Arduino-powered Planetary Smart Altar

Recently, I upgraded my altar into a planetary smart altar. With a gesture, the altar lights up in colors displaying the current planetary day and hour.

Planetary smart altar circuitboardThe smart altar is powered by an Arduino Nano, using a real-time clock (RTC), a string of NeoPixels, and my PlanetaryHours Arduino library. I used the planetary colors and calculation method from The Key of Solomon, a well-known medieval grimoire.

Gesture control is done via an HC-SR04 ultra-sonic range finder. It is pretty simple for now, but I can see using such a range finder to detect more complex gestures in the future.


In this short and poorly produced video, the smart altar displays the hour of Mars on the day of Mars, which is basically the planetary hour after sunrise on a Tuesday.

Smart Altars, Electric Candles, and Binaural Beats

I like the idea of using modern technology alongside techniques from grimoires. As you may have heard on My Alchemical Bromance, I’ve been studying and working with grimoires more often lately, but I yearn for ways to update them for modern times.

For instance, I know of several practitioners who use electric candles instead of the real thing. In fact, I have assembled quick electric candles using LEDs and an Arduino for various work. It’s far safer than the real thing, and if you’re not staring directly at the lights you can’t even tell. I also use a binaural beat program for my phone to aid in morning meditation. Modern technology is great for ritual work!

What modern technology have you incorporated into your practice? What else do you think a smart altar should be able to do?

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