Below is a list of alter tools that I have called “Important Alter Tools”. This is not to say that the others I will post about in a few days are any less important. I have only found that these are the ones it was difficult to find something around the house to use as a substitute. Many witches will disagree with me about this point and many others will have a different list of items that they deem the important category. For my purposes, this is the list that were difficult to replicate. If you do substitute items, make certain that you do cleanse and consecrate those items before you use them in ritual and treat them as ritual items (storing them properly away after use) rather than putting them back on your shelves and using them again.
- A wand should be used to direct your power and focus it. A wand should be chosen by the user for the initial power that is felt during the search. Wands chosen during the full moon are said to be charge with immense power in their own right, while those chosen during the new moon are a blank slate and can be infused or charged in any manner the user wants. Infusing it with your own power makes the wand more predictable and easier to use by the novice.
- The cauldron is the symbol of water and rebirth, as well as a representation of the womb of the Goddess. This tool can also symbolize death and the return to the Earth as well as birth from the Earth or as a symbol of fertility and harvest. It is used in most rituals.
- Candles are used for many different purposes in your rituals. They are used to intensify your energy for your purpose, to honor the Goddess and God, to honor the elements and to light your way to the magick and spiritual purpose you are trying to reach. The colors will change for each ritual performed but your candlesticks will always be a part of your alter…silver is the metal of the Goddess and for that reason I like to use silver candlesticks.
- Dish of Salt
- The salt is a symbol of purity and is used to cleanse and consecrate objects. Placing objects in salt or in salt water under full moonlight cleanses and charges them with Earth power. Sacred salt must be cleansed and consecrated especially when used in ritual. Any type of salt may be used but as a general rule, sea salt is a natural formation from the sea and therefore would be a better choice.
- Goblet for Water
- During ritual, salt is sprinkled into the water and taken into the body to symbolize the imbibing of the Goddess and Her elements. The water is also used in cleansing rituals for tools and for the home and sacred space. The water on the altar must be consecrated for use.
- Incense Burner
- The censer can be of any size and shape and can be made of most any material except wood. The best choice is one with feet or hanging by a chain so that it is not directly on the altar. Incense is the symbol of air and fire, the symbol of the God and is used in most rituals. Choose the incense scent that is right for your spell or ritual with regard to the overall state of mind you wish to invoke.
As I said before this is only a list of the items I found it hard to substitute with something else that I have around the house. You will notice, that I have not listed your Book of Shadows on this list. This is because, as long as you have consecrated the print-out of your ritual/spell or have it memorized, it is not necessary to have that on your alter. It is a good thing to have there with you but it is not required for you to keep it on your alter.