Why Do You Need An Altar?
The short answer? You don’t. However, if you decide that a mindfulness practice is something that you’d like to incorporate into your daily rituals, it’s nice to have a space to do so. Giving yourself a designated area for meditation (or even a small corner in your home), can be a powerful tool for getting grounded in the present moment.
Think of your altar as a sacred space in your home filled with things that inspire you. It doesn’t have to be fancy or take up a lot of space. It’s a physical representation of your own spirit and beauty. It can serve as a space to feel a connection to something bigger than yourself and a way to express your own individual creativity.
It’s a space you can come to when you need a moment to re-group and get your shit together. A space you can use as a way to be more self-aware and get really clear on what it is that you want out of this life.
Honestly, you don’t even have to use it to meditate, but you can! If nothing else, you’ll have a place to sit and set your intentions. A place to be still and observe your breath, your mood, the things you appreciate, and the things you want to resolve. A place to connect and to just be exactly who you are in that moment.
Creating Your Sacred Space
Traditionally, altars are on a raised surface, but set low to the ground. For the base of your altar you can use a low shelf, or some kind of small platform. In the past I’ve gotten creative and used things like an old shoe rack, or a milk crate covered with a piece of fabric. It can be however large or small you want, just make sure it’s only being used for its purpose.
What To Put On Your Altar
- Since your altar is a representation of you, add anything that inspires you. Pictures of loved ones. Images that make you happy. Things you want to manifest in your own life.
- Incorporate photos of any deities or Gods that you pray to, or even just a picture of the universe. Anything that offers a sense of connection to something larger. At my altar I have a little statue of Ganesh because he is said to be the remover of obstacles. He is a believed to be the god of wisdom, success, and good luck (who doesn’t want all of those things??). I also have a postcard with a Phoenix Rising, as a symbol of renewal and rising above the life’s challenges.
- Represent the 5 elements. I like to incorporate the elements as a way to acknowledge our connection with nature and the living world around us. For example, lighting a candle represents fire, air, and space. A stone or crystal would represent earth. A flower in a vase represents the water and earth elements.
- Ethically sourced/conflict free Sage or Palo Santo. Smudging is an ancient ceremonial ritual used to clear away unwanted or negative energy around you. You can light your smudge stick before you sit to meditate, pray or manifest. This will help reset your mind and get rid of stagnant and negative energy that might interfere. If this sounds a little too “woo woo, airy-fairy, hippy-hippie” I get it. But just give it a try! People have been doing it for thousands of years.
- Any art or creative pieces that help bring positive energy into your space. I have a deck of oracle cards and that I keep at my altar. I pull a card once a week and leave it sitting out as guidance and inspiration.
- A journal or notebook where you can write prayers or intentions.
Anything else that you want to add. Everything I’ve listed are just suggestions, and ultimately your altar is for you, and if it makes you happy, or inspires you, I would recommend adding it to your sacred space!
Share Your Creativity!
If you do end up creating your own altar, we’d love to see what you come up with! We’re constantly inspired and in awe of the creativity that is present within us all. Email us a photo of your sacred space at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on instagram @dopeyogi and we’ll share it on our social media. We can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!
*featured image by Laura Mazurek (@lauramazurek)