Every Day Witch · For Beginners

Setting Up Your Altar

There are so many different ways to set up your altar, and there is no definite layout. The most common way to have an altar is to set it up corresponding to the elements and their directions. Some witches will set up their altar by dividing it into two, one side for the goddess or feminine energies, and the other for the god or masculine energies. There are however, many witches and wiccans who don’t have a defined set up and lay it out according to what they are comfortable with; Myself included.

Before you set up your altar, you must first choose what you are wanting it to be placed on. Most witches set up their altar on a table or shelf. Tables are one the best ways to set up an altar, because they are easier to move, if you aren’t planning on casting where it usually resides. Round tables are usually prefered because they are easier to get around during a ritual, but square and rectangular tables can fit better in a corner when it’s not being used. Quite a few witches will recommend a table that has storage underneath, or a cabinet. With storage underneath your altar, you can keep anything you might need but takes up too much room on top of your altar that is easy to access; Things like candles, incense, lighters or anything extra tools you’d rather not have on top of your altar. If you are a bit limited on space, and do not have enough room for a table or shelf for your altar, you can even use the top of a dresser or a desk.

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The two charts below are two of the most common layouts for an altar.

This set up is rather popular and it divides the altar into two halfs. The left side is related to the Goddess and feminine energies. What is placed on this side of the altar would be anything related to the Goddess, femininity, water, and earth. The right side would be related to the God and masculine energies. Anything that corresponds with the God, masculinity, fire, and air would be placed on this side. Things like oils, herbs, or candles can be placed wherever it is convenient for you. If you will be including you Book of Shadows, this would generally be placed in the middle of the altar, but you can put it anywhere.

Left side of the altar: Goddess, Feminine

Right side of the altar: God, Masculine

Goddess Figure

God Figure

Goddess Candle (White or Silver)

God Candle (Gold or Yellow)


Bowl of Water

Censer, Incense

Bowl of Salt




Crystals, Gems, Stones

Lighter, Matches

Libations Dish

The second layout divides the altar into four main sections, according to the directions and their corresponding elements. The element and direction that is on the top of the layout should be the main one you work with. Most witches and Wiccans use North/Earth, but there are many traditions that use East/Air. You can face the altar however you like, but you should always make sure the directions point in the proper direction. The corners do not have to be empty, and you can fill in these areas with any of the elemental/directional tools that are next to it.

North, Earth

Pentacle, Bowl of Salt, Stones, Plants, Flowers, Herbs, Offering Cakes

Green/Brown/Yellow Candle

West, Water

Bowl of Water, Shells, Chalice, Cauldron

Blue/Teal/Green Candle

God/Goddess Figures/CandlesBook of Shadows

East, Air

Incense, Feather, Wand, Bell, Pen

Yellow/White/Lavender Candle

South, Fire

Athame, Boline, Oils, Candle Snuffer, Lighter/Matches

Red/Maroon/Orange Candle

There is another way you could use the directions and their elements to set up your altar. It doesn’t differ from the previous one, except this one is used when you are set in stone about having your pentacle placed in the center of your altar. The only things that have changed are the placement of the pentacle, and what was originally inside the middle. The God and Goddess boxes are interchangeable, and you can place any figurines, candles, symbols, or anything that can represent the deities you are working with. If you are only working with one deity, you can choose either of the top corner areas. You can also use both boxes for one deity, for a more balanced altar. The two bottom corner areas are for your Book of Shadows and the pen, if you choose to use one. Your book may be placed on either side, and is usually placed on the side of your dominant hand (right handed=right side, left handed=left hand). The pen you use to write with should be placed on the side that is represented by the God (usually the right side), but if you are working with one deity, either side is fine.

Goddess Figure/Candle

North, Earth

Bowl of Salt, Stones, Plants, Flowers, Herbs, Offering Cakes

Green/Brown/Yellow Candle

God Figure/Candle

West, Water

Bowl of Water, Shells, Chalice, Cauldron

Blue/Teal/Green Candle


East, Air

Incense, Feather, Wand, Bell

Yellow/White/Lavender Candle

*Book of Shadows South, Fire

Athame, Boline, Oils, Candle Snuffer, Lighter/Matches

Red/Maroon/Orange Candle

*Book of Shadows, Pen

You do not by any means have to set up your altar in correspondence to anything. Simply placing the most used items in convenient places works just fine. Just remember that you should use an altar layout that is enjoyable and user-friendly. The more comfortable your altar is, the more powerful it can be.

Keep in mind, all of my posts are based on my opinions that I have gathered from my research. You may disagree or have something to add. Please do so kindly in the comments.

Blessed be, brothers and sisters.


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