Altar and Circle. Help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2004
Altar and Circle. Help!
9
Tue, 01-26-2010 - 1:33am
Okay, so I keep reading trying to learn everything I can since I'm VERY new to this. Well, I've read that the altar is supposed to be IN the circle when you do rituals. Makes sense, really. But, my question is: what if your altar HAS to be against a wall, and can't really be moved for rituals? To have my altar inside my circle, the circle would have to include part of my patio. Do any of you have your altar against a wall, and if so, how do you work the circle for rituals? TIA.
jennyjellybean



jennyjellybean
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-03-2008
Tue, 01-26-2010 - 11:11am
Get some sort of a raised platform and set it inside the circle. This could be anything: a couple of boxes stacked on top of each other, a chair, a card table, anything that will keep your tools from off the floor. Cover the platform with your altar cloth and add your tools onto the top, then raise your circle. Yes, you're doing twice the work, since you already have your altar set up, but this will keep you from having to kneel down every time to use a tool and it will keep you from breaking the circle to reach for them at the altar against the wall.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2004
Tue, 01-26-2010 - 3:21pm

I will be so glad when I move and can start being a bit more open about this! Not to mention have a room that is big enough to actually have a circle in. I'm still trying to work out the logistics enough to not have part of my BED in the circle. yeah, my room is so small that I can't quite figure out how not to have my twin-sized bed that is against my wall be in the circle. As for tools and kneeling - I don't really have any tools, yet, and the table I was planning on using as an altar I'd have to kneel at, anyway. Which is actually more comfortable to me than having it waist height and having to bend over it. Hmm, maybe while I'm getting something to use as an altar cloth and my candles and stuff, I can find something I can put on this table to make it easier to move. I wonder if I can add wheels to it, somehow? Sigh. Everything else about setting this up has me kind of excited. I'm working out how to rearrange things so that my altar can be under my window so I can look up through the branches of the tree that's just a few feet away and see the moon. And I'm looking forward to selecting an altar cloth and candle holders this weekend. Trying to figure out where to get an athame - and what I want to wear as my ritual clothes.

I have one more kind of silly question. I also read that during rituals you should set up candles outside the circle and use those as your light. Well, there's 2 problems with that. 1.) I have fairly deep carpet so setting up candles on my floor sounds like a real good way to burn my house down. and 2.) I'm SEVERELY claustrophobic. I even SLEEP with my bedroom light on because without it I can't breathe - it feels like the walls are closing in on me. So, would it be okay to leave my bedroom light on and just use the altar candles as part of the ritual, but not use candles for light, or any other candles that would need to be set up on the floor (candles at the compass points, etc.)?

jennyjellybean



jennyjellybean
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-03-2008
Tue, 01-26-2010 - 5:07pm

Sure, keep on whatever lights you need to during ritual. It's notoriously difficult to see by candlelight, and when you're still a beginner a lot of times you're going to be reading over your spells and ritual words before you speak them, so you need to be able to see. Plus, you definitely don't want to burn your house down! The God/desses aren't going to strike you down because you aren't using candles or the "right" tools. Eventually you won't need to use tools anyway. After you've been doing this for a long time you will no longer need an athame to cast the circle. You'll just use your finger. The power is within you, not in the tools. For beginners the tools are there as a point of reference.

The Internet offers lots of places to order supplies. If you prefer to buy stuff locally, try out the website the Witches' Voice. It lists the Pagan stores by state and country and there might be something in your area: http://www.witchvox.com/ Scroll down to the bottom of the main page and you will find the Pagan Shopping lists. It lists online shops as well as local ones. Plus, you can Google them as well if none of the ones on the Witches' Voice appeal to you.

As for ritual clothes, it's not absolutely necessary to wear anything special. I've performed rituals in street clothes, in my pjs, skyclad and in ritual clothes. It's whatever works for you and what you are most comfortable with.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Tue, 02-02-2010 - 3:35pm

As a Witch, I cast my Circle parameters in any way I feel is indicated, for the work I wish to do within the Circle. When I cast, it's not so many feet or what have you. I set that in my Mind and Focus and often include my entire house and property, all phone lines, computer lines, and so forth, within the Circle. Sometimes the Circle is to the parameters of the room itself. For full protection for me to do my Magical Work and Observance. When in my house, I always have my altar to the North for formal ritual, so as I work at the altar, I am facing North. When I cast the Circle, I start facing the East, to call the Guardians of each direction, ending up facing my altar and North.

For me the tradition is the Goddess figure and candles are on the left, and the God's figure and candles are on the right. I have a representation for all Four Directions, for the Elements, as well. Incense I use for East/Air, my Cauldron for South/Fire, Water in a Chalice for West/Water, and a rock or animal (my Wolf totem) for North/Earth. Then decorations or symbols for whatever Sabbat I am observing. Or other tools for spell work.

I don't have a full setup all the time, and I have a small altar on my mantelpiece, for keeping my daily spiritual focus. My small altar has a representative for the Goddess and God, and the Four Directions and Elements, though. Just not as "fancy" as for a specific Sabbat or purpose or working. :P It's not even set on the North wall, but as I face it, it is set up as I would if I were facing North. Hope that make sense! ;)) The mantelpiece is just the best place for this "everyday" altar. I like having it near the front door so that whenever I leave the house I first address the Lady & Lord, the Guardians and my Totems, for safety and protection, and so on. I also face my altar often when doing my t'ai chi meditative practice.

I only have candles lit on my altar for safety's sake, and nowhere else, just like I do the incense. I use natural light from the windows if it's daylight and I also use just regular electric lighting as necessary. For me, what's on the altar is the focus.

