Tag Archives: Tools

Mixed family altar

Not all pagan keep permanent altars in their homes, and sometimes its because not everyone follows the same path. You can, however, provide a mixed family altar where everyone can combine their beliefs in one place.

You will need;

Mutual respect. Even if someone is Christian, you should respect that path and if they wish to set up a cross or similar religious symbol. Sharing respect strengthens family bonds, and helps encourage one another in their spiritual path.

Candles. If you worry about fire, you can also use the flameless candles. Its for the mood, to symbolize enlightening and energy.

Offering plate (or bowl, basket or other container). Here is where family can put prayers, promises, offerings, and other items in a single space for the Divine. I would suggest including a small pad of paper with pencil so members can jot down words when the need arises.

Offerings can often take many forms such as food, drink, incense, prayers, promises, shiny things, and intentions. You could even put money, and then the family can vote on where to send and which charity.

Season and holiday symbols. For instance, a spring altar might include eggs, flowers, but also crosses, and symbols of Christ’s resurrection.  A winter solstice them can include symbols of the god, but also a nativity scene.

The family altars becomes a special place where members can individually or as a group, gather together for prayer and spiritual expression.


Some handy altar tips


Not everyone gets the expensive altar tools, so I figured it would be nice to share a few ideas I’ve used over the years with the focus on altars, altar tools, and ritual.

  • Use sand in containers. Using sand helps keep incense sticks and cones from toppling over in containers. This allows you to use any container, such as a bowl or cup, to keep the incense burning. You can also use with candles to prevent from falling over, plus the sand catches the melting wax. You could also add a small Zen garden if you follow some of the Zen beliefs in your practice.
  • Cleaning wax with ice. Melted wax was the bane of my existence until I discovered the use of ice or anything cold helps remove it. Put ice in a plastic bag and lay on top of melted wax, or add an item covered in wax in your freezer. Leftover wax shrinks and pops out of containers very easily. You can also option by using a hair dryer to melt the wax and wipe up with a paper towel or old newspaper.
  • Using oil. Whether its an essential oil or just vegetable oil, wiping some of your tools down will help keep wax and dirt from them. Its sort of a coating to protect them. This doesn’t mean, however, you get away with not cleaning them periodically.
  • Makes tools from salt dough. You can finds plenty of homemade recipes to make containers, figurines, pentacle tiles, candle holders, and so forth out of basic salt dough or baking soda. If you make them, you could then color-coordinate them with paint. I’ve added mica powder to give it a pearl like hue.

  • Use paper clips as stands. I saw this post and thought “Hey, I could make small stand up graphics for ritual’” which would take the place of having statues (which I can’t afford). Use a bigger clip for large graphics.

Check this out:

The Care and Feeding of Your Wicca Altar- very nice tips and ideas. Includes lots of information on tools, altars, and use of them.

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Divination: Scrying

 One method of divination (to foresee or be inspired by the Divine), utilizes things like a crystal ball or candle to find visions. You can also use bowls of water, a black mirror, and other reflective or shiny things.

My own experience include the use of a crystal ball (see photo above). It once sat in a large pewter dragon I had- until a cat knocked it off, broke the dragon, and made a tiny scratch on the crystal ball. No matter. It still works. I found the vision that appeared was of a woman’s face. I didn’t recognize her or know who or what she was. I also saw a scene fill the ball that was an open meadow. Again, it didn’t seem to offer much in the way of meaning to me, so I think it was simply the random ‘noise’ the brain creates when you first get started.

It takes practice and patience.

How to Scry? The method of scrying isn’t a special ability a person has, although I suppose, some people might find it easier than others to see visions. 

Quiet the mind. Finding stillness, and ‘empty mind’, helps with finding visions. You need to clear the ‘noise’ your mind will feed you, and if you wish to find visions with meaning, you need to remove the traits that will mess up any messages the Divine (high power, or Higher Self) wishes to give to you.

Meditation and using deep, long breaths can help with practice to master the quiet mind.

Once the mind is still, thoughts, sensations, and visions will bubble up. Its the brain’s method of staying busy, of getting bored and giving you things from the sub-conscious. Many of the things you will see are likely to make little sense to you, or appear random. Sometimes fears may manifest at this time as well, which are insecurities or doubts.


Scrying Mirror are generally glass painting black. You can find ones with or without frames, or make your own by finding glass picture frame and painting the one side black.

 Scrying bowls can be of any size or color, but generally the color black is preferred. It makes contents within the bowl appear bottomless. With a scrying bowl you can also add oils to form shapes on top of water, or use other substances such as mead, spring or rain water, oil, and other material.

Crystal balls are tools that people think of for scrying, although they don’t have to be crystal or even clear. Some people prefer facets to give shape to vision, or provide properties to whatever goal of the vision is hoped for. For instance, a Tiger’s Eye orb might provide vision in goals, while a dark Obsidian would be for strength and protection.


Crystal Clusters, of any type, also provides similar form and function for scrying.  While not having the smooth surface of orbs, the fractals often provide a method to find vision. Size, color, and properties vary, so you’ll have to consider what you need and what ‘feels right’ to you.

Smoke from incense, fire/coals, or smudging also offers a method to ‘scry’.  I find the cones and loose incense on charcoal work best for this.

Candles or fire in any form such as an open campfire or coals, also works great for scrying. This is the easiest and cheapest ‘tool’ for scrying.

Remember that none of the tools are really necessary since the ability to gain vision comes from within. I find, however, that using one of the tools (you’ll need to find which ones works best for you), can help set the mind into the proper mindset to gain visions.

What method do you use, if you scry? Have you ever tried? Did you find you were successful?