An altar can be the interface between your normal, everyday reality and the spiritual realm. Keeping an altar, be it simple or elaborate, is an opportunity to create a sacred space where you can come for prayer work, for calm, for solace or to simply enjoy the haven you have created. It can become a touch stone and support for your spiritual self. Our spiritual selves are very important and have been profoundly neglected and negated in our fast-paced lifestyles.
What makes an altar? One word—intention. An altar can be as simple as a few stones or crystals in a garden or on a shelf or an altar can be much more elaborate. What matters is the intention that you bring to it. The main thing is to do what is sacred or feels appropriate to you. Trust your intuition to guide you. Tend to your altar by spending time with it. If you place flowers there, refresh them or re-energize the crystals frequently. Bring your love to the altar. Bring your longings, your prayers. Meditate beside your altar. I have discovered drumming and singing spiritual songs at my altar to be very powerful. In doing this, I bring all of me fully present to my sacred spiritual place.
You can have more than one altar. You can have transient, pop-up altars! If I have a special cause or situation that I am praying or holding intentions for, I will sometimes assign each person involved a stone or crystal and place these somewhere special in my garden or under a tree. Then every day I will bring fresh flowers and blow my love and prayers into each stone. When things have calmed down I will disassemble my garden altar. If I am hosting a course or class, I will often place a stone or crystal representing each participant in a sacred place with a prayer for the most benevolent outcome for the day.
In this covid year, myself and some friends have been doing special prayer work for months. I have been host to our prayer pot, which is set up on a simple stone slab surrounded by some of my favourite crystals. We add prayers to the prayer pot as required or requested. Periodically, when the prayer pot is full, we have a fire ceremony and release the prayers to spirit. Even though I know how powerful thoughts and intentions are, I have been surprised at the effectiveness of focused prayer work.
Like everything, your altar will probably have a lifespan or a season. Once you have it in place, do not be afraid to modify it or completely disassemble and build a new one. As we grow and change, our expectations and intentions change. One size doesn’t always fit all. Let your intuition guide you.
I have been surprised at the joy and sense of spiritual connection that flows from maintaining my altar each day. It has become a critical activity without which my day feels incomplete.