Creating an altar space

The shamanic altar is a place to honor the spirits and show them you welcome their presence. It can be used by you as a focal point for meditation, communion and to add a powerful aesthetic to a room. Altars can be physical or digital. The guidance in this post is about physical altars.

Here is a simple guide to help you build your home altar:

  1. Decide upon the intent. What is the primary purpose of the altar?
    • Is it a place to make offerings?
    • Ask for blessings?
    • Clear your mind?
    • Find peace?
    • Seek insight?
  2. Choose the location. It can literally be anywhere in your house:
    • on a furniture surface
    • on the floor
    • on wall shelves
    • What’s important is that it feels right to you.
  3. Select the basic implements:
    • Start with a base. This can be a cloth cover, a rock slab, or even circuit boards. Something that signifies the boundaries of the space.
    • Altars will typically need to have items for receiving offerings, such as a goblet or bowl. This can be something natural like made of bone or a simple metal or even something very modern like an electronic lock-box.
    • A candle is a useful tool for signifying that you are spending intentional time before it. Or perhaps you prefer an LED light that you can control with an app on your phone.
    • Another implement is a bell, chime, or even a USB speaker that you use to  play whatever sound that signifies purifying the space.
  4. Select the adornments. These are decorations that creates your altar’s “theme”, that beautify the space and enhance it’s sacred feel:
    • Small items of personal significance to you such as crystals or jewelry
    • Carvings relevant to your intent
    • Small found items such as rocks or bottle caps
    • Tools such as a knife or a compass, a remote control

After assembling your altar, dedicate it with your first offering. What you offer is your choice. The most important thing about an offering is that you value what you offer. The altar works best when you also build a habit to interact with it at specific times. This can be daily, weekly, twice a month, etc. Whatever you feel is the appropriate amount, define that from the beginning and stay with it.

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