As soon as I sat down, I felt a sense of calm wash over me. My body automatically started breathing deeply. I lit a candle and burned some sage. My thoughts slowed down, and my shoulders relaxed.
I was sitting in front of my personal altar.
It is my place of peace. It serves as a place that helps center my awareness on my inner voice and allows me the opportunity to “hear” messages and recognize my connection with Spirit.
My altar is tucked in the corner of the spare bedroom, a place without much traffic. It’s nothing fancy, just a cushion on the floor and a small round table with a few items that have significant meaning for me.
What is an Altar?
An altar is more than a beautiful space to look at. A personal altar is meant to be a visual reminder for you to go within. It helps you detach from the world for a moment and tune in to subtle energies that can provide guidance and inspiration.
Sitting at your personal altar trains your conscious and subconscious mind to let go of everyday distractions and relax. It is a place for meditation, prayer, contemplation and intuitive listening.
How to Set Up a Personal Altar
There is no right or wrong way to set up a personal altar, just follow your intuition. Your altar may be large or small, but most importantly it should be a reflection of you.
It can be set up in a dedicated space, like the corner of a room, or be the center focus for the room. An altar can be created outside in your yard or garden. You can create them anywhere, on a mantle, on the top of a dresser or shelf, I once had my altar in a closet where I could shut the door when I was done to keep out people and the occasional cat.
A personal altar creates a dedicated space for things that are important to you. It can add beauty to any space in your home and fills that space with your own personal creative and spiritual energy.
It should reflect your own brand of spirituality and give you a creative outlet to express your goals, beliefs and ideas.
Five Tips to Help you Create a Personal Altar
- Create a space: Find the place where you want your altar to be located and create space in that area. The space you choose, small or large, should be used only for this purpose. This is important because you are committing to making space in your life for your spiritual connection. Clean the area thoroughly, preferably with natural cleansers. Burn sage or other incense to clear the energy of the space.
- Decide on its purpose: Altars can be created for many reasons. An all-purpose altar is just like it sounds; an everyday space that is always ready for your visit. You can do a themed altar to support things like healing, seasonal observations or a particular spiritual tradition. Feel free to change it up as often as you like.
- Select sacred items: Choosing items for your altar should be done with great care and consideration. There are no wrong things to put on your altar. I always have a candle on my altar. You might choose pinecones that you picked up on a walk, shells from a beach, a beautiful crystal, feathers, statues of Gods and Goddess, or decks of oracle cards. Create and play. Have fun with this. Your altar is uniquely you.
- Arranging your altar: There are many ways of arranging your altar. You could arrange it based on the four directions and place symbols that represent them in each place. You could create an altar based on chakras, and place things in line or in a circle, corresponding to the chakras. Or you could simply place things on your altar in the position and way that it appeals to you. Your altar doesn’t have to please anyone but you, so make sure that you are choosing how to set up your altar based on what YOU like. Place everything with intention. Intend for each item to represent something important to you and for the altar itself to be a powerful, sacred place for you.
- Maintenance: It’s important to keep your altar clean. Don’t allow things that don’t belong there. Keep it dusted and the items clean. Burn sage or other incense regularly to clear the energy.
Once you’ve created your own personal altar, use it! Keep a journal nearby to record your thoughts. You might meditate in front of it, bring flowers to brighten it up, or just look at it on your way out the door for an extra lift before you start your day.
Do you have a personal altar? Tell us about it and share pictures of your space in the comments below!