How to create and use Altars

How to create and use Altars

Want a simple easy way to infuse a spiritual element into any aspect of your life? Try creating an altar

Altars are a simple easy way to create or bring an element of the sacred anywhere. They can be simple or ornately complex. They can fit on the a small corner of your desk at work and no one will even notice they are there, or they can take up an entire room in your house, if you have rooms to spare, that is.

Setting up an altar is simple, and they can be profoundly powerful for changing the entire space that surrounds you.  I like to  think of altars as giving a place for spirit to rest in the room.  When you bring that element in anywhere, it changes everything.  Set one up at work to be a visual reminder not to get stuck on the small stuff.  If you are having a particularly hard time with something, set up an altar for yourself and a wish that you work through it.

I like to think of altars as the slow cookers of magic.  Sometimes we want something, or we want to see things happen, and we know its gonna take a while.  Set up an altar for that thing and think of it daily. In my house right now I currently have 4 official altars set up. One is for the spirit of my child, due to be born this July, another is for the goddess of abundance (its in the kitchen), one is just a collection of pictures of my and my partner’s ancestors above the fire place, and the other is a small collection of crystals near my bedside, which is just a reminder to love myself.

Here are the extremely simple steps to creating an altar.

  1. Clear space for them.  I like to start with a clean slate.  You don’t have to dedicate an entire table to the altar but clear and clean whatever space you are going to use.  Remember you are making room for something new in your life, by physically making that space, you will open up more opportunities for it to come into your life. If you feel called, smudge the area, or use clearing herbs like rosemary to clean it.
  2. Set an intention for the altar.  It can be a simple as having a place to remember what is sacred, or it can be as specific as I want a new job doing X.  I like to be as specific as possible with my altars while still leaving room for something better than I imagined.  So for instance if I were going to make an altar for a new job, I probably would focus more on the qualities I wanted in a job, rather than a specific position or company.  That way I leave room for miracles, like finding my dream job in a field I had never ever considered.  If there is a specific interview or job I’ve applied for, I would definitely put a reference to that job on the altar, but with the intention that I get it only if is really the best option for me.
  3. Use your intuition and a playful sense of creativity to create physical altar. I like to emphasize p
  4. kitchen altarlay when creating an altar.  Make it pretty, make it something that YOU like.  Just trust yourself when it come to colors, objects, arrangement.  I like to play with an altar until it feel right in my body. If you aren’t used to creating them, self-doubt and any self criticism about your own aesthetic sense is bound to come up.  Just acknowledge  it, and try anyway.  You can’t get this wrong.  Remember no one else has to know this is an alter, especially if you set one up at work.  Somethings to consider when making an altar: candles, incense  rocks, shells, a leaf, flowers, sacred images you love, pictures of you, those you love, statues of religious figures or deities.

Here’s a little homework, set up an altar and leave me a comment about how it went.


Allison Carr LAc believes that healing yourself makes the world a better place.  Learn more about her work and classes at