I came across the article and really believed that it would be a great opportunity to share about how and why we create an Altar.
I’ve found that practicing or meditating in front of an altar can be a great way to manifest those intentions. As we begin to turn toward 2024, preparing an altar as a dedicated space to the bounty, gratitude, and blessings in your life and where you’d like to go is a great practice to wind down the year and look forward.
Altars are not uniform across the world—though they traditionally are any kind of structure or platform where sacrifices and offerings are made. They’re not exclusive for one kind of occasion, nor are they reserved for the most spiritual among us. They come in all shapes and sizes and vary in uses across religions and philosophies. The personal use of altars crept up on me as I saw in interesting places such as Yoga studios and even a Stone distributor. Yes! Really! As I was shoping for a new counter top and to my surprise their was an altar.
Keep in mind the most important reason to create an altar: a focus for one’s efforts or heartfelt intentions. It provides a very real and very simple reminder of what is important to you and what you are working toward. The objects you adorn your altar with represent these goals and inspirations and remind us to stay on our paths. Take time to sit in meditation and decide what you would like to clear out and bring in to your life. As you create your altar, keep your intentions in mind and perhaps write them on a piece of paper to place on your altar.
Simplicity is key.
Decorating Your Altar
The foundation of the altar can be a plate, tray, scarf, slab of marble or wood, or just use the floor, table, or shelf that you have. In many traditions, photos of teachers, mentors, loved ones, or other inspirations are placed on the altar. Add rocks, crystals, gems, flowers, fruit, jewelry, totem animals, singing bowls, or anything that is special and meaningful for you.
Placing a deity on your personal altar such as a Buddha.
There are no right or wrongs just follow your flow.
Candles or incense are also common altar objects. I love the symbolism of smoke and fire—the burning away of the old, the transformation of what no longer serves, the fuel to maintain an inner power and strength.
Your altar can be decorated according to each season (with the flora/fauna to accompany it), or to symbolize an element (air, earth, water, fire). Many may choose to include some sort of crystal arrangement or even plants.
My altar consists of clear quartz crystals, small bottles of water from Glastonbury, one candle and a few items representing the season such as a pinecone and a maple leaf. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you like.
Where to Place Your Altar
Altars can be anywhere! Perhaps you set up a permanent one in a quiet corner of your home where you like to practice yoga or sit in meditation. You could create different altars weekly on a side table where you drink your morning tea and reflect upon the day ahead. Or, you could write a simple quote for remembrance on a chalkboard. Try having pieces displayed on a shelf that remind you of travels you’ve taken, and these pieces go on all your travels with you. The possibilities are endless, as are the sizes and the meanings of each altar we design.
Taking your treasures with you when you travel is important
Whether to deepen your connection to prayers, to the divine, to the source, or to love, altars are a beautiful symbol of our cycles: from inspiration from our pasts, to the abundance in our futures. They hold our intentions, and when we are ready, we let them go and move toward a new altar with new intentions.
Article modified from Carolyn Anne Budgell