Most websites dedicated to Witchcraft, or any other form of the occult, contain a area dedicated to tools that one can use for rituals, spells, or other actions or effects. This will be no different, however some may be more strict in their requirement of you to have certain objects and items for specific uses. This will not be as such, and will be written with as many suggestions, and also an opinion or two to help you make better choices based up on your situation, need, and ability.
The Altar, one of the most sought for items at the beginning of ones path, is actually one of the easiest to gain. The Altar, the focal point for many in their rituals and workings, is something of a misnomer in its importance, and sometimes looked at with a little more reverence than it is indeed due. This listing will not be just about an altar, or what you should do to get one – but rather help you in your quest to evolve in the path you have chosen -
Regardless of what that may be -
The Altar, is used in the activities of many of not only The Satanic Bible’s different rituals, but also some written about by other occult authors such as Konstantinos, and others. Although many have written about it vaguely, merely stating that you should have a certain set up of candles at least, and maybe some symbols relevant to your choosing – they are still described as a ornate symbol of your devotion, and can become that in time and through much effort.
The Altar serves not only as a place to hold your ritual items, symbols, and other tools – it also functions as a focal point of your Magical, Spiritual, and mental energy – from all of the power you invest in it, the workings you perform on or near it, and the willpower you imbue onto it. IT can become symbolic of your strength, and a place of great energy and power – whether you are a Spiritual, Theistic, or LaVeryan Satanist – it is someplace that you will be close to – even when you are far away from it.
Some Basic Ideas
There are many opinions on the set up, and design of what a Satanic Altar should look like. The Satanic Bible, suggested that the Satanic altar should be a naked woman whenever possible, and that this was to represent the carnal roots of Satanism, and the idea that the religion of man had made our own carnal desires sinful. This is in line, with LaVeyan Satanism, which is Atheistic in nature, and indulgent in action.
Another description, on if a woman is not available, or impractical for the Altar, then a special Trapezoidal altar may be used for ritual work. Although this is yet another possibility, I am unsure if the average Satanist will be able to come up with, or make, an altar of such shape and recommended requirements.
Should you not be able to accommodate the above suggestions, this is not the end of all hope for the prospect of your having a Satanic Altar. Other Occult paths have similarities in the respect of an Altar – some having ornate suggestions involving Crystals, or other items, however the set up of your altar is completely up to you.
Below are some ideas that may get you started on a path to a functioning altar if that is your wish -
Although you may think of an altar as a large stone or heavy wooden structure, that looks as if it was carved from an ancient tree or mountain, an average table no bigger than a nightstand or card table can function just as well. The average coffee table can work as well, unless your rituals are performed in more of a standing posture than that of sitting or kneeling. If you are one whom likes to do your rituals and workings more from the standing posture, you may be able to find a drafting table. They come in a variety of sizes and designs, ranging from elaborate to self built plywood set ups. You do not have to buy any, nor am I advertising for the website, but some ideas can be found HERE.
Perhaps you now have a table that you have decided to make your altar – lets now stop thinking of it as a ‘table’ and from henceforth only call it your altar. (This will help in the charging of it with magic and spiritual energy, as you are already associating it with power and ritual) As you look at your altar, look at the design of it, the colors and the markings. PErhaps it has some sort of damage on its surface that makes it not as appealing to look at as you would hope – or perhaps it is a brand new item you purchased or built yourself – regardless of its age, or condition, take in the entire look of it, and decide what you feel or wish it to look like. Perhaps you wish to see it draped in a long black cloth, or another color you find empowering – regardless of your preferences, it is very simple to do this without spending a lot of money – if you need to at all.
Most towns or cities, have an arts and crafts store within them, and these stores often have a large section of fabric that can be purchased for a fairly reasonable prices. (To decide what you truly want, you may have to look around at the selection, and then decide based on what you feel is appropriate as well as cost effective for you) Purchasing the fabric direct, is much cheaper than ordering from an occult store or other source. These covers, can then be modified through embroidery (if you know how, or have a shop in your area that is willing to do it for you) or staining to have the symbolism and design that you truly want – and then you have the ability to have much more power in the altar – as you had a hand in its very creation. You can use any symbols you feel empowered by, whether it be a serpent, baphomet, pentagram or other symbol. The Sword – When reading The Satanic Bible, one sees in the ritual descriptions and ideas the use of a sword – the symbol of might and power for thousands of years. This item, although a treasure coveted by most if not all Satanist’s, is not a necessity – and should not be taken as such.
Use of a sword, is to symbolize might, and function as a way to focus the energy of ones magic, will, or used as charged with the power of Satan (or other Infernal Deity of choice). When starting out to set up ones Altar, it is not required to have a sword, and if you are not 18, it may even be illegal for you to posses one, let alone own one.If you are unable to purchase or posses a sword, either because of you age, local laws, finances, or unavailability in your area, then you may find an alternative. You can use a staff, wand, or even finger armor. Regardless of your choice, the item can be used in the place of a sword, and can be just as effective, even if not as fancy.
