Creating Your Own Altar with Purpose
Creating Your Own Altar with Purpose
Creating your own personal altar can help you connect with your own feelings and give you peace of mind, so you can strive for the ultimate in enlightenment. In today’s world, more and more people are walking into work or school every day with a sense of dread or exhaustion. If this describes you, you could be neglecting your mental and emotional health for many reasons.
Maybe the work seems endless, your kids demand every bit of your attention, or your relationships aren’t where you want them to be. Physical health is affecting your overall well-being. No matter your situation, it’s crucial to take time to practice self-care. While self-care often takes the form of exercise, spa treatments, and wellness visits, it’s also important to address your mental and spiritual wellness. Unfortunately, far too many people are unsure how to take these steps on their own. By creating a designated space to meditate, reflect, or pray, you can take time away from the chaos and empower yourself.
Why Create an Altar?
The purpose of an altar is to create a personal space for meditation, reflection, prayer, worship, or a combination of all of these. At the most basic, an altar can provide you with comfort in a world that seems disorganized.
Perhaps just as importantly, you don’t need to go out of your way to buy expensive furniture to construct your altar. In fact, it’s possible you’ve begun creating your altar without even knowing it. For example, you may have noticed a corner in your office where you sense positive energy. Or, perhaps a particular window seat provides you with a sense of peace and calmness.
If you’ve already established a positive space, you simply need to take steps to finish making your altar into a place away from your daily life where you can relax, pray, or increase your existing practices’ effectiveness. In general, there are no rules when creating an altar, so long as you find it to be a positive, peaceful space for reflection.
Altar Intention Matters
As indicated, there are a variety of reasons someone might wish to create an altar. Your unique intentions for using your altar can improve your ability to connect spiritually or emotionally. Just as you would create goals that reflect what you want to accomplish in your regular life, creating an intention for your altar is essential in the process.
Right now, you may be unsure about your intentions, but here are a few common purposes people often have for their altars:
- meditation practice.
- to be free of negativity and stress.
- to connect more deeply with God or the universe.
- to practice self-love.
- journaling or practicing other creative activities.
- to honor ancestors or other important people in your life.
No matter what your altar’s purpose will be, it’s important to develop an idea of how the space will be used prior to beginning your journey.
Preparing Your Altar
Once you’ve determined your altar’s purpose and your personal goals, it’s time to begin creating the space to fit your specific needs.
Choosing the Right Space
One of the most critical steps in creating your altar is to choose the altar space itself. The good news is that you can choose any location that feels right, from a corner of your bedroom to a spare room. While selecting your space, you’ll also want to consider the cardinal direction the altar faces. For example, certain religions pray while facing a particular direction so make sure your altar is oriented in the right direction for prayer if this fits your needs.
You also want to find a spot that’s quiet and serene. If you live with others, you’ll definitely want a low-traffic space away from any noise. A private location is also more effective if you wish to pray, meditate, or use tarot cards. Once you’ve found the “right” space, you’re ready to include the necessary items to enhance your space.
Choosing Items for Intention
One of the most unique advantages of an altar is the ability to personalize it however you see fit. This includes selecting items that enhance your experience and help you achieve your goals. Don’t forget to plan the base of the altar, the material used to elevate your altar from the ground. If you lack space, you may consider using a shelf or even customizing a tree stump outdoors, depending on your intention.
When you’ve selected your space and determined your base, it’s time to collect any objects you feel are essential to your altar. If your intention is to honor your ancestors, you may want to gather images of them and place them in picture frames to scatter around the area. Many people choose candles or incense in calming fragrances to help with relaxation. If outdoors, you may select specific stones or flowers to enhance your altar. For spiritual altars, you may want to gather a wide range of healing crystals to help you when aligning your energy centers or spiritual imagery from your place of worship.
Here are some of my favorite items to incorporate:
Beautify your home altar and elevate your spiritual practice with the powerful 6-piece Crystal Wand Set by Ever Vibes. These beautifully crafted, 3-inch facet-cut wands are designed to direct energy and remove blockages, promoting proper organ and system functions. The set includes Clear Quartz, Black Tourmaline, Citrine, Rose Quartz, Tiger Eye, and Amethyst Crystal, each chosen for their unique healing properties and ability to deflect negativity.
Yin Yang Smudge Candle
Infuse your sacred space with positive energy using an Aromatherapy Candle made from natural soybean wax. This candle aids in smudging, energy cleansing, and chakra healing while promoting mental clarity for intention setting. Ensure a door or window is open during use to release negativity and attract desired outcomes. Ideal as a thoughtful gift, this candle brings love, light, and positive energy to any home altar.
Gold Digger Oil by Art of the Root
Enhance your home altar with herbs and essential oils. I love this blend by Art of the Root featuring cardamom, vetiver, calamus, apple leaves, cinnamon, rose, orange, and more. You use it by anointing candles, jewelry, charm bags, or adding to your bath. You can also anoint images representing your desires. Art of the Root products are handmade using only herbs, essential oils, roots, and floral botanicals for an authentic, artisan experience. Love!
Dragon’s Blood Sage Smudge Sticks
Experience powerful healing energy with Dragon’s Blood Sage Smudge Sticks, perfect for purifying your sacred space. This resin from select trees offers deep cleansing and lasting healing energy. Use these sustainably grown sage bundles for smudging ceremonies, stress relief, anxiety relief, and promoting positive energy. New to smudging? No worries – every purchase includes step-by-step instructions and blessings to guide you on your healing journey.
