What is the one rule you must satisfy when creating your altar?
Your altar MUST PLEASE YOU!
Done, done, done. That is it. Your altar can look like anything and be placed anywhere as long as it makes you happy and encourages your peace of mind. It does no good to follow Feng Shui rules of placing the altar facing the front of the house or the front door, or any other rules you’ve read about if the end result does not touch your soul.
You will hear advice about not placing sacred statues or items on or near the floor because it is considered disrespectful. What? The floor is closer to the ground, the ground is Mother Earth, Mother Earth is Sacred to the Max to me so I’ve got lots of my altar items on the floor. Plus I prefer sitting on the floor over a chair so placing items low in space is the perfect height for me. Go with your own intuitions. If it feels right for you then do it. If it feels uncomfortable then change it up.
I have lots of fun setting up altars. Get creative! You might look at some of my altars and not classify them as such but to me they create a sacred space and serve to remind me when I walk by that there is more to this world than what we see. These mini-spaces remind me to go to my full fledged altar and/or to right now, as I walk by, get in touch with my spirit. Altars are places where the divine and human worlds interact, a place to get back in touch with your authentic self as a representative of divine energy.
You do not need to believe in a God or gods to have an altar. You can have an altar to communicate and get in touch with your own higher knowledge, or a cosmic energy. If you do believe in spirits, saints, angels, deities, etc. this is the place to begin calling on them. The more you spend time at your altar space, the more peaceful energy will be infused there and soon it will be calling to you daily to come and spend some time basking in the peace.
A common definition of an altar is ‘Structure on which offerings are made to a deity’. This can be so but it can be so much more than that. In biblical times the offerings made usually involved slaughter. Well that ain’t happenin’ in my house. I do make offerings however. Offer whatever you have to give like the Little Drummer Boy. He played his drum for Jesus. So if you are musical you can share that gift at your altar. I do sing there sometimes. I offer flowers and herbs from my garden, beautiful stones or feathers that have come across my path. You can write/read a poem, share some art, etc. The options are limitless.
Some things to consider when creating your home altar
- Ideally this place will offer some modicum of quiet at least during some part of the day.
- It can be outdoors or in.
- Ideally a place that you will have easy access to.
- That you can have some privacy in (ability to close a door, block it off or put up a screen).
- That is comfortable (not too hot or cold, etc.).
- Consider making a comfortable seat there either on a chair or a pillow, blanket, meditation cushion.
- Pictures of Saints, Angels, Deities
- Pictures of family or pets either deceased or living
- Items of Nature: shells, rocks, crystals, feathers, plants, flowers
- Poems, Quotes
- Holy Books
- Inspiring Books
- Candles, Incense
- Tarot/Angel Cards
- Pictures of Totem Animals
Arrange Your Altar Items
any damn way you please! We have enough rules we have to follow in this world. Feel free here. It is your space – just for you.
You can read a lot about altar themes but unless you have several altars you might just consider having a general purpose altar. That way you can use it for whatever you need at the time.
Here are some themes/needs people work with at their altars:
- Connection to Divine/Higher Powers
Below is my general purpose altar. It’s easy to get to (in my bedroom) so usually when I wake up I just crash down there and say hello to any spirits who might be there, set some intentions for the day and do a bit of breathing/meditation. It is my main altar partly because it is indoors and I can use it all year round.
Here to the left is an altar I use strictly for gratitude. Each day I say ‘thank you’ for something in my life and put a small offering on the rock in front of this angel. I sit there and breathe for a minute (or longer) letting the gratitude fill my body, mind and spirit. I must confess to ignoring this beautiful angel in the middle of winter but I still say a thank you daily just using another method.
You may enjoy working with altars so much that you create a Travel altar! I have one. Simply gather meaningful (but small) items, place them in a box with a lid and you’re all set to go.
Maybe you’ll feel unsure of what to do once you build your altar! I understand that. Again, do what ever feels right for you. Here are some of the things I do at my altar space:
- Sometimes I just sit there and cry!
- Ask a question and LISTEN for the answer (the answers for me do not always come in words so try to have all senses open. Also the answers may come upon you later in the day after you’ve closed your prayer session.)
- Practice Breathwork
- Practice Meditations
- Do some yoga poses
- Say Thank You
- Pray for someone’s healing/happiness
- Request assistance in healing certain clients that day
- ‘Talk’ with Crystals
- Write poems
- Admire some of the items on the altar
Just start by sitting (or lying down if that is more comfy for you) and tune into your breathing. It does not have to be a long period of time. Start with 5 minutes. Soon things will begin to come to you and you will begin to trust listening to your gut here at your altar space and later in the world at large.
So in closing, Have Fun & Create and little by little get back in touch with spirit and intuition. This will go a long, long way in guiding your life, making you happy and healthy and allowing you to become the person you were put here on earth to be. So be it. Namaste.
Lisa Hassett, Reiki Therapist, Life Coach, CYT
Healing For Body, Mind & Spirit
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Reiki of Greater Boston
Healing for Body, Mind & Spirit
160 School Street, Suite 1-1, Waltham, MA 02451
160 School Street, Suite 1-1
Waltham, MA 02451