Your Guide to Altar Decor

Crafting an altar is an artistic expression of your intentions, passions, and connection to energies that surround us. Your altar can be intuitively designed, or strategically placed, and you can make an altar for absolutely anything: to connect with the fae, support your shadow work, honour a goddess, bring something into reality… the possibilities are endless. They serve as sacred spaces for worship, a place to focus your energies during witchcraft, and are your personal portal to the magic you’re invoking. 

I remember, when I started practising, I was hesitant to set up an altar because I was scared I’d do it wrong and either A) piss off the gods, or B) look like a fool to any seasoned witch who may see my attempt – I look back now and I wish I could tell that girl to stop being so afraid! Because amazing things await when you step out of your comfort zone. Turns out, a lot of my sources were wiccan, or tailored for the northern hemisphere – neither of which were relevant to me. 

Depending on your path, there are lots of ways you can set up an altar. There are guidelines on where it should be, which way it should face, and specific sides for your objects to be placed (plus what objects should be on there). But if you’re new to the craft or haven’t chosen your path it can be daunting to know where to start. So here’s our advice: 

Just start. 

To help with that, we’ve listed a bunch of items that can be used for different types of altars below. The basic idea is to pick what your altar is for and choose things that are both practical and relative. 

So let’s get into it. 

Fae Altar

Fae altars often have a delightful and whimsical feel to them. Their purpose is to help you connect with the realm of the fae and nature spirits – pixies, naiads, oreads, sylphs… you get the idea! So here are some items to consider:

  • Fresh flowers to bring the outdoors in, these could also be used as offerings.
  • Small fae figurines or decorative items that depict different types of fairies.
  • Natural elements like pinecones, leaves, feathers, twigs, or rocks to evoke a woodland feel and connect you to nature.
  • Earth energy crystals like moss agate, green aventurine, or crystals that are local to your area.
  • Mini lights or lanterns to softly illuminate your space and add a whimsical (and size appropriate!) glow to attract the fae.
  • Tiny furniture for the fae to use and join you for spellwork or rituals.
  • Tiny spell jars, maybe even a small vial of sparkles to represent faerie magic.
  • Offerings like honey or sugar to welcome the fae and thank them for their help.
  • Tiny bells that ring with the fae’s presence, or can be used to call them into your space.
  • Tiny mirrors or wreaths to represent the portal between worlds – anything small and circular will do, maybe even a hag stone if you’re lucky enough to have one!

You could even have your fae altar outdoors. A nature altar would be quite similar to this, with colours of green and brown, maybe some plants or stuff you’ve found on nature walks… anything that connects you to Mother Earth. 

Goddess Altar

A goddess altar is a sacred space dedicated to honouring the divine feminine energy or a chosen goddess. Altars like this are used to make offerings, invoke her energy, seek guidance, and nurture your relationship with her. Here’s some things you might find on a goddess altar:

  • Rounded shapes to represent the feminine, like a chalice or cauldron. Large spherical crystals promote flowing, feminine energy as well.
  • Something to represent the feminine elements, earth and water; maybe some leaves or a small bowl of water.
  • Statues of a particular goddess, or a goddess candle to represent the divine feminine.
  • Flowers, dried or fresh, to enhance the feminine energy – plus, if you’re working with a particular deity you can find out what flowers they’re associated with.
  • Sacred goddess symbols like the moon or stars, circles or downward-pointed triangles, even the pentagram has been long associated with the sacred feminine.
  • Offerings to your chosen goddess, you can find out more about what offerings your deity would like with some research! In general, if you want to honour the divine feminine and offer thanks, a great way to do this is acts of service.
  • If you have a specific goddess put crystals that are associated with her on there; if you’re simply invoking divine feminine energy you could use rose quartz, selenite, amethyst, carnelian, or desert rose.
  • A mirror to symbolise self-reflection and the goddess’s connection to inner wisdom.
  • A place to put some jewellery to charge it with goddess energy, a selenite plate or a shell would be perfect for this.
  • Some soft fabrics to represent gentle goddess energy and the feminine connection to weaving.
  • Symbols of your chosen deity. For example, if Hecate is your goddess you might feature keys, or if Kali is your current guide you would have some red hibiscus on there.

Similarly, you could have an altar to honour the divine masculine. For this you would use colours like gold, and things to represent the masculine elements, fire and air. 

