How to Make an Altar for Spiritual Practice | PathForward
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How to Make an Altar for Spiritual Practice

December 04, 2022 by PathForward
A simple altar in your home can create a space for prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices.
A simple altar in your home can create a space for prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices.

You can't go wrong by making an altar if you're looking to deepen your personal spiritual practice. You'll find a range of altars for various rituals and traditions.

What Are Altars?

First things first. Exactly what are altars? When you hear the word "altar," it usually refers to an area of worship dedicated to honoring deities with offerings. Typically, an altar is a raised area. Many religions use altars, and these areas are historically spiritual hubs to place objects of worship.

Altars may take different forms in different traditions. A Neo-Pagan altar might have statues of the God and Goddess along with objects representing the elements of earth, air, fire, and water. On the other hand, a Buddhist altar might be an elevated shelf with a statue of Buddha, the bodhisattvas, candles, and offerings (think incense, food, purified water, and flowers).

What Kinds of Altars Can You Use?

If you're looking to make an altar for spiritual practice in your own space, you don't need it to be over-the-top elaborate. Just having an emotionally and metaphysically raised focal point of energy is enough. You can even have an altar outdoors. For instance, you can place some candles and objects on a flat rock or tree stump in a safe spot. Think of your altar as an intentional space to gather objects, whatever they may be, to help you feel engaged and connected to a higher power. Again, how you define that higher power is up to you.

A Psychic Advisor can help you identify the type of altar that would work well with your personal spiritual practices. Here's some inspo for your altar-making endeavors:

  • Home Altar: A home altar is a collection of items you can use to center and inspire yourself. It allows you to create a safe space by drawing on items that spark feelings of love, motivation, and strength. A home altar is super-personalized, so DIY it to include your special collection of objects such as flowers, photos of loved ones, and other mementos.
  • Prayer Altar: If you want to deepen your religious connection, you can create your altar as a more formal space. A prayer altar can offer a set space in your home where you go for religious worship. You can use the altar to pray and conduct rituals.
  • Meditation Altar: Not into formal religious ritual? No problem. You can create a more secular altar as an inviting place that lets you tap into your meditation practice. A meditation altar can give you a focal point for meditation, letting you create an intentional space in your home or room where you can meditate and practice reflection and gratitude.
  • Wiccan Altar: Wicca is different than other religions you may be familiar with since it doesn't have specific holy texts or buildings like churches to go for worship. However, Wicca does use an altar to honor the divine, and this altar is widely considered the center of spiritual activity. It hosts rituals for Sabbats, Esbats, personal rituals, and spellwork.


How to Make an Altar

Ready to learn how to make an altar for spiritual practice? Follow these steps and you're well on your way to creating your own personal space for reflection and ritual:

Figure Out the Purpose of Your Altar

Deciding how you'll use your altar is essential. It's a personal journey, after all, so consider what type of altar you want to make before you dive into constructing it. The purpose of the altar will ultimately set the tone for everything else you do. There's no right or wrong purpose for an altar as long as it's true to you. Some personal and spiritual reasons for creating an altar include:

  • Honoring ancestors, including family, spiritual, and political ancestors.
  • Honoring a deity or deities.
  • Honoring loved ones.
  • Honoring special events and holidays.
  • Journaling.
  • Meditating.
  • Performing rituals or spellwork.
  • Witnessing seasons.


Choose Your Space

Pick the place where you'll put the altar. You might choose anything from a modest windowsill or bookshelf to an entire spare room. You can also consider the direction your altar faces, as direction can have meaning in certain spiritual traditions as well as personal meaning. For example, some religions place altars on the eastern side of a space, and some people opt to face their altars toward their homeland and ancestors. No matter where you put the altar, you'll want to think about where you'll have quiet and privacy. If the space feels "right," it's right for you!

Gather Objects and Tools

Again, the full gamut of what you gather is up to you. Unless you have specific guidelines from spiritual or religious rituals you're following, just use your intuition to find objects that speak to your heart and purpose. Objects you might use include:

  • Books.
  • Divination tools like a tarot deck or runes.
  • Flowers, plants, or food offerings.
  • Gems, crystals, or stones.
  • Mementos from key milestones in your spiritual journey.
  • Natural objects such as feathers, bones, or shells.
  • Photographs of ancestors, if appropriate to your culture and spiritual practice.
  • Precious objects with personal meaning, such as jewelry.
  • Symbols or statues of spiritual guides.


Arrange the Altar

Now that you have your space and sacred objects, think about how you want to place them on the altar. Simple is usually best, and symmetry is often a guiding principle for building an altar. You might try putting the biggest object in the altar's center and then arranging objects from there. You can also place your favorite object at the center and then use complementary objects around it. Arranging the altar in a way that feels right is totally up to you.

Work With the Altar

Altars aren't typically set-it-and-forget-it things. You'll want to get into the habit of regular work on your altar, even if you start with a small ritual once in a while. For instance, you might clean and redecorate at the start of every season.

Looking for more personalized tips as you make an altar for your spiritual practice? Speak with an intuitive PathForward Psychic today!


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