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.
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 [email protected]