Since embracing the witchy side of me, not much has changed. A lot of what I did was already a bit witchy: carrying crystals for their various meanings, burning sage to cleanse my home, reading tarot cards, researching what my dreams might be trying to me, and using different herbs for different reasons. Most of the changes I have done have been small or behind the scenes changes. Some of those changes I have made are being mindful of my mood and the intent I putting into something where it is crafting, cleaning, or baking. Another change I have made is to start burning a candle when I am working on something important. I guess it kind of goes back to intent, but I also somehow feel like I can focus more on the task. Maybe because it helps to set the mood or the environment, it helps mentally. I don’t know. I’m still figuring this stuff out as I go.
One of the most significant changes I have made can be seen in our living room. Jeremy and I have a family altar now. It is something we take care of together. I have posted it on Instagram a few times. This is especially so when odd things happen (I’ll get into that in just a moment in case you missed those posts). Our alter may be basic compared to some others, but it has lots of meaning to us.
Our altar is set up on the chest that Jeremy bought when we first moved to the Champaign area. It probably isn’t the best space for it because the chest is where we store all of our board games and card games, but thanks to COVID, we haven’t hosted a game night this year. For now though, we will keep it as is and just move things off when we need to get a game. I may find a different table when we settle in our new house next year. Each item on our altar has a special meaning. The white candle is a standard prayer candle. Often used a prayer candle for Christians. I always make sure to have at least one white candle on the chest, but sometimes when I have more on my mind, I will add many more to the alter. The red candle is to help strengthen the love in our marriage. Its also to watch over Jeremy. Red is his favorite color. I found a Marine figurine at a local creative reuse store. Beside those candles are two railroad nails. These nails showed up randomly in our yard a few months ago. We live a few blocks from a set train tracks, and when these showed up, you can tell be the undisturbed snow around them that they weren’t dropped off by kids walking past our house or by an animal. They appeared too far up in our yard as well to be from kids. Plus, the location of them was right on the path I walk to my car and back. They were meant for me to see them. Iron is supposed to ward off negativity. While iron is supposed to keep ghosts away, our spirits continue to interact with the alter. The railroad nails are also supposed to help anchor people together or to a location. I guess that it one way to help us feel at home when home changes every three years.
On the back of the altar, I have a tile sign that says HOME. On it is a little metal figurine with a gun. He is from the same store as the Marine figurine and is pointed towards our front door. To me, he is protecting our home and making sure nothing comes in to cause us harm. In an Instagram post about two months ago, I wrote about how he had suddenly started falling over for no reason. He has only fallen off his perch once since that post. Ironically it was this morning when I noticed he had fallen.
I do have two witchy bowls on our altar. One is a copper bowl with the triple moon and pentagram on it. It holds our favorite fortune cookie fortunes we have received since moving into the house. We’ve noticed that since putting them in the bowl, some of the fortunes have come true. I’m not saying which ones because I don’t want to mess with magic that seems to be going on. The other witchy bowl is a small iron cauldron. I use it to burn loose herbs or pieces of paper when I do a written prayer or spell.
In the middle of the altar is a glass bowl of rose petal potpourri. It is there as an offering to both the Virgin Mary and to Freya. I felt like I should honor both of them. Mary because she is the mother of Jesus, and Freya because she is the wife of Odin. According to Norse mythology, Freya is the one which warriors go to Valhalla and which stay with her in Fólkvangr. If something should happen to Jeremy, I hope that she allows him to go to Valhalla so he can be with his fellow Marines in the afterlife.
Located next to the glass bowl of potpourri, we have a selenite wand and a feather. The selenite wand was a gift from a fellow military wife. She sent it to me through a milso gift-giving group. The selenite is there to bring calm and serenity to our family. The feather is one of the odd things that occasionally happens with our altar. It just appeared on our altar one day. Neither Jeremy nor myself put it there. I view feathers as a message that a loved one stopped by.
On the right-hand side of the altar, I have a large green candle, a figurine of Kokopelli, a bird’s nest, and two succulents. The candle and Kokopelli are for fertility. Jeremy and I do want children, but with my health issues, conceiving is difficult. I pray over these two items daily, hoping that we will soon have a child. Kokopelli has been a part of my life for a long time. I wrote about the trips I took with our family friends when I was in middle school. One of the trips was to the Grand Canyon, and it was there that I was introduced to Kokopelli. I was initially drawn to him because he was a flute player. Over the years, he has popped back up in my life in the form of gifts such as a windchime that hung on my parent’s porch for years or a pair of matching rugs that my parents gave to Jeremy and me when we lived in Jacksonville. I didn’t realize until I had brought this figurine (from the same shop that I mentioned earlier) that Kokopelli was a god of fertility. Hopefully, he can help us have a child. The bird’s nest is another odd thing that has appeared in our yard since we set up the altar. The is a concrete pathway I use to get to my car, and it was lying in the middle of the pathway one morning. Because of its location, I couldn’t tell where it came from. I have it with the fertility stuff to help encourage good vibes, hopefully. I have the succulents on the altar because I heard that if someone was trying to curse you (be it with magic or just everyday ill-wishing), plants could take the brunt of it. So far, the succulents are doing well.
The final thing I have on our family altar is a tray for our sage and palo santo. Typically I would light these and the candles daily when I first come down in the morning. Now I don’t as often because I usually take John Paul to daycare or work in my office upstairs. If I am going to be in the living room for a while, I will light them.
Since setting up this altar, we have had some interesting things happen. At one point, we had a string appear on the altar near the green candle. It was rolled into a heart shape. Jeremy thinks it was the string from the sage bundle, but we both don’t know how it ended up in a heart. I kept it on the altar for a few weeks, but unfortunately, I hired a set of house cleaners, and they clean the altar. I didn’t even think to tell them to leave the altar alone. Lesson learned the hard way. Another interesting thing is that our pets don’t bother the altar at all. The dog will lay by it but won’t mess with anything. Even the cats don’t get up there, and they LOVE to walk everywhere. Before it was an altar, the cats would sit on the chest occasionally. Since putting the candles and whatnot on it, they haven’t tried to get on the chest.
I do have another altar in my office. That one is a smaller one that is more personal and partially for my business. I will write about it in another post. I am still learning about this path I am on, but I am enjoying it. If you have any advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it.
How do you show your faith in your home? How do you incorporate it into your daily life?
3 thoughts on “Everyday Magic: Our Family Altar”
A very interesting look into the world of witchcraft. I find it fascinating to learn about such rituals and the wellbeing they can promote. I must go and find some of those railroad spikes. I have a negativity and failure demon I need to exorcise from my work and my brain.
I look forward to reading and learning more.
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Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Do you have any railroad tracks near where you live? Don’t take from the tracks themselves, but you should be able to find some spikes that have been tossed from the tracks. Please be careful if you go to the tracks.
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I really did enjoy your post. I have a railyard nearby. I’m planning to go and ask the workers there if they can show me some.