I have had messages asking for some articles on basic Paganism. That is really not an easy ask to meet as there are so many different paths and practices as Paganism is very much about individuality as well as spirituality. Anyhow I thought an occasional ABC of Paganism post would be okay, and as these are purely from my own outlook I hope others will put their own thoughts and practices up too.
An altar of some sort is the centre of most religious ceremonies, Pagan or otherwise. Within the practice of witchery it is essentially a table or surface that is used for holding any ritual tools and/or a workspace for spell-casting.
I use an altar in the practice of my craft because it helps me focus all my energies on the task at hand whether it is ceremonial or magical. In my sacred space I allow all my energies to intermingle and that needs a point of focus to be effective. It is for that reason I like to keep things simple and basic and avoid high décor and irrelevant clutter on my altar; the fact is if I am spell working just having the items I need for the purpose soon fill it up
Outside I have a permanent altar set up in the garden which is dedicated to and governed by the seasons. When I first built it a couple of years back I had to use finds to fill it now it pretty much does itself as it takes on naturally occurring things with the seasons. It is rarely pretty but it is a beautifully serene natural space. Inside I do not keep a fixed altar but build one up as the need arises for the Sabbats or magic.
Part of my practice is clearing and cleansing the space before working so to keep a fixed altar would be impractical as it would only need rebuilding anyway. It also means I can consecrate my altar and space each time and allow it to refill with spiritual essences. I also believe grounding or closing a spell after it has been done is important and part of that for me is to take down the altar and put it safely away for the next time.
Ideas for simple altars: