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The Altar – and not spelled ‘alter’ – is the work-table of the Witch. While some traditions have specific tools,  solitary practitioners can feel at ease to work with whatever they find satisfying.

Personally, my choice in tools has evolved and changed over time to suit my personal practice. I love seeing how others have set up theirs and thought I would share mine.

Manas Altar

Mana's Altar

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On my beloved forums, this issue pops up now and again: people who describe their practice but can’t define whether or not it is spellwork. I think this is definitely worth defining and should be different from rituals of worship.

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A recommendation – and I don’t always enjoy Witchvox.

To Be Young, Gifted, Black…and Pagan in 21st Century America
Dina, Witchvox.

There are frequent posts on one of the forums I enjoy about deity semantics. I call them semantics, but they’re obviously very important to the poster. I don’t mean to belittle their concerns, but IO feel that people so often get caught up on the details that they end up missing the point.

I see forum posts asking “Who was this God/dess who visited me in my dream” or “I don’t understand, which is Wiccan, hard-or-softpolytheism(or other)?”.  I always feel bad, because they always get variety of answers that won’t give them a direct answer.

When we’re at that philisophical point in our development, we really have to move away from books and start committing to ritual and personal experience. Here we can establish our relationship with The Dive, develop our senses and intuition. Do we feel He/She is all encompassing? Do we feel different Forces, distinctly different Beings?Do only a few of them touch you?

It tooks me years to “decide” on “My Truth”. To explain it in words would sound contradictory, so I won’t, but I’m quite satisfied with it. It doesn’t matter what Their names are, how many of Them there are. To me, these are semantics.

Respect those who touch your life.

If you don’t know their name, give them one- see if it fits. We all have special names for people close to us, nicknames, special titles. Don’t forget that deity names often translate as titles into English. Even our own have distinct significance in another language, or we are named after a notable figure.

I’m one of those people who always de-emphasises spellwork to do beginners. No, do don’t do spells, I always say, do devotional work. There is a great difference.

What is a spell?

This is an important definition. A spell is a ritual done with the intention of change. Spells are always cast for a reason and have a specific outcome in mind.

While not everyone does it this way, most draw The Divine into spellwork, invite them into circle and ask Them to deliver these outcomes. There is a lot more to Wicca and spiritual Neo-Pagan practices than asking for stuff!

Laying Foundations with Devotionals

Would you remain friends with someone who only asked for favours? Of course not! Regular devotional ritual is neccessary for creating the basis of a relationship with the Divine. It keeps the energies and connections flowing between you so that communication comes easier. It shows your commitment to the forces you are working with.

With devotionals you aren’t asking for anything. Not anything specific, anyway. At most its an exchange of offerings between you and Deity. Regular devotionals outside from holy days are a very important part of a pagan practice and are one of the first steps to a profound, spiritually rewarding path.

Of Interest:

Kirk Thomas. Make Offerings, Damnit!