To the shaman it is said “Fate is what happens to you. Destiny is the amount of consciousness you bring to your life“. An altar is a powerful way to honor yourself, your journey, a time or transition, or your ancestors and bring conscious intention to your life. It is not particular to any religion or spiritual belief, and you can have anything you want on it. It is very personal to you.
Altars are meant to change and shift as you do, so intend to update it or change it every few weeks or few months. It’s simply a way to create a physical world space for your intentions, manifestations, beliefs, and sacred objects, and helps to hold that energy while you’re off living your life and getting caught up in day-to-day existence. Also seeing it every day is a beautiful reminder that part of you is more than just your day-to-day “to do” list. It’s a quick reality check on what you’re really aiming for.
An altar can be as small or large as you like – perhaps on a small table in your entry or tucked away on a bookshelf. Or take up your entire fireplace mantel. You can have one or several altars, perhaps aligned with the four directions, or create small altars for different aspects of your life (i.e. one for love and relationships, another one for work and abundance, etc).
Regardless of why or where, treat this space as a very special. It is a sacred link to your personal transformation and treat it as such. It is a reflection of your soul. Nourish and feed it, change it or add to it as often as you like – weekly or monthly, with the seasons, or as the mood strikes. Notice when an altar feels like it needs changing. No doubt its because you or something in your life has changed or evolved in some way.
- A side table or bookshelf space, somewhere that won’t get moved or disturbed by others in the house (including pets!)
- Various objects you consider sacred or meaningful:
– Pictures of loved ones or ancestors
– Pictures or statues of a guru, deity, or ascended master you feel connected with and has meaning for you (Jesus, Mary, Buddha, Daila Lama, Mother Theresa, Amma, Quan Yin, Durga, etc)
– Stones, feathers, or other objects from nature (perhaps tie in with the season at hand)
– Crystals, candles, jewels, or any other objects that are special to you and represent yourself in the highest light.
– Pictures or objects that symbolize what you want to manifest (e.g. money for abundance, a picture of a tropical destination, your dream home, a person smiling and happy, a couple in love, etc)
– Statues, framed images, note cards that were given to you, or any written words
- Begin to create an arrangement of your sacred items on your table. You can first put down a woven cloth or scarf to create the space, then begin to place objects you feel belong on your altar. Go with what feels right, not what necessarily looks the best.
- Regularly visit your altar – perhaps at night light a candle and honor what you have put there, or spend a few minutes each day or week to stand in front of it, touch the objects you have put there, and notice what meaning they have to you. You can honor your altar by regularly feeding it with fresh flowers or other goodies – candy, rice or corn, etc.
- Keep your altar clean! This is, after all, a piece of you – if it looks messy or dirty or disorganized, this could be reflecting in your life as well. Dust it, and if you have crystals or other stones be sure to regularly cleanse them using salted water or fire as they absorb energy! Anything heavy you’ve released in your home can often be held in your crystals.
- Notice when your altar needs to change. Does something no longer belong? Does something need adding to better reflect how you’ve shifted? Honor various parts of your life, and also the seasons and elements (e.g. in Fall you could add a leaf that has turned color).
In our life, altars have become a beautiful reflection of who we are and where we are on our journey. Its amazing to see how it changes over time. We bring home objects from nature or from special trips we’ve taken to sacred sites around the world, and take things off once we feel we’ve grown beyond the lesson it taught us. We currently have four altar spaces in our own home: one large joint altar for our highest intentions and what we’re creating together; our own individual altars that reflect where we are on our paths; and a joint altar in our bedroom with objects symbolic of unconditional love, divine union, and passion. We light candles and add fresh flowers to them when we want to really honor and presence the beauty in our lives.
So enjoy, it can be a lot of fun and it can truly create beautiful shifts in your life!