I am lucky enough to have several permanent altars in my home, including one that is dedicated entirely for honoring several healing Goddesses; this altar is where I go when doing any healing magic or when praying for healing. I have decided to share my own altars here and hope that others find it useful to see examples of how one person sets up and uses altars in a modern context.
|Healing altar dedicated to Brighid, Airmed, and Eir|
My Druidic altar is probably the most complex of all the altars I have. It includes images of several of the deities I honor, including the three Morrigan, Nuada, and the Matronas. I also include my ancestors and the daoine sidhe, symbols of sea, earth, and sky, my many wands, a ritual blade, mortar and pestles, and a cauldron. Additionally I decorate each altar for the holiday I am celebrating; for example in the picture of my Samhain altar you will see Jack o'Lantern tea light holders. To represent sea, earth, and sky I have three small cauldrons: one holds shells I have collected at the beach, one holds sacred earth from various locations, and the third is used to burn incense in. The fourth and largest cauldron on my altar usually holds a triple wicked candle, but is also used to burn ritual offerings in. I am very fond of using wands and I have more than half a dozen in different woods and styles; I also have two bronze rituals blades that are used for several purposes including in healing work and for collecting herbs. The mortar and pestles are used for making incense, for the most part. Since we have few details on what, exactly, a Druid's altar in antiquity would have looked like I have given myself a lot of creative liberty in designing my own - the biggest and most obvious difference from what we do know historically is that my altar is inside, not outside in a grove of trees or other sacred place. I do have an outdoor altar, but it is a very simple stone altar, used for outdoor rituals or offerings.
|A Druid's altar set for Samhain|
In contrast my Kindred's altar, which takes a more Heathen approach is fairly simple. We have a shelf for images of the Gods we honor most often: Artio, Njord, Freya, Odin, the Norns, Frigga, Thor, and Freyr. The shelf itself has been decorated with Pennsylvania Dutch style Hex signs and runes. On the actual altar there is a drinking horn and cup, an offering bowl, incense burner, smaller offering bowl for food offerings, rune set, and symbolic Mjolnir.
|Altar to Odin|
|an altar honoring the daoine sidhe|