It is my intention to sit at my home altar each morning for at least 20 minutes—sometimes that doesn’t happen. I’ve been a priestess for almost 10 years and a practicing witch for about 20 years. Sometimes my “altar time” happens while I’m walking the dog or when I have time between errands. Sometimes I combine it with practicing yoga or other movement exercises. My altar is something I see multiple times a day, and it serves the purpose of reminding me of the place inside where my Divine Self meets and communicates with Goddess.
Over the years I have had many altar spaces – large, small, portable, in a box, on a table, created for a moment or a single purpose and then dismantled, found in nature, simple, elaborate, you name it. You, too, may have had one or many, maybe without even knowing that’s what you’d created.
In simple terms, the altar is the physical representation of the place inside where your spirit meets Divine Love and Presence. It’s the place of spiritual nourishment, the place where you ask questions or seek guidance, the center of celebration, the place where you focus your energy and intentions when performing magick, the place you meet your ancestors (blood relations and spiritual kin), and the loving lap of the Goddess that can receive you when you’re too damn tired to hold yourself up anymore.
If you’re new to spiritual practice, or if you’ve not had an altar for a while, here are some ideas for creating that space.
- Find a flat (or flat-ish if you’re making an altar outside) surface, and clear a space. Brush off dust, clean any spills or sticky stuff, move things that are not going to be part of your altar to the side or to another location. This space can be as small as a spot for a tealight candle on a night stand, or it can be the size of a large rug, if you’re planning for a group to sit around it.
- Once the space is physically clear, cleanse it of stale, stagnant, or negative energy by sweeping the air with a broom or feather, burning incense and wafting the smoke over the space, sprinkling fresh water around the space, or singing/humming/ringing a bell or gong/drumming/shaking a rattle in the space.
- Choose a focus: Are you celebrating something? Full moon altars might have different things than an altar celebrating your ancestors or one of gratitude for a goal you’ve achieved. Are you seeking connection with a particular Goddess? Choose items that are representative of Her. Are you seeking answers or support for a concern? Use things that allow you to have communication with the Other World.
- Decorate your altar with items from nature, photos/drawings, lights/candles, statues, poems or other writing, jewelry, or things that help you to maintain the focus you’ve chosen. Less Is More. You don’t have to put tons of stuff together to create an altar that works. Sometimes a simple altar with 2-3 items is perfect.
Once your altar is finished, spend some time grounding your energy (more on that in the next post) and opening your senses to the Divine Energy. Now you’re ready to use the altar for your spiritual work!
If you have specific questions on altars or altar-building, you may email me at Lilithsdottir@gmail.com.