What Are Spiritual Altars & How Can You Make One?

Posted on July 19, 2019

A tarot alter.

Have you ever heard someone talk about their altar?

You do not have to be religious to have an altar and you don’t have to completely understand how they work to use one. We are here to inspire you to invite more positive energy into your home and life by making an altar and help you understand how to make a spiritual altar.

If you’re into intentional living and mindfulness, altars are one tool you don’t want to miss. When it comes to shifting your life and your energy to attract good things, an altar will help you do that. Let’s take a look at how having your own altar can deepen your spiritual practice and empower you to live a happy, prosperous life.

What is a Spiritual Altar?

An altar is a structure upon which significant items or “offerings” are placed for spiritual or religious purposes.

These offerings can be anything that holds significance to you or to your practice, including items like books, candles, incense, essential oils, plants, crystals, Tarot cards — essentially anything that has meaning to you and helps you connect to your intuition and activate your inner power.

Essentially, an altar is a point of reference for your mind, like a train station that takes you to a higher state of consciousness. Altars have been used throughout many different cultures and have stood the test of time. When seeking a feeling of emotional relief, strengthening your own resolve, or seeking guidance, you can use the physical objects on your altar to conjure the feelings you are trying to generate.

An altar can be small or big. Some people make multiple altars in their home or even assemble a small one at work. Basically, it is a collection of sacred or special items that help you find peace or focus on positive energy. No two altars are the same, but typically they are built on a table or shelf that is low enough to sit in front of while meditating.

Traditionally, altars were used to make offerings and receive blessings. While you don’t need to pray to any specific deity and certainly don’t need to make sacrifices, you can choose items that will connect you to certain streams of consciousness you’d like to invite into your life in any way you feel called to do so.

How To Make an Altar

First, know that there is no wrong way to make an altar.

To create an altar, all you need to know is what you want to bring into your life, whether it’s a physical thing, an experience, or an emotion. Perhaps you simply want to create a space for yourself to find balance or deepen your spiritual connection.

Essentially, you want to find objects that uplift you and help you feel connected to a sense of hope and love. When these objects are gathered and placed together, they create an energetic charging station for your soul.

If you’re sitting and scratching your head about how to build a spiritual altar, the best answer is to look within. Seriously! Close your eyes and relax to see what you feel called to place on your altar.

Maybe you’ll see a place in nature you can visit and collect a piece of nature from. Maybe you’ll see a picture of someone you want to place on your altar because they see the best in you or inspire you. Perhaps you’ll see a book your intuition is guiding you toward. There is no specific set-up for altars because what inspires each of us is unique to us. If you want some ideas though, here are some objects that you can infuse with intention or choose based on the properties they tend to help people find within themselves:

  • Plants or flowers have a soothing effect and connect us to nature.
  • Anything that has a scent you love like candles, incense, or essential oils can help induce deeper meditation.
  • Choose your favorite crystals to raise the energetic frequency of the space and to connect more deeply with your intuition. Crystals known to help ground spiritual energy (labradorite, blue kyanite) or known to have a very high frequency (moldavite, quartz) are great as well as protective crystals (black tourmaline, amethyst) that help transmute negative energy. Sometimes you’ll be drawn to a crystal that will help you heal without even knowing it’s properties.
  • Place important jewelry or meditation/mala beads on your altar when you aren’t wearing them to “charge” them with high-vibe energy. That way, when you wear them, you’ll feel extra powerful and connected.
  • Place your oracle or Tarot cards on the altar to remind you to use them and to represent the sacred connection they offer to your inner knowing. Perhaps you feel a connection to a specific card that you’d like to have displayed on your altar at all times.

How Do You Use an Altar?

An altar is not hard to make, but using it might seem elusive at first. Essentially, the most important thing you need to do when sitting down in front of your altar is to set a single, powerful intention.

It’s possible to set more than one intention for an altar, and to change your intention multiple times. Perhaps you’ll come to your altar with a different intention everytime, and that’s okay too The goal is to use your altar consistently as an anchor for your thoughts.

Let’s say you’re having trouble getting over someone. This is a universal experience that people find challenging. Your altar could help you shift your focus to channel that love energy towards a healthy outlet. Perhaps you choose a cause to focus your energy on or you plan to deepen your spiritual life with your efforts. Maybe you want to spend more of your time showing love and consideration to friends and family. All of those intentions will help you step into your healing and help you direct your thoughts to something positive.

Writing down your intention or your goal and placing it on your altar will send it out into the Universe. When you see your goal every time you sit in front of your altar or walk by it, it helps send those thoughts into the multidimensional Universe to activate the law of attraction. Many people light a candle to signify setting their intention in a strong and direct way.

You can even make an altar that will help you work on a specific chakra you’d like to activate, unblock, or balance by bringing in herbs, affirmations, artwork or symbols that represent that chakra. You can set your intention not just to help your emotions or manifest physical things in your life, but also to help strengthen intuition, connect to a spirit guide, or develop a spiritual skill like mediumship. There’s no right or wrong way to set an intention, but it will be most effective if you sit in front of your altar and use it to focus and connect to your spirit daily or even multiple times per day. Asking for guidance, asking for healing, and listening to your spirit will be facilitated by creating a sacred space to do so. Your altar is just for you and can help you find truth, connect to your own wisdom, and get to a place where you feel strong from within.

What Are You Waiting For?

Well, now you have the scoop on altars, but the really exciting part comes when you experience how powerful an altar truly is. When you realize the power of intention and how it can change your life, empower you to create emotions that charge you with magnetic energy and open to new streams of consciousness, you will grow to love your altar.

Perhaps there is a poem, a picture of a guru or figure you are inspired by, or even something that represents the person you want to become already in your home, waiting to be placed on your new altar. You don’t have to spend money to make an altar, just fill it with things that mean something to you and don’t worry about making it perfect. Connecting to spirit has always been free, just as the yogis have lived without material possessions or jobs for ages. Enlightenment is something that manifests only when we calm our minds and connect to our inner, higher selves.

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Shannon Yrizarry has taught metaphysical subjects since 2013 including the deeply esoteric lineage of kundalini yoga. She has worked as a healer, clairvoyant and card reader and… Learn More About The Author »

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