Creating an Altar

Creating an Altar : Tips, Tools and Items to Include

Creating a sacred space within your home can be an important act of self-care and spiritual connection. Building an altar offers a tangible representation of your intentions, beliefs, and aspirations, serving as a focal point for meditation, ritual, and reflection. Whether you're drawn to honoring a specific deity, connecting with nature, honoring ancestors, or simply seeking a sanctuary for inner peace, crafting an altar is a personal and meaningful journey. In this guide, we'll explore the different ways of curating your own altar, from selecting meaningful objects to arranging them with intention, and when to update or change it out with the seasons.

The first thing I want to mention about creating an altar is that there is no right or wrong. It is completely up to your intention and intuition. There are many ways to go about setting up an altar, starting with size, an altar can be anywhere from a small section on an end table, or it can take up a whole table. I have even seen people’s altars be wall hangings and a small shelf with a single crystal on it. There are so many ways to honor your intentions.

If you are just beginning with your altar you may want to consider starting small and finding items that mean the most to you and putting them all together in a dedicated space. You can return to this space time and time again as you conduct rituals, meditations and prayers to your spirit guides as well. As time goes on you will acquire more and more items to add naturally but if you aren’t sure of what to start with then here is a list of ideas!

For Ancestral Altars

  • Pictures of ancestors
  • Dried or live flowers
  • Coat of arms 
  • Items belonging to ancestors
  • Coins
  • Jewelry
  • Quartz Crystals
  • Obsidian

For Spirit Guide Altars

  • Crystals that call to you
  • Plants
  • Nature items like acorns or pinecones
  • Symbols or sigils representing your guides
  • Tarot cards
  • Oracle cards
  • Drawings
  • Books
  • Herbs
  • Anything that is important to you, if you are offering to a specific deity you can look further into what items they are represented by.

For Elemental Altars

  • Earth element - Dirt, crystals, herbs, coins, flowers
  • Water element - Water, seashells, moon items, blue or white colored items
  • Fire element - Candles, incense, sun items, fire agate or carnelian, cauldron, resin burners
  • Air element - Feathers, white colored items, incense, bells, aerial plants

But again, altars can include anything you want and the intention can always be changed to fit to your specific step in life. Most people that hold altars change it out as often as they need to or even set up multiple ones for different reasons. If you have a nature altar or elemental altar it might be fun to incorporate changing through the seasons! 

Whatever type of altar you choose to start or items you choose to include, it is all about intention and intuition, and there are no “not enoughs” and “not right”s. Choose what feels right to you and that will get you really far in your pursuits for a practicing space.