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Wall Altar or Odd Curio? Who can really tell?
For a long time, I kept my altar in the corner of my home office.  Partially because it was convenient, but mostly because my home office is on the second floor of my house.  Out sight and out of mind.

There wasn't anything overtly wrong with that arrangement.  I spend a lot of time in my office and the energy there is usually pretty calm.  I have incense and candles and a recliner in the corner where I sometimes take a meditation break.  But it is a working space.  

The office is where I write and blog and broadcast and make and take all sorts of phone calls and file my taxes and budget and pay bills and work on my shop...and the list goes on and on.

Which is probably why setting my grandmother's sideboard up as an altar in the corner of that work space never felt quite right. And why (after a year of keeping my altar in the office) I decided to bring a few key items down to shared first floor living space.

In my old house that space would have meant the den or kitchen but here, in this house, we have a few very appreciated extra rooms.  One of these is my home office.  Another is a living room  with a big mirror in the space that would ordinarily hold the black hole of an unused TV. 

No available TV means that other family members don't stay in the living room for long and because of this the room has gradually become my space and the natural repository for my favorite things. And so, over the last few weeks, it seemed more and more appropriate that my altar items be among those things.

The only problem I could see was this the living room is where we entertain the occasional guest and (shades of my mother) I found myself worrying about what that guest might think.

Magical Cabinet on Display for All to See!
So I began to change things in a cautious way.  The first change involved a very inconspicuous wall altar (above).  The second placed some occult looking tchotchkes on an upper shelf.  I noticed that other people noticed these changes but I found that I really wasn't all that interested in the conclusions that were drawn.

Recklessly, I began to fill up my grandmothers old china cabinet (at right) with the accoutrements of the Craft.  In a few short weeks the majority of my altar items had made their way downstairs.

The living room is different, now, though the change is not extreme. I don't have a permanent freestanding altar, my Goddess statues aren't big enough to stand out and there are a lot of things I put away when they aren't being used.  

At first glance the living room seems pretty ordinary or at the very least subtly unlike other small town rooms.  But subtle isn't the same as hiding and hiding was what the office altar really meant.  So why was I okay with doing that for an entire year?

Maybe because I didn't know how freedom felt.

Last month when I went to Salem I walked the busy streets in the company of dozens, if not hundreds, of other witches.  It seemed like everyone was wearing pentagrams and I saw that some were even wearing cloaks.  Nobody seemed concerned with that.  Which, of course, wasn't always the case.

In between the witch trials of 1693 (when my own great aunt was hung) and the pre-Halloween celebration of 2015 Salem changed from a place of rampant intolerance to pretty open-minded place. Mixing with that crazy crowd it occurred to me, that in order for that to happen, a whole lot of people had to overcome their fear of what other people think.  And that was meaningful to me.

I am still mostly in the closet in my daily life. Nobody notices my herb garden. Or asks me why I don't go to church.  The outer changes I am making are tiny, insignificant, almost imperceptible shifts - but, for me, they are a start.

Crystal Ball on the China Cabinet Shelf
Ancestral Space on the Book Shelf
Brigid Figurine, Pentagram Carved Tarot Box and Books
Mini Wall Altar When Lit

Herbs, Candles, BOS and Assorted Tools

Tarot Table and Favorite Reading Chair

Most Important Guest and One Who Would Not Begin to Judge :)

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