I’m fascinated with altars. I love the beauty of them, the reverence they hold. I love seeing what people place on them – the sacred trinkets, beloved deities, treasures that mean something so deep.
The art of making an altar is a soulful practice. It goes deep and it is truly beautiful. At the moment I am altar-less and, I’m not gonna lie, it’s hurting my soul a little bit. My altar is my happy place. When I sit in front of it, I instantly feel grounded and my brain, body and spirit automatically know that some kind of spiritual practice is going to happen. I fall together in just the right way.
I think if you feel called to build an altar then you absolutely should. The practice isn’t for everyone (and if it’s not for you, that’s totally cool) but if it is, here’s a little checklist that will get you started on crafting your own space for spiritual evolution and development.
Before you begin
Ask yourself what you are going to use your altar for. This will determine how big your altar will need to be and the types of items you’ll place on it. Is it going to be a simple place for meditation? Are you going to be filming your tarot readings for YouTube on it? Is it going to be a place of worship for a particular deity that you have a connection to? Or are you going to use it for healing or magick work?
Your altar can have one purpose or many (my own usually multitasks as a meditation space, a space for pulling cards, getting in touch with spirit and making magick), but you do need to get clear on how much space you’ll need in order to be comfortable. When you decide that, think of where you’d like your altar to be. If you’re a private person, you might like to have it tucked away in a bedroom. If you’re open about your spiritual practice, you might be happy to have it in the middle of your living room. Go with whatever your gut tells you.
When you’re ready to start building your altar, it’s important to choose items that have significance to you. Now this significance can be deeply meaningful (for example a statue of your patron deity) or you could place something on your altar just because you find it beautiful. Listen to what your heart tells you. You’ll intuitively know if something needs to be placed on it.
It’s also important to remember that our altars become a place of power and intention. They become imbued with an energy of their own that can be used to assist us and our manifestations – remember, whatever you place on the altar will be altered (or changed).
When your altar has been built, you might like to say a blessing over it or dedicate it to a specific purpose. Or, you might choose not to do any of these things. The most important thing is that you spend time there. You’ll start to find that your altar becomes a place of deep peace and comfort to you and you’ll naturally spend more time there.
What to place on your altar (a checklist):
Statues of deities/teachers you’re drawn to
Your most-used tarot and oracle decks, or decks that are solely for your own personal use
Items for ritual
Ethically sourced feathers (aka gifts from nature)
Items from nature (again, ethically sourced)
Representations of the elements (earth, air, fire, water, spirit)
Ribbons (for knot work)
Candles (for candle work and intentions)
Sewing essentials (for poppets and mojo bags)
Pen and paper or a journal
A reiki box
A representation of your animal totem
Pictures of loved ones that have passed over
Offerings to deities/spirit
Intentions you hope you manifest
Jewellery that has special significance to you