NOTE: Check you local laws before trying to purchase a sword of any kind, regardless of your age – some localities may restrict the type or size of the sword, and even the age required to own/posses one. The Temple of Theistic Satanism does not condone breaking any law in order to obtain a sword.
In many different books, rituals, and other websites, you can see mention of the use of a dagger – or Athame, in rituals and magical workings. This is something that can be looked at as similar to the sword in its uses, although some writings may claim that they are even used for drawing blood.
If you do not have the ability to purchase a full fledged athame, or dagger – you can use the same principle as mentioned in regards to the sword – If you are able to acquire a hunting knife, (depending on your situation, this may be easier than a sword) you by all intents and purposes can use a hunting knife. In such a case, I would not use the hunting knife for hunting once you begin its life as an athame, however this is just my opinion on the reverence of the ritual tools.
NOTE: If you are looking for an athame in regards to using your own blood in a ritual or working of any kind, I would personally NOT recommend using an athame. Instead, I would recommend a clean and disinfected razor, OR needle. The reason is because despite Christian opinion, you DO NOT need large amounts of blood, and technically you do not need any at all. It is a personal preference to use such – even if a spell requires such for a part of yourself to be mixed into the working, you may even use your own spit in place of the blood. It is not the dark ages any more, and we now know that the blood is just that – blood – it is not a mystical liquid. DRAW BLOOD AT YOUR OWN RISK – DO NOT claim to be representative of Satanism or the Occult, and do not be surprised if you are under age and get sent to a doctor for such practices. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!
In every aspect of occult information, whether it be on your altar, or spread around your home/room, candles are mentioned almost constantly. As you may know, there are many different types of candles, some big some small – ornate candles with a Baphomet carved into it, or otherwise ordinary candles. The type of candle you choose to use is completely up to you, and the colors are almost as flexible.
Within Satanism, and more broadly the Occult in general, black candles have been popularly associated with most workings, (perhaps more so in Satanism than the occult) due to their symbolism and power. The color black, is typically associated with strength, protection and the dark energy of the Black Flame, but not evil. Using black candles is one way to bring more power into your workings, but it is not the only powerful color you can use.
Red, is also a powerful color, being a symbol not only of fire (as all candles technically are as they are used through fire anyway) but also a symbol of raw energy, and in times of necessity, anger. Red can also be used to foment strength, as well as protection.
The rest of your choices are up to you – as there may be another color you wish to use, such as purple for its psychic properties, or silver for its mental properties. You can use as many or as little candles as you wish – make them yourself, or otherwise. Black candles can sometimes be difficult to come across, as the majority of people will see them as unnecessary and either not want them sold nearby, or will not sell them in their stores. It can be touch and go when looking for such things, and even finding an Occult supply shop can be an arduous task.
Symbols can be the most heavily debated part of ones altar or ritual area. There are almost as many occult symbols as their are occult practitioners, ranging from general symbols like the Pentagram or Pentacle, to sigils and personally designed seals. These can be significant for their designated purposes, meant for certain rituals, or open certain doorways – however whatever the case may be, some are merely chosen based upon the personal selection of the individual.
The Satanist, is most often associated with the upside down star within a circle, and often containing a goats head within the star. This is known as the Sigil of Baphomet, when it contains the Hebrew script for Leviathan within a ring around it. Although it can be used without the lettering, the principle design is the same. Some, do not use the symbol as such, and settle for a mere Pentagram, which is the upside down star within a circle.
A pentagram, is a five point star, with the single point turned down, and the two bottom points turned up within a circle. This has been described as being defiant as horns jutting up towards the heavens, and as a symbol of bringing the power of the cosmos/universe down to mankind. I personally prefer the second description, as it fits with my path – however the choice is yours on how you see the symbol.
A pentacle, is a five point star, in the upright position, also within a circle. Most often associated with Paganism, or more frequently Wicca, it has been described as the opposite of the Pentagram, and also symbolic of the goddess by some people. Regardless of the description by different people, I have used this symbol to represent the sending of power/energy away or to an entity or deity. (Note: This is not to say that a deity would need my own energy, however I personally feel that it is something that I should do, and it is not required or deemed necessary for everyone) Using a pentacle as such does not mean you are NOT a Satanist, and it is free to be used at your discretion, or not at all.
A common theme of the star, is its symbolism of knowledge and power – as well as representing the elements, as well as the Crown Princes of Hell (as per The Satanic Bible) or other deities/entities. Another use of the pentagram or pentacle is in banishing rituals, blessings, invocations/evocations, and other activities. They can be used to bring protection or destruction, as well as open a doorway or seal one shut. They are a powerful item, and something that I recommend each and every Satanist (and occultist for that matter) have in some form or another.
