how to create an altar

How to create an altar

One part of your own home rituals and ceremonies is an altar, a set up space that’s a center space during your spiritual connection.

In this article we show you how you can create your own altar for your home or any place you want to.

An altar is a sacred space to connect with spirit and use for rituals, ceremonies and prayers. It has alway been used in most religions. Usually you find them in shrines, churches, temples and other worshipping places as well as known to use little home altars.

And also shamanic tribes have been using altars to focus on holding space, connect with the spirits and worshipping their ancestors during the ceremonies and rituals.

You find altars everywhere, in entries, in front of buildings, in the middle of buildings, in corners of a room, at beaches, on top of the mountains or even in cars.

An altar doesn’t need to be big, it can also be just as big as a shoebox. So, don’t worry, if you don’t have the space in your room. You can also find a little table and decorate it with a sarong or piece of fabric.

As long as you have the right intention – should it be more in a quiet area in the corner, close to a window with lots of light and fresh air or in the middle of the room as the center of your rituals and ceremonies?

Find a place that resonates with you and the way you worship, pray and practise your rituals.

You may want to use elements that reflect and symbolize the connection with mother earth and your spirit. In the shamanic path we are usually working with the five elements earth, water, fire and air and spirit.

You may want to include all of the five elements onto your altar to include all 5 basic elements. Each element can be symbolized by certain elements from nature or with a spiritual or personal meaning.

Elements of the Earth:

  1. A bowl of soil from your area or a sacred land
  2. Plants or flowers (best is with roots)
  3. White sage 
  4. Crystal and stones
  5. Black candle

Earth energy is grounding, connects us with the sacred feminine and represents our mother earth.


Elements of the Water:

  1. Water from a holy place (spring, temple, blessed water)
  2. Sea shells
  3. Blue candle

Water energy is dynamic and flowing. It represents our emotions, intuition, healing and reflection. 


Elements of the Air:

  1. Incense stick (smoke represents air)
  2. Smoke of sage, palo santo and other plant material
  3. Feathers (preferred some that you found)
  4. Wind chimes
  5. Bells
  6. Yellow candle

Air energy stands for knowledge and the power of the mind.  It stimulates courage and bravery.

Elements of the Fire:

  1. A symbol that represents the sun or fire
  2. Red candle (and flaming candles in general)

Fire energy is powerful and stands for creative energy, manifestation, inspiration, strong will power and sexual energy.  


Elements of the Spirit:

  1. A mirror
  2. Picture of a rainbow
  3. Picture of your guru, spiritual teacher, spirit, god
  4. Picture or symbol of a butterfly
  5. White candle

Spirit energy represents our life force that encompasses and is the creator of all. It can include the spirits of our ancestors and the healing forces which can move the elements of our world and connect between different worlds.  

Different tribes have different orders on how to layout the different elements on your altar. 

For example: 

Native Americans: Earth (north, Water (east), Fire (South) and Wind/Air (West)

Andeans: Fire (east), Earth (South), Water (West), Air (North)

Spirit is always in the center. 

It’s up to you how you want to place the elements as long as you do it with your intention.


Now its your turn. 

Create your own altar and post your result! We can’t wait to see your beautiful sacred creation.

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