maintaining

Book Review: The Witch’s Altar The Craft, Lore and Magick of Sacred Space By Laura Tempest Zackroff and Jason Mankey

December, 2018

Book Review:

The Witch’s Altar

The Craft, Lore and Magick of Sacred Space

By Laura Tempest Zackroff and Jason Mankey

As someone with many altars strewn about my home, I was happy to have the opportunity to read this book.

Whether for a beginner or someone with many year’s experience with Wicca/Witchcraft/Paganism, this book will help you in setting up, designing and maintaining your altars.

Just perusing the Table of Contents makes you aware that the two authors know exactly what they are talking about, as they have many years of wisdom and knowledge both individually and collectively.

It is a very reader-friendly book, conversational and easy-to-read with much information packed between its covers.

The book starts by relating different kinds of altars, i.e. shrines, temples, sanctuaries, etc., with descriptions for each.

The history of altars is here beginning with those first caves and stones, what they contain(ed) and how altars became one of the magical tools most relied upon.

All of the details are present from what an altar is, what it is for and how to build one. Since there are various reasons to build one, the authors discuss the specifics, such as what activity you will be using it for, such as devotion, ritual, spell-work. This includes tips on deciding where to build it, keeping in mind what you are looking to do.

Specific altars are always reviewed, such as, daily and seasonal altars, as well as outdoor altars and devotional altar dedicated to specific diety(ies).

One of the things I liked most about this book was how each author readily shared personal experiences with the reader.

Of specific interest was the section regarding altars for the dead and ancestral altars, something I have not read much about in other books. The information was fascinating and propelled me to make my own ancestral altar.

For those of you who travel, locally and abroad, there is a section on travel altars, whether to set up at a hotel, or to have with you on a daily basis in your own personal vehicle. This includes digital altars, a concept I would never have even considered.

Some of the topics had me thinking “oh, yes, I had not thought of that”, such as dealing with our animal companions climbing all over our altars, other people who feel the need to touch, and how to dispose of altar items that are no longer needed/wanted.

This highly informative book is also interspersed with recipes both magickal and mundane, include spellwork, prayers, chants, blessings.

At the end of each chapter is a section called “Altar-natives”, which features witchy friends of the authors adding their wisdom; in fact, giving us ideas from numerous people. A nice touch.

Allowing for the disclaimer that I personally know Tempest, I would like to say that I highly recommend this book – friendly, informative, enjoyable.

The Witch’s Altar: The Craft, Lore & Magick of Sacred Space (The Witch’s Tools Series) on Amazon

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About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon

MagickalArts

August, 2018

Let freedom Ring-Part Two

The Cosmic Horae: Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

The Executors of Divine Order

Dike(Order) – Eunomia(Justice) – Eirene(Peace)

Dike: Hora of Order

Themis’ daughters are the seeds of extension for maintaining what has been decreed within the heavens. These are the controls that remand the individual to the laws of karmic order when encountered at death by their mother Themis. Their attributes are the affirmation of cosmic and earthly law being reflections of the same dynamics of order and balance that are upheld in both heavenly and earthly matters.

Dike, in her role as keeper of justice and order made judgment of the moral order of humanity. Dike is often associated with the astrological sign of the Virgin, Virgo. The analytical and careful attention to detail being the primary energy called upon to maintain moral order and justice for all mankind. Hers was the responsibility to ensure that man acted in accord with right action and bestow swift punishment for any infringement, especially in the case of one who was acting as judge and counsel.

The Greek poet, Hesiod speaks of Dike in this way in his epic poem, Works and Days:


“Listen to right and do not foster violence; for violence is bad for a poor man. Even the prosperous cannot easily bear its burden, but is weighed down under it when he has fallen into delusion. The better path is to go by on the other side towards justice; for Dike (Justice) beats Hybris (Outrage) when she comes at length to the end of the race. But only when he has suffered does the fool learn this. For Horkos (Horcus, Oath) keeps pace with wrong judgments. There is a noise when Dike (Justice) is being dragged in the way where those who devour bribes and give sentence with crooked judgments, take her. And she, wrapped in mist, follows to the city and haunts of the people, weeping, and bringing mischief to men, even to such as have driven her forth in that they did not deal straightly with her. But they who give straight judgments to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but lightheartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.”

Eunomia: Hora of Justice

Eunomia exerted her power as provider of governance of justice through good law. Legislation, judicial determination and their processes and the ultimate outcome of enforcing those determinations made were her specialty. Eunomia’s name is used to describe the “principle of good order”. Her image was often painted on vases and in the company of Aphrodite as a reminder of the need for lawful action in matters of the heart, marriage and loving relationship.

Eunomia was the mother of the three Graces; Aglaea (Grace and Beauty), Euphrosyn (Good Cheer, Mirth and Merriment), and Thalia (Festivities and Banquets). Again, we see the disbursement of the mother’s gifts flowing through the Graces, each needing the space of governance to ensure neither excess nor poverty in their expression.

Demosthenes, the prominent Greek statesman speaks of Eunomia in his rhetoric, Against Aristogeiton :

“You must magnify Eunomia (the Goddess of Order) who loves what is right and preserves every city and every land; and before you cast your votes, each juryman must reflect that he is being watched by hallowed and inexorable Dike (Justice), who, as Orpheus, that prophet of our most sacred mysteries, tells us, sits beside the throne of Zeus and oversees all the works of men. Each must keep watch and ward lest he shame that goddess, from whom everyone that is chosen by lot derives his name of juror, because he has this day received a sacred trust from the laws, from the constitution, from the fatherland,–the duty of guarding all that is fair and right and beneficial in our city.”

Eirene: Hora of Peace

Eirene was the personification of peace. Hers was the final blessing of the action of rightful justice exacted in a lawful way with resolution that would ultimately restore and disperse the Divine Justice of her mother, Themis. So great was her influence that the citizens of Athens set up an altar and erected a votive statue to her in the Agora of Athens. The statue shows her as a young beautiful woman holding the infant Ploutos (the God of wealth) in her arm. In artwork she is also depicted carrying a cornucopia, the symbol of the abundance that may be gathered when peace rules every action.

The poet, Hesiod describes Eirene in this way:


“But they who give straight judgments [i.e. those who invoke the goddess Dike (Justice)] to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but hardheartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.”

Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

There is much we can learn from the Horae and much we can apply to the way in which we live today. The principles of lawful order and justice for all of humanity remain the same. The desire for a peaceful coexistence and the balance and Karmic blessings that are the products is still a dream for many. Remembering the work of the Horae and the natural cycles that surround and are in support of a balanced and orderly life are the beginning steps towards establishing Themis, or Divine order. Taking time to honor and show devotion to the order that is established within your life already and then seeing it grow and extend exponentially into every facet of your life’s work, much like the energy imparted in the daughters of Themis and Zeus, will feed the archetypal energy of these Deities and draw the power of their pursuits back into balancing chaos and discord.

And, the ultimate blessing will be that of knowing the peace of living a life that has come full cycle in embracing the cycles of the seasons, the will of the fates and scales at life’s end of Themis.

References:

1. Hesiod, Works and Days 212 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :

2. Demosthenes, Against Aristogeiton 25. 11 (Greek rhetoric C4th B.C.) :
3. Hesiod, Works & Days – Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.