Creating an Elemental Altar
I work very well with altars. I have one to Hecate and my ancestors. I have an ongoing prosperity spell that has become it's own altar. My living room windowsill collects more and more things to and from Hestia. Then the other night, I was re-reading the blog I penned shortly after my birthday and checking in with myself about how I was feeling on the whole “leaning into my emotions” thing when it hit me: I need a Water altar. I am a Pisces babe through and through, even when I suppress it. Which means that in times when I'm trying to heal and push myself to allow my own watery tendencies to heal me, I needed an altar to work with to push me on my way. I decided to build my Water Altar for two reasons:
To have a daily visual, spiritual reminder to honor my truest, most watery self every day.
To have an altar paying respect to the spiritual entities that come from or frequently work with water.
I'm so happy with how my altar is looking already that I thought I'd share how to curate appropriate objects and build your own elemental altar. Whether you need to build an altar to your own sign's element, to an element who's energy you're lacking, or if you need a specific element's help for a specific spell or ritual, this should help. Here's what I put on mine:
A tarot card! Obviously the first thing I rifled through to serve as the base of my water altar was the tarot deck I use for spellwork. I pulled out the Ace of Cups. The Ace of the corresponding suit is ideal; a Court card or any you strongly connect with would also work.
Objects organically and responsibly given from that element. Examples would be feathers or leaves for Air. Stones and twigs work great for Earth. Matches or charcoal would work splendidly for Fire. In the case of Water, I used Lake Superior Agate that I pulled in real life, nautilus shells friends have given me over the years, a starfish I received as part of a gift basket once, and some seashells I picked up on an L.A. Beach. I do have two hard and fast rules for this part of building any altar, but especially one to an element. Number One: I don't take from anywhere with a sign posted saying I can't. Number Two: I have to ask a Spiritual Entity for permission (and receive that permission), even if it feels like something is screaming for me to take it. Gifted objects also work great for this part though, so if you are someone who doesn't take from nature at all, that's a perfectly reasonable way to add such objects.
A touch of whimsy! I have a glass whale I've had forever that looks so cute sitting at the head of the water altar. I have a sea turtle that I'm sussing out if it belongs there are not. Relevant charms from a charm casting set or charm jewelry set also work. Toys, poems, song lyrics you wrote down—anything that adds a touch of whimsy and lightness will make those elemental energies very happy and eager to collaborate with you.
Anything else that speaks to you. My black moonstone was screaming to go on the altar, and my quartz pendulum seemed pretty happy too. This altar wants NO fire as of now, so I left off candles. This is a purely intuitive side of the work, and a crucial one because of that.
The actual element! A candle that you light daily for Fire, stones or a literal cup of dirt for Earth, incense or an ethically harvested bird skeleton for Air are great examples of this. I literally just made Moon Water in a mason jar and stuck it on my altar.
That's it! No need to overcomplicate it. Besides, I'm a firm believer in living altars, which means I'll still use that pendulum on the go sometimes and it goes with me that day. Other stones may wanted added, or the Black Moonstone may end up getting used a different way. Tokens and emblems I find at a beach or receive as a gift could end up getting added, or not. I let my altars grow or shrink and use what's there when I work with it. I'd love to see pictures of your own elemental altars—hit me up on social media to show off!
Blessed Be y'all!