Your Sacred Altar

Summertime, as a time of abundance and sunlight, is the perfect time to spruce up (or build) an altar. What better way to focus your intentionsand express your gratitude than to create a sacred space in your home?

It will also help you attract even more abundance. Use it to reflect upon the blessings the year has brought so far, and think (meditate or pray) about the clearest path to manifesting your dreams during the rest of the year.

Find out ways to make your altar a personal place to manifest your deepest desires. It can help you take a look at your past, and see where you’d like to be in the future. Your altar can hold all the inspiration and tools that you need to visualize your way into the brightest future imaginable.

Get direction
Whether you’re living in a studio apartment or a mansion, your first consideration will be where to place your altar. It’s important to have a sacred space where you can appreciate the blessings you’ve been given, as well as your goals and your aspirations for the future. Try to find a place where you will be undisturbed for a few moments… even if that means setting up shop in your closet, or outdoors. Take a moment to decide which direction you’d like to face – are you a big fan of meditation? Maybe facing east will put you in alignment with your inner guru. Or maybe you’re trying to draw more logic and order into your life. Then a sensible, true north-facing altar can be more effective. The most important consideration for placement is – do you feel comfortable there?

Elements and traditions
A basic way to start setting up your altar is to begin with the elements: earth, air, fire and water. If you have the space for a candle, a stick of incense, a cup of water and salt or a potted plant, you’ve represented the 5 elements – the foundation upon which everything rests. If space is a concern, you can make symbols of the elements and place your remaining sacred objects around the altar as they speak to you.

Your spiritual background will help you decide which objects are most important for your altar. Each religion has icons and symbols to draw from, so finding the signs and symbols that are meaningful will help you connect to your spiritual center. Sacred symbols can simply be anything that helps you to identify with the Divine. Maybe there is a particular deity that speaks to you (like Tara or Genesh), or a special place where you’ve always felt a sense of connection. Display postcards, mini statues or even cutouts from a magazine to symbolize these things. Remember, everyone’s symbols will differ with their background, taste and personal affinity.

No rules
There are no rules for what to include or omit from your altar – this is “you” space! Just keep things meaningful. You’re not organizing a mélange of chotchkes. You’re visualizing your future, and giving thanks for the people, places and things that you value in life. Photographs of loved ones, objects that represent the kind of career you’re working toward or the kind of person you’re striving to become… pieces of your past, pieces of your future. Utilize common found objects, such as fresh flowers, a wish or prayer box, spiritual jewelry, crystals – just about anything that will move you closer to your center.

Vision and personalization
The next consideration is to decide what you are trying to accomplish. Are you looking for a place to say prayers, meditate or visualize? How you will use your altar will help you define the sacred objects that need to be there. If you’re planning to practice your Buddhist mantras, you’ll need a mala. If you’re planning to use your altar for goal realization, perhaps a dream board would work better for you. If your goal is to honor someone who has crossed over, perhaps a photograph will help you really keep them in mind. If you’re looking for a quiet place of rejuvenation predominantly, you might find that the particular objects are not as important as finding a quiet location.

White light and more
Candles can be a great way to add the sacred to your altar. Pick a color that resonates for you – blue is a peace-bringing color, and green is perfect if you’re looking to draw more money or growth into your life. Pink or red will be most effective if you’re looking for love. You can add oils to your candles as well, to create a more sensual ambiance for your altar and the entire room. You can add favorite photographs, fresh flowers, your favorite things… personalize your altar so that it is a safe, familiar place that rejuvenates you.

Now, comes the best part – and sometimes the most challenging … finding time to use your altar! Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life try to find a regular time to spend there – praying, visualizing or just being still. You might even set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Keep that time for yourself – you really do need to recharge your batteries if you’re going to go out there and conquer the world!

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