Altar (Wicca)

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An altar with candles, chalice, and athame

A Wiccan altar is a "raised structure or place used for sacrifice, worship, or prayer",[1] upon which a Wiccan practitioner places several symbolic and functional items for the purpose of worshiping the God and Goddess, casting spells, and/or saying chants and prayers.

Altar items[edit]

The altar is often considered a personal place where practitioners put their ritual items. Some practitioners may keep various religious items upon the altar, or they may use the altar and the items during their religious workings. The left side of the altar is considered the Goddess area; feminine or yonic symbols such as bowls and chalices, as well as Goddess representations and statues and the Goddess candle are normally kept to the left side of the altar.[2] The right side is designated for the God; phallic symbols such as the athame and the wand are placed to the right side, as well as God statuary and his candle.[3] The center area is sometimes called the both area or the working area. In the center of the altar are kept the main symbols of the Wiccan faith, such as the pentacle.[4]

Most altars generally are arranged the same, particularly in Wicca and Wiccan-based practices, with an altar representing all four elements and directions.[5][6] In the North the earth element is represented; in the east is air, in the south is fire, and in the west is water. These elements can be represented in various ways but generally do not alter in elemental and directional correspondences. When placing items on an altar or when "calling on the elements" (a practice involving inviting the elements to be a part of the circle and lend their power) a practitioner will move deosil (clockwise or sunwise) and when dismissing the elements they will move widdershins (counter-clockwise).[citation needed]

Common items on a Wiccan altar include:

Some of the items represent the Earth's four elements, but elements may be represented more literally, with gems, salt, water, plant material, insect casings, etc.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster
  2. ^ Cunningham 2002, p. 108-109
  3. ^ Cunningham 2002, p. 108-109
  4. ^ Cunningham 2002, p. 109
  5. ^ Crowley 2003, p.45
  6. ^ Cunningham 2002, p. 109

References[edit]

  • Crowley, V. (2003). Wicca: A Comprehensive Guide to the Old Religion in the Modern World. Harrisonburg, USA: R.R. Donelley’s.
  • Altar. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2013, from Merriam-Webster.com: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altar
  • Cunningham, S. (2002). Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications.

External links[edit]