Altars are regarded as a key part of witchcraft. We use them as focal points for deity or ancestor worship, elemental connections, even connections to ourselves. They have a near-endless amount of uses. However, the altars you see on TikTok or Instagram can be intimidating.
Where do I find bones and crystals and deity-specific candles?? Questions such as that are often in the comments of those posts.
Heres the trick, though. You dont actually need those fancy candles you saw on so-and-sos post. You dont even need a real, physical altar if you dont have the space or funds for it. Some of us are even still in the broom closet, and it wouldnt be safe for us to have a physical altar. Thankfully, there are very easy ways around this.
Most everyone has access to the internet in some way these days. In fact, its been officially considered a basic human right by the UN in 2016. The fact youre reading this article is proof of that. Taking advantage of this worldwide connection we share, there are three very easy ways to have your own digital altar, and even keep it on the down-low if you need to do that.
- The easiest and cheapest way to have a secret/digital altar is to use Pinterest, Tumblr, or Instagram.Any free social media that you can use to collect photos and ideas in a single area can count as an altar. This type is especially good for Deity and ancestor altars. On Pinterest, you can make a board dedicated to your specific deity or ancestor, and then browse around to find images and links that you feel relate to that deity or ancestor. For Tumblr, the ability to create sideblogs comes pre-packaged into the website. You can come up with a silly or graceful username thats connected to whomever youre planning to honor, and then scroll through the hundreds of aesthetic blogs and tags to find relevant things to reblog to your new dedicated sideblog. Instagram is much the same, you can either create an entirely separate account (private or not) and keep a collection of photos and sayings there, or you can save a relevant post and add it to a collection named after your chosen one. All three of these websites are free to use and easy to browse and have privacy settings. Theres also no limit to how many things you can add to your board, blog, or collection, so show your deity or ancestor all the love you have for them in the form of dedicated pixels.
- A mid-tier option requires a single purchase and a bit of a learning curve.Minecraft, the sandbox video game composed entirely of blocks, costs about $30 and can take a moment to figure out. But if youre already entrenched in the playstyle or can pick things up easily, youll be more than capable of building the most beautiful altars you can in-game. A bonus of this option is that you can also reskin your avatar to look like yourself, or really anything you like. Minecraft is available on the PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Playstation, and Mobile/Tablet. All of the options work about the same way with the exception of the controller (or lack thereof, in the mobile version).
Once youve created your first world and gathered materials, you can build your altar as tiny or as huge as you like. Theres even a brewing stand and cauldron in-game if you want to really lean into the classic witch aesthetic. A lot of items in the game are also elementally themed, making it easy to build an altar for each element. Since its a sandbox game, your options are very nearly unlimited, you just may have to watch a few tutorials on YouTube to figure out how to make the truly aesthetic options. With Minecraft, you could also build as many altars as you like, so if youre working with the entire Greek pantheon, go ahead and rebuild the Parthenon or even your interpretation of Mount Olympus. Or if youre feeling a bit like a lazy witch, browse throughpre-built mapsthat are available for download (this option works on PC). Either way, youll have a beautiful altar to sit your avatar at and focus your energy with. For those who are disinclined to spend hours mining, the creative mode is an absolutely amazing option.
- In a similar vein, but possibly more expensive depending on your Nintendo-Switch-owning status, isAnimal Crossing: New Horizons.With thousands of items in game and plenty of them being customizable, its incredibly easy to build lovely altars for any purpose on your own personal deserted island. This game is exclusive to the Switch, so if you dont already have the system it may be a no-go. Theres even a beautifulZodiac-themed set of itemsthat can be created, and plenty of candles, incense, and even a magic circle floor as of the 2.0 update! (Its actually really amazing,check it out. Its similar to Minecraft in that you can dress up your avatar as you please, theres even adorable witch and mage outfits in a bunch of different colors! The community is also incredibly talented and creates a lot of beautifulcustom clothingfor you to download and wear. This is personally my favorite option just because of all the amazing items that are perfectly themed to my deities, but I also have over 400 hours put into the game. So take my opinion with as many grains of salt as needed!
- This next option could potentially run up a longer receipt than Animal Crossing, but due to its high level of customization and large userbase constantly churning out really lovely custom content, I believe it deserves a spot on the list.The current iteration of the Sims games, Sims 4, is available on multiple consoles but is most customizable on PC. The base game sits prettily at the price of $40, but the expansion and stuff packs are where the true nickel and diming comes in. They range from $5-$25. You dont need them to play and build, but the options in the Magic School pack will definitely tickle your fancy if youre going for the blatant witch aesthetic. Theres also a full-on usable Seance table in the Paranormal pack, which honestly? Main reason I bought that pack. Its super cool. The intense high-level customization of the Sims themselves also allows you to create yourself as you are or how you want to be (manifestation, anyone?) or even create your deities and ancestors or your spirit guides! If you go this route, better make sure youre taking care of your Sims.
- Terraria, which is available on PC, Mac, Mobile, Tablet, Playstation, and Xbox, is another sandbox game similar to Minecraft in which you can build your own worlds and create to your hearts content. There are pre-made worlds to explore as well, so youll have plenty to do while youre out gathering materials for your own personal worship or work space.
Overall, the need to have an altar depends on the practitioner. If youre feeling fine being altar-less, thats alright! Nothing is necessary when it comes to the Craft besides your own intentions and will. (Well perhaps also an open and curious mind). But if youve been itching to build something for the deity or ancestor or element or anything else that you adore with your entire heart, there are far easier and cheaper ways to do so than what you see on social media. Dont let what you see online intimidate you into thinking your altars arent good enough. As long as its created with your heart, and from a place of love and reverence, thats all that matters. Even if its just a bunch of photos saved to a Pinterest board. It counts. So go and poke around! Create to your hearts content.
Written by Divinaytion