Creating Altars and Sacred Space

In my healing work, I often instruct my clients to create an altar or sacred space to keep their mantras, totem animals, gifts, and candles. Personally, I have many altars and sacred spaces of varying size and purpose throughout my home and workspace. However, I realize this isn’t commonplace for everyone. So I am sharing some ideas and tips to help you create an altar or sacred space for yourself.

Altars and sacred spaces can serve many purposes from daily intention and meditation to healing core issues to manifesting wishes and dreams. The more attention and care you pay to them the more beneficial they are to you. 

The Must Haves

  • A dedicated space of any size

  • An intention, theme, or purpose for your space such as healing a core issue, drawing in peace, spiritual practice, cleansing negativity, etc.

  • At least one item that symbolizes your intention or purpose

Yep, that is basically all you need. Of course, the more you add and the more personal you make it the more sacred and energized it becomes.

Palo Santo, sage,   Make It Sacred Essential Oil Spray  , and Selenite are all great cleansing options.

Palo Santo, sage, Make It Sacred Essential Oil Spray, and Selenite are all great cleansing options.

Before You Begin                                                          

When creating sacred space and altars its important to start with a fresh clean slate.

  • Using non-toxic natural cleaners, dust, clean, sweep, vacuum, etc. the area you have dedicated for your altar/sacred space.

  • Smudge the area with sage or other purifying ingredients such as pine, cedar, or Palo Santo. If you don't care for smoke or the smell try my Make It Sacred Essential Oil spray, a smokeless smudge spray, or holy water. This process removes any negative or heavy energies lingering in the space.

  • Repeat the first two steps with all the items you intend to add to your altar/space.

Make It Sacred

  • Add visual elements such as pictures, art, statues, plants and flowers, candles and other items that are visually pleasing, meaningful, and remind you at a glance of your intention.

  • Awaken your sense of smell with essential oils or incense.

  • Sound is another lovely way to focus your attention and bring your awareness to the moments you spend at your altar. Bells, chimes, music, even singing are great ways to do this.

  • Raise the vibration and energetically charge your space with gemstones and crystals selected specifically for your purpose. Crystal Prescriptions is an excellent reference book.

  • Add items to represent the Elements: Feathers or incense for Air; candles for Fire; shells, a bowl of water, or beach sand for Water; rocks, crystals, or plants for Earth; and if you follow a five element tradition, any kind of metal object for Metal. This brings balance, adds natural energies and honors the basic elements of life.

  • Use some basic Feng Shui principles for placing your altar in the most auspicious location. The Holistic Home offers inspiration.

  • Make it comfortable and inviting. It’s important that your altar/space be in a location that is convenient, easy to spend time with and seen often. If possible, add a comfy chair or cushion that encourages you to linger.

All Shapes and Sizes

If you know me at all, you know I'm not a believer in rules that limit growth, expression, or intuition. When I say altars and sacred spaces can be any shape or size and can go anywhere, I mean it. Your only limitations are the ones you set for yourself. If your goal is to create something sacred and life changing....go all in with your intention. Reach down deep and find what pleases and supports you the most...no rules. Following are many ideas to get your juices flowing.  

  • A small dish or bowl can be placed anywhere and allows you the freedom to move it to suit your needs. Select an heirloom candy dish or tea cup to bring in ancestral connections, make a green choice by finding a simple bowl at the thrift store or repurposing something you already own, a pillar candle holder from the Dollar Store is a great economical choice.

This mini altar is only 4"x4." I created it for prosperity and business success and it sits on the corner of my desk with my intention written on a piece of paper tucked underneath. I purchased this one at a home decor store called At Home. This   silver incense holder   or these   mini gypsum hands   are great alternatives!

This mini altar is only 4"x4." I created it for prosperity and business success and it sits on the corner of my desk with my intention written on a piece of paper tucked underneath. I purchased this one at a home decor store called At Home. This silver incense holder or these mini gypsum hands are great alternatives!

Zen gardens make great small altars and can take on any theme to suit your needs. This one was created by a client. It features their animal totem, a piece of driftwood and a cairn which symbolizes the gifts they received during their   Shamanic Illumination   session  . They added incense, sand, a candle and a piece of agate to represent the elements. A  mini Zen garden  doesn't have follow an Asian aesthetic. You can add air plants and natural elements for a boho vibe, or miniatures for a fairy theme, or use only the sand and your finger to write your intention each day.

