The picture above is the current arrangement of my main planetary altar that I use for my daily magical practice. The first general question to deal with is, "What is an altar?" For a mage or magical practitioner there is a basic answer which is that the altar is your magical workspace. This is where you do your ritual work, your invocation and evocation and communication with spirits.
Your altar is constrained by practical considerations. For example, if you live in a small apartment, you can use a corner or the the top of a bookshelf as the base of the altar and the wall behind the bookshelf for images, sigils and seals.
Your altar should appeal to you and be a personal expression of your practice. Many traditional hoodoo altars, for example, are full of various items and wax from candles is left where it melts. I tend to like a cleaner, sparer look and I like a more airy, clearer, white and light space, so my altar reflects that. One should keep in mind that the altar is essentially a door or window through which you come into the sphere of the spirits you contact and through which the spirits come to you. Maintaining an atmosphere of respect and devotion is necessary, though there are manifold ways to do this.
My altar has an orderly arrangement to it, but one that evolved organically over time. All of the parts are meaningful to me and all of the parts relate, more or less to each other in their arrangement. Let's start at the top with the image of Hermes Trismegistus. Since I am a Hermeticist, has central placement. To the left is the image of Eros and a man and woman chained by love, to the right, labeled "Wealth" is an image of a spirit pouring gold to an astrologer/mage. On the exoteric level these represent love and prosperity magic, but esoterically the pouring of gold signifies wisdom, "Wisdom is better than silver and gold" and Eros signifies that love is the key factor in all magic, "Love is the bond of bonds".
The center images are the images of the 7 planets. They are arranged from left to right in the order of the days of the week, alternating from the top to bottom row. Thus Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn. Note that the top row contains the masculine planets, Sun, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn and the lower row, the feminine planets, Moon & Venus and the hemaphroditic Mercury.
My daily practice consists of lighting a candle before the planet ruling the day and doing a short invocation of the planet. Temperature permitting I wear the color of the planet of the day during that day.
Below the planet images are three large mirrors. In the middle the wealth image is repeated, here as a mirror of the spirit of Picatrix. To the left is a large Jupiter mirror and to the right is a large Saturn mirror along with numerous small planetary mirrors.
The next altar is for the Mansions of the Moon, which you can see above. It has the Moon in the middle with the images of the 28 Mansions of the Moon arranged around it. I have a special altar image of the 3rd Mansion to left and an image of a hare in the Moon in the center.
The third altar is the fixed star altar. I use this in particular for spiritual protection, a fixed star speciality! You can see next to the fixed star altar on the left, a doorway decorated with alternating mirrors and fixed star sigils.
Finally you can see our new exterior doors. I designed these myself with the tear drop glass at the top. Note also the glass stars! These are custom made in white oak because our 100+ year old house doesn't have standard size door frames. I have started turning these doors into talismans by inscribing talismanic sigils at elected times on the top of the door edge. You can't see the sigils unless you open the door and look at the top edge.
You might also be interested in my Renaissance Astrology CD Library Series, with over 120 rare astrology and magic books as well as my Facsimile Editions of unique Astrology and Magic Books and my discussion group Spiritus Mundi.
If you wish to delve even deeper into this fascinating area I offer my Planetary Magic Mini-Course and Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course, which allow students to immediately start making talismans and elections and are a great introduction to my longer Electional Astrology Course, Horary Astrology Course and Astrological Magic Course.
Please Contact me with any Questions & Comments
Specializing in Horary Astrology, Electional Astrology Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans.
Copyright 2010, Christopher Warnock, All Rights Reserved.