Mise en Place

Tarot, Grandmother Crow, and holy water on the altar

The wood surface washed with florida water, the blue cloth spread, and the wolf fur laden with bone, skull, horn, and wing; the altar is remade and returned to its original home on the antique dresser with its bronze lions. Drums and spirit shrines cover the walls of the temple that is my room. It feels good – like everything is in the place it should be. Cooks would call this feeling “mise en place.” For me, this Vernal Equinox has been all about clearing out what I don’t need while cleaning and organizing what I do need and want in my life – both physically and metaphysically. Sometimes the celebration of a festival doesn’t have to mean a seasonal altar and meal – sometimes it means getting your hands dirty doing things to reflect the flow and energies of said season.

I bought a little cedar wood stand with lovely vine scrollwork last year to display my business cards when vending at festivals, but last night I decided to re-purpose it as a tarot card stand for working on a daily basis with my Wildwood Tarot deck. I pulled a card to reflect the next twenty-four hours and drew the four of bows/celebration – an excellent start to the season of Spring I’d say – especially with the beautiful sunny day I woke up to! Today is for shipping Stang and Cauldron orders of my delicious occult goods and then tonight I’m off to a ritual rehearsal with my fellow witches. Slàinte!

The Witch's Altar

Shrine of the White Bone Mother

Author Sarah

Illustrator and weaver of words. Witch. Forest siren with talons, succubic tendencies, a love of otherworldly beauty, poisonous plants, wild places and dead things.

More posts by Sarah

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Beautiful pictures. I like! That card stand is absolutely genius. Need to get one of those in the future.

  • Clare says:

    I love your Old Woman statue– she is truly the Old Bone Goddess. May I ask where you got her? Most goddess figures I see sold are oversexualized and I would love to have one that is just a simple beautifulrepresentation.

    • It looks like a statue of Santisima Muerte, though I’ve had trouble finding one that’s a little simpler, like this one. Two of Her very commonly attributed symbols are owls and scales. This might be the first one I’ve noticed without a scythe, though. I agree, beautiful statue and great article.

    • It is indeed a Santisima Muerte statue. I looked for a long time for a dark and simple statue, but the closest I found before this was a Black Madonna. It does have a scythe – it’s hooked over her left shoulder. It’s such a classic representation of Death that I thought it perfect in its simplicity. You can find Sante Muerte statues everywhere – eBay, Lucky Mojo, botanicas…


  • greycatsidhe says:

    I totally agree about doing very practical things to recognize the turning of the wheel. Sometimes we can get sidetracked by the liturgical and miss the whole *reason*. Beautiful post and lovely altar!

  • anthropomorphica says:

    Stunning altar and yes I love the Bone Mother too. Aaah, such a good feeling and now I have a phrase for it “mise en place”

  • Winking owl is totes cute.

  • The winking owl is totes cute!

    Though it could be owl blinking!

    Old Bone Mother surrounded by Her birds of prey. Mmm…me gusta.

  • Joanne says:

    Thank you for naming the tarot set. I recognized the artwork as Will Worthington’s but knew it wasn’t from any of his cards that I currently own. I’ll have to do a search to see if it’s available.

  • fannyfae says:

    You have given me inspiration for my own abode, Sarah.Every day that I get a notice that you’ve posted a new entry on your blog, it’s like finding a magical gift in a sylvan sanctuary.

    Even with this post and seeing the treasure trove of bone gathering in your home, l I still am trying to figure out a place for an ancient set of elk antlers that I have. According to the former owner of my log cabin, who was an WWI US Navy veteran, he found them in the Tetons right after the war and brought them home. He left them with the house. He had estimated them to be very old at least 150 years. I am not sure, of course. He was a magical old gent; very Merlin-like.

    I think the antlers would make a very wonderful altar piece on the wall but they are just so….HUGE! They used to hang outside above the garage door. Then I brought them in and had them on the east log wall. I took them down for renovations and noticed a crack where they had been originally wired to hang, so I didn’t really want to risk making it worse. Right now they have lovingly been placed on a table in the area of my basement / apothecary. The more I read your writings, however, the more I believe in the synchronicity of how they came to be in my possession.