Thoughts on a Personal Altar
An altar should hold a special place in any Heathen home. Traditionally it was on or near the hearth, which formed the center of the home as the focus of both warmth and cooking. In the modern era, it would be ideal to keep a small flame lit in the kitchen, representative of the Light of ancestral tradition.
Beyond that, the altar is best thought of as a devotional place for the memory of the ancestors. Thus, small mementos such as photographs or cherished personal items can be kept on the altar as ways of remembering our honored dead. Certainly, it is also correct to have icons of the gods also, although the Germanic tribes made few representations of their gods, implying that reverence of the ancestral family was predominant.
There is no wrong way to prepare or present a personal altar; anything that could be discussed about the altar would be a recommendation and not a requirement. On my own altar, in addition to photographs of my parents and grandparents, I have a drinking horn (of course!), an offering bowl, my personal Hammer, candles, and a few sacred objects such as small stones from various sites that I consider sacred – my grandparents’ homestead, for example, and from various moots and events that I have attended.
I meditate every day, and ideally, this seated meditation is in front of my altar. I light a candle and say a short prayer to the memory of my ancestors, and reflect on how I can hold my place with honor and dignity.
In short, there is no wrong way to prepare an altar. Anything that puts you in mind of your Family and Folk, anything that reminds you of your obligation to your Honored Dead and those yet to come, is absolutely correct. We are The Folk, and this is our obligation.
Lawspeaker Allen Turnage