I do not have pictures yet, due to construction, but allow me to get descriptive.
My altar is a ROOM in the house I am buying. I do not jive too well in having a platform before me as a focal point, rather I try for the Total Environment approach. This allows me the ability to remain comfortable. It also grants me the ability to ritualize at any time and with anyone present.
The room is long, about 20-25 feet(North-South), and 15-20 feet wide(East-West). The walls are done with a sponging tecnique to have the look of aged parchment. Dominating the east wall is a stone fireplace, with two unmistakable black candles on either side of an antique mirror. Above the mirror is a set of Deer antlers, with black velvet covering the skull-crown. There is an old victorian couch before the fireplace, with carved wood along the back, curving down the arms, terminating into clawed feet for the legs. Two matching chairs are in the corners of the north wall, one near a bookcase full of my library articles, the other near a victorian lamp resting on a wood and marble-topped table.
In the corners of the south wall, resides a handmade suit of armor with my collection of edged weapons arrayed behind it like a peacocks tail. Opposite of that is an antique drafting desk, and a stark puritan wooden chair to compliment it. The corner of the desk holds aloft another glass victorian style lamp. I have self painted, or charcoal-drawn pictures lining the walls, as if in a gallery, and they range from the crashing sea, to whimsical demons, in type.
The west wall has an double wide opening with dark red curtains lining it, helping to distinguish that room, from the one it adjoins. It also has the company of my curio cabinet, filled with small brass temple-dogs, a naked pan tootin his horn, and wildly dancing, as well as the various silver chalaces, leatherbound books etc. befitting the overall old time feel to this sorcerers den.
I will post photo attachments soon, as I am very proud of the effect of the room.(I need to convince my wife that this needs done, as we are very busy turning the rest of the house into small Total Environments as well)(it is a very big house, and we have already been at it for one year without an imminent completion date!)
As to the effectiveness of the arraingement of my Altar Room, let me tell you that I invited over a co-worker who was keeping me from advancing to a management position, through his actions. I sat him down upon the couch and offered him some of my finer scotch, and let the room works it's calming effect upon him. I sat at my drafting table while the sounds of Paganini filled the air. I chatted with him, and drew a decent portrait of him on some paper, and I handed it to him for his approval of my handiwork. When he agreed that I did very well, I offered more scotch...this time a bit harsher and not as refined as the previous offering. I started to light incense, and I lit both candles on the mantle as well as stoked a fire within the fireplace. We chatted some more, and my sweet but serious looking pit-bull joined the discussion for some ear rubs.
When the doorbell rang, and my wife let in a longtime friend and co-worker in, I knew my orchestrations were turning out wonderfully. They joined our discussion.
When I offered the third drink, (gut burning cheap whiskey), I cought my first wiff of fear from my target...the room darkened at the approaching dusk seeping into the windows, finding corners to fill. More black candles were lit, stronger, stranger perfumes were burned. I showed my two new guests the picture I had Drawn. They agreed that it looked like ---him.
Upon receiving their approval, I put an edge of the picture to flame, and turned the face of the drawing towards my target.
"what no-one knows, won't hurt you", and pointed at him.
(story edited due to space and mystery restrictions)
He left, and I have not seen or heard from him at all. I have my promotion, and, well, Life IS good! My altar works JUST FINE.
Long winded, yup, you bet it was. Is it for everyone, nah, I doubt it could be. But, Y'know... you get out of it what you put in.