How to Build an Altar

When first getting into energy and the metaphysics, I was hesitant to the idea of an altar. It seemed almost scary. Seeing pictures of dripping candles, symbols, and trinkets, I turned away from this practice. It was a little too mysterious for me, but once I discovered my misconceptions of altars, I started to create my own and found that they are wonderful ways to connect to our spiritual selves. Dripping candles, bones, and old photos are just one aspect of altars. There are so many forms and altar can take. Whether it is practicing witchcraft, honoring a god, goddess, or deity, or simply displaying a collection of crystals, altars are sacred spaces to gather this spiritual energy.

I’ve come up with some tips on how to create your own altar. This is useful for those who are interested, but don’t know where to start. Here is an altar I made for the new moon which was this past Sunday. Follow along and create your own!


Focus on a Theme – Figure out what is the intent of your altar. Is it a space for meditation? A shrine to a god or goddess? A place to practice magick? Getting an idea on what it is that you want your altar to represent can help direct you as to what energies to bring forth when creating your space. [The altar I created is dedicated to the new moon, so the theme being new beginnings and lunar energy.]

Add Crystals – Being a crystal junkie, I love adding them to my altars. Each crystal contains its own unique energy, and placing them in your altar adds this energy to your sacred space. Depending on what your intent is for your altar, this can influence your crystal choice. If you wish to honor nature and Mother Earth, stones such as smoky quartz, jasper, and aragonite are excellent choices. If you wish to create a space for meditation, amethyst and clear quartz are possible options. [The crystals I chose for my altar were Carnelian, Peridot, Jasper, Desert Rose, Ammonite, and Pyrite. These stones connect to what I am dedicating my ‘new beginnings’ towards.]

Add Objects – Adding symbolic or meaningful objects to your altar can help strengthen those energies you wish to achieve through the space. Statues or pictures of gods/goddesses, figurines of your spirit animals, family heirlooms, or anything that has special meaning to you should be placed at your altar. [I made a spell pouch with cinnamon, allspice and honey to act as another magick addition to my altar.]

Add the Elements – In Alchemy, Witchcraft, Native American culture, and many other spiritual viewpoints, the four elements are important energies. Add the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water to your altar. Crystals connect to the Earth, as do branches, acorns, and other natural finds. Feathers connect to the Air, candles to Fire, and Shells to Water. [Bringing the elements in, I have my smudging feather (air), a few candles (fire), wood slices (earth), and I sprinkled the area with water mixed with allspice and cinnamon (water).]

Tie it all together Visually – From a designer standpoint, I also look at altars as visual displays. To make my altars pleasing to the eye, I incorporate the principles and elements of design. I focus on the proportions of space, height, texture, and color when creating my altars. If you are unsure about visually setting up you altar, a tip is to focus on balance. Balancing positive and negative space, different heights and shapes, textures, and colors to create a harmonious altar.

While following these tips can help you achieve a very spiritual space, the most important thing you need to focus on when creating your altar though is your intuition. Tap into your feelings about your altar. What do you want to put in it that is going to have a strong connection to you? You need to love your altar set up first and foremost in order for those energies to resonate and assist you in whatever you wish to achieve. Play around with the objects and arrangements until you find something that works for you! Have fun building your altar everyone!




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