Let's find out what are the traditional objects that are part of the altar of Wicca practitioners, from the wand to the cauldron
Wicca is a religion that has its roots in pre-Christian pagan cults and does not disdain the use of objects and tools that can somehow pay homage and give thanks to the divinities. Entering the home of those who practice Wicca, it is not uncommon to find what is commonly called an altar, or a shelf – which can also be a chest of drawers – on which all the tools for rituals and offerings are placed to thank the divinities or, in the case of Wicca, the God and the Goddess.
The altar is a small place of worship that is normally installed in the practitioners' house, in a bright place that is always close at hand. The goal is to have a safe place, pleasant to the eye, where the mind can relax and contemplate the values of the Wicca religion while feeling at home. The altar is a sacred place and, if it is normally placed in a fixed place, it could also be itinerant and move throughout the house: for example, think of a practitioner who lives with curious tenants. The altar is a creative process and must be lived: there is no "finished" altar precisely because it evolves, grows and changes in harmony with the seasons and with its connection to the Wicca deities. Sometimes the altar is less evident than you think, and is cleverly camouflaged inside the furniture so that the untrained eye cannot recognize it.
But what is there on one of these altars? We assume that everyone is free to experience Wicca as they wish, and that the altar is not a habit limited only to the followers of the same. Each altar is different, unique, personalized and describes who created it through the choice of objects and colors used.
There is no specific list of elements that make up an altar precisely because everyone, in his religious interpretation, is free to put what he best wishes on the altar. Even the most unthinkable things, like music records, comics or old memories. However, we list some of the objects that normally are never missing on the altar, and which will allow you to recognize a follower of the Wicca religion in all its modern forms.
- The broom: also called bessom, the broom is a sacred object both to the God and the Goddess Wicca and represents magic and witchcraft in itself. This classic symbol of protection can also be hung above the front door to wipe out negativity. On the altar it is positioned to act as a purifying element, capable of eliminating all the accumulated energy that must not interfere with spiritual work. The broom represents the element of water.
- The wand: it is perhaps one of the most popular "cult" objects of the esoteric tradition. The magic wand can be purchased in specialized shops or handmade by a tree similar to the zodiac sign or the date of birth. It is normally used to "direct the energy" and guide the practitioner's intention during a ritual. The wand is associated with the Air element.
- Censer: used to burn the most popular incense, they can be of all types and shapes. The released perfume frees creativity and allows the practitioner to enter the right mood. The process is very similar to that of aromatherapy, and it is claimed to purify the energies surrounding the altar.
- The cauldron: popular tradition has it that every "witch" has his own cauldron. On the altar of a good wicca, therefore, one certainly cannot miss. An important element in carrying out the ritual, the cauldron is a symbol of the Goddess and is used to burn small parchments on which spells are affixed.
- Athame: this bizarre name is nothing more than a ceremonial dagger, usually crafted, which is used to direct energy during rituals. Associated with the element Fire, this is an object dear to God precisely because of its phallic shape.
- Crystal ball: this object, which can also be very expensive, follows many of the popular traditions on witches and is placed in many wicca altars. The sphere is used to capture visions and facilitate the divination process.
- The chalice: this small element is not missing on any Wicca altar. It is usually filled with water or ritual drinks, and can be made of any material.
- The pentacle: as we have already explained, the pentacle is a powerful symbol of protection which, according to the Wicca, represents the force of the universe. It represents the Earth element and helps the practitioner to focus on the important things in life and spirituality.
- The Book of Shadows: This is the Wiccan practitioner's vademecum. Usually built by hand or carefully bound, it contains notes, thoughts, prayers, spells or ideas of the witch who wrote it and, in some way, collects that part of her "which never exposes itself to sunlight", but remains always hidden. This book plays a fundamental role in the life of the Wicca practitioner, whose main objective is to work out negativity to transform it into acceptance and love for oneself. It is a very intimate and very private reading, which usually the practitioner does not share with anyone and deals constructively to grow and become a better person.
In addition to these important elements, we cannot forget the decorated candles and offerings, which are often renewed and represent the gifts and small thoughts that the believer addresses to his religion in everyday life. The offers range a lot and can be very different from each other: from stones to feathers to wine, herbs, flowers, salt, honey or whatever. The important thing is that they are a manifestation of the practitioner's respect for his belief.
Simply put, the Wicca altar has a high-sounding name and can, in many cases, have a mysterious appearance. The reality is that the altar is a simple place, at least for those who built it, where every single object performs a specific function and has a specific, very clear and important meaning, which helps to materialize the idea that the practitioner has made of his connection with Wicca.