I thought I would spend some time discussing my altar and why I like to have one set up and what I use it for.
In every pagan 101 book or website you will find a section dedicated to setting up a altar in your home.
Be it for a devotion to a specific God/ Goddess or decorated for the sabbats, the altar can be a key focal point in your practice.
I have always lived with other non-pagans, so my altars have always been subtle. For the longest time it was just a box I had which I got out and used as my altar for doing ritual but I now have a permanent altar above my computer workstation.
At the moment my altar is set up as a devotion to both my Patron deities, Elen and Herne. I have statues to represent them and artwork too, I have yet to find a suitable statue of Herne so I have a Stag representing him.
My candle holder is in the shape of a Stags antlers and I also have the pair of antlers I found on a Stag skull on one of my many woodland walks. There is no confusion about who this altar is for as at the very front I have some female reindeer antler cut off's and my ritual knife called an athame has an antler handle.
The altar layout is a typical one with the Goddess on the left hand side and the God on the right.
The elements are also represented on my altar with a bowl of water, a bowl of salt, incense and feathers for air and candles for fire. The cauldron represent both the feminine and the Cauldron of rebirth in Druid lore.
My lamp depicts trees and represents the World Tree. You might also spot the bottle of mead...
My statue and artwork dedicated to The Goddess Elen of the Ways
I use my altar as a focal point, as a reminder of what is important to me, it keeps my inspiration high as it is just above my creative work station.
During the sabbats I swap the colours of the altar cloth to reflect the colours of that sabbat, For example Beltane is almost here so for that I might change the cloth to red to represent fire. I also add things from nature that represent the festivals. for example pine corns or flowers that are found at that time of the year.
To find out more about pagan altars I always like looking at the about.com pagan pages to see other peoples altars for inspiration: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/wiccanandpaganrituals/ss/BasicAltarSetup.htm
For more information on the Goddess Elen see my blog page here.