Creating an Altar is building an invitation…
I like spaces that have no other function except to create a sacred conversation. A sacred space is an invitation. Creating an altar in this space is like scooting over on a park bench and patting the seat next to us. It is the open arms. It is receiving.
It is saying, “Sit with me. I want your presence. Join me. I honor you.” It is an acknowledgement that there is something greater in our lives, and we dance with it, that great ‘whatever it is’. It is a reminder that life is more than the grocery list and the clothes that need to be folded and the annual review. With an altar, we invite the mystery.
But first, we need the why.
Once you have decided what you want your altar to be about, you can then decide how constructing your altar makes a symbolic statement that attracts the energy you intend. If you want Aphrodite to come and bless you with love, you know you better make a space honoring her beautifully!
The cool thing is that you can have as many altars as you want! As long as you have the space, you can create one. And you don’t need much, I’ve even heard of matchbox altars!
Location is the second aspect to creating intentional sacred space. It does not have to be big, but it has to be special and used just for that purpose. Perhaps a small table (or upturned cardboard box, even) in an unused corner of your room. Make sure that the place you choose honors the intention you are setting for the altar. By that I mean you probably don’t want your altar in a busy hallway. Make it special. Make it sacred.
Cleaning and Clearing
Once you have chosen your location, give it a good cleaning. Then, clear it using sage, ringing a bell, sprinkling some Florida water or even just saying a prayer. Healthy energy loves a clean and cleared space.
After you have your spot picked, cleaned and cleared it is time to decorate.
Since an altar is a sacred invitation, think about what items you wish to place in order to invite the Gods, Energy, Intention, or Ancestors in.
What I love about altar creation is that the magic is in the placement of items rather than the items themselves.
You can rummage through your shelves, go to the thrift store, or find things on your walk that, when placed carefully and thoughtfully, take on a special meaning all on their own.
You can decide whether to leave food or not, it’s totally up to you.
Now that you have your beautiful altar, what are you going to do with it? Sacred space must match sacred intention, so this is a relationship of sorts; don’t just set it and forget it.
Many people use altar space to meditate, to pray, to create intentions, to write, or just to spend a quick minute thinking about whatever it is that the altar’s reason is for being. Interact with your altar.
Allow your space to shift the spaces within you.
One thing that is important to remember is that an altar needs to be serviced. Keep your altar clean, update the items as needed or replace any perishable items regularly.
An altar helps with the flow of qi, that universal energy in everything but if an altar becomes neglected, the qi stagnates which is the exact opposite of what you want.
Energy goes where your focus goes. An altar can be a physical reminder to focus or invite, energy into your life in some way. “If you build it, they will come.” Creating altars builds your spiritual life, makes you aware of Presence, and helps you navigate the mystery in your life.
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