You might be surprised to know…I don’t use one. It seems I’ve always lived in a small space that doesn’t really allow for them. Years ago, when I was starting out and doing strict circles and ritual, I used to use my coffee table and just set everything up there, and take it down when I was finished.
For the last …seventeen years or so, with my writing taking major precedence in my life, I don’t have time for that–nor space, though the layout of our house is pretty much the same as the apartment where I started this collection. I do however have a small lamp table that “caught all” so to speak my major statuettes (would you believe, except for the Oberon Zell Artemis, I found both Minervas and the bathing Diana at the thrift store?). There are some pictures of my dad, who passed away. There’s a friend there too who’s now gone, but if I know her, she wouldn’t have wanted her picture in the picture, so I covered it. Some sand from a Buddhist sand painting ritual I happened upon...sheesh! eight years ago at Borders Books (of all places) and several long-unlit candles sit crammed in there beside them. One of them came from the Autumnal Equinox Drum circle at Witch’s Brew last year. The other is from a Hospice event after my father died so it needed to go there too.
The “lamp table altar” looks a bit like this.
My little drum doesn’t even fit there so it’s off in the other room.
Oh, and yes. My little fox. The fox may or may not be my Totem. I just picked him/her up because I think they’re adorable and I was writing a story that featured them at the time I stumbled across him/her at Michael’s. I used to have this really cool branch with these natural, yet very Celtic looking markings from my dad’s yard. But you know? I can’t remember where it is. I think it got tossed out in one of our termite swarms a few years back. My incense burner is there too–again long unused thanks to allergies. That orange bud vase? Oh, it’s my one god representation (hey, it’s orange, for the sun god, it’s phallic, it works). The postcard works too. I believe that’s Mars in the picture–ah yes. Mars, Diana and Venus by Andrea Mantegna (are you catching a theme here?). And paper, of course, for the writer.
Part of the problem with the god representations, like so much else I fall in love with, is that I’ve never found a representation of Lugh, Brighid, or many of the others in my “inner ring” of gods, that I’ve been in love with (oh, there is this Apollo, but I hear tell that’s in Mom’s will for me. So I don’t particularly want that image any time soon!). Most of the representations just don’t fit right to me, especially none of Bran…. Don’t get me started. The closest I’ve come to him is a raven I have around here somewhere.But as I said, the table seems a bit crammed as it is, don’t you think?
I’d love to have a place where I could do something permanent, some eternal flame thing, like my Roman ancestors, but altar-keeping has just never been practical for me. So while I identify pagan and write pagan-flavored stuff from time to time, sacred space is sort of…not ritualized and just… wherever is most comfortable for me. I suppose, we could call this a votive altar, if nothing else. Right?
Anyway, that’s my–ahem–story and pictures and I’m sticking to it!
*Actually, the Oberon Zell moon goddess came from an old pagan shop around here.