How to build an altar

The last couple of articles I wrote about the importance of a regular spiritual practice.


And one key piece (at least for me) is an altar.


A place where you can turn inward and get quite.


Some of the items you‘ll need I will explain here.



Luisah Teish wrote in her book „Jambalaya“ that „the smallest altar is your cup of tea.“


You don‘t need that much space.

Of course you can create a huge altar, but to begin with you don‘t need new items or fancy stuff.

May be an altar isn‘t your thing?

So to try it out you can use what is in your home right now.


The picture here shows you my old little mini altar, placed on a mirrored tray. That was my beginning...


The essentials are:



a clean cloth and a candle


The cloth is there to create a foundation for the space you creating. It should be a special cloth, one you really really like or, if you do not have any, use a white cloth to represent purity and honesty.


The candle is used to invoke the spirits which are on the other side and to give you the sign, that you now entering a sacred space. It is the moment where you should be conscious and decide, that no shit comes now in this time and place.


And honestly: that‘s all you really need.




But I will bet you have some things store, you can use for a honorable place?!


And may be you are a bit like me and want something "special".



Here are some suggestions:



- a deck of cards, specific for the altar to speak with your spirit guides and ancestors


- a glass of water, to satisfy the ancestors and to represent the Mother Goddess as a vessel for creation


- an iron cauldron, for burning incense, resins and herbs, but also to burn ancestral money and spells


- Bells or a little singing bowl, these are the voice of the god/dess. These sounds clear the energy and can also represent the beginning and the ending of an ritual or ceremony.


- may be you have some pictures or statues to represent your ancestors or spirits


- depends on your personal belief system, you like to use salt as a protective and purifying tool


- Florida Water are used for the same matter, but isn‘t salty (in some religions salt can block the energies of the spirits). Also very well for cleaning the energy and clearing blockages are Palo Santo and Sage.


- may be you need a wand for some rituals. Put a special one on the altar. Try to use a natural one as a channel for the energies.


- You can use fresh flowers or little plant to represent Mother Earth‘s energy and to ground yourself and the spirits.


- I also like to put some representations for my ancestors on my altar, like a fresh cup of coffee, a cigar, a bible (for my Christian ancestors), a little bottle of Florida Water, some personal books and toys. Sometimes I put some food and candies on the altar to feed my ancestors and spirits.


- a representation for money and success (the Ace of Pentacles for example)


- for me personal healing crystals and stones.


- and everything what makes me happy and confident.



This is an alternative altar space. Very natural and beautiful. (Pinterest)
This is an alternative altar space. Very natural and beautiful. (Pinterest)


An altar is an ever change place. It literally never looks the same. Nearly every day I change something or put something away or add something new.



If its New Moon I put everything aside and clean my place.

Although I clean myself spiritual and the altar everyday with sage or Florida Water (it smells so good!), you need a prober cleaning every now and then. And every 28 days is minimum! You also like it clean, isn‘t it so?



Your altar represents the bridge between this world and the other world. Energy is flowing endlessly and of course the like it clean too. So make it cozy for them if possible.



Your altar should be a place you visit daily several times.


For me it‘s crucial to talk to my spirits and ancestors and to ask for advice and guidance. Its the daily ritual which makes the difference. To only ask if there‘s need to, isn‘t that nice.


Of course it depends on the spiritual path you choose, but my spirits (and ancestors too) don‘t like a quarter year „Hello“ and „Please help me“. Of course they do – they are more than pleased if they can help you. But let‘s be real girl: do you like a friend who visits you just because s/he needs advice from you?

Of course not.

You‘d feel quite worn out – true?



So please don‘t „use“ your spirits just in emergency times. Make space everyday to greet them and to honor them. Even when you just light the candle – that‘s enough for the beginning.

After time you gain confidence and your enjoyment will grow to use this place.



As I said: I use my altar daily. I set a fresh cup of coffee and water on the table every day. Burn some incense, spritz some Florida Water, light a candle and draw a personal daily advice card.

And that‘s done quickly. Although I like to sit there and to meditate. To get quite and calm. To ground myself and to find my Self in the place I love to use.



I just can encourage you:

Try it by your own.



Build a little altar to start with.



And may be you have some suggestions: what needs to be on an altar in your opinion?


Leave a comment below, pop tarte!




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