Altars have long been used for sacred purposes by people from many different paths and religions.
A friend reached out to me today asking for guidance on creating and working with an altar, and here’s what I told her.
An altar is a sacred space and symbolic of one’s connection to Spirit. It’s a place to focus and direct energy; and, connect with and honour Spirit.
Some tips for creating and working with an altar…
Find a suitable place for your altar
Indoors and/or outdoors
Make sure it’s safe so that you can let candles burn
Make sure you can reach it easily
Best if you can sit in front of it for mediation
In my tradition, the main altar is always on top of the mantelpiece above the hearth, or around the hearth. My current home doesn’t have a hearth (the heart of the home), so my altar is in my lounge on a low table.
Your altar can be in any room in your home
Be sure that others don’t interfere with your altar
Ensure all elements are represented
This is to ensure the elemental energies of your space are balanced. Here are some suggestions to choose from. One item per element is sufficient.
Earth – flowers, a plant, herbs, stones, crystals, soil, salt, fruit
Air – a feather, an angel figurine, image of a bird/the sky
Fire – candles, incense, matches, a lighter
Water – shells, dish of water, fish/mermaid figurines
Have an item to represent your Spirit Guides
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t met your Spirit Guides yet. You know they’re there.
An item to represent your ancestors.
Anything else of importance/spiritual significance.
Make it pretty
And keep it clean and tidy.
Be sure to keep the energy flowing by removing dead flowers, cleaning crystals, etc.
You can create a fresh altar for special occasions.
Working with your altar
Sit before your altar in meditation and make a ritual of lighting your altar candles.
At least once a day, I light three or four tea light candles on my altar.
The first I light (and smudge if I feel the need) and offer to the Divine Source of All Creation as I send out love and light into the Multiverse and give thanks for the blessings of abundance that flow freely through my life.
The second I offer to my guardian angels and helping Spirit Guides and I give thanks for their love, healing, guidance and protection. I also thank them for revealing what I need to know in ways I can easily recognise and understand.
The third I offer to ‘all my relations’ (animals, plants, rocks, birds, fish, flowers, insects, vegetables, fruits), the Henuriad (divine ancestors of my tradition), my ancestors and the animals I’ve cared for.
The fourth is to wish for myself and those I love that our days be full of joy and fulfillment and our evenings of warmth and closeness; and, that our gates, paths and doors be open and the gates, paths and doors of any who wish to do us harm be closed.
I might also use this time to give thanks for anything else that I want to (or I do this during a meditation).
Fragrance and Offerings
Light incense/oil burner with fragrance of choice to invite and welcome the highest energies.
Leave offerings to your Spirit Guides and ancestors. Every time I open a bottle of wine, I offer a glass to those of my Spirit Guides and ancestors I know like/d a drink. I leave a piece of chocolate for those I know who like something sweet.
An altar can also be used in spell work and for manifestation. Let me know if you want to know more about this!