As I grew on the path, and came to make my own rituals, etc., I followed my own intuition to a degree, in how I do things like cast the Circle, and so on. :) In one of the two Scott Cunningham books for the Solitary Practitioner, there is a diagram you can use to set up your altar as well as prayers and discussion of ritual, casting a Circle, and so on. Even prayers and chants. Starhawk's book has great ideas and info as well.

Hope this helps! :)



Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



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Strong like a mountain,

Flowing like a river."

~~Tai Chi Chih



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Mika Dog




"All things share the same breath;

the beast, the tree, the man.

The Air shares its spirit with

all the life it supports."

--Chief Seattle



"If there are no dogs in Heaven,

then when I die I want to go where they went."

~Will Rogers



"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress

can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

~~Mahatma Gandhi





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Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2004
Wed, 02-03-2010 - 2:49am

"As a Witch, I cast my Circle parameters in any way I feel is indicated, for the work I wish to do within the Circle. When I cast, it's not so many feet or what have you. I set that in my Mind and Focus and often include my entire house and property, all phone lines, computer lines, and so forth, within the Circle. Sometimes the Circle is to the parameters of the room itself."

I guess I just got caught up with thinking in terms of Geometry. It never occurred to me that my Circle could actually be a square - using the walls of my room as parameters. Or did I misunderstand what you meant by that? As for what you said about not thinking about so many feet or what have you, I was actually joking about the size of my room because I found that if I lie on the floor with my head touching my computer desk, my feet are under the bed! yep, I have less than 5 feet of floor space in here! I really like your idea of casting the circle to the parameters of the room. Not only for the spiritual implications of making the whole room a sacred space, but also for the practical reason of it gives me incentive to keep it clean so I'm not inviting the deities into a pigsty! LOL! Okay, I need sleep.

jennyjellybean



jennyjellybean
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Wed, 02-03-2010 - 11:41am
I wasn't thinking Geometry at all. Only that the Circle is all-inclusive, and capable of including everything there is. Whether we can visualize or conceive of that...or not. It just "is." :) As a Witch I am Connector between the worlds, with one foot in this one and one foot in the one of Spirit. I tap into the power of the Universe, which is all-inclusive. So squares, rectangles, triangles, etc., are all within the sacred Circle. Nothing is truly "outside" it. But I can specify parameters for a specific working or purpose in order to strengthen my focus and define my intent. I don't use the concept of "sacred Geometry," though. But that would be something interesting to investigate. :)



I think you setting your parameters to your room is fine. There is no one single "right way" to do things, and as you continue on your path, there will be many things you will do in ways you define for yourself. As part of what you choose, you can also choose to follow a single tradition that makes sense to you, also. It is your path and your choice how you define and practice it. :) As you grow and develop confidence. That is the beauty of this path, we can Connect as our insight and intuition guide us to do. I didn't start out with exactly how I do things now. I received a lot of guidance and lessons from the Lady & Lord, and my Totems, read a lot, then took what made sense, leaving the rest. And this process of my personal spiritual evolution, is by no means complete. And likely won't be in this specific incarnation. :)



Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



Photobucket



Strong like a mountain,

Flowing like a river."

~~Tai Chi Chih



Photobucket





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photobucket



Mika Dog




"All things share the same breath;

the beast, the tree, the man.

The Air shares its spirit with

all the life it supports."

--Chief Seattle



"If there are no dogs in Heaven,

then when I die I want to go where they went."

~Will Rogers



"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress

can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

~~Mahatma Gandhi





Photobucket Photobucket







Edited 2/3/2010 12:02 pm ET by gypsywolfwoman


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2004
Wed, 02-03-2010 - 12:51pm
"Sacred Geometry" interesting. What I actually meant by thinking in terms of geometry was the idea that a Circle had to be...well...a circle. Which is why I thought that any Circle that included my altar would also end up including my patio - because it never occurred to me that my Circle could have the straight edge of the wall as one of the parameters.
jennyjellybean



jennyjellybean
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Wed, 02-03-2010 - 2:19pm

Oh, ok. :) I guess that you have a different view/perspective/approach then, than I do. To me, a sacred Circle is "between the worlds" of this physical realm and that of spirit. So my perspective is that a sacred Circle and casting one, is not restricted by this physical world and its three dimensional requirements/realities, but is *simultaneously* in both spirit and physical realms, if that makes sense, which make the Circle limitless, IMO. I guess I am approaching and thinking about a Magickal Circle differently. No problem, whatever works for each of us for visualization, is fine. There is no one "answer," I don't think. :)

In case you're interested, here are some google links that came up, about "sacred geometry:"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_geometry

http://healing.about.com/od/sacredgeometry/Sacred_Geometry.htm

http://www.luckymojo.com/sacreddefined.html



Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



Photobucket



Strong like a mountain,

Flowing like a river."

~~Tai Chi Chih



Photobucket





Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photobucket



Mika Dog




"All things share the same breath;

the beast, the tree, the man.

The Air shares its spirit with

all the life it supports."

--Chief Seattle



"If there are no dogs in Heaven,

then when I die I want to go where they went."

~Will Rogers



"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress

can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

~~Mahatma Gandhi





Photobucket Photobucket






Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2004
Sat, 02-06-2010 - 1:35am
Haha! Actually it isn't really about a different approach. It's more about semantics. I actually got tripped up by the WORD Circle. If people would just call it a sacred space, it would be easier to see that it can be defined anyway that works for you. By calling it a Circle, it makes people picture a circle. Not sure how much sense I'm making. It was just a case of the word itself making me think it had to be a circle rather than any kind of belief system.
jennyjellybean



jennyjellybean