Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Did you ever consider that you could beautify your home while attracting what you value, appreciate and desire?
Our homes, the spaces we inhabit and which hold and protect us, have the capacity to also be sacred energy portals for our dreams and intentions.
Altars are one place where practicality and “woo” meet.
Altars and Home Decoration
For me, altars are part of how I decorate my home.
At the same time, altars honor, proclaim, and remind me of who I am and what I love.
My altars also serve to organize and categorize my various interests and values.
Altars are practical yet powerful and yes, magical. Doesn’t that sound easy and fun?
How exactly do altars make your living environment a personalized projection of and magnet for what you appreciate, value and desire?
Altars and Living Intentionally
Think of altars in your home as raising the intentionality of your life.
While making altars are beautifying for your outer living environment, they simultaneously demonstrate your uniqueness – nourishing your inner beauty.
My Introduction to Altars
When I separated from my husband over 25 years ago, I moved into my own apartment – the top floor of a funky old house near the university.
Unlike the suburbs where I had been living, this house had wooden floors, moulding around the doors, and three fireplaces. I loved it.
And I loved decorating this home – including scavenging interesting furniture that the students would leave on the curbs at the end of every semester.
One day a dear friend came to visit. She was much younger than I, a pagan, and wise beyond her years.
She went from room to room getting to know the space and concluded by stating, “You have little altars everywhere.”
“I do?” I replied.
I hadn’t thought of the small, artfully arranged collections of various objects on the fireplace mantles and bookshelves as altars – I had simply gathered and displayed things that were important to me and which I found beautiful, together.
“Rachel’s” recognition of my inherent spiritual knowing (witchiness), opened a door to myself revealing awareness and honoring of my own innate wisdom.
Since then, I still create little altars everywhere. I do so naturally.
In terms of “witchiness”, I am not trying to make anything happen with or through my altars.
What are Altars for?
What are altars for, then? What purpose do they serve? Are they mundane or spiritual? How do they “work”?
- Altars are expressions and demonstrations of who you are.
- Altars help organize and categorize your various interests and sensibilities.
- Altars add style and character to your home environment.
Every time you pass by an altar, it naturally reminds you of who I are and reinforces that.
- Some altars represent appreciation of things you love.
Collections of shells, rocks, feathers, miniature kitchen utensils are all examples of altars based on things I love. Each altar brings special memories and honors different aspects of our being.
- Some altars are functional as well as tools to help you do and live what you value.
I have an altar for dancing. I keep it in my living room where there is space for dancing. In this case the altar space is a large ceramic bowl which holds sacred and fun dance objects such as rattles, feathers, ribbon, and even a jump rope!
Every time I pass by my dancing altar it is a reminder and invitation to me to dance and move and express myself whenever I feel like it – as I know for me movement is a tool for bringing up and out emotions that don’t have words, yet which reside in my body and which I want to know and release.
Making Altars for Manifesting Dreams and Desires
You know how oftentimes there are actions you know would be good for you, but you keep not doing them?
Altars can raise the intentionality of your life.
Altars and Intention
What are activities you want to have more of in your life? Make an altar for that and see what happens!
Want more travel? Make a travel altar. Put objects from past vacations and images of future intended ones. Want to keep a journal? Get or make a pretty journal. Choose writing utensils that feel easy and which work for you including their color, texture, thickness, and weight.
Every time you pass by this altar, the gentle breeze of that dream will caress you, making it ever more part of your energetic patterning.
What you see, think, feel, say, write, draw, dance, take in and do – is what you become. The more you take in what you desire through all your senses, the more “that” becomes you. You become that.
And “that” is the magic and where practicality meets “woo!”
How to Make an Altar
Here is a feminine flow* technique that you could tap into (*energetically feminine, not gender specific):
- Light a candle
Lighting a candle makes what you’re doing a sacred act and sets the stage for a meaningful, heart-based and trustworthy experience. It announces to the universe/divine “I’m doing something special and with sincerity. “See me, accompany me, guide me!” You might even choose to vocalize those words or positive sentiments of your choosing.
- Choose your theme/value or desire
What is something you love, that brings you joy, that reminds you of the best of you and of life? If you’re choosing a desire and you’ve not experienced the reality of it yet – reflect on how you know it exists. Have you seen it in others? Read it in a novel or seen it in a movie? Is it something you’ve been aware that you want but haven’t known how or haven’t been able to motivate yourself to put it into action till now?
- Ask “Why have I chosen to make an altar for this particular theme?”
Feel into why you want this in your life. What will it give you? How will you benefit? Dream a little about it.
- Begin to make it real, to anchor your altar them in your cells.
Visualize it. Pray about it. Write this down, make it pretty. Draw or dance it.
- Gather objects
Look around and gather the objects that represent the theme of your altar. There is no “right” assortment of objects. You can have more than one of certain objects or one of a variety of things. It could even be that your altar will have ONE object on it! Maybe you need to make something to completely represent the nuances of your altar. No need to arrange anything now, just gather everything into one place.
- Choose a place for your altar
Where would be the best spot for your altar? Inside or outside? Somewhere you and everyone else in the house will see it regularly? A place that only you see or notice? High up, low down or eye level? Near other objects or completely separate even on it’s own shelf or table? Or maybe held privately in a box?
- Arrange your altar to your liking.
Now you get to play with your objects and put them as you like. What is prettiest? Is there an order and placement that would best tell the story you are creating and affirming? Does it all go in a pretty jar? Are things arranged In a line, a circle, a spiral, a tower, or placed randomly? What feels best and gives you a feeling of satisfaction or hope?
IMPORTANT: There is no right nor permanent way your altar needs to be or look. You get to choose and you get to change it! Over time, you might want to change out some objects, removing some and adding others. There might come a time when the altar no longer feels relevant, important or helpful. That’s okay! You’re free to change and even dismantle it.
- Voila! You have created an altar
Caring for your Altar
Like your life, your altar is a creative process, ever-changing, evolving and growing.
Now you get to watch and enjoy how your altar brings you:
Connection to your essence
Affirmation of how you love what you love
Organization and order
Other Types of Altars
When I think of altars, I think of them traditionally as devotional power spots.
And they are. With intention, love and authenticity – even more so.
My meditation/prayer altar for instance, is much different from what I have described in this article. That category of altar is a place of refuge and connection at the deepest level.
Think of churches, synagogues and other religious places of worship. Bring to mind your most favorite place in nature where you feel safe, held and a sacred presence. If you are inspired to make an altar of this sort, let me know and I might write an article about that!
Till then, if you’re up for some home decoration and bringing magic and power in to the process, give the tips above a try and leave a comment about how it went!
Originally published at Take Good Care of You Wellness and reproduced here with permission.
About the author:
Robin Rainbow Gate was born in Chicago to a family of artists. Along the way, she lived in England, India and Kentucky. Since 2006 Robin has lived in an indigenous mountain village in Mexico where she learned from elder teachers and traditional healers. She teaches authentic Indian cuisine, is author of Calling Myself Home: Living Simply, Following Your Heart and
What Happens When You Jump, is an intentional living guide and teacher who writes and coaches to midlife women seeking to experience a soulful, connected life of self-care, listening, honoring and respect – with focus on simple living, nature, and care of the earth.
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