Sacred spaces and altars are not new things. People have been building altars for thousands of years. Whether they are spiritual, religious, or otherwise, altars are a place of directed intentionality. They are a place where you can connect with the universe and your spirit. They are also a place where you can do spellwork or rituals.
Although they seem simple, there are some things that nearly all altars will have or include. Here is your lesson on everything altars - Building an altar 101.
What is an altar?
Altars are a place for spiritual connection, to show respect for the divine, or to honor ancestors. They are often used in ceremonies and rituals, but they can also be used as a daily practice by anyone who wants one.
Creating and maintaining an altar in your space is a way for you to connect to your spirituality and the sacred on a daily basis.
One of the main purposes of an altar is to give you a place where you can meditate and connect with your spirit guides. You can use it to connect with your higher self, or write down what you need or want in life and put it on your altar so that it will come true eventually!
Your altar doesn’t need to be big and elaborate, like you may have seen in movies or online. Even in the smallest spaces, you can find a corner to create it. From big desks to small windowsills - altars are able to be made wherever you need a dose of the sacred. The only absolute must-have? The intention for devotion.
What do you need to build an altar?
You need a surface that you can keep safe and clean, and that you are able to see atleast daily. That’s it. Everything else is up to you!
Although altars are 100% individual to you, there are some basics that most altars will have. You can include all or some of these, or none at all.
Here are some suggestions:
Crystals and stones. These are used for healing and spiritual energy. Some common altar stones include amethyst, rose quartz, turquoise, jade, obsidian, and hematite. Bonus! Because they are common, these crystals are easy to grab at any crystal shop or metaphysical store. You can shop The AF for some here.
Candles. Your altar should have at least one candle—it should be lit when you perform rituals or meditations on your altar. Candles symbolize light in the darkness; they also represent an individual's spirit being lit from within (see what I did there?).
Incense. Provided you are not sensitive to smoke or scents, incense can be a key addition to an altar space. It has been used for centuries by many cultures as part of spiritual ceremonies because it helps clear the mind and the energies in the space.
Where should your altar go?
Your altar should be in a place that is easily accessible, safe, clean, and quiet. An ideal location is your bedroom or another room where you can keep it private. It’s best to have your altar close to where you sleep because this is where we rest after work or school—and since our dreams manifest during sleep, the energy of this area may carry over into our dream state. Being able to be in the intention of the space on the regular will help you tune into the energetics of the altar.
Another good option is a space outside (if weather permits) so that you can build an outdoor altar space. Although not always possible, it is a great option if you want to connect with Earth energy or deities. Naturally placed altars definitely have a supercharged energy about them and can be simple to create and maintain. Trying to find a spot in nature such as on top of rocks overlooking waterfalls or mountainside caves would be especially fun - they are visually beautiful and can help elevate the energy.
How big should your altar be?
It’s hard to say how big your altar should be. It really depends on the space you have available, but there are some general guidelines. A small altar can be as simple as a tabletop or shelf. If you have lots of room and want to go all out, though, a large altar can take up an entire room—or even multiple rooms! You could also choose to build multiple altars in different parts of your home if that feels like a better fit for you.
For example, Smaller mini-altars can be great for a work-from-home desk, while you can have a larger one in your living room or bedroom.
What should you include on your altar?
If you're just starting out, get a few things that are inexpensive and easy to find. If you already have some of these items, great! Here’s what might be on your altar:
-Crystals that match and enhance the intentions you are putting into the altar.
-Statues and images that inspire you, or of deities or religious figures.
-Natural elements like flowers, greenery, and other plants really deepen earthy or seasonal vibrations.
-Offerings. This can be water, food, gifts, or flowers.
-Traditional items like the athame, chalice, or wand.
-Anything else your heart desires! Seriously, I cannot reiterate this enough - altars are personal to YOU and to you ONLY. This means you can't get it wrong, so add anything else that feels right, relevant, or sacred to you onto your altar.
Other altar building tips
Like I said, altars are so personal to everyone, so there are no hard rules to what you have to do or include. There are a few tips I have from my experiences with creating my own altars over the years:
1. The directions and the elements correspond to each other. Traditionally, you will have an item representing each element on your altar, to create vibrational and energetic wholeness. Those elemental items also go in the corresponding direction: Air in the northwest, Water in the northeast, Fire in the southeast, and Earth in the southwest.
2. Use the space in the center for important personal items or items related to any deity you may be working with.
3. Including natural elements can be potent and powerful. Crystals are of the earth, and adding plants or herbs can be a way to boost your intentions when using your altar.
4. You don’t always need to make food or drink offerings, but if you do include them, make sure they are cleared before they go bad or attract pests. 🥴
Building an altar is an incredibly great way to connect with yourself, your spirit, and the universe. The best part of all is that it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated! If you have some basic supplies lying around and some spare time, then you can make one for yourself asap.
Here at The Auric Fields, we love altars and curating sacred spaces. All of our crystals would make perfect altar additions, of course - but here are a few altar specific things you can grab over at the shop today.
Bring the energy combination of the Unicorn and Palo Santo to your home. These unicorn totems are a great addition to your altar or even used as a decorative piece. These totems are not to be burned but used as an energetic talisman to imbue the Palo Santo properties into your space.
The Unicorn symbolizes magic, innocence, and the carefree feeling of childhood.
AF concrete smudge plates are constructed exclusively for The Auric Fields by Concrete Geometric. These plates come in an array of color combinations reflecting the rainbow spectrum. One will be intuitively chosen for you.
We love to use it by writing an intention and placing it under a crystal of your choice, sending the intention to source, and then lighting your offering.