How to Create an Altar
Let me start by saying, that you don't need to buy fancy things to put on your altar. If you don't have the $, don't feel like your altar won't be good enough. Your altar is a sacred space that you can come to, to weave the spiritual into your everyday life. It is a place to set intentions and ground your soul's deepest wishes. Go outside and collect some flowers, shells, rocks, pine cones, etc, to place on your altar (always ask Mother Nature for permission before taking). 😉
Most of us no longer identify with religion and this has left a spiritual void in our lives. Creating an altar, is a small way in which we can reclaim our connection to the divine, creator, God (whatever resonates with you). Additionally, having an altar provides a sense of comfort and calm, which is vital in our hustle and grind culture. Spend a few minutes at your altar each day, breathing quietly, connecting your body, mind, and spirit.
In many parts of the world, outside of the West, people have altars in their homes and use them as places to meditate, pray, and ask requests for help from their spirits, guides, and ancestors. The altar is also a place to express gratitude for the guidance and help that they receive from their Spirit team every single day.
The more regularly you practice the ritual of visiting your altar, the more quickly your mind will learn to switch over and tune in to the frequency of Spirit, much like when you visit a temple, mosque, church, or monastery. Creating an altar opens a portal for so many people and fills a void you may not even know exists.
What is an altar?
It is a physical space created by gathering objects that bring your intentions to life. It's not so much about what you put on your altar. It's about the devotion that you bring to it. Much like tending to a garden, you are planting the seeds (intentions) that you want to see bloom over the days, weeks, even years ahead.
My altar is a place where I come to nourish my spirit daily. Personally, I visit my altar each morning, before sunrise. I pull a card from my favourite Oracle deck to place on my altar to set my intention for the day ahead. Over time, this ritual acts as a reminder to carve out some time for self-care and self love.
Remember, don't get caught up in having to make your altar too elaborate or ceremonial. Allow it to act as a focal point for your energy, a source of connection with the divine.
Choose a space for your altar.
Decide on a place in your home, or outside, where you will place your altar. It can be on a fireplace mantlepiece, a bookshelf, windowsill, in your garden, etc. You will want to pick a quiet spot, with a little privacy. Once you have chosen a spot, check in and see if this space is appropriate for your needs and feels right. Is it peaceful and quiet? Is the energy around your altar bright and welcoming?
I always start by smudging myself, my altar, and the space around with some white sage. Alternatively, you could use palo santo, incense, or essential oils.
Then, use your intuition to collect any tools and objects that you would like to keep on your altar.
Objects to Place on Your Altar
*Statues or symbols that represent gods, goddesses and spirit animals.
*A photograph of your ancestors.
*Spiritual souvenirs from your travels.
*Gifts from loved ones.
*Your favourite book.
*Plants, flowers, feathers or rocks from around your neighbourhood.
*Crystals, gemstones, runes, oracle cards, etc.
I recommend placing all 5 elements on your altar as they each invoke a specific energy. With the 5 elements represented, your altar will be a balanced and supported ritual space.
1) Metal Element
Place a crystal or two on your altar if you have them. Crystals have long been used for their unique energetic properties. They can absorb, transform, and emit energy.
2) Wood Element
Add a plant or some fresh or dried flowers to your altar. They absorb negative energy in spaces and cleanse and purify the air. They also add beauty to your sacred space.
Fire holds the energy of transformation. It burns away the old to make way for the new. Place a candle on your altar, or burn some incense when setting your intentions. Staring at the flame of the candle, is also an effective meditation technique.
Water is the giver of all life and no altar would be complete without this element. If you have a water fountain, you could place it near your altar. I have a small dish which I fill with water from the river near my home and it has a special place on my altar. Alternatively, you can add a couple drops of your favourite essential oil to a candle or add a mirror or wavy glass objects which all represent the water element.
Adding this element to your altar is essential for grounding your energy and that of your space. It is vital to connect with the energy of Mother Earth, our home. You can add a pottery dish which you fill with some salt to easily represent this element.
How to Work with Your Altar
Make a ritual out of it and spend time working with your altar regularly. Personally, I come to my altar each morning. If this is too much for you, I suggest spending some time with your altar each full moon, new moon, or each Solstice. You may want to redecorate your altar each season, placing items that represent the new season.
After I draw my oracle card to place on my altar, I do my morning pages and journal. The more you work with your altar, the more sacred this ritual will become. It will amplify your home with positive vibes and become a place of refuge when you are going through challenging times.
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