Beginner’s Guide To Building Your Own Altar

 Altars date back to Ancient Egypt and Israel where our ancestors would use altars to praise and invoke the energies of Gods and Goddesses. Altars allow us to connect on a deeper level and create a focal point of our devotion to our spiritual practice.

Global consciousness is shifting. We are rising in frequency to meet those beyond the veil.

As we rise in global consciousness, taking on these devotional practices is integral to our ascension and continual progress in this energetic shift.

Why Is An Altar Important?

An altar is an external representation of our inner world. It’s a manifestation of the spiritual core of who we really are. It’s a sacred space, a temple, a place of honour and devotion to our Highest Self and the powers that work with us.

It’s a place where we go to ground, re-centre our energy and connect to Spirit. It brings us back to our divinity and wholeness as a Soul being; reminding us that we are truly just souls encountering a human experience.

How Do We Create An Altar?

So you want to build your own altar, but where to start? Looking at other’s who have been working with their altars for an extended period of time can be very overwhelming. The accumulation of offerings, deities, and other items connected to the devotee carry a lot of energy and can feel very dense to an outside eye.

Since I recently moved into a new house, I’ve been setting up my own altar from scratch and it’s reminded me of the simple basics that an altar really needs. So here are my own personal tips, tricks and easy to access tools to create your own sacred space, wherever you are.

 Honouring The Elements

The basics of creating an altar is honouring the elements; Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Spirit.

This is important to do so because combining all to invoke the energy of Mother Earth creates a vortex for powerful transformation, healing and manifestation.

 

Tools For Your Altar

An altar set up is really simple.

The key components are:

  1. Two White Pillar Candles

This represents Spirit and the element of fire. These are to be placed on opposite ends of the altar. You can add other candles which are scented and different colours to honour the chakra’s (red for root, green for heart, etc) but having two white pillar candles is essential. White is the colour associated with purity, divinity and light. Have white candles help anchor in the energies of Spirit, with a knowingness Spirit is always there.

This also represents the South direction and the Power of Action. In connecting with this direction, you can tune into deeper self awareness and pay attention to your behaviours, actions, inactions, reactions, responses, etc and acknowledging what is serving you and what isn’t. 

You can buy white pillar candles here

2. Incense + Sage

  

Sage, incense, and any herbs you wish to add to your altar represent Earth. These are to be burned at the beginning and during your practice at your altar. Burning sage when accessing your altar will clear any negative, unwanted energy and energy that does not belong to you. No matter where we are, even when we are sleeping, we are susceptible to energy vampires, parasites, and just the ability to pick up even the subtlest of energies from others that can impact our connection to Spirit – so lighting a stick of sage or palo santo upon entering your altar space will tune you back into your Self again.

Honouring Earth honours the North direction and the Power of the Body. This connection allows us to feel deeper into our senses, our biological needs, and our physical health. This is an amazing element to ask your body “How can I serve you? What do you need?”

3. Abalone Shell

The abalone shell is a gorgeous gift from the oceanThis is to honour the element of Water. Our Native ancestors used shells to burn sage and herbs in because the essence of the shell brought all elements together, creating a vortex of energy for powerful rituals and ceremony.

This also represents the direction of the West and the Power of Emotions. We can relate to the ocean in many ways, as we are mostly made up of water. The ocean is unpredictable; sometimes calm with grace, sometimes roaring and rolling with unruly passion. Nonetheless, she keeps moving. Connecting with this element allows us to understand what it means to feel on a deeper level. When we are in personal ceremony at our altar, we can let all walls down and allow ourselves to fully feel into whatever comes up. Pain, bliss, discontent, love, sadness, beauty.. it all comes up for healing and processing.

4. Crystals

This is where I have a LOT of fun. The opportunity to add crystals to your altar is endless. This honours the elements of Earth and Spirit. People are recognizing more each day how powerful having crystals in your space, pocket, purse, car (etc) are. They are incredible energy shifters, balancers, healers, and messengers from the Spirit realm. The best advice I can give with adding crystals to your altar is have fun choosing. Head to a crystal store and pick which ones resonate with you most in that moment — it’s usually the ones we are drawn to are the ones calling to us to help us in our transformations and healings. The main three I would recommend if you’re completely overwhelmed are a quartz, rose quartz and amethyst.

5. Feather

Honouring Air. I also like to use the feather as a symbol to acknowledge Father Sky. You can buy a feather at a spiritual shop, however I have a collection of feathers I find on the street that catch my eye when I need to see it most. They remind me I am on the right path and just a simple physical message from Spirit saying “hey!”.

When we honour Air, we honour the East direction and the Powers of the Mind. The mental dimension and the thinking realm. This is where we process our thoughts, reasoning, and our attitudes. Affirmations and positive self talk analysis are powerful modalities to use for this element.

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So now you have the basis of your first altar! It’s so simple and these tools are easy to access from anywhere. Spiritual shop, dollar store, health food store… or even just going out in nature and finding some of these tools works even better!

I found this great smudging kit you can order online here which provides you with all your altar essentials.

It’s really up to you how and what you want to add on top of these tools. It’s common to also have statues, deities or images of mentors, Gods, Goddesses, and spiritual teachers to invoke their blessings and to honour their services to the Earth and Spirit realms. Let your intuition guide you on how to build your altar. An offering is always a beautiful welcoming message to spirit. If you choose to invoke fairies, Angels or other beings across the veil, you can ask during your practice what it is that will help bring them in closer and again allow your intuition to guide you.

The basics of this set up can also make for easy travelling altars if you’re an avid traveller like me. Here is an example of an altar I created while on the road:

 

You can see how simple it is to create sacred space wherever you are and it doesn’t matter how big or small you choose your altar to be. Make it yours, and as unique and special as you are. I encourage you to use your altar regularly, as we anchor in more Light on this Earth it is beneficial to all of us on a physical and spiritual level to use altars as a way to access deeper into our hearts, our spirit and connection to global consciousness.

Blessings on your altar creation journey!

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