Zen gardens make great small altars and can take on any theme to suit your needs. This one was created by a client. It features their animal totem, a piece of driftwood and a cairn which symbolizes the gifts they received during their Shamanic Illumination session. They added incense, sand, a candle and a piece of agate to represent the elements. A mini Zen garden doesn't have follow an Asian aesthetic. You can add air plants and natural elements for a boho vibe, or miniatures for a fairy theme, or use only the sand and your finger to write your intention each day.

  • If you prefer your sacred space to be more on the discrete or subtle side, create your altar in a plant or make a simple decorative vignette and no one will be the wiser. If you are an artistic person draw, paint, or collage your intention into a piece of art and hang it on the wall.

Natural elements such as shells and crystals, mini statues, or any small items that suit your purpose tuck discretely beneath the foliage. When company comes simple turn the plant around.

Natural elements such as shells and crystals, mini statues, or any small items that suit your purpose tuck discretely beneath the foliage. When company comes simple turn the plant around.

A   yoga statue  , some greenery and a couple of   crystals   create a lovely vignette, as well as, a dedicated space to take some deep breaths, say your mantras, or focus your daily intentions.

A yoga statue, some greenery and a couple of crystals create a lovely vignette, as well as, a dedicated space to take some deep breaths, say your mantras, or focus your daily intentions.

  • Altars with a specific purpose strategically placed not only create sacred space but also add to its powerful energy.

A Self-Love Altar, featuring   Venus  , is perfectly placed in the bathroom or bedroom; places where issues of self-worth, self-esteem, self-love, and insecurities can be easily triggered. Spending time with this beautiful altar will lift your spirits and aid you in rewriting those negative neural pathways.

A Self-Love Altar, featuring Venus, is perfectly placed in the bathroom or bedroom; places where issues of self-worth, self-esteem, self-love, and insecurities can be easily triggered. Spending time with this beautiful altar will lift your spirits and aid you in rewriting those negative neural pathways.

Place altars dedicated to Peace in your go-to relaxation spots, as well as, places of high stress to combat issues with anxiety, fear, and anger.   Buddha  , calming incense, and music are excellent additions.

Place altars dedicated to Peace in your go-to relaxation spots, as well as, places of high stress to combat issues with anxiety, fear, and anger. Buddha, calming incense, and music are excellent additions.

This Prosperity Altar, decorated with   Ganesh   and   Feng Shui Money drawing item   s , is positioned at the entryway so that it is the first and last thing you see when you are entering and exiting your home. This theme is perfect for anyone working on scarcity issues.

This Prosperity Altar, decorated with Ganesh and Feng Shui Money drawing items, is positioned at the entryway so that it is the first and last thing you see when you are entering and exiting your home. This theme is perfect for anyone working on scarcity issues.

  • Altars can be simple or elaborate or anywhere in between, dedicated to one purpose or all-purpose.

Simple and focused, this altar is dedicated to the healing of a core issue complete with totem animal, gift, healing candlelight, and mantra.

Simple and focused, this altar is dedicated to the healing of a core issue complete with totem animal, gift, healing candlelight, and mantra.

This sacred space was created specifically for journeying. A   singing bowl  , an   oracle card  , a special journal, and other items set the stage without being too much.

This sacred space was created specifically for journeying. A singing bowl, an oracle card, a special journal, and other items set the stage without being too much.

Glamorous and out loud, this all-purpose altar is covered in the owner's personal treasures and is ready for any work she wants to do.

Glamorous and out loud, this all-purpose altar is covered in the owner's personal treasures and is ready for any work she wants to do.

Maintaining The Magic

  • Keep the space clean! At regular intervals (moon cycles, dates, whatever resonates for you) clean your space.

  • Resmudge or spray to clear any energies your items have been absorbing for and from you.

  • Spend some time evaluating what is working for you and what is not. Add or remove things to suit where you are right now.

  • If you are working on clearing core issues, this is an excellent time to check-in and see how you are doing. Perhaps your mantra needs to be tweaked or changed completely.

  • Tap into your inner knowing and listen!

I've created a Pinterest board called Sacred Space to offer even more ideas. Do you have a beautiful space? Share it with us here, on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram.