Altar Hygiene

Hey everyone!

In short, I am asking a deity for some assistance in my life, and have created a temporary altar for her (Aine) in my home, and have left her some treats, candles etc. How long is it recommended to leave the altar up? Ie- i left some little food items out for her, should i take it down before they go bad or replace the items? Is there a time frame? And what does one do with the altar remnants? Obviously my crystals will go back in their box and such…

I ask because this is new to me- Brigid has a permanent altar in my home, which I maintain always. I make sure any food offerings are changed out before they get icky, etc.
Thanks for everyones thoughts and help in advance!!


First, welcome to our community @rebecca28!! We are happy to have you here.

This is a great question, and one that is tricky to answer as it varies for the purpose and the deity in question.

When I create an altar for a Sabbat, I usually set it up a few days before and leave it up for a few days after, so it will be up roughly a week. For my non-patron deities, I usually promise to make an offering after the request has been granted. In this case, I leave the items on my working altar for 3-4 days. If I am offering them something during the request, a “bribe” per se, I will leave it until the request has been granted. If it is a food/libation, I will replace it with fresh items roughly 24-48 hours.

For Selene, Persephone, and my ancestors, I remove food and beverages from my altar 24-48 hours, in most cases. For Hades and Hel, their items are left until fully dessicated or starting to rot. For these two deities, any offerings I make will get buried in my yard. As they are death deities, you don’t want to eat/reuse items given to them. For other deities/ancestors, I will throw it outside for the animals to eat (I really try hard not to throw things in the trash). It is not recommended to eat foods you have offered as the deities have already pulled the “life force” from the food.

For crystals, I will place them in a selenite bowl for at least 24 hours (I say this because I forget about them sometimes and they will sit for 3 or 4 days, lol). I then will place them in a cloth (this is to keep them from touching my picnic table directly) and leave them outside overnight to charge under the moonlight. You can also bury them for 24 hours or use smoke to cleanse as well. After this process, they go back to their “home.” When it comes to Hades and Hel, their crystals are buried in my yard permanently (again going back to them being death deities).

I am a big fan of reusing items if possible. If it is a physical item, you can cleanse it and use it for another purpose (such as cups/bowls offerings were made in, trinkets placed on the altar, etc.).

I hope this helps!


Welcome to the forum @rebecca28! I’m Siofra_Strega, a moderator here at Spell8, from Cape Cod. I’m happy you’ve decided to join us! We are all very friendly & supportive.

@Amaris_Bane is right, this is a bit tricky… everyone has their own practice & how they work with their deities (if they choose to)… I have an Ancestor Altar that I maintain daily which also is where Brighid has Her home. It’s next to my bed… for food items, it’s usually a good idea to remove or change them within 24 hours no more than 48 hours, really depending on what the item is that is being replaced.

You can give them back to the earth ie: burying them or disposing of them as you normally would.

Crystals, my deities have their own crystals that I only use when working with them. So for Brighid, I have a tealight holder that I don’t use… & I keep her crystals in there & Her other items are right by Her representations… which happen to be a framed picture & a yarn dolly that I made this year. Whenever the crystals need a cleansing, which is usually 24 hours after I have done something with her or for her, I place them on Selenite for at least 6 hours but usually closer to 24 & then put them back in their tealight holder.

Her other items stay right by Her place on my altar at all times. They are more physical in nature so I don’t have to dispose of them or anything, but I do cleanse them at the most 24 hours after I have worked with Her specifically in some way. If it’s my daily things, then I place them back in their home on my altar once I take down the setup… which is usually about 6 hours afterward.

I have items specifically for each deity that I work with & those items are only for working with those deities.

Perishable items though, they should always be removed at the least 24 hours & definitely before they get “icky”.


Thanks for your ideas and insights!
Thats sort of where my head was, thinking that maybe a week or so, and/or until I see a result, that made sense. :blush:
So far, I most definitely feel a calm in the situation where i had previously felt so much anxiety. I take that as a good sign!


Hi! and Welcome!

I echo the thoughts above, with a twist. I usually avoid using food items, but when I do use them I throw the remnants out in the yard to be eaten or whatever purpose the deity sees for for them. As I toss them I say, “I return you to the earth.”

But on certain occasions I make outdoor food offerrings to Hekate. I turn a muffin tin upside down and put a flour tortilla in it to make a little cup, and bake it. Then I put the food offerring into the cup and leave it on a rock near the joining of three stream beds - a crossroads of sorts. Never look back.

These are great questions to ask, because it sparks not only answers but sharing of knowledge amongst covenmates!


Hi @rebecca28! I’m Amethyst from Southern West Virginia. I just wanted to drop in on your thread and say hi, welcome to the forum! :infinite_roots:

I usually give incense as an offering so I clean that up as soon as it’s finished. But this is a great thread, I’m learning too!


Hello and welcome to the forum @rebecca28 :wave:

My name is Megan and I’m one of the moderators here at Spells8 :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: It’s nice to meet you!

I’m in agreeance with just about everyone else here. It’s a tricky question and will depend on your personal practice. So, here’s what I would do for something like that!

If I was working with Aine for a specific goal, I would leave the altar setup for either a determined and agreed upon time (between me and Aine) or until 3 days after the goal or work has been complete. Three is an important number in a lot of Celtic practices, and it’s significant to my practice, so that’s why I chose it.

I would usually offer something related to the deity, but I don’t know too much about Aine. So, I will base this off of common offerings for Irish deities - dairy and alcohol. For anything that can go rancid, I would leave it for no more than 24 hours or until it starts to go rancid. For alcohol, I would leave it for up to a week depending on the alcohol and home temparture, etc.

Anything I remove from the altar usually gets thrown out if it’s food-related, recycled, or put outside (if its safe to do so). Any other items that you repurpose can be cleansed and placed back in their original home.


I live the number 3 :grin: just about everything I do can somehow relate to the number 3 :laughing:

Up until I really learned more about a Celtic practice & now my practice is heavily Celtic… as long as I can remember the number 3 was always a significant number within my life. After I learned more about Celtic practices & found thats where I am most comfortable, it made a lot more sense why I’ve always had a thing for the number 3. Lol :laughing:


Oh, I love this idea!! Although I don’t have any safe crossroads to use. Like I mentioned, I usually put food remnants outside for animals to eat, unless it was an offering to Hades or Hel. While I love working on them, don’t want to accidentally give a death wish to some poor bird or raccoon.

:thinking: :thinking: :thinking: I wonder if that is why I do things in threes, lol. I cut my deck into three piles when reading tarot. I always grab three paper towels from dispensers. I usually carry/wear three crystals/talismans.


It could be! Three has always played an important role in my life and I never realized it until last year :laughing:


I’m going to have to start paying more attention to things :joy:


Hi all!
I want to thank-you all for your ideas and insights! There are some wonderful thoughts and ideas here (some of which I may swipe for my own practice!!)and i appreciate the wisdom and insights shared!
And really glad everyone like the topic too! I was just asking a question, had no idea it would spark a flurry of ideas! So glad it did!

Thank you all again!


Hey @rebecca28, I don’t really have anything to add to the conversation, but I wanted to be sure to say hello and welcome! I’m Ailey! I’m excited you’re here and I can’t wait to get to know you in the forum! Also, good luck with your altar! I’m sure it is lovely!


That’s usually how it works around here! :joy: The beauty of Spells8 and the forum is that we are all comfortable enough in our practices and with each other to share the differences we may have. It’s one thing I love about being here. There’s no judgment. There’s no pointing fingers telling other people that they are wrong. It’s a flurry of ideas from differing paths and perspectives and it brings my heart so much joy!

I’m glad you were able to get many ideas and answers from your question, too! :heart:


I thought I was the only one as my thing for the number 3 was attributed to OCD even though the only thing I do repetitively with the number 3 is rinsing a glass or cup 3 quick times. Looks like I have some research to do.
Make no mistake, I absolutely have OCD, one look in my kitchen cupboards and you need look no further. One morning I woke up to find that my daughter and her sleepover friend had pushed all of the cans in the pantry flush leaving no catagories or organization and turned them with labels facing every which way. I opened the door and had a panic attack. The girls came bouncing in fighting back laughter to admire their handiwork and immediately stop and scurried back to her room. After that we had a back and forth #$*& with each other of thing in the kitchen. Nothing major but we are both alpha females and we had fun. I didn’t cry when she moved out until the next morning when I went into the kitchen and found everything in it’s place
Sorry I’m frazzled tonight so I ramble


It’s okay, I thought the same thing :laughing:

Things always happen in 3s, I see things in 3s, the number 3, I have always had a thing for 3… kind of a 3 strikes your out theme too. Lots of things to do with 3 or multiples of 3 as long as I can remember. Aside from the #7 which is in my birth date 3 times… 3 is a very meaningful number to me too.


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