If you want to supercharge your spiritual practice, one of the best tips that I can offer is to create your own personal altar.
Almost all of my spiritual work begins at my altar space. In fact, I actually have several altars in various places in and around my home that I use for different purposes, and have created many other beautiful altar spaces over the years around the world during my travels — some small and simple and others more elaborate — all of which have helped me to connect more deeply with Source no matter where I am.
Altars have been used in ritual and sometimes even sacrifice for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Nordic cultures, and appearing in the places of worship of almost every major religion, from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, to Pagan groups and Native tribes across the globe.
Some primitive altars are thought to have been no more than piles of rocks or sticks near trees or at the tops of mountains, as it was believed that these higher places were closer to the Gods. The word “altar” itself can be traced back to the Latin altare, which means “high place,” and adolere, which means “to adore” or “worship.”
WHAT IS A PERSONAL ALTAR
Just like the altars that you may see in churches or temples, a personal altar is a designated sacred space, typically a table or platform, with an arrangement of high vibration items. It can be in your home, in your garden, or even a spot in nature that you are drawn to, like the little altar I spotted by the ocean in Hawaii pictured above.
Personal altars can be used to assist in setting intentions, focusing energy, prayer, manifesting, divination, spell casting, journeying, connecting with spirit guides or attuning to kairos time to work in the spiritual realms — for example, to gather information in the Akasha — or, simply for meditation and mindful journaling.
Personal altars is where the veil thins, so-to-speak, between our world and that of spirit. It’s a portal, and a place where communication with the spirit realm may be easier.
WHAT TO INCLUDE
Your personal altar is, well, personal — so when it comes to choosing what sorts of items to include and how to arrange them, it is best to follow your intuition. An altar space is ultimately meant to raise and direct energy, so consider items that resonate and hold a genuinely special meaning to you. That energy will be naturally amplified by the power of your intent and far more effective than any items that you might include just for the sake of having them because you think you should.
That said, here are some common altar items for inspiration:
Many altars include elements from nature to honor our connection to the earth, such as small bowls of soil and water, stones, flowers, plants, tree bark, drift wood, sea shells, feathers, and candles to represent fire. You can also use different colored candles depending on what type of spiritual work you are doing or what intentions you wish to manifest — for example, you might choose a green candle to manifest prosperity or red for love.
Crystals and gemstones are powerful little tools for amplifying and directing energy, especially when arranged in grids. Clear quartz is my go-to for programing energy, and amethyst for connecting with the spiritual realm. I also love using Herkimer diamonds for focusing energy, selenite and black tourmaline for repealing negative energy, and malachite for manifesting.
If you are working with specific gods, goddesses, other deities or power animals, including a representative statue or small totem is never a bad idea. This is a great way to show gratitude for their guidance and assistance, and help you to connect with their energy and attune to their wisdom.
Your personal altar is the perfect place to keep tarot decks, oracle cards, and other tools for divination such as pendulums, rune stones or scrying mirrors, as they are less likely to pick up or absorb negative energy when surrounded by high vibration items and therefore make them easier to connect to and work with.
Some other items to consider are incense and essential oils, photographs, mementos and other objects that honor your ancestors and loved ones, rosaries, malas, prayer beads or prayer slips, and a journal.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR PERSONAL ALTAR
- Choose a space where you will not be easily disturbed or distracted, and where you feel calm and grounded. I like to have a lot of bright, natural light around my altar spaces so I tend to set mine near large windows or outside, but you may prefer softer and dimmer light. Go with what feels right to you.
- Cleanse the space thoroughly. You may use sage or mugwort, Reiki, bells, or you may simply imagine warm, white or golden light sweeping away any lingering stagnant or negative energy.
- Set your intention to use this space for sacred work and only use it for that. Do not, for example, play on your phone or watch TV in that space.
- Arrange your altar in whatever way feels inviting, centering, and empowering to you. You may even bless or set intentions for each item as you place them on the altar.
- Be sure to periodically clean and cleanse your altar space as necessary so that the energy around it is kept pure and fluid.
Do you have an altar space? What are some of the items that you keep on it? Let me know in the comments!
Research and draft of this blog by Claire Del Grippo, finishing touches by me.