Book Review: The Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces by Anjou Kiernan

Review by Miss Snow | Instagram 

About the Author

Anjou Kiernan is an hedgewitch and herbal alchemist who has been toiling in potions and occult writing since the age of 16 and has continued her journey in witchcraft on a homestead in Maine. Named as one of the “Magical Women You Really Should Be Following on Instagram,” her writing and photography of altars and sacred spaces have attracted a broad audience and customer base on both Instagram @lightofanjou and her online witchery shop lightofanjou.com.

About The Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces

The altar is a powerful place. It’s where the magick happens, but sometimes, the mere idea of creating a sacred space can feel overwhelming. With that in mind, I dare say this book will most likely never be kept on the shelf, but will always be by your altar side. This is one book you will want to come back to, and often! With a visual explanation of the Wheel of The Year, chapters divided by festivities, and an easy-to-access reference table, you’ll have no trouble creating one (or more) sacred spaces around your home.

I have a soft spot for books that seem to answer the questions I’ve been brewing in my mind-cauldron, and Anjou jumps right in, setting the tone with what I consider the three essentials: 

  • What is the Wheel of the Year
  • How to set up sacred space
  • Common altar items, including colour and crystal associations.

The book begins with MidWinter, making its way around the year – however, since at the time of this writing, we are heading towards the Autumn Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, I couldn’t resist jumping ahead to read what new creative endeavours awaited me. This year, I was inspired to try my hand at the art of weaving, having swooned over it for years, and I have felt compelled to weave a cornucopia for the upcoming season. You can imagine my delight, then, upon opening the Mabon chapter, and reading the words “Cornucopia Offering!” Now, while instructions for weaving a cornucopia itself are not included, this section will certainly provide plenty of inspiration for your celebration of the season.

Magickal spaces can exist anywhere, but knowing where you work your magick best is the key to making your sacred space work for you.

The Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces

My background in Waldorf education means that building and working with altars and sacred spaces comes as natural to me as the seasons themselves, so this book spoke straight to my heart. Waldorf relies heavily on the rhythm of the year, with the seasonal table and festivals as visual markers for children. The season’s table is a central point in decoration, which evolves as the weeks go by (much like our altars), mirroring nature and serving as a home for nature finds, such as a precious stone or special twig (can you relate?). Although building a sacred space is more than the aesthetic of nature’s gifts, it certainly draws attention when you walk in the room.

This book for me, follows a similar line of thought, each chapter containing a brief historical background that reads like a story instead of a how-to book, helping you get into the mood of the season, followed by magical craft projects. Refreshingly, these are projects you can actually create without having to search for hard-to-find supplies, since most call for easily-available items.

Anjou provides both Northern and Southern dates for all festivals, making it easy to follow no matter where in the world you are located, and each chapter contains a helpful table of seasonal magical correspondences such as colours, crystals, flowers, deities, and symbols, among others. These tables create a fast, easy-to-access reference guide, where you can easily search the overview of items to choose from. The deities referenced throughout the book also hail from a variety of traditions, including Irish, Greek, and Norse, and you’re bound to find familiar information as well as new.

Something to Learn…

Intention, Location and Foundation are core understandings needed to create an effective sacred space – it is necessary to be very clear about why you’re creating such a space. Written in an inclusive and welcoming tone, you will quickly find that creating altars and sacred spaces is an achievable – and I dare say, addictive – activity. Good thing we have plenty of festivities throughout the year!

Something to Make…

Even those who claim not to have a creative bone in their body will be happy with the results upon creating a Faerie house, or a tabletop Maypole – just two of the many achievable projects in this book. Personally, I’m planning to make the Solar charging altar – who could resist?

Anjou has written a book that will delight both new witches as well as experienced, looking for new ideas to incorporate in their craft and sacred spaces.

The Book of Altars and Sacred Spaces may be purchased here.

About Miss Snow: Miss Snow is a green witch and folk practitioner currently living on the sunniest side of Europe. She uses the elements of the earth in her magic, working with the moon, flowers, herbs and her trustworthy tarot deck to light the way. Her background as a handwork educator means there’s always something being born from her hands. You can follow the adventures on Instagram at @thewildmoongarden where she often writes about plants, books, sewing petticoats and aprons, and her obsession for not wearing shoes.

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