If you already embrace your witchy ways – and let’s face it, we’re all descended from the wise women of our ancestral lines, as the saying goes:
“We are the granddaughters of the witches they could not burn”
…then perhaps you already have an altar in your home? If not, then maybe you should consider building one.
Having an altar in your home is like having a spiritual battery charger
It’s a sacred energy vortex, a physical place of connection and centering which can serve as not only an anchor for your spiritual practice but somewhere to amplify it too. And like all things in life – the more energy you give it, the more powerful it becomes.
Many people create altars dedicated to something special – to angels, ancestors or love. Or seasonal altars aligned with the Celtic power days like solstices, equinoxes or the feast days of ancient Gods and Goddesses. The options are endless. And mildly addictive. Because once you begin to create these sacred spaces, and see the benefit they bring to your life, you’ll want to keep going!
If you’re already being seduced by the idea of creating an altar, it’s super-simple to make one.
How to Make Your Own Altar – a Simple Guide
First, you need somewhere to place your altar. This could be outside or indoors, perhaps on a shelf, windowsill, table or even an upturned box or a pile of books – be creative!
Think about what your altar is going to be for – will it be a focus for your daily spiritual practice? Somewhere to honor your ancestors or connect to Spirit Guides? Will it be an attractor for money? Or somewhere to honor nature and give Mother Earth some devotional energy?
Whilst you’re thinking about this, gather your objects. You’ve probably got many already – don’t rush out to the shops! Walk around your house, or go out in nature and see what reveals itself to you.
Here are some examples:
- Stones and pebbles
- Incense burner
- Flowers & fruit
- Living plants
- Pinecones, nuts & Seeds
- Bones & feathers
- Figurines, statuettes or artworks
- Tapestries, weavings & fabric
- Poetry, power-words or patterns (yantras)
Next, smudge the space where you’re going to build your altar to cleanse its energy, then begin to set down your objects. You could start with some beautiful fabric and then continue intuitively, placing your tools and objects where they feel good. If you’re using elemental symbols, you could place them at the four directions but their associations are different for different cultures, so try to sense into how your altar wants to be, rather than trying to get it “right”.
When you feel complete, light a candle on your altar and dedicate it with a short prayer.
Leave the candle burning for as long as you are present, and remember to tend to the altar regularly (weekly, at least) keeping it clean and tidy, especially refreshing the flowers and plants. Incorporate your altar into any ritual work you do, or simply use it as a sacred spot to honor your spiritual self.
Now check out the alters below for inspiration and some extra top tips to include!
1. Outdoor Altars
The natural world is MAGICAL! So taking your altar outdoors is a wonderful way to participate in the powerful forces that already weave their way all around us.
You could make something as simple as a small mandala created from leaves and twigs as a sacred offering, or cast a full-blown circle with all the magickal accessories and accouterments you’d use indoors for an extra-special ceremony.
2. Bringing Nature Indoors
Whether you’re drawn to flowers and plants, rocks and crystals or feathers and bones, natural objects are full of power and significance. Placing them onto an altar means far more than creating a pretty display – the qualities, associations, and symbolism in natural objects can really super-charge your intentions for your altar.
Did you know that most plants and minerals have planetary and elemental associations (as well as many others?)
So you may want to include ginger on your altar at the start of Aries Season to ignite your inner fire because it’s associated with Mars. But if you’re creating an altar for dreamwork then a cooling herb like mugwort or a crystal, like quartz or Herkimer diamond would be your go-to. And remember, once an object has been used in ceremony, it always retains a sacred power until you break it.
3. The Magic Key
We LOVE the hand-painted and drawn elements of the stunning altar spaces below, combined with the old-fashioned key.
Keys are incredibly symbolic and powerful objects – if you’re trying to ‘unlock’ something in your life – an inner gift, a family secret, a layer of vulnerability – OR, if you’re simply looking to ‘unlock’ the opportunities which are all around you, then including a key on your altar could be the magickal tool you require.
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4. Using Grids & Geometry
Incorporating grids – often formed from crystals – and other geometries is one way to really boost the power of an altar.
The Pentagram, for example, is much more than a 5 pointed star. It’s an ancient sacred symbol (and when within a circle, referred to as a pentacle) describing the 4 elements – one for each point – with the 5th representing Spirit. As such, it’s a potent tool of manifestation and magick, where the elements and forces combine to create something new.
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5. Getting Personal!
It’s especially powerful (and a whole lot more fun) to include anything that makes your altar personal and unique to you.
Instead of aiming for carefully curated identikit Instagram perfection, it’s always best to follow your intuition when it comes to altar building, especially if you’re being called to include something a little unusual, or arrange things in a way that may feel a little strange. And hand-made objects – statuettes, embroidery, jewelry or ceramics, for example, are always going to give an extra layer of power because they have the added element of containing the energy they were created with.
Now it’s your turn.
Do you have an altar at home? What elements and objects have you included on yours, and how do you use it in your daily life? Share with our community in the comments below!