In the traditional witch's calendar, October is the final spoke in the wheel of the year—a time of boundary-crossing, of transformation, and of shedding. In this liminal phase, different energies are shifting like tectonic plates, and your inner witch is at their most mutable. Now is the time to use these potent cycles to propel yourself forward into the witch's new year—and what better way to do so than with a lunar altar? By building and tending a lunar altar throughout this transitional month, we mark our own energetic patterns and cycles, and can learn to honor them with intention.
Where does one begin, then, when building a lunar altar from scratch? Where you begin any magical practice: at the root of your desire. Even more important than incorporating lunar imagery, or moon water, or moonstone, is the incorporation of items and images that spark desire for you. Think of the items you keep on your regular altar, if you have one: do you feel drawn to them? Why? Do they represent an energy you're trying to embody? In what way are these items singing to your inner witch, coaxing them forward into the light?
As you gather items for your lunar altar, check in with your inner witch: what cycles are they interested in charting this month? What desires do they have that you can bring to fruition? What is most meaningful to you at this time? As you begin to answer these questions, you can begin to flesh out the look and feel of your lunar altar. If you're just beginning the practice of keeping and tending an altar, here are a few items you might consider acquiring:
A candle (in a color corresponding to your goals for this month)
A tarot or oracle deck
A small dish or bowl for offerings
Items from nature: stones, leaves, bones, flowers, seeds, etc.
At the beginning of the month, cleanse and charge each of the items you plan to keep on your altar. Set an intent for the coming lunar cycles: what are you hoping to shed? What energies are you hoping to attune to? Consider spending some time bonding with your altar space by journaling at the start of the month, where you can set down the answers to these questions in ink. Think of this journaling time as a contract with your inner witch and their desires—perhaps you're coming to this altar space in search of pleasure. How can you make yourself accountable to visit this space regularly throughout the month, to ensure this desire is fulfilled?
Regularly checking on your innermost desires and needs is a potent offering to yourself. Try and build this practice into your relationship with your lunar altar, especially at heightened energetic phases, such as the new or full moon. Try and spend some time at your lunar altar during these phases, and be mindful of your thoughts and feelings when you do. At the new moon, reflect on what you're ready to invite into your life. At the full moon, contemplate shedding whatever no longer serves you. Attuning yourself to the cycles of the moon will inherently attune you to your own cycles—this is the ultimate goal of this practice; to build a pleasure-oriented relationship with your innermost self.