Create a God/Goddess Altar

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Make a God/Goddess Altar

Make an altar featuring symbols of the god or goddess of your tradition. Image © Patti Wigington 2012; Licensed to About.com

Many Pagans set up an altar space that can either stay in place permanently or be used on a temporary basis. The altar is typically used for ritual or spellwork, and is often set up according to a very basic framework. At some point you may choose to set up an altar with a specific theme to it - for example, a sabbat celebration or a birthday, or even for the children in your home.

If your magical tradition honors a specific deity, why not consider setting up a god or goddess altar? This altar celebrates the Divine aspect of your belief system, whether you honor a single deity or an entire pantheon.

Things to include:

  • Statuary: Find a statue representing the deity of your path
  • Candles: Use candles in colors associated with your deity, or select a god or goddess candle
  • Natural symbols: Do you honor a god of the ocean? Add a bowl of sea water. Is your god or goddess associated with a particular tree? Put leaves, branches or seeds on your altar.
  • Handcrafts: Have you made a craft item representing your god or goddess? If you honor Brighid, for example, you may wish to add a Brighid’s cross. Have you made a set of prayer beads celebrating the many aspects of Cernunnos? Add those to your altar.
  • Offerings: If your deity accepts offerings - and many do - then place a bowl, cup or plate on the altar to hold your tributes.

When you set up your altar, remember that it is a sacred space. Be sure to consecrate or cleanse it prior to use, according to the guidelines of your tradition.

See the next page for ideas about symbols relating to various deities.

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Symbols of the Divine

Candles and statuary can be used to represent deities on your altar. Image © Patti Wigington 2012; Licensed to About.com

Need some tips for ways to honor the various gods on your altar? Take a look at this list for some ideas:

Bast

Use cat symbols to honor this Egyptian deity of fertility. Catnip plants, feline statues, even a bowl of milk are perfect ways to make offerings to Bast.

Brighid

This Celtic goddess of hearth and home is often associated with both fire and fertility. Eggs and milk are great offerings to make for Brighid, and you can decorate your altar with a corn doll, a Brighid's cross, or other symbols of the Imbolc season. Add a brazier or a green candle for some fiery aspects.

Cernunnos

This wild god of the forest features prominently in Celtic legend, and is often represented by the stag. Add a set of antler sheds or horns to your altar, as well as phallic symbols such as the wand and staff, or forest greenery such as ferns, vines, and branches.

Freya

Freya is a Norse goddess associated with childbirth and fertility. Use cups and chalices on your altar, candles in the color gold, and feathers.

Isis

This Egyptian mother goddess can be represented by the ankh, the scarab beetle, the lotus, and the colors gold and red. She is sometimes portrayed with great wings, so feel free to add feathers in her honor as well.

Juno

Juno is a Roman goddess of marriage and fecundity, and is often represented by peacock feathers, seashells, and flowers - particularly the lily and the lotus.

Odin

Odin was the mighty king of the Norse gods, and can be honored with runes, ash tree branches and leaves, as well as drinking horns. Use symbols of power when honoring Odin.

Poseidon

This Greek god of the sea was also known as a mover of the earth - honor him with shells and bowls of sea water, a trident or other three-pronged tool, horse symbols, or even a pile of dirt to honor his role as a causer of earthquakes.