Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have an elaborate altar. My main working altar is literally a folding bed table placed on top of a plastic 4 drawer cart (wheels removed) parked in front of a bookcase that holds many of my magical goodies. It has served me well. I’ve got a ton of supplies in the drawers and I love that I can easily move the top around if I want to.
I always set up my altar intuitively and it changes frequently based on what is happening in my life, the time of year, and any workings that I’m focusing on. I don’t bother putting anything in certain directions or locations because it doesn’t resonate with me. I do try to keep all the elements represented in some capacity but only because I’ve found that it’s grounding and balancing to me. I always have a bundle of sage, crystals and one or more candles. I usually also have either my “cauldron” (which is just a small deep cast iron pot from Lodge) or an incense burner. I have recently discovered how much I love using and making loose incense rather than using the artificial stick stuff.
Right now, I’ve got a spell candle and crystal grid front and center. I’m trying to quit smoking and have set this up to help with cravings. I’ll light the candle and meditate for a bit on why I’m quitting. It’s a basic white 7-day candle that I dressed with banishing oil and rolled in herbs that help with quitting smoking/lung health/stress relief (valerian root, holy basil, skullcap, ginger root, red clover, licorice, sarsaparilla root, burdock root, caramom seed, and mullein leaf). I also sprinkled a bit on the top of the candle itself and added a few Tigers Eye chips. Once dressed, I powered with my intentions just by holding it and doing some visualization. Then I placed it on a wood square and intuitively placed some crystals into a grid around it. I added two palm-sized stones in the corners that I can grab and hold to help me get me through a craving.