An altar should always be in use; if one is to be created at all. It should move, breath, and be in constant motion. Fires should burn on it more often than not, and offerings should be in constant flux and flow to and from the altar space. This space should be viewed as sacred, and nothing should be placed upon it that doesn’t belong there. The more seriously you interact with you altar space, the more benefits you will gain from it.
Energy taken away from the altar space needs to be put back in, and there are many ways to “charge” a sacred space. Meditation, prayers, and offerings are easy ways to charge your sacred space, and these activities should be done multiple times a day; or as often as your lifestyle permits. Practicing these activities will ensure your sacred place holds power and meaning in your life; giving you a foundation for workings of magic and sorcery. More complex charging methods would include sacrifice, ritual and elaborate ceremonies.
Sacrifice can mean a variety of actions; and sometimes only includes yourself as the medium of sacrifice. Personal sacrifices could range from the giving of blood to the taking or declaring of vows, and all methods have their time, use and function. Sacrifice can also take the form of an animal or object; the destruction of life-force (or perceived life-force) in order to create something from it. Sacrifice can transfer power and also directly connect us to the Veil; the divine world.
Meditation, chanting (Galdraz) and drumming are excellent ways to charge a sacred space. These activities should make up a majority of your time with your altar; each being a way to directly flirt with the Veil and other realms. Through this practice, you can create a balance within yourself; disrupting and healing impeding feelings of depression, restlessness, and anxiety. Your altar should be your center in space and time.
Meditation guides us away from the constant onslaught of the mind, and we are given vision into the deeper layers of truth and existence with its’ application. Meditation brings us closer to that part of us which is immortal; that which exists beyond the flesh. Meditation allows us to see the parts of us that are as old as time; the true essence of our being. Through this practice, we attain insight into ancient and archaic wisdom.
Patience is a virtue when practicing meditation, and we must try to discard all expectations when entering this state. The key is to allow things to flux and flow within and around us; becoming mere vessels for the Earth and Cosmos to interact and mix within us. Do not attach your mind to anything that appears in this state, you will do this when you are finished. Instead, allow all thoughts and emotions to enter and pass through without attachment.
Offerings usually differ from person to person based on the intent and purpose of the altar or ritual. Some offerings might include stone, wood, metal, bone, fire, ash, smoke, incense, feathers, various food items, seeds and beverages. Some things are left for good to age with the altar itself, others are left for a certain amount of time to accumulate or disperse power. Items taken away may be used for magical purposes or be turned into amulets or talismans. If offerings are meant to be taken by others, such as animals, it is best to leave them be after placing them.
Galdraz, Galdr, or Galdor is a means of accessing, communicating, or commanding the forces of the Divine, based on the use of the voice. This can be done by chanting, singing, screaming, yelling, growling, hissing or any other manifestation of rhythmic vocal activity that will form the spell or incantation you are trying to send forth. Rune names are most commonly used in this practice; emphasizing their vowel sounds and calling them out with full and uninhabited intent. This is probably the most common and practical form of Northern magic, and can be utilized anytime and anywhere.
Some will argue that the volume of your Galdraz is not important, but personally, I disagree. Unless you have no other option (due to circumstances) but to Galdr quietly, you must practice this with a belly and chest full of air; exhibiting full power behind it when released. The reason for this, is because sound, like all matter, is based on vibration. With this in mind, it would seem logical that the stronger and more powerful the vibrations that your Galdr create are, then the more they will affect the world around you by altering its’ vibrations; like a ripple in a pool of water, expanding outward from the source.
Having this relationship with a sacred space keeps your mind, body, and soul balanced and in unison. When you can anchor your soul to a physical place, you can more easily travel the realms of existence. Like Yggdrasil, Irminsul, or the Axis Mundi, this place gives you a pillar into the heavens; and a portal down to the underworld. With this space, we can create an atmosphere dense with power and become more tactful with our energy use.
Spiritual energy is vital to us. Without the fire within the soul we cannot thrive and flourish, and in turn deteriorate and lose momentum. The more momentum we lose, the harder it is to regain; for it is much harder to build strong habits than to break them. This is where spiritual discipline comes into the equation, and we must be disciplined in order to achieve any sort of ascension beyond our current state. This is why having a living altar, practicing meditation, and carrying out sacrifice are all so important to our well being.
Having a connection to the divine gives us purpose and strength. We can pull anything we need from the Veil at any time; whether it be for the purpose of creation, healing or destruction. We can manipulate our world in endless ways, simply by the application of our Will, and the belief in our own power. Your spirituality should give you confidence, strength, and protection from fear.
Building your altar is a personal and ever evolving process. It will develop organically with your experience, research, and changing circumstances; so don’t expect it to stay the same always. You may venerate one God or many Gods; one force or many forces. Whatever forces you choose (or encourage) to inhabit the altar will do so, and the more you interact with these forces, the more they will do for you.