red yarn cut to twelve-inch lengths placed in a basket on the altar; Pomegranate ...
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Anahata - The Heart Chakra
Element: Air Color: Green Verb: I love Attributes: Love, balance, relationship, compassion We are now halfway through our seven-leveled chakra system. Below us are the first three chakras which relate to things and activities in the external ...
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The mighty dead, divination, and portals to other worlds… there are so many places to celebrate Samhain in the northeastern United States… The cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and, as the memes say, "Pumpkin everything!" Like so many witches, autumn is my favorite season, and Samhain, my favorite Sabbat. As a child I loved... read this article
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