The altar serves as the focal point for rituals and spellwork, and each one is unique. From witch to witch, ritual to ritual, even spell to spell, the altar is dynamic and always changing. This keeps the altar alive and its energy always flowing.
The layout of the altar, while comprised of some basic items, is generally up to the practicing witch. The purpose of the work to be done will greatly influence this layout, as well as the size and shape.
The altar may first be covered with an altar cloth, if desired; the color and pattern should coincide with the purpose of the ritual or spell.
For most uses, the elements, or representatives thereof, are placed in the corners pointing to their associated directions. A bowl of salt is generally used for Earth; for Air, incense is burned; a lantern is lit for Fire; and for the Water element, a bowl of purified water. (If casting a circle, these may be placed at the corners of the circle.)
A pentagram is often positioned at or near the center of the altar. A white altar candle, providing light and from which other items may be lit, is also included. Tools that are used frequently will often have permanent spots on the altar surface, and other tools may be added as needed by the ritual or spell.
While leaving open an area in which to work, the remainder of the altar is often decorated to reflect the witch’s likes and personality or in accordance with the work to be done. Such items can include gems and stones, feathers or furs, flowers and leaves, statues, talismans, or pictures. The possibilities are endless and bound only by the witch’s imagination.
Unless dictated by other needs or purposes, the front of the altar is determined by standing before it while facing to the northeast. This aligns between the planetary magnetic flow from the North Pole and the eastern rise of the sun and moon.