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A Wiccan altar is typically a piece of furniture, such as a table or chest, upon which a Wiccan practitioner places several symbolic and functional items for the purpose of worshiping the God and Goddess, casting spells, and/or saying chants and prayers. Upon the altar typically rests a cloth, used to protect the surface from damage by candle wax, spilled liquid, or dust from burnt incense. This cloth is often adorned by a pentacle, or other spiritual symbol.
The altar is often considered a personal place where practitioners put their ritual items. Some practitioners may keep various religious items upon the altar, or they may use the altar and the items during their religious workings. The left side of the altar is considered the Goddess area; feminine or yonic symbols such as bowls and chalices, as well as Goddess representations and statues and the Goddess candle are normally kept to the left side of the altar. The right side is designated for the God; phallic symbols such as the athame and the wand are placed to the right side, as well as God statuary and his candle. The center area is sometimes called the both area or the working area. In the center of the altar is kept the main symbols of the Wiccan faith, the cauldron and the pentacle. This is also the area where the Book of Shadows or working material is kept during ritual, and where spellcrafting takes place.
Most altars generally are arranged the same, particularly in Wicca and Wiccan-based practices, with an altar representing all four elements and directions. In the North the earth element is represented; in the east is air, in the south is fire, and in the west is water. These elements can be represented in various ways but generally do not alter in elemental and directional correspondences. When placing items on an altar or when "calling on the elements" (a practice involving inviting the elements to be a part of the circle and lend their power) a practitioner will move deosil (clockwise or sunwise) and when dismissing the elements they will move widdershins (counter-clockwise).
Common items on a Wiccan altar include:
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