The magic of a home altar

Would you like to jump-start your meditation practice? Or have an instant dose of serenity? A home altar might be just the thing to help you.

Many people may think of altars as something only found in a church, but they don’t have to be limited to that.

The right “place” can make all the difference to what you want to do.  How well could you work without an office? Or cook without a kitchen?

By the same token, we will benefit greatly from a designated place for our spiritual practice.

What is an altar?

Altars are built to hold focused energy, and help you to feel calm and centered when you approach them. It represents your intention to create more serenity, peace and love in your space and your life.

It can also be a place to reflect on your personal and spiritual goals, or to honor someone or some thing.

In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is celebrated with altars that hold flowers, photographs of deceased relatives and their favorite foods. It is a way of remembering and honoring them.

Every indigenous ceremony has an altar to honor the spiritual realm and the gifts of the Creator. The altar is the heart of the ceremony.

You can have more than one altar, in any room of the house, or even outdoors. I have an altar at my outdoor well to give thanks for the water that comes to my home from the earth. Any place where you want to be reminded to stop, reflect, breathe and be grateful is appropriate.

I think the bathroom is an excellent place for an altar for water. Think about it: water is the first thing we use in the morning and the last thing we use at night. Being able to turn a handle and have water [either hot or cold] pour forth is like a miracle to many people in the world. Be grateful for it!

The bathroom is also the place where we cleanse ourselves, maintain our health, and rid ourselves of toxins and negative energies. It’s one of the most important rooms in the house, so it might be good to honor it as such.

“Think of an altar as a physical manifestation of your inner spiritual landscape. Artfully laden with images and objects that remind you of your own best self, an altar gives you the opportunity to consciously reflect on things you might otherwise take for granted. It’s a place of solace and repose that becomes a receptacle for your spiritual energy. And when you sit before it, that energy is reflected back to you.” Lauren Ladoceour

Steps for creating an altar:

  1. If you will be praying and/or meditating at your altar, select a location that will give you the privacy you need.
  2. Identify the space and clear it of clutter and old energy: smudge with incense or sage.
  3. Keep it simple and clean. This is where you will pray, meditate, and perhaps journal.
  4. Select sacred items to place on it.

Things you might have on an altar:

  • Photos/statues of spiritual teachers or your loved ones who watch over you. Those who have the qualities you wish to emulate
  • Inspiring books/quotes
  • Crystals or special rocks
  • Plants or flowers
  • Candle
  • Incense
  • Anything else that is meaningful to you

How to maintain an altar

  • Renew your altar on every New Moon, as this is the time of new beginnings.
  • Clean it regularly. Don’t let it get dusty. An altar is a reflection of your life, so take good care of it.

How to use your altar

  • Pray or meditate at your altar daily, as this will help raise the energy there. In that way, each time you approach it, you will automatically tune into that place of serenity.
  • It can be an excellent practice to start and end your day there!

“Like a fireplace, the altar is a hearth to me. It’s where I go to kindle my soul and my connection to what is meaningful and inspiring.” Sean Johnson

Give it a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com
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12 Comments

  1. Maia

    Beautiful article. Thank you, Molly. I love that you brought water into it. I will be more conscious about that…

    • Molly Larkin

      Thank you, Maia. So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Jan

    I’ve often thought of making an altar, but was never quite sure of how to do it. Thanks for this inspiration! I think I have the perfect spot and look forward to creating a special place.

    • Molly Larkin

      So happy to hear this post was helpful!

  3. Ursula trusch

    Thanks my dear for all your messages,and specially now about the altar that inspires me to take more care on my little altar.
    god bless you ursula

    • Molly Larkin

      Thank you, Ursula. Glad to know it helped! ?

  4. David

    Great article! I have had an altar for many years now. The ritual of lighting the candle, incense and preparing to sit (zazen) is wonderful…and then, the closing ritual as well. It brings a sense of stability to my life.
    Take Care, and keep on writing!
    Dave

    • Molly Larkin

      Good for you! And thank you for commenting.

  5. Virginia Lucid

    Thank you!!! I knew I was missing something from my practices. I use my altar mainly for sacred days. I look at it every day, but never sat there during the rest of the time. I will set it up new shortly.

    • Molly Larkin

      So happy you found this helpful!

  6. Joy

    I designed one at a corner in my sitting room early this year. I am encouraged now.

    • Molly Larkin

      Glad to hear it!

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