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    Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    I am rearranging my house because of space issues and the only place I am able to put my altar now is in the front area/living room right by the kitchen. I love the idea of having it out where I spend most of my time anyway, but my only issue with this is that guests will see it. Which isn't a huge problem, since I don't try to hide my beliefs or anything, but I'm also not trying to be like "hey everyone! Look at how interesting and pagan I am!"

    Also, my altar is a small desk that I sit at so it's not just a little shelf or anything. It's a full on workspace filled with all my candles and incense and tarot decks and runes and crystals , an obviously spiritually dedicated space.

    I've seen on many websites not to have your altar out in the open or within view from anyone who wouldn't "appreciate" it, whatever that means. I don't know if I agree with that or not, since what does it matter what other people's opinions are on my spiritual practice? So do you guys keep your altars hidden from view, or do you not care either way?

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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubyred View Post
    I don't know if I agree with that or not, since what does it matter what other people's opinions are on my spiritual practice? So do you guys keep your altars hidden from view, or do you not care either way?
    Mine is a shrine (usually not set up with all the tools that would make it an altar by my definitions) and is in my bedroom, but at various points I've had one in more public spaces.

    I also don't usually have people over much, which can change your decisions (if you don't have people over a lot, adjusting a couple of times when you do is different than if you have people over all the time.)

    The big two things are: "Are people going to have negative reactions to your altar (or you for having one)?" And secondly, "Are people going to do things like put empty soda cans on your altar/shrine"

    You can do stuff to help discourage the latter (by design, available space, talking to people, etc.) but it's going to depend a bit on who will be around it, and how attentive they are to things like that.
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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenett View Post
    The big two things are: "Are people going to have negative reactions to your altar (or you for having one)?" And secondly, "Are people going to do things like put empty soda cans on your altar/shrine"
    I live in a studio apartment, so ... yeah, my shrine is out in the open. The rest of my family is pretty religion-indifferent so they've never commented on or disrespected the shrine itself ... but they don't seem to have a clue that the rug in front of the shrine table is also a part of my shrine space.

    I avoid stepping on the rug unless I'm doing something shrine-related, so seeing someone else standing around on it is just ... ack. I haven't said anything to them since they only come over a couple times a year.

    I admit that at one point when I had a job with a Definitely Christian boss, and also lived in housing provided by said boss, I was careful to pack up my shrine when not in use. Boss was already sexist, racist and ageist, so probably wouldn't have reacted well.

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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubyred View Post
    what does it matter what other people's opinions are on my spiritual practice?
    Theoretically it doesn't.

    But if you live in a place where your landlords might evict you if they find out you're pagan...it kind of does matter, a lot, because their opinions holds sway over whether or not you have shelter.

    (That is my current main reason for keeping my shrines mostly locked away in the office and not in an area that's easily visible from open doors or when they need to walk through the living room to get at the furnace or hot water heater.)

    Another thing to consider: keeping your sacred spaces hidden from folks who won't appreciate them isn't just about opinions; it's about behavior. I've had people walk right over to my altars or shrines and just start manhandling things on them, and I had an ex who consistently put his car keys or coke cans on my altar. My mom puts her wine glasses on my shrines, at which point I steal them away from her and tell her she doesn't get any more wine, because she just gave it to the gods. She still hasn't stopped doing this.

    Basically in my experience people have been disrespectful assholes about my shrine and altar spaces, so in order to reduce my chances of going nuclear on them, I keep my spaces mostly hidden from view. (I have also severely limited my list of "who is allowed in my home", as much as I am able to.)
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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubyred View Post
    I've seen on many websites not to have your altar out in the open or within view from anyone who wouldn't "appreciate" it, whatever that means. I don't know if I agree with that or not, since what does it matter what other people's opinions are on my spiritual practice? So do you guys keep your altars hidden from view, or do you not care either way?
    Like Morag said, depending on your living situation you may want to consider things like whether or not your landlord will flip if they happen to look in. If that isn't an issue then it really does boil down to who you are likely to have in your home.

    I personally have my stuff out all the time. My old apartment was a glorified bachelor suite - there really wasn't much room to hide things even if I had wanted to. I have a decor sense that is frankly a bit creepy in general, which results in my entire living space looking witchy. Honestly, what would give me away more than an altar or shrine was my bookshelf - the goat skull on the mantel could just be me being me, but a shelf of stuff with titles like "Occult Experiments in the Home" is less easy to write off as eccentric taste.

