How to Set Up An Altar - The Spirit Nest Guide

June 16, 2017 14 Comments

How to Set Up An Altar - The Spirit Nest Guide

The Benefits of An Altar

Altars are used worldwide by people of many different religions and traditions. They are found in temples, churches, natural places, and historical sites. They can also be found in homes and are becoming a popular way of growing one’s spirituality. Altars act as liminal space where the physical breaches the spiritual; where we can readily meet with Source Energy, the gods, our higher selves, angels, guides, and ancestors. By setting up an altar in your home, you are establishing sacred space – a safe, comfortable place to focus on your spiritual growth without anyone else telling you how to practice. No matter your religion or spiritual path, an altar provides a central location within your home for meditation, quiet contemplation, spell-working, ritual, prayer, divination, yoga, and more.

How to Set Up An Altar

Setting up an altar is not as complicated as it may sound. First, you’ll need to decide what piece of furniture you will use as your altar. Corner tables, end tables, and cabinets are a popular choice, but some choose a small wall shelf or even a corner of a kitchen counter or nightstand. It all depends on how much space you have in your home, the people with whom you share your home, and your personal preferences. A popular question asked is which direction the altar should face – north, south, east, or west? This really depends on your religious affiliation or spiritual path. In some of the Wiccan traditions, altars are suggested to face North, the direction of the element of earth. In some eastern religions, altars face east towards the rising sun. And still there are those who believe the direction of the altar doesn’t matter. The choice is ultimately up to you and your beliefs, as there is no right or wrong way.

Once you’ve decided what you are using as an altar, then you’ll decide what tools and sacred talismans to include on your altar. This is the fun part! Often these sacred items are related to nature and the elements. Some may choose a tool to represent each of the four elements, such as:  a cauldron for earth, incense for air, candles for fire, an abalone shell for water. These are just a few examples. Other sacred items for your altar may include crystals, plants, statues, tarot cards, flowers, shells, books, and the list goes on. Keep in mind that candles are almost always a must, particularly if you’re doing any spiritual work at night. Candlelight creates an ambiance you will not achieve with false fluorescent lights or lamps. Incense is also helpful to set the mood, whether you are meditating, praying, or casting a spell. Incense is also used as an offering to deities and ancestors. Add an altar cloth to protect the altar-top plus bring in a certain energy to your space. A tapestry can be hung behind your altar to honor your deities or ancestors. There is no limit to what sacred tools and items you include on your altar. It is your sacred space, after all.

Now you have your altar and all your sacred tools ready. Don’t forget one of the most crucial steps in establishing your sacred space – cleansing and consecrating. It is important to cleanse your altar and your tools, because when you bring items into your home from other places, they can carry energies that you might not want in your sacred space. To cleanse your altar and tools, it is wise to use a sage bundle and perform a small smudging ritual.

 

How to Cleanse Your Sacred Space

You will need the following:

How to smudge your altar and tools:

  1. First, light one of the candles on your altar. Take a couple of deep breaths. If you believe in prayer, now is a good time to pray and ask for God’s/the Universe’s/deity’s love to fill your space and help guide your movements.
  2. Use your dominant hand to hold one end of the sage bundle over the candle’s flame to light it. It will start smoking and you will see slight red embers at the end of the sage bundle.
  3. Hold your abalone shell or clay fireproof bowl with your non-dominant hand and underneath of the sage to catch any falling ashes as the sage burns.
  4. Say out loud, “with this sage smoke, I cleanse my space and tools of all negative energy so that they may be used for my highest good.”
  5. Using the smoke from the sage bundle, gently blow the smoke over your altar and sacred tools. As you do this, visualize the smoke cleansing away any negative energy. (NOTE: Some people prefer to leave the sage bundle in the shell/bowl while fanning the smoke with a feather, but the choice is up to you.)
  6. Once you’ve cleansed your entire altar and tools with the sage smoke, you may smother the burning sage in the abalone shell or put it out in a bowl of salt.


Triple moon black  charcoal burner/smudge pot Mini Smudge Witches sacred smudge - ritual loose incense

Smudge stick Abalone smudge shell Bewitching incense 


Now that you’ve cleansed your space and tools, the last step is to perform a simple consecration (also called a blessing). This can be done by stating out loud, “I consecrate (bless) this altar and sacred space in the name of _______ (insert your god/ancestor/Universe/Source here). It is now cleansed of negative energy. May it be a place of spiritual growth and may it be for my highest good. So be it.”



Written by The Otherworldly Oracle , follow her site and FB group 
as it is the best online sources for information and tips on the mystic, pagan, and supernatural enthusiast.



14 Responses

Emma
Emma

November 16, 2021

Veronica, im not sure if i have Native American ancestors or not, in the mean time what would you suggest i use instead? :) I want to respect cultures but I also want to make sure my space is cleansed correctly.

Veronica
Veronica

October 28, 2021

Please do not use white sage unless you have Native American ancestry and know its significance in rituals. It’s a sacred plant and should be respected accordingly.

Moe
Moe

June 02, 2020

I was wondering if I should leave the representatives of each element in certain corners, and if so which ones? I don’t have my alter pointed in a particular direction either. Would I just go by where a compass would be if I was pointed in a certain direction?

