How to use and build your very own alter

Take a minute to ask yourself...

  • How would it feel once or twice a day to take a moment to bow down to someone or something?
  • How would it feel to thank the world, yourself, someone or something for all that they have offered you and for all that is on its way?
  • What would it give you if you had an object or a space in your home or place of work that gave you a moment to pause or/and create an intention for the day?

An altar to me is a moment of creativity with simplicity. A collection of things from a crystal picked intuitively to a careful placement of objects that relate to something I am being called toward. I believe we all create alters in some shape or form – a placement of a photo of someone you are devoted to, a drawing by a child that makes you smile, an ornament or object that catches your eye and makes you pause. 

Fresh flowers in water or stems plucked from the garden are a great way to ensure the energy stays fresh and stagnancy doesn’t occur. That’s why I like alters over ornaments, I have to keep noticing them, making small adjustments or recreating it entirely so not to slip into the staleness of walking past something each day and not noticing it – sometimes this can spill into our lives and we can get nonchalant about our job, relationship or habit patterns.

Perhaps you are manifesting a new job and place a business card there, an invitation of a feeling can be drawn upon with a feather, an object that relates or even incense that will lift up your intention. In Bali each morning and evening there are offerings along streets, on motorbikes, in homes, at places of work and worship. The offerings are a sacred form of gratitude for what is and a wish for peace and abundance in the world. They are a representation of the Balinese people’s devotion to their Hindu gods, but at the core, these offerings are so much more.


What do you need to get started?

 You don’t need to buy anything at all and they can be deeply personal, inspiring and fun with items found or you may wish to invest in something that helps you connect to the process of creating an alter or meditation station. Words may keep you inspired in language and actions, photos may connect you to people and places and objects can evoke support from the earth and dedication to the environment. Resources I use often:

  • Pebbles
  • Feathers
  • Trinkets
  • Crystals
  • Tumble stones
  • Items picked up on travels
  • Incense
  • Candles

Gabrielle Burnstein, Elena Brower and Rebecca Campbell have all created decks of cards to bring forward enquiry and intention. The decks can be very personal to you and I recommend doing some research or choosing one created by someone who inspires you. I love to add them to birthday and Christmas wish lists! You can also make your own.

Adding a flower you have picked or a plant you are looking after is a wonderful addition to an altar. Remember to keep it watered or replace it when needed.

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