You can empower your altar, as a reflection of the positive aspects, of your changing life, by placing on it other small items, that carry happy memories for you.   These might include, stones, or shells, found on an enjoyable outing. Or maybe presents from friends or family. Or possibly a letter or even a printed email which was written in love. Pictures or photographs of places and people that are endowed with emotional significance. Holding these can restore the pleasure of the moment and fill you with confidence. These are all magical objects because they are endowed with the power of good feeling.   Some practitioners keep a book, for example, a book of poetry, a copy of the psalms, the works of Shakespeare or the I Ching. Whenever you lack inspiration, close your eyes and open your book. The page will be chosen apparently at random but in fact, your deep unconscious mind has chosen the most appropriate answer by a process akin to psychokinesis.   Occasionally, you may wish to gently energize these personal artifacts by burning a candle scented with chamomile or lavender. The domestic altars of many lands were originally the family hearth and an unused hearth will serve well as an altar. They depended on their power on herbs and flowers gathered from the wayside in the days before petrol fumes. Many witches who have a hearth do still keep it well swept and fresh with flowers or seasonal greenery.   Between your altar candles, you may like to place statues, a god and goddess figure from either your own spiritual background or from a culture that seems significant to you. This will balance the yang, or male, energies with the yin, or female. The god figure may be represented by a horn and the goddess by a large conch shell.   There are a great variety of deity figures in museum shops. as well as New Age shops. and those selling goods from particular areas of the world. You may, however, feel more comfortable with a ceramic animal, bird or reptile for which you feel an affinity. A tiger for courage, an eagle for vision, a cat for mystery and independence, a snake for regeneration. This is what Native Americans call our personal totem or power creature. You may find some of these are, in some cultures, the symbols of divinities.   There is, for example, Bast, the cat-headed Egyptian goddess who protected women , especially in pregnancy and childbirth Bast was originally a lion goddess who symbolized the fertilizing rays of the Sun.    

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