How To Create A Home Altar
My morning routine has been particularly fulfilling as of late, and I think that's because of the new addition I've recently implemented. I've created an altar space - in the middle of my living room with a few objects that make it feel sacred, divine, and very "me." Since doing so, I have been able to create a great morning routine around my altar. The sacred altar in my home is a great way for me to anchor myself and be present in the moment. If you’re interested in creating an altar in your home, it’s very simple and a great aesthetic piece that really empowers you and also gives your home a lovely aesthetic.
What Is An Altar?
An altar is a sacred space or place that is used for ritual. Altars have been used for millennia in religious ceremonies and holy architecture. Think of it as your spiritual center where you can focus on being your highest self. What you choose to add to your altar is of complete personal choice, but are usually items and sentiments that invite positive energy into your life.
Your altar is an outer representation of your inner attunement. It’s a way of honoring yourself by having a place that is solely yours and represents your ideals. Over time, just entering into the space of the altar has an effect on your energy and mood.
What Is The Purpose Of An Altar?
A home altar serves many purposes. It is
- A sacred space where your spiritual aspiration is nurtured and reinforced
- The focal point for your devotional practices
- The spiritual center of your house
- A reminder of spiritual principles
- A spot where the mind is dragged into the Heart
When you decide to install an altar in your home it means that you have listened to an inner calling to literally “elevate” spiritual ideals—making them the priority in your life and the focal point of your home.
What Should I Put In My Altar?“That which is placed on the altar is altered.” ~Marianne Williamson
Altars should be a reflection of items that are of importance to you. The altar at my house is very simple, is just a coffee table tray, and on top of it I put:
- An abalone shell with my sage
- My golden buddha
- A lavender candle
- My favorite crystals - citrine cluster, amethyst cluster, quartz, pyrite
- I received crisp 7 dollars through the mail, unexpectedly one day for no reason which I found to be so cool and decided to place them on my altar as a sign of financial blessings, with the pyrite over it.
- Fresh Flowers - particularly roses, I truly love their timeless beauty
- A thick, empty, lined notebook that I add it to my gratitude list often
- Mala or Prayer Beads
Place your mala or rosary beads on your altar when they’re not in use. Hanging your beads on your murtis keeps their energy sacred.
What Do I Do With My Altar?Making the altar is an important part of the practice, but it is simply décor until you use it for your sadhana. With your intention, your altar becomes the special space at which you experience your personal rituals. Prayer, ceremony, meditation, and chanting will “feed” the items on your altar with powerful energy, which will in turn “feed” you each time you return.
One of the nice things about having a home altar is that it is an ever-present part of your experience, and each time you walk by it, you can receive some of its energy. It can also call to you to drop into moments of connection throughout your day.
My favorite time to use my altar is in the morning. It’s the first thing I see that grabs my attention.
I plop down on the pillows and go through a little ritual.I light incense to honor God, my angels, my guides, my higher self, and whoever else I feel like honoring. I then light the candle to honor myself again, and my ancestors. This is fairly new to me but I have been feeling increasingly fulfilled by it. I then do a stream-of-consciousness diary-like entry in my notebook.
I always start with the date, and then I RELEASE everything that's on my mind. I empty. I write about weird dreams, I write about lingering emotions or thoughts that didn't get worked through in sleep, I just write about WHATEVER.
I have found this to be EXTREMELY therapeutic. I will then write a gratitude list, and set my intentions for the day. Lastly, I will hold my crystal in hand, and beginning to meditate. My eyes are closed, but they are raised upwards towards my third eye. I breathe deeply, spine erect until I am relaxed again.
After a few moments, if there are important things happening that day, I visualize them going perfectly well - I see myself smiling, feeling encouraged, appreciated, and accomplished. I then thank my entire soul family for walking the day with meI do the same thing at night to unwind.
This has made a measurable improvement in my days.
How To Keep A Home Altar Alive
To keep a home altar alive it is important too, first of all, remember to keep it clean, to dust it, and to change the altar cloth regularly. Perishable offerings and flowers should not be left to rot or wilt. Above all, you need to recall that divine aspect that you aspire to every day. Remember, bhakti means mutual love. As a response to your devotion, the Divine will animate your altar, opening and leading you to higher states of consciousness.
Formally, you can do a simple daily puja (ritual), consisting of:
- Offering a flower, a piece of fruit, or a few grains of rice
- Lighting a candle
- Burning incense
- Chanting your choice of mantra
May your altar help you stay connected to the intentions you set for your day and your life. Enjoy the process and receive more peace, calm, and love in every area of your life. Anything that helps you feel closer to your Divine nature is worthwhile, so be flexible, curious, and creative in how you curate the details. Let the sacred around you reflect the sacred within!