The pentagram/pentacle can also be used a jewelry, decoration, and other things of the sort. They are typically recognizable by most within the general public as ‘our symbol’, and for the public to see them worn proudly is a small way to gain more respect. As jewelry, they can also double as charms, that we have charged with the power of our magic, Satan (or other Infernal Deity or Deity of choice) to increase our abilities inside, and outside the ritual area.
While this is by no means an all inclusive list of the tools and items one can have around and upon the altar – it is some suggestions that you can take and use as you see fit. Whether you wish to include a gong, or bell, a skull or snake, the complete design and layout is totally up to you, Some people include incense burners, cauldrons and even dark mirrors – they all contribute to the personal thoughts, beliefs, paths and preferences of the practitioner.
Other Ritual Items
This section covers items that may or may not be included around your altar. These are items you may use during, before, or after your spells and workings. The reason these are as such, is because the magical power that one holds, and the activities that one performs, are just as important as those performed on or near your altar. Magic and the power of Satan is not tied to your altar, nor your ritual area – these are just special places where this energy can be focused.
Magic garb, is something that one wears during rituals and other magical activity. Perhaps you have a cloak that you use during meditation or ritual, this can also be worn outside of such actions for the benefit of the practitioner.
The Satanic Bible indicates that a Satanist should wear a black hooded robe, inside the ritual chamber – (it also implies that women should dress provocatively when at all possible.) regardless of the source of your information, a black hooded robe or cape is something that most Satanists look to have, and use for such purposes. These can also be charged with a protective energy, and can be worn outside of your rituals, and other times.
There are other colors (as mentioned under Candles above) that represent different energy and ability – so your cape or robe can reflect these as well. Perhaps you do not have access to a cape or robe, but you are able to come into a trench coat or other black (or the color of your choice) apparel that you wish to use in the above mentioned manner.. This is indeed acceptable, as it is not necessarily about the actual clothes you wear, but what is in them. You and the power they contain is what is most important.
In day to day life, some think that a Satanist should always wear black, or imitate Goth Pop Culture. While there is nothing wrong with these philosophies, it is not a requirement. A Satanist can dress however they deem appropriate, and what ever is comfortable for them. You should never be afraid to show who or what you are, when it is safe enough to do so.
A Grimoire/Book of Shadows
The journal, spell book, and outlet for the Satanic/Occult mind, is something that most people within the community should posses. Some have said that such a book is secret and only to be used and viewed by its owner, and others have said it can be the opposite. I find this to be personal preference, as it can be just as powerful either way.
They can be used to chronicle the rituals of the practitioner, the spells that one has written – even the Satanic or Occult musings that one may have. It is a special item, that can give more power to your workings, as well as help you maintain an organized pattern in your actions and workings. They are optional, but many people like to keep such a record.
There are many items that one can use, and adapt to their own purposes. There is no set requirement of what one should use, and no one can say that their opinion on what can be used is more important than another. It is all up to the person to decide what they wish to use.
Spell Specific Items
You may, in the course of your journey and searches find certain spells and rituals that are written in such a way that they require some things you may not have – perhaps a certain form of herb or wood that represents something in particular, and this is normal. However, there is nothing set in stone saying that you MUST have these items.
The typical occult store may have generally all of the crystals, stones, herbs, incenses or other things you may need, however they are not always necessary.
In magic, there is sometimes too much significance placed on ‘stuff’ rather than the power itself. An item can be charged with energy, or set aside for certain uses, or even assigned certain properties without it being a specific item. Sometimes, the act of associating an item with a certain property, or benefit, is enough to endow it with that property.
For example, let us say that you need a lucky coin or other item for a certain objective or outcome – this is simple to accomplish, as all you need to do is come up with the item you wish to use, and then dedicate it, either through meditating on it, or even performing a small ritual with it. Some people have had success just determining it to be for its certain purpose, and that having the necessary power for it.
You may come across a spell asking for pictures of items or people, drawings, or certain types of paper, herbs or other things. The best way to handle these situations, is to get the closest you can find to what is recommended. You may be able to get the exact request, but if not you can perform the same spell or ritual without much modification. Always remember that it is the magic and power behind the spell and ritual – not just the stuff you use in it. A Final Note
Whether you are invoking a spirit or casting a spell, you do not have to take everything that someone says as the best way to accomplish your goals. Whether they claim to be the best magician in the world, the most powerful wizard, or endowed with power from Satan Himself, always remember that any thing is possible for almost anyone who attempts to try hard enough.
When someone claims that Satan has chosen them to be the ‘best of the best’, always remember that Satan does not play favorites, and He empowers those who are loyal and devout to Him. Take your time, and be vigilant. Use your imagination and some common sense along the way, and you will become a veteran at the Dark Arts, and the Black Flame will burn just as strong within you, as in me.
De Ortu Populi Satanae!
James L. Nicholson II