I suppose it's 'bout time I joined in on the wonderful Pagan Blog Project. Better than late than never, eh? (Especially considering how late in the day I'm submitting this. Eeps.)
Anyway, so Altars!
But, shrines and altars can be one and the same. For me, my altar and shrine area is intermingled. It's an area I have specific candles and symbolism to honor the dé ocus andé. I also use it as an area of worship, performing a morning ritual there.
What I find important to have on my altar/shrine in terms of Gaelic Polytheism is a few things. For one, I want to have some sort of offering bowl to give offerings in. Currently I have two: one for the dé ocus andé and one especially for Lugh. (Lugh also has a glass dedicated to Him if I offer a drink instead of food.) I also like to have candles to represent the dé ocus andé, spirits, ancestors, Lugh's candle, and Brigid's candle. If I invited a different spirit or entity into my home, I would find another candle to do so with. I don't know why exactly my mind links a candle as a way of inviting in deities, spirits, and entities but it does.
Recently I discovered my own personal want for a "hearth." While in pre-modern times the hearth would have been a fireplace centered in the home, I decided to take a modern approach and incorporate my coffee maker as my hearth. The reasons for this is that the hearth is related to hospitality, food, and center. I associate all that with my coffee maker (I consider coffee to be very grounding and centering.)
Other things that aren't really necessities for my altar and shrine but I still like to have on it is a vanity shrine. My vanity shrine includes items that represent me and celebrate myself. I have what I call a "Love Box" full of letters and tokens of friendship from various people. It's a nice box to go through when I'm feeling lonely or sad. I also have items of my family, including my Home Jar and my boyfriend's first Menorah.
So this entry is a bit discombobulated. In summary: an altar is something for worship or "doing." My altar is combined with my shrine.
...Ugh. I'll try to make my entry better next week...