Travel Altars

I recently showed off my magical toolbox, which I use to carry magical tool swith me when I’m on the go and think I may need a little Juju. But I don’t just do magic, and sometimes I am unable to stay home and tend to my devotional altar. At times like this, items from the altar can be packed away and carried along, in the toolbox or something similar.

Of course, this depends on a few factors:

1) How big is your altar?

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This is my devotional altar. Through the process of several moves in the past year, and increasingly small living arrangement, it has been culled and condensed to a fairly compact form. Its content includes mini busts of Jove, Venus, and Mars, a coin (a shekel hadash that I found) a small (and admittedly primitive) lararium, a dish of salt and grain, a dish for libations of wine, an incense burner, an oil lamp, a small dish of incense cones, and a pocket Constitution (I’m a patriot, I confess). This is a very small set-up, and is actually quite easily packed up in my toolbox or an equivalent size package. (I also have a larger sized toolbox that accommodates devotional materials as well as magical tools quite easily.)

2) Where are you staying?

Camping trips are the best for taking devotional setups with you, because you don’t generally have to worry about how much room you have to take up when you get there, and burning incense or leaving offerings isn’t usually a problem. When staying with a friend or family, you will need to consider their needs. A pagan friend may not object to much of what you have, but Christian friends or friends with allergies may take issue with burning incense. If you are staying in a hotel, you have to consider issues such as smoking laws and smoke alarms and what the cleaning staff may do upon seeing your altar.

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When traveling and staying in hotels, this is my minimum devotional setup. It consists of my busts and a simple tea light holder. The candle serves as my offering, although depending on how long I am staying in the hotel I may have a libation dish or cup set up as well. Of course, this setup has other advantages as well …

3) How are you traveling?

If you’re driving, you can take almost anything you want without much trouble. A toolbox will work just fine to carry what you want. (Driving to camping trips is the best, in my opinion. I actually have a more elaborate altar setup at long term camp outs than I do at home.) Flying poses a lot of problems. The above travel setup was a necessity born of navigating airport security. Those items and a few candles can be put in a small bag (a Crown Royal bag works nice, or any tarot bag) and placed in carry-on with little drama. Packing much more will invite searches. Do not try to pack an oil lamp, and be aware that a tarot deck in a box will arouse attention in an x-ray scanner.

4) How long are you staying?

If you’re on a short trip, having the bare minimum usually isn’t much of a worry. If you’re staying longer, you may want to have a more elaborate setup. When staying in a hotel for a month, I acquired a few more altar items and had a nicer setup than when I was staying in Vegas for the weekend. The biggest concern was worrying about what I was able to take back. Staying in a place longer term also allows you access to other materials (such as wine or incense for offerings), and may allow you to engage in a devotional practice more similar to what you would perform at home.

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One response to “Travel Altars

  1. Pingback: Altar Setup and Ritual Garb | Blacklight Metaphysics

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