Incense Holder and Sage Smudge Bowl
Elevate your sacred space with a Large Abalone Shell Incense Holder and Sage Smudge Bowl. These 100% natural, hand-selected shells are perfect for holding incense during smudging ceremonies. Paired with a sustainably sourced, hand-carved mango wood cobra stand, this set adds a touch of natural beauty to your home decor. The unique and iridescent abalone shell also makes a thoughtful gift for friends or family who appreciate spiritual practices.
Building an Altar
When you’ve determined your intention and gathered your necessary items, the next step is to build the altar. As you may expect, there are no limitations when building your altar, as it should be designed in a way that caters to your intention. However, there are a couple of practical considerations to keep in mind.
When building your altar, don’t forget that you’ll likely want to use your altar while kneeling or sitting on something comfortable. There should be a space to do so, and the altar should be at a height that allows easy interaction. The materials used should be something you can easily maintain over time.
If you’ve never built an altar before, don’t worry: your altar doesn’t need to be over-the-top or full of objects you may never use. If you’d like, your altar can be as simple as a wooden table with a candle. Another benefit of altars is you can expand them over time if your intention grows or changes.
Depending on your intention, consider gathering cloth, pillows, or other items to drape, cover the surface, or help you relax. Or, maybe your altar is your meditation space with the goal of finding your warrior spirit, and you’ll want to include inspirational items or imagery related to your quest. If you’re planning on meditating, it’s especially important to develop a space in front of your altar that allows you to be comfortable and focused on your breathing. Creating an altar only needs to be as complicated as you desire – if you’re satisfied with starting small and working your way up as your intention develops, you have a great start.
Incorporating Items Into the Altar
When building your altar, you’ll want to use your selection of items in a way that helps you achieve your goal. Whether you’ve gathered sacred stones, candles, or incense, you’ll want to arrange them in a way that meets your intention. Your altar may benefit from having a focal point or central piece in the middle of the altar. If you included a statue or candle in your altar to fit your intention, this might be the best location for it.
If your intention isn’t guiding you yet, one of the best ways of arranging your altar is to do it symmetrically. Symmetry helps many people feel balanced and whole, which can be beneficial if you’re looking to create a meditation space. By contrast, if your altar is asymmetrical or cluttered with items not fitting your altar’s purpose, you may struggle to meet your emotional or spiritual goals.
Maintaining Your Altar
One of the best parts about altars is that they don’t have to remain the same forever. Not only should you conduct practical maintenance by removing dust and other debris, but you should also make any adjustments necessary if something about your space seems off. If you find yourself feeling negative, dull, or uninspired due to how your altar looks, find ways to spice it up or reignite it.
If something on your altar is distracting you or seems to be taking up space, allow yourself to remove it and replace it if you wish. If you eventually feel your altar has served its purpose or that a different location would suit you better, give yourself permission to take it down and start again.
Cleansing Your Altar
Not only is it recommended to keep your altar clean physically, but spiritually as well.
Depending on your intention, you may want to use palo santo, which can be burned as incense, to clear the space spiritually after using your altar. Alternatively (or in addition), you could use mantra chanting to remove any negative energy surrounding your altar. There’s no schedule you need to set for doing this, but it’s recommended to cleanse your space every once in a while. Some people wait to cleanse their space in order to sync with the energy of the full moon.
About the Energy of the Full Moon
Some people choose to harness the power of the full moon during their rituals. Some people use the new moon and full moon rituals as opportunities to check in regarding their state of mind, sense of inner peace, sense of self, and more. Others may use tarot or oracle cards as a way to sync their manifestations with the moon cycles. You may want to wait to cleanse your altar when a new moon arrives, as this can symbolize a fresh start or a new beginning.
Moving Forward with Your Altar
Altars can be about connecting to a higher power, becoming synchronized with your internal emotions, or even just escaping from a hectic everyday life. As you begin using your altar, keep in mind that your goal should be to meet whatever intention you set. It’s not about using the altar to fulfill some purpose you think others have set for you — or about setting up for a social media photoshoot — but about finding peace away from the rest of your world.
Some people consider their altar to be a spiritual workplace, and that can be a great metaphor for what you’ll do there. This is your own physical space that allows you to perform your rituals and practices or even just meditate and relax away from any negative energy. As you move forward with your altar, your goal is to feel relaxed, at peace, or spiritually satisfied.
Setting Aside Time for Your Altar
Your altar can’t be effective if you spend valuable time decorating or building it only to be swept away by work or family matters. It’s crucial you set aside time to experience your altar. While you certainly don’t have to spend all day at your altar, it is important to spend enough time to achieve your goals. If you have a ritual you’d like to practice that takes about 20 minutes to complete, set aside at least that amount of time either daily or almost every day.
If daily meditation is enough for you to feel at peace, find a point in your day to meditate for about ten minutes. Many people choose to do this right after waking up. Whatever your preference, what’s important is that you find enough time in the day to perform the practices you built the altar to support, as this can make a significant difference in your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Your Altar is Your Own
Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, stress, fear, and negativity can take a toll on your well-being. However, you have the power to create a sanctuary that nurtures your inner peace. By designing your own altar, you can cultivate a harmonious space for meditation, reflection, worship, or simply honoring the significant people in your life. Embrace this sacred haven to realign with your true essence and achieve your goals, fostering a more balanced and spiritually connected existence.