Altars are used in many different belief systems and practices, and although some may associate altars with formal or community settings, anyone can create an altar for personal use. At its core, an altar is simply a designated spiritual space with an intended purpose. As the purpose and design will vary from person to person, every altar will reflect the unique perspective of the individual creating it. If you have ever been interested in making an altar but are unsure where to start, read on for a step-by-step guide with ideas to spark your magic imagination.
Step 1: Choosing a Purpose
Choosing a purpose for your altar can be as simple as asking, “why do I want this space? What will I use it for?” You may not have a singular answer, and that’s okay! Altars can have one purpose or many, and this can evolve over time. There is not one “correct” way to make an altar, and so the purpose can be as formal or informal, as simple or complex, as you would like.
Common purposes for altars include:
- Connecting with or honoring higher powers, deities, ancestors, spirits, or other beings, as well as nature and the elements.
- For rituals, magic, meditation, prayer, mediumship, energy work, or divination practices.
- To enhance or manifest energy, such as protection, cleansing, healing, creativity, love, abundance, intuition, communication, harmony, transformation, etc.
Remember, this is only a small list of possible purposes, as an altar can serve any intention you can dream of.
Step 2: Finding a Space
Altar spaces can be large or small depending on accessibility and preference. If you can, choose a space that naturally feels good to you, or a space that you would like to transform the energy of. You can also clear the energy of a space before setting up your altar by using sprays, smoke, herb bundles, feathers, crystals, candles, visualizations, or any other method of energy clearing. Once you have a table, shelf, or any other surface cleared for your altar, imagine what you would like the design of your space to look like.
Step 3: Decorating Your Altar
Now that you have a space, you can begin decorating it with objects that you feel match the purpose of your altar. These items can be placed and removed at any time, including offerings that you only want to leave on your altar temporarily.
Choosing objects for your altar is a very personal process, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Altar cloths
- Candles, incense, oils, chalk, and charcoal disks
- Crystals, stones, bones, wood, carvings, shells, glass, metal, feathers, or plants
- Statues, photos, drawings, or writing
- Crystal grids, cauldrons, diffusers, or wax warmers
- Food and drink
There are no limitations; you can include any natural or manmade objects that feel significant to you.
Altar Supplies at Downtown Tarot Company
The items for your altar can include things you find or already own, but if you are looking to purchase altar supplies, Downtown Tarot Company has a wide variety of metaphysical products to choose from. The Altare collection features hand-poured Altar Candles with an approximate burn time of 150 hours. Each candle is intuitively curated with a unique fragrance, crystal chips, and herbs to enhance the intention of the candle. Mini Altar Candles are currently in production as well and are soon to be available.
In addition to altar candles, Downtown Tarot Company also offers altar cloths, incense, grids, cauldrons, and crystals of all shapes, sizes, and energetic properties. Another popular altar item is our deity statues, which include deities from several belief systems, cultures, histories, and mythologies. To look at all the different products we offer, follow this link to our online store or visit our storefront in Downtown Rochester, MI.
Step 4: Your Altar in Use
After you have finished setting up your altar, it is time to put it to use. For some, this may mean starting a specific, active practice at their altar space, while others may want a less structured, more passive approach to maintaining and utilizing their altar. Either way, enjoy the wonderful altar you have created!
Crystal Fact of the Week
Legend has it that Cleopatra would crush the blue crystal lapis lazuli to make eye makeup.
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