Faith
Faith

May 03, 2020

Abigail, you can use a cleansing spray to help with cleansing your alter if you can’t burn with sage. There is a pot of wonderful people on YouTube who can help with how to make those. Blessed be

Abigail
Abigail

April 26, 2020

I’m new to this whole thing and this was very helpful, but I would like to know if there are other ways to cleanse a space for the altar.

Abigail
Abigail

April 26, 2020

I’m new to this whole thing and this was very helpful, but I would like to know if there are other ways to cleanse a space for the altar.

Dee
Dee

December 30, 2019

So when you say the alter should face “X” direction is that meaning the direction you face when in front of the alter or the direction your back faces (if it’s supposed to face the east then is it situated on the west wall of the house with my back facing east?)

Danielle Marie Casborn
Danielle Marie Casborn

June 23, 2019

I have a hard time figuring out what to say when praying and how to word what i say. Is there a certain way I’m supposed to pray?

Nicole Canfield
Nicole Canfield

December 05, 2017

Moe Jacob – Use a candle’s flame to light your smudge stick…it will stay lit much longer that way!

Moe Jacob
Moe Jacob

August 05, 2017

I have a lot of trouble keeping my smudge stick lit, it keeps going out. Is there a trick to keep it going?

Jesse Chandler's
Jesse Chandler's

July 29, 2017

Pretty cool and good information

Penny Young
Penny Young

July 17, 2017

Thank you for the concise and helpful words, I am new to setting up my altar and have been looking for help on this.

Sara Knight
Sara Knight

July 17, 2017

A good read, thanks for the insights ?

Shannon
Shannon

June 25, 2017

I need help by getting things away from my sprit .. I wanna be happy not said or worried about people or things. Can you help please.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Budget Witch Tips: 12 Ways to Practice Your Craft on a Budget
Budget Witch Tips: 12 Ways to Practice Your Craft on a Budget

May 16, 2022

Just because you’re a witch doesn’t mean your craft has to cost a fortune. In fact, it should never cost a fortune unless you want it to. While witchcraft is different for everyone, practicing as a witch is often about finding magic in simple things around you and creating something beautiful from them. Social media has played a huge part in the expensive expectation for those first coming into witchcraft in this day and age. From large and extravagant altar setups to enormous luxury crystals, many people are under the impression that you have to have dozens of crystals, candles, and tarot decks in order to truly practice, but that’s not true. Don’t get us wrong, while these tools can be fun and inspiring to add to your collection and can help you to enhance the energy in your craft; they do not supply the magic––you do. The magic is within you, dear witch, and you put magic into everything you use, whether it’s cheap or expensive items, and we’re here to show you that.

Continue Reading

How to Empower Your Self-care Routine With Each Phase of the Moon
How to Empower Your Self-care Routine With Each Phase of the Moon

May 10, 2022

The moon is one of the most divine and mysterious energy sources available to us. Not only does it provide a truly captivating view in the night sky, but it also has the natural ability of connecting directly with our subconscious and helping us to heal in a number of ways. While the new moon and the full moon are most known for their empowering energies, the other phases of the moon are just as powerful and offer their own healing vibrations in many other ways. And today, we’re going to talk all about them. 


In this article, we’re going to cover the meaning behind the eight phases of the moon. We’re going to talk about what each moon phase means, the unique energy they give off, and how you can work more closely with them to perform self-care practices to heal, grow, and align more intentionally in your life than ever before. Let’s get started.

Continue Reading

May 2022 Monthly Horoscope: 12 Sign Overview
May 2022 Monthly Horoscope: 12 Sign Overview

April 28, 2022

As we move out of the inspiring and energetic energies of April, we move into the month of May with flying colors, welcoming new changes, transformations, and chances for renewal. To start, we will be kicking off the month in the balanced and assured sign of the Taurus. Often considered to be the mother of the Zodiac due to their kind, nurturing, and wise nature, the Taurus craves balance in all that they do. They are hardworking, know the importance of creating a good routine, and always approach their goals with a slow but steady pace. For that reason, the signs may also begin to bring these energies into their life this month. From creating a routine for yourself, focusing on small steps for your goals, or even just picking up the pace towards working towards your dreams, this month is all about gaining stability and finding what new direction you may wish to go with it. 


Aside from this, May also marks the official start of the eclipse season, which is sure to bring a plethora of new energies into our lives. With so many energetic shake-ups at this time, the signs could find themselves feeling more drained and disoriented. However, all of the changes are likely to help us align with our destined path later on. Aside from this, the planets will also be quite active this month, with Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury as the biggest influences. Jupiter will be lingering in the sign of the Pisces for the beginning of the month, making this an opportunistic time for the signs to seize new opportunities and take a chance. After this, Jupiter will then make its way through the sign of the Aries, pushing hard work, confidence, and a new dynamic in your life as the signs likely begin to feel a little more open-minded in trying new things. We will then welcome our next Mercury retrograde on May 10 in the sign of the Gemini, which is bound to bring some energetic shake-ups in our social lives as well as our communication skills. Lastly, we will then end the month in the sign of the energetic Gemini, pushing our social interactions, lust for adventure, and need for expansion to the extreme. 

Continue Reading