I saw this thread on the ADF Ning site for a while now--basically a show-and-tell of personal altars and how they change and develop over time. Having finally dug out my camera, I can now start my own little story ^^
Going clockwise from lower left corner:
The white candle in the small tray is for the Ancestors, lit in remembrance of my family (both blood and spiritual). The two round brown things are buckeyes, which I picked up as a freshman on campus. I liked having them in my pocket just to run my fingers over (and later on noticed the resemblance to guy parts... but that's ok. Somehow I doubt Frey minds ^^).
The oil lamp in the upper left is reserved for the dark half of the year, which I define as when nights are longer than days. Since I got this all set up over a year ago in September or October, it wasn't quite the Fall Equinox by then, hence the oil lamp with (fake) yellow flowers in the lower right for the light half of the year. The oil lamps also serve as a kind of offering to the Alfs and Wights, earthen spirits. Back to the top center is a green candle (scented of kitchen herbs, as I recall) for both the Tree and the Gods. Its carved soapstone holder has a decorative vine motif which I thought fitting as well.
In the center is a green pair of chopsticks crossed with an Irish flute my aunt brought back for me from her trip to the Fair Isle. I can play a little, but I'm better with a recorder... generally, this one stays on the altar.
To the upper right are a mug which once held a vanilla-scented blue candle. It looked quite nice there, was another thing to light on fire (hehehe) and I had a vague hope of burning out all the wax in order to use the mug. Haven't gotten that last bit out of the bottom yet though...
And the tray next to that holds some looseleaf chai tea that I'd rather keep and use as incense than throw away after spilling it.
The very center is the offering bowl, where bits of food, flowers, and small burnables go.
At the time I had this setup, I was living in a different apartment than I am now. Back then I was able to bury my offerings in a corner of the backyard and scrub out the offering bowl with soil. It was also easier to light candles and incense more often, and I was able to smudge with a sage stick when needed.
Whew. If you read this far, congrats! ^^
Next week: new apartment and new setup.