By Andy Hagerty
Many religions use some form of a cloth to cover their sacred places, often referred to as an altar/ This altar cloth can be used as a sign of respect for the sanctity of the altar. Some traditions use the altar cloth to protect the surface of the altar from implements used during the ceremonies. An Altar cloth can also be used to beautify a plain or mundane looking altar.
In biblical religions, the Roman tradition actually used up to three separate cloths for their altars. They currently use at least one. The Eastern Orthodox still mandates three cloths for their churches. The Jewish faith they used altar cloths in the temple, but when that was destroyed in 70 ad, the practice fell out of use due to there no longer being an altar in their places of worship.
For the home practitioner the altar cloth has many uses. If you have a designated altar the cloth will assist in adding to the power of said altar and assist you in entering a proper mental state for crafting.. If you have to use your altar spot for regular daily uses ( ie a coffee table or end table) the altar cloth will assist in your ritual objects not picking up the daily energies that come into contact with the multi use altar surface. Use of an altar cloth allows you the flexibility to use any surface to be an altar, a boon if you travel.