GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GROUND
Earth is abundance, stability, physicality, beauty, magic, natural phenomenon. On your altar, Earth is the easiest to find, the most accessible, the most flexible and tangible in our 3D perception. It’s connected to the North when calling in the elements, a direction linked to wayfinding.
Because Earth is an easily navigable substance / experience, humans readily create monuments of it, and to it. What’s one of the most intuitive actions a child turns to in the outdoors? Digging of holes, building of mounds.
When I was a kid, my dad dumped a load of dirt from his work truck in our front yard. My brother and I immediately jumped into the pile that rose over our heads, turning the pile of fresh earth into a giant sculpted spider. There’s footage of that day, and the little me is obsessed, patting and churning the dirt with intensity and vision. I knew I needed to represent nature with nature the second my baby hands touched the freshly dug earth. It was innate, a creative flow, a connection, and a strangely fond memory for me.
Consider other human-made altars to the Earth. These are places of supernatural occurrences, mathematical precision, and mythical origins. The Earth is the space we are given in order to manifest our wildest fantasies. Some of humankind’s majestic creations: Stonehenge, the Easter Island moai, ancient ziggurats, Egyptian pyramids, and the temples of Angkor Wat.
As others have used the Earth in large-scale altars, we can represent Earth in small scale in our own homes. Mountains, canyons, or trees can be represented by rocks and crystals, dirt and flowers. Here are some idea for representing the element of Earth on your altar:
- Dirt from your local community garden
- Dig into your back or front yard, if you have one
- Beach sand
- Pot of gardening soil
Rocks: You may already have a collection of “cool rocks.” If not, keep an eye out as you walk. Look for a pleasing rock that feels good to hold. Promise you’ll find a perfect stone!
Plants: Look for a hardy and good-natured plant to sit on your altar-- lots of power will be flowing, and you want an entity that can weather the energy of your requests to the universe. I love Pothos plants, also known as Devil’s Ivy.
Flowers: Flowers have their own meaning, and your personal connection to flowers is most important. What flowers have you had experience planting? Which ones connect you to the planet most? For me, I recall planting snapdragons as a child in our yard’s garden. Watching the plant grow thick and flourish season after season truly connected me to the practice of seeding and tending to a being with roots and leaves.
Crystals: Earth crystals are grounding and calming, and they represent the physicality of Earth.
To really extend your Earth altar into your practice, use your creative altar moment as an opportunity to connect with your locality. Commune with the beings who occupy your space. Get to know your natural community.
Go on a walk through your neighborhood, noticing, taking photos, writing down:
- What plants grow wild in your neighborhood?
- Which plants are in season at the moment?
You can use a plant identifier app and/ or Google to answer these questions.
Use your intuition to answer the following:
- What are the magical qualities of these plants?
- Which ones do you feel drawn to?
- What qualities do your favorite plants share? What do they remind you of?
- How might you use these plants on your altar?
When representing the element of Earth on your altar, allow yourself to select items that make you feel grounded. The Earth is your home; connect deeply to your surroundings by honoring the safety and intimacy of personally relevant items on your altar.
With Earth altar elements, and everything else witchy, trust your magic.