Paganism for Beginners: How to Set Up A Pagan Altar In 1 Day
So you’re brand new to this thing they call Paganism. Everyone seems to be talking about pagan altars, showing off their altars, maybe they’re even asking you what yours looks like. But you don’t have an altar set up yet, so what do you do? Follow this super EASY guide to set up your pagan altar in 1 day for FREE using things you already own and free gifts from nature. Paganism for Beginners 101.
Paganism for Beginners: How To Set Up Your Pagan Altar in 1 Day for FREE
Paganism for beginners doesn’t have to be difficult, nor does it have to be expensive. Sure, pagans on Pinterest seem to have elaborate, detailed altars. But guess what? Those altars didn’t manifest out of thin air. Every pagan had to start somewhere with their altars – they started at the beginning and built onto it from there. That’s just what I’m going to show you how to do.
1. Choose Your Altar Space
Everyone dreams of having a pagan altar table that looks like it was carved from the nearest magical oak tree, carried into our homes by a log-wielding giant, and then enchanted by the nearest sorceress, but we don’t all live in Fairyland now do we? So for your beginner pagan altar, choose the top of a small table, windowsill, corner of a dresser, or bookshelf as your altar surface.
2. Cleanse and Consecrate
You’ve chosen your altar space, now it’s time to clear any random items off of it. Then dust it with a rag and while doing this, visualize white light cleansing the surface with each stroke. Wipe in counter-clockwise movements (which is called Widdershins and removes negative vibes). Afterward, find a bit of olive oil (or any kind of cooking oil in the kitchen), dab a little on your finger, and draw a pentacle (five pointed star with circle) in the middle of your altar surface.
If you’re not comfortable with the pentacle, choose a symbol of your liking. As you do this, state something like “I consecrate this altar in the name of _____” (insert god/goddess/ancestor/universe name). Also state your purpose in setting up the altar. Something like, “may this altar be a place where positive energy gathers freely to meet with the goddess and her consort.” Adjust to fit your preferences.
3. Bowls, Cups, and Kitchen Ware
Now it’s time to do some digging around the kitchen. Take stock of what you have that will work as altar pieces. You know that mixing bowl that sits at the back of the cabinet you never use? Now you’re going to use it as an offering bowl. Have an extra wine glass or champaigne flute? Voila! Now it’s a chalice! In the same regard, if you have an older kitchen knife, it just became your first athame! Other small bowls can be used to hold salt and water, etc. You’ll want to clean these with soap and water, visualizing white light while doing so, and then consecrate them BEFORE placing them on your altar.
4. Represent the 4 Elements
Taking one of the consecrated bowls you acquired from your kitchen, fill it with water. This water can be filtered or tap, whatever you have on hand. If you have quick and easy access to spring water or ocean water, by all means, run out and grab it. Then fill the bowl with it. Set the bowl on your altar. Next, take another small bowl and fill it with salt (if you have salt on hand). This represents the element earth. If you don’t have salt, don’t worry! A rock or stone from outside is perfect to represent earth!
Next, use a fan, bell, or feather to represent the element air. If you don’t have any of these, don’t worry. A feather will come to you. You don’t need this right away. And last, you need a candle to represent fire. If you have an unused candle around your house, this will work. It can even be a tealight or birthday candle! Be sure to cleanse and consecrate every item before setting on your altar.
5. Ancestors or Gods
Depending on your preference and beliefs, you may want to include items to represent your ancestors or gods. This can be as simple as a drawing or a photo printed out from the internet. A representation of your ancestors or gods isn’t required. If you prefer to leave your altar dedicated to nature and/or the universe, that’s fine too! Often items representing the gods or ancestors will come to you at a later time. So there’s no rush.
6. Other Items to Add
A pagan altar is a place that is sacred to you, so feel free to add items that help put you in a spiritual mindset. If you have a small indoor plant, this is great for any altar. Seashells from your trip to the beach, photos of your favorite “happy” place, family heirlooms, and seasonal decor can all be added to your altar.
Paganism for Beginners Doesn’t Have to be Difficult
I see a lot of beginner pagans getting confused when they first set up their altar. This is because there are a plethora of fancy-pants altar photos circulating social media that immediately screams at us that we have to emulate that perfect altar. This is simply not true. Start out simple with the steps I’ve listed above. Use what you have on-hand in your house, in your own backyard, or in nearby natural places. Add items to your altar that bring you a sense of peace and connection to the Divine and to your higher self.
An altar is where you meet with the Divine and re-connect, it is NOT a bragging tool for social media. Also remember, your altar will grow and change with time. Items will be gifted to you from friends or family and nature will send you gifts along the way.