    I currently live with my sister in a larger space, so in theory I could hide my altar. I don't. My bedroom used to be a dining room, so I just leave it set up in there on an antique wooden minibar I found in an alley. It's on a small rug so I can pull it into the middle of the room when I wish. I suppose it might look a bit odd, but again - creepy. The living room is perfectly mundane but it has skulls and apothecary bottles and candles all over the place.

    I have not had a problem with people messing with my things. My friends are my friends for a reason, and are not disrespectful to anything in the house. They don't grab stuff off my altar any more than they would paw through my medicine cabinet. On the occasions we have legitimate strangers in the house I can just close my doors and trust nobody's going to go poking around in my room. If I was truly concerned, I could tuck away the personal bits inside the altar itself, and move the other stuff so it looked purely decorative.
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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emma Eldritch View Post
    Like Morag said, depending on your living situation you may want to consider things like whether or not your landlord will flip if they happen to look in. If that isn't an issue then it really does boil down to who you are likely to have in your home.

    I personally have my stuff out all the time. My old apartment was a glorified bachelor suite - there really wasn't much room to hide things even if I had wanted to. I have a decor sense that is frankly a bit creepy in general, which results in my entire living space looking witchy. Honestly, what would give me away more than an altar or shrine was my bookshelf - the goat skull on the mantel could just be me being me, but a shelf of stuff with titles like "Occult Experiments in the Home" is less easy to write off as eccentric taste.

    I currently live with my sister in a larger space, so in theory I could hide my altar. I don't. My bedroom used to be a dining room, so I just leave it set up in there on an antique wooden minibar I found in an alley. It's on a small rug so I can pull it into the middle of the room when I wish. I suppose it might look a bit odd, but again - creepy. The living room is perfectly mundane but it has skulls and apothecary bottles and candles all over the place.

    I have not had a problem with people messing with my things. My friends are my friends for a reason, and are not disrespectful to anything in the house. They don't grab stuff off my altar any more than they would paw through my medicine cabinet. On the occasions we have legitimate strangers in the house I can just close my doors and trust nobody's going to go poking around in my room. If I was truly concerned, I could tuck away the personal bits inside the altar itself, and move the other stuff so it looked purely decorative.
    I am very secretive of my beliefs and don't have an altar. what I have done is purchase items like jade wood metal and crystal carvings and put them around my computer desk and in the cupboard. it is more of secret spells every where that people who see haven't got a clue. The only gods I have are Kali and Ganesh.

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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubyred View Post
    I've seen on many websites not to have your altar out in the open or within view from anyone who wouldn't "appreciate" it, whatever that means. I don't know if I agree with that or not, since what does it matter what other people's opinions are on my spiritual practice? So do you guys keep your altars hidden from view, or do you not care either way?
    I have a shrine in my sitting room which is pretty discreet. Many people wouldn't recognise it for what it is. Like a previous poster it's my bookcases that will give me away.

    I am lucky enough to have a temple room which has a much more explicit shrine. Entry there is by invitation only (other than the boiler man who needs to access the control panel. I throw a cloth over the large mounted ram skull an put the ancestral skull in a box but I have forgotten a time or two and he's never said anything.)

    I don't believe in permanent altars, they get stale and dusty so my working altars are set up when needed and taken down 24 hours later. The are never seen by anyone not taking part.

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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dynes Hysbys View Post
    I am lucky enough to have a temple room which has a much more explicit shrine. Entry there is by invitation only (other than the boiler man who needs to access the control panel. I throw a cloth over the large mounted ram skull an put the ancestral skull in a box but I have forgotten a time or two and he's never said anything.)
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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emma Eldritch View Post
    The boiler man has seen some shit. Nothing shocks him anymore.
    I would not be surprised if that was true of a lot of maintenance people. This is, at least, how I reassure myself regarding my messy apartment. That worst out there exists.

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    Re: Do you keep your altar out in the open?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emma Eldritch View Post
    The boiler man has seen some shit. Nothing shocks him anymore.
    I think you are absolutely right! At least he comes back each year.

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