Loss and change are an integral part of our human experience. I’m sure you’ve experienced your own passages through pain and hardships. Whether you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, a bad breakup, a sudden change in career path, or all of the above, these life experiences can leave us feeling isolated and lost.
Even if you’re not going through a hardship at this moment, loss and change are inevitable. Today I want to share my story of the power of altars in my life and how you can use them as a healing tool in your life as well.
What is an Altar?
An altar is simply a space with a collection of items that hold significance to you, and they are often created around a theme. They can vary in size from a couple of items on a window sill to a large decorative display.
Altars are a place that can hold energetic space for you, they are a place of reflection and meditation and a great place to conduct meaningful rituals.
My Experience with the Power of Altars
I’ve always loved the idea of having an altar, but to be honest, mostly just as a cute place to put my crystals. It wasn’t until the sudden loss of my grandma and father that the use of an altar became a powerful healing tool in my life.
I’m not going to lie, when I was in the depth of my sadness and a spiritual coach suggested an altar to help deal with my grief, I didn’t believe it would help. I thought I had too much sadness within me for a box with some stuff in it to help. But, I listened, kept an open mind, and decided to try what was suggested to me.
With my altar in place, I not only had space for my sadness to be felt but more importantly a place that my sadness could be held. If I had a bad day, it brought me comfort to know that I had a designated space for all of my feelings that I could visit anytime I wanted to.
Because my experience with this altar was so meaningful I’ve gone on to create a second altar to honor my goals and for holding rituals, and have found it to be just as powerful and healing.
How to Create Your Own Altar or Sacred Space
So, where do you start? There is no reason to be daunted by the idea of creating an altar. Starting out, your altar or sacred space can be as simple as a collection of a few meaningful objects. Your altar is fluid and will never be finished, so it doesn’t have to be “perfect” when you start yours.
5 Steps to Create Your Own Altar
- Decide what the purpose of your altar will be. Here are some ideas: memorial altar, meditation altar, goals altar, and ritual altar, seasonal altar but any loving purpose you desire will work.
- Choose a space that fits the theme of the altar. If you’re creating a meditation altar you’ll want to place it somewhere that you’ll have uninterrupted quiet. For a memorial altar, it was important for me to have mine somewhere that I could easily see it and could have privacy.
- Clear the space (optional). Though it’s not a necessity, it is nice to clear the space of your altar. Do this with a herb or incense of your choice.
- Select your items for the altar. Find items that you’re drawn to, and that fit the theme of your altar. If you’re making an altar for reaching your goals consider researching crystals that are good for goal-setting. If you’re creating a ritual altar consider what items you might need to create your rituals.
- Arrange your items and make a commitment to spend a little bit of time each day with your altar. Spending time with your altar can be as simple as looking at it in passing or simply touching an item on it for a moment. I found that daily contact of some sort with my altars has been helpful.
Here are a couple of my favorite shops for altars and altar pieces:
- Altar Shelves: Stone and Violet
- Altar pieces: The Lunar Fae Shop
- Animal Totems: Periwinkle Nuthatch
- Ritual Tools: The Ritual Store
Remember your altar is an extension of your soul and they’ll vary greatly in size, style, and appearance–there’s really no wrong way to do it. Let me know how your altar turns out, feel free to share a picture with me, or if you already have an altar I’d love to hear about your experience with it! Please feel free to send me a message.
Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.