Circle of the Owl and Kestrel Altar Setup

Our Altar setup is based on the traditional Blue Star altar with alterations made according to the needs of our tradition. It is round and placed in the center of the ritual space. For the purposes of demonstration, the photographs below picture the altar in front of a backdrop. The altar is both beautiful and complex, with several layers of religious symbolism. Begin with this altar and once you have learned the setup and understand the symbolism behind it, you can experiment with other altar setups. There are many ways you can set up your altar and I have included variations for you to examine.

Begin with selecting a candlestick for the center of the altar. the candlestick has three candles, with the center candle higher than the others.  Place the candelabra in a north/south direction. That will place the God candle in the south and the Goddess candle in the north. The center candle is the Union candle. If you do not have a candelabra, you can use two candlesticks or holders that are low with one that stands higher, placing the higher candlestick between the smaller ones.

Next select your god and goddess symbols. these can be something that has a sign or symbol relating to that deity on it, a figure of the animal associated with the deity, something of nature associated with the deity, or something that infers masculinity or femininity, such as special or unusual stone. Place the goddess symbol below and to the west of the goddess candle. Place the god symbol below and to the east of the god candle (in other words by the appropriate candle, but out of the way of dripping wax).

For each of the quarters you will have three items: a symbol, the element and the tool for that quarter. The east quarter is where the priest stands. For this altar, in the east, I have used a feather for the symbol, which will also be used to smudge the circle, the incense, and the athame.

In our altar setup, we like to avoid redundancy, so for the south quarter, we try to find something other than fire for the symbol. In this case, a crystal is used. Crystals direct energy and, in a magickal sense, energy is a form of fire. For the element, use a small red votive. The tool for south is the wand. In this quarter, we also place tools to be used by the priestess, such as the candle snuffer, a small candle to light the other candles and matches or an electronic lighter to light the Union candle.

The west quarter is where the priestess stands. For this quarter the symbol is a shell, the element water, and the tool is the chalice. In the north quarter the symbol is a rock that looks like a miniature cavern, the element is earth, represented by sea salt and the tool is the pentagram.

On our altar, we also place symbols in the cross quarters. Between east and south we place a bell, used to help call the deities. Between south and west is the platen, or food dish. Between west and north is the libation bowl and between north and east is a living plant or something to represent a living plant.

I have also included among the photos, several samples of alternate altars. In the center, you can use a five candle candelabra and use the four quarter candles to call the quarters. In this case, the person standing in the quarter would call the quarter and light that candle. Another very nice alternative is an altar piece designed by Oberon Zell that is a labyrinth with figures of the god and goddess in the center. When the deities are lain flat, they complete the labyrinth and when they are standing in their slots, there is a place to put a candle or votive.

Other simple altars use only tools, with or without specific deity symbols. If you are unable to use candles where your altar is set up, you can put the god and goddess symbols in the center of the altar or a large crystal. If your space is limited or if you are traveling, you might want to consider getting a small collapsable table. For this, you may wish to acquire or make diminutive tools that are in proportion to the altar.

Altar Setup


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