How To Create and Use an Altar

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Before you wonder what I’m talking about….I’m sure you’ve seen photos on Instagram over the last year or so of a beautiful tapestry surrounded by flowers, stones, candles, and whatever else the poster wants to place on their altar. An altar is a special sacred setup that can be used to pay respect to someone or something. Altars are used in churches, there are seasonal altars, altars we create in our own home without even realizing it when we keep a memento from our great grandmother next to her photo. But to me an altar is something more.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling bored or in a weird mood, I make a special floor altar. I was missing my Grandma and my best friend recently so I made a gorgeous altar on the floor with mementos from them and I sat there and meditated and it actually made me feel closer to them. I also keep a seasonal altar where I place plants, herbs, stones, and other seasonal correspondences on it to celebrate whatever transformation the Earth is going through.

Why Do People Make Altars?

Like I said above, it’s usually to pay homage to someone or something, to celebrate the sabbats (Earth based celebrations on the Wheel of the Year), full moons, holidays, seasons, loved ones, intentions, and more. If you want to bring abundance into your life, an altar centered around money and opportunity may be used to set your intentions.

How Do You Make an Altar?

Making an altar is pretty simple and there’s no right or wrong way. You can actually do it any way you want.

Decide on a Reason

You can make one just because or you can make one for a specific reason. If there’s something you want to manifest you can base it around that, if you want to honor a loved one lost, you can base it around them. Celebrating the beauty of a season? Go ahead and make a seasonal altar.

Find a Safe Spot

First you will need to decide on whether you want this to be a temporary floor altar you meditate with or if you want it to be kept in a certain room of your home. You can use a dresser top or a desk or even a book shelf. Some people even get little teeny tables just for their altar. If you have young kids and pets, make sure it’s out of reach for them.

Layer with Fabrics

To protect the furniture underneath and to add some colors, patterns, and dimension, lay some beautiful altar cloths down. If you don’t have any, look at what sheets and pretty fabrics you have around your home. Get creative. Fabric place settings that are patterned or colored work great as well. Even a simple throw or blanket. I’ve also seen people use scarves which is a fantastic idea.

Add Relevant Items

You can add photos of people or places, objects like a watch, a dollar bill, or a necklace, fresh or faux flowers, candles, pretty pieces of table top décor, and whatever else you see fit. For correspondences, google it! So for a winter altar you may want to look up winter correspondences and it’s likely to be things like evergreen sprigs, pinecones, and berries. There are different crystals that correspond to things you want to manifest as well. So you could look up what crystals are good for abundance or health or love. If you have a religious statue or figurine you can add that to your altar as well. If you practice earth based spirituality you can place gods and goddesses on your altar. You can even print a picture of one and place it there. And if you want to get real fancy, choose candles that are a certain color to go with whatever your altar represents.

Pay Homage to Your Altar

If you’re just doing a floor altar for your own little ritual or ceremony, make it very sacred and intentional. Think of what you want to manifest as you light each candle. Play relaxing music and meditate. Journal whatever thoughts come to you. Do an oracle card pull or dance around and shake a rattle. Have fun and do whatever brings you peace. If you have a table top altar, make sure to spend a few minutes with it each day. Close your eyes and feel the energy from what you want to manifest. If it’s a memorial altar, stop by and mindfully reflect on the good times with whomever you lost. Leave flowers or small gifts as an offering. Talk to your loved one. If you are religious, pray over your altar. Take care of it and keep it neat and tidy. Also be very mindful if you’re burning real candles. Safety tip: battery powered pillar candles are a great alternative and there’s no mess! It still looks just as beautiful as a real candle.

Time for a Change

If you want to transform your altar for something else, you can take any of the greens or flowers you have on it and you can return them to the Earth by placing them outside under a bush or a tree. If you used a salt bowl as an offering, place the salt into the ground as well. Then start the process over again for your next altar.

Do you have any altars in your home? I’d love to hear what’s on them!


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