Lunar Altar

Lunar altars are used to connect to the moon, the energy her phases represent, and to hone your intuition. They often have a magical and emotional vibe to them – here are some items that are perfect for a moon altar:

  • Moon symbols and art to depict her and her energy in different phases.
  • Silver coloured candles and silver metalwork or jewellery.
  • A moon phase chart illustrating the different phases of the moon for reference.
  • Crystals associated with the moon like selenite or moonstone.
  • A vial of water charged by the moon’s energy during a specific phase (full moon water is great, but each phase can infuse the water with different energies).
  • Reflective surfaces like a mirror or scrying ball to symbolise the moon’s reflective power.
  • Books about moon magic, moon lore, and practices along with a journal for recording lunar insights.
  • White, blue, and silver colours to represent the feminine, calming, and intuitive powers of the moon.

Because each phase supports different energies, lunar altars are often dynamic spaces that change as the moon evolves. You could also have altars for different planets, as they all have different energies (Mars for strength, Jupiter for abundance, and so on). 

Shadow Work Altar

A shadow work altar is a deeply personal and introspective place designed to support you in exploring your inner depths and confronting aspects of yourself that might be hidden or kept suppressed. Here are some altar items to consider to support you in your shadow work journey and make it a safe and transformative experience:

  • Dark colours, black cloths and black candles – deep purples or blues are appropriate for this too.
  • A mirror to represent the reflective work you’re doing and the process of self-discovery.
  • A dedicated journal and pen (shadow work involves a lot of journaling, and it can help to record your insights after a session).
  • Tarot or oracle cards for guidance – there are many spreads that can help with introspection or even themed decks that offer deep reflection.
  • Offerings to shadow work deities. If you’ve chosen someone to work with during your shadow work, do some research into what has been offered to them traditionally. Some great shadow work deities are Kali, Persphone, Hecate, and Hel.
  • Personal mementos to represent aspects of yourself you wish to explore and integrate.
  • Emotional support things like tissues or loved photos to help with the hard parts.
  • Written affirmations and positive statements that counteract the negative self-talk that often emerges in the beginning of shadow work.
  • A plant to symbolise the growth you’re fostering, and to remind you to nurture yourself.
  • Crystals like obsidian, smoky quartz, apache tears, labradorite, and onyx to aid in grounding and confronting hidden truths; or healing crystals associated with self-acceptance and transformation like rose quartz, amethyst, or lepidolite.

Shadow work is a deep, intense, and ongoing process. Your sacred space should be somewhere you can express yourself without judgement – and remember to approach each session with compassion and self-love. 

Dreamwork Altar

A dreamwork altar is a calming and inspiring place where you can explore your dream experiences and harness your intuition. Here are some items that support the exploration of your inner wisdom while they enhance your dreams and connect you to the dream world:

  • A dedicated dream journal for recording dreams and insights upon waking, and a dream symbol dictionary or list.
  • Herbs that promote dream work like lavender, mugwort or rosemary.
  • A dream catcher to symbolise your practice, and protect you during dreamwork.
  • Sandalwood or chamomile incense to create a peaceful environment.
  • Meditation tools like eye masks, sound instruments, or relaxation tools to help you enter a dream-like state.
  • A small bowl of water to represent the fluid and intuitive nature of dreams.
  • Some dreamwork tea blends to sip before bedtime that promote vivid dreaming and help with dream recall.

This altar should be a place that nurtures your intuition and inner guidance; a space where you can explore the messages and insights that come to you in your dreams.

Manifestation Altar

An altar dedicated to manifestation magic should help you focus your intentions and energy on your goal. To create a powerful and motivating atmosphere, consider some of the following items:

  • A vision board with images, words, and symbols that represent your goals and aspirations.
  • Colours of green for abundance or gold for success, maybe even red for passion – this can be items, fabrics, or candles.
  • Crystals that resonate with manifestation energy like citrine, clear quartz, pyrite.
  • Affirmations with positive messages that reinforce your desires and help shift your mindset.
  • A manifestation journal to write down goals and track progress.
  • Cinnamon, frankincense or patchouli are uplifting incenses and oils that will align your energy with your intentions.
  • Symbols like cornucopia for abundance, or a lucky coin – really anything that speaks to your and achieving your desires.
  • A crystal ball to scry and meditate with, visualising your success (this can also be done with a mirror or a flame).
  • Numerology chart to help you choose meaningful numbers when you’re making decisions about reaching your goals.

This should be a dynamic space that you can interact with regularly. It acts as a visual representation of your desires and goals, and an anchor for your energy as you work towards them.

Like I said – altars can be for anything: a chosen pantheon, a type of witchcraft you’re practising, an energy you’d like to invoke… and if the altar decor you’re after isn’t on here, you get the basic idea. Choose crystals and colours that go with your theme, choose items that you can use for connecting with that energy, things that represent it to help anchor your focus, and – as always – trust your intuition. 

The magic is yours to weave, the energy is yours to channel, and the adventure is yours to embrace.

Jade is a shadow worker and lunar witch, an experienced witchcraft facilitator, and hosts the 8-week High Priestess course: Dedicant.