Earth As An Altar
The element of earth may not seem as active as the other elements when it comes to altars, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful or important. It often acts as a platform or container for many of the other elements – particularly water and fire. It bears witness as it supports and protects. Through stone, it weathers slowly against the rest of the elements, but as particles of earth itself, it breaks down, burying, covering, sinking, and providing a place for things to take root.
As Above, So Below (literally)
Many Witches prefer using stone or wood for the surface of their altars, so that’s a very easy way to see earth as an altar since it’s directly the object everything is happening on top of. You can use what’s readily available to you, or you can choose to make your altar out of a certain kind of rock or wood – perhaps one that relates specifically to your practice, is native to your region, etc. Be mindful of what will hold up over time and suits your needs. Do you burn a lot of things? Then you’ll most likely want rock instead of wood. Some woods break down very easily and are prone to pests, while others like Cedar, Walnut, and Oak not only have magical properties worth investigating, but last longer due to their natural properties. When you selecting rock or wood for your altar, take the time to commune with the material – as it does have a spirit and power of its own.
Besides being a surface, there are other ways earth can act as an altar. One way is through burying something in soil or sand. Energetically this can be seen as depositing something back into the womb of the earth in a loving way – OR more dramatically, it can be seen as putting something to rest, burial style. The former is about growth and beginnings where the latter is about death and more permanent endings. Another method is to cover a working with rocks – which can be seen as protection or another kind burial.
Earth Altar Chant
Sacred Stone, Earth, and Rock
Home of bones, womb for seeds
Take this offering within your walls
And transform it for our needs.
Again, I must caution you to consider whatever you put within the earth, that it is safe for the ecosystem and all of its inhabitants. Things that are buried by water may be eventually washed into the stream or influence the water table as they dissolve. If you wish something to stay buried, it’s best to not only bury it deep, but also places stones upon it to prevent canines and other creatures from uncovering it.
Want to read more about altars in Witchcraft? Check out The Witch’s Altar!