I have been told tomorrow is a good day to establish an altar or standing shrine to any purpose, including one’s first, as a by-product of this working which a group of members here, including myself, and some friends in offline life, will be doing today to mark Samhain.
begin an altar dedicated to your own ascent, choose a location, have a simple white tealight, a small cup of water, and your own personal journal, or other magickal gear;
begin an altar dedicated to Thoth, as a Lord of all Magickal Arts & Wisdom - print His image from this page or search for another traditional image of Him, and offer a small tealight, candle, etc;
create the beginnings of a standing shrine for a new path, or a money altar, ancestral shrine, or dedicate the space to any other new direction.
The reason for this is that as of tomorrow, the gateways to magick are going to be that bit wider open, and by founding and lighting a flame on an altar tomorrow, first day of this new “era” so to speak, you will both be drawing the freshly increased powers of magick to your own location, and also, be assisting the work by taking it from being a concept, directed by spirit, through the stage of magickal will and intention we are practicing later today, and into a physical manifestation upon the Earth.
In other words, you will be able to both slipstream the current of this work to your own advantage, and also, in founding an altar on this day, in turn be doing work to assist in the liberation of humanity from the shackles of fear, ignorance, and enslavement.
(If you practice a religion which incorporates magick, by all means associate the two - this is not an explicitly anti-religious working, it’s about personal ascent using your own best judgement and personal values.)
Where, What, How, etc…
I’m going to be busy all day working on various tasks including creating a new altar for this, but post any questions here, especially newbie-type ones where you may not know where to begin, and I’ll try and keep up with links if not lengthy answers.
The purpose of an altar varies from person to person, working to working, but in general it’s a location where you focus exclusively on magick, it doesn’t HAVE to be a specific size or shape, though two joined cubes are traditional, and used over time it can weaken the “fabric” of “reality” making spirit contact easier at that specific location (for this reason, best not to use a wall adjoining the place where a child or frail person sleeps, also, avoid making it directly above or below a lavatory, or water faucets).
If all you have is a little space, maybe an old crate or space on a mantle or windowsill, and the potential to light a candle or tealight, go for it!
- Tomorrow is about getting started, taking the concept from intent to first physical manifestation - don’t let procrastination, perfectionism, and/or fear, those three assclowns who travel so often in tandem, delay you with concerns about the “right” materials, if you KNOW you want to do this.
I like using simple tiles from DIY shops, they’re water-resistant, somewhat heatproof, and attractive, but in this working the date is more on-point than delaying to get the “right” equipment, so found the altar using what you have that’s most suitable (and for goodness sake be careful with open flames!) and then look to making it more complex and beautiful, as time progresses.
Common implements include:
a tealight, candle, or small lamp to represent the element of Fire;
water in a small clean container to represent the element of Water;
a feather or incense (or even a fan) to represent Air;
a pot of salt, crystals, or a pentagram to represent Earth, and finally;
a sacred symbol, or one’s own magickal journal, or another candle in a more elaborate holder, to represent Æther (more recently called Spirit).
These are the traditional Five Elements of western occultism, which includes a lot of modern shamanistic work, and wiccan-influenced methods, some within this tradition use a wooden wand and metal blade as well, to represent Fire and Air, hit a search engine for more on that.
Traditions vary (Chinese systems recognise Earth, Wood, Metal, Fire, and Water as elements - again, an internet search will yield informative results) - work with the system that makes sense to you, and/or is most closely aligned to the work you plan or have ongoing.
Which direction? Sometimes, the spirit or current you want to work with will name the direction in text or have a direction associated with them, so where possible go with that if you have a system lined up or plan to call a specific spirit next, perhaps to form a pact, or have that spirit acting as your patron or mentor.
South is a traditional direction to BEGIN when working with demonic forces, North and East are widely considered auspicious, West is good for some Earth-goddesses, including Hathor, and for ancestors.
If you absolutely cannot hit a cardinal direction, corners also make surprisingly good shrines (areas set aside on a long-term basis for one spirit - god, demon, etc - or type of spirits, such as “all demons”) and will often boost manifestation speed and generally be appreciated by the entities who are summoned there.
And finally, this beauty of a thread, where many members have shared their own altars:
I’m off to get busy with the dusting!