Changing Altars: Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch

I believe in seasonal altar change. I have been changing my altar and sacred space since I was a little girl, inspired by my mother, who does the same. With every new season, she would open the windows wide, allow the coming energies to twirl within the home and carefully, almost in a meditative state, adjust her altar. It was magical to watch her, consumed by the wind, gazing lovingly at every detail, her presence became one with the moment as if she were communicating with the new season’s breath in stillness. I remember the first time she allowed me to help her. It was right after the spring. I had just turned 6, and the warmth of summer had arrived. I always know when the seasons are here by my senses; they are old friends of mine. She asked me to head to the garden and bring in summer. I thought to myself, bring in summer? Without saying a word, she heard my thoughts, she always heard my thoughts–it runs in the family. She said: go out and bring in anything that reminds you of your elder, summer. Yes, she calls the seasons “elders.” We are indigenous to the Island of Cuba; Natives whose religion is the Earth and Stars. 

I went off to our yard and grabbed a small basket, a basket we use for harvesting, it still had some dandelions in it from when we went off to collect them for some tea and medicinal remedies. I walked around and felt as if the winds were guiding me, and I felt my elders pulling me along the path of flowers and nudging me to pick up some unusual things like dirt, fallen berries, bark, moss, stones, and even a ladybug. I ran upstairs, excited to show her what I had gathered. First I handed her the roses I cut, along with fresh sage and lavender. She looked at me and nodded with a smile then said “mmm these, smell just like summer, don’t they?”

Then I handed her the stones, moss, and ladybug. She didn’t question these selections. She placed the stones, added the moss on top of the rocks, sprayed the moss with a little water, and then put the ladybug on top of the moss. “She will bless the altar and then fly back to her home, you just brought life into the house. The stones vibrate with spirit, the moss is alive and will keep growing over the rocks, and the ladybug brought her essence into the altar. Good job mija (mija means daughter).” 

Then I gave her the dirt, bark, and fallen berries. She put them all in a mortar and pestle and asked me to blend them. As I started to smash and blend the smells filled my heart with so much medicine. It smelled like a summery Earth. I just made my first blend of incense. She lit charcoal and placed some of the fresh incense onto it, and the smells filled the room with grounding, loving, and happy energies. Her table cloth was a bright yellow, and she placed seashells, river pebbles, river water, and even sand on her altar. Not only did it look beautiful, it felt like summer.

Changing your altar and/or sacred space each season helps amplify not only the altars energies but my magical workings as well. As a natural Earth Witch, I honor the changing seasons and celebrate them.  It brings in new life to your sacred space and inspires Magick to move, reawaken. Changing your altar does not have to be a daunting task; in fact, it should be one of those moments that connect you to your inner Magick more deeply. 

Different colors have meaning, energies within themselves, so do different scents, incense, and flowers. These changes will connect to current energies and bring your Magick to the next level. Below I share a few simple ways to change your altar for each season that is both simple and powerful. 

It is essential to keep in mind that you don’t have to change a thing. Your space is just that, yours. Sacred to you. If you feel that changing it through the seasons doesn’t work for you, then don’t. However, I do recommend you give it a try and determine what works and doesn’t. I change the colors, crystals, incense, candles, flowers, and pretty much anything decor wise and tools to shift its energies. Depending on where you live, you should have a good sense of your location’s seasonal changes and energies. Not everyone will be the same. 

Here are a few ways to adjust your altar for each season. 

Summer

Summer is a time to reach for the light. The element to work with is fire. Magical workings to do at this time are love, passion, growth, success, wealth, creativity, sexuality, communication with nature spirits and healing. 

Altar changes: 

Symbols: the Sun, yellow candles, flowers (particularly roses and sunflowers), river stones, seashells, sand, water from a river or ocean. 

Colors: Green, yellow, gold, red

Herbs and other plants: nettle, vervain, lavender, thyme, fern, yarrow, St.Johns Wort, oak, fennel

Incense: sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh, amber, copal, musk

Crystals and Gems: emerald, jade, gold, sunstone

Autumn

A time to reach for higher connection. The element to work with for autumn is water. Magical Workings to do at this time are reflection, contemplation, death, the spirit world, prosperity, balance, divination, acceptance. 

Altar Changes: 

Symbols: pine cones, acorns, corn, apples, animal horns, ivy, red poppies, garlands, ears of wheat, wreaths, rattles, all autumn flowers. 

Colors: red, maroon, orange, brown, gold

Herbs and other plants: honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, cedar, pine, oak, acorns, benzoin, ferns, tobacco, thistle. 

Incense: benzoin, cinnamon, myrrh, sweetgrass, oakmoss, patchouli

Crystals and Gems: yellow agate, lapis lazuli, carnelian, sapphire

Winter

The time to go inward with an earth alter. The element to work with for winter is earth. Magical Workings to do at this time are self-development, self-love, healing, reflection, binding, transformation, rebirth, creativity. 

Altar Changes: 

Symbols: yule log, mistletoe, poinsettia, pine cones, candles, evergreens, holly, wreaths, bells, lights, angels, ivy

Colors: gold, silver, red, green

Herbs and other plants: milk thistle, basil, rosemary, cedar, juniper, lemon balm, amaryllis, cinnamon, ivy, holly. 

Incense: pine, cedar, juniper, rosemary, bayberry, birch, frankincense, cinnamon

Crystals and Gems: ruby, diamond, emerald, garnet, quartz, selenite. 

Spring

The time to bloom, be free. The element to work with for spring is air. Magical Workings to do at this time are manifesting, abundance, releasing, rebirth, love, fertility, new beginnings, love, sex.

Altar Changes: 

Symbols: spring flowers, the green man, fairies, butterflies, 

Colors: pastels, yellow, orange, lavender, green

Herbs and other plants: angelica, basil, bay leaf, clover, tansy, willow, dandelion, snowdrop, crocus, heather, iris, trillium

Incense: jasmine, rosemary, rose, lavender, ylang-ylang, copal

Crystals and Gems: amethyst, rose quartz, aquamarine, moonstone, turquoise

Check out other offerings from The Alchemist’s Kitchen to add to your altar! And check out our Season of the Witch collection!

1 thought on “Changing Altars: Season of the Witch”

  1. Tracy Leffingwell

    Lovely article. I enjoyed the story of you and your mom. I have an alter I use for meditation with articles representing the elements of earth, air, water and fire. I never thought to change things out with the seasons and honoring the change that way.

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