If you have any real hopes of making it all the way down your Road to Bliss, you’re going to have to devote a decent amount of your time and energy towards your own self-care. Additionally, you may find that a great deal of your current self-care practices are not actually in alignment with where you aspire to be mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
With all of the components that make up self-care such as: diet, exercise, getting in touch with nature, creating a sacred space, meditation and personal reflection (to name a few), it can be a bit overwhelming to try and choose the starting point for developing your new and improved self-care practices.
Before you get too discouraged, let me give you a little “hack” as to where you can begin…The following action item will encompass and transcend many areas of self-care including: meditation, sacred space, and self-reflection:
Design and create a Personal Altar!
I understand that some people might be a little put off or intimidated when introduced to the idea of creating their own “altar,” but please hear me out and I can assure you that you will feel less apprehensive by the end of this post…
So What is an Altar, Exactly?
The following is an excerpt from a post on Wanderlust.com. It is one of the most accurate descriptions of the role and function of an altar (IMO):
“An altar is traditionally any kind of structure or platform where sacrifices and offerings are made, but they are not exclusive for one kind of occasion, nor are they reserved for the most spiritual among us. They come in all shapes and sizes and vary in uses across religions and philosophies.
…Here we have arrived at the most important reason to create an altar:
a focus for one’s efforts or heartfelt intentions.“
The Basics for Creating Your First Altar
Choose a Location
There are probably more areas in your home and/or office suitable for housing your altar than you might first realize. I would recommend setting up in a space that is out of the way enough that you can spend some time in front of or next to it without being disturbed.
Since I don’t have the luxury of a dedicated meditation room yet, my primary altar currently sits atop a bedside table. I also utilize the two drawers under the table to house back-up supplies and objects for client readings, performing rituals and practicing magick.
♥ It is very important that the surface of your altar and the areas immediately surrounding it remain free of clutter and junk (i.e. don’t set your cell phone, keys and old candy wrappers on your altar)!
Decorate your Altar for Functionality
Decide on the ways you wish to incorporate your altar into your self-care practices and add items that best facilitate them. A few of the most popular altar themes include: meditation, prayer, remembrance, ritual, seasonal, gratitude, inspiration, connection with nature.
Objects such as candles, incense, photos, crystals and gemstones are among the most commonly seen items used in altar design. However you should always feel free to include whatever items are meaningful, symbolic and inspiring to you.
How to Use Your Altar
Even if you choose to set up your altar somewhere visible to guests, visitors and clients – it is still a very personal thing. You can use it at any time of day or night, for as long as you want, and in whatever way feels right to you. If you wish to use it for meditation, you may also consider storing a pillow or mat to sit on nearby as well as keeping an additional space in front of your altar cleared to set the mat or pillow when in use.
In the beginning stages of incorporating your altar into your self-care routine, do your best to refrain from over-thinking and over-researching the “right way”to do it, as you might find yourself engaging in a practice that you don’t connect with because it doesn’t even resonate with your personal journey. The right way is whatever feels good to you. If you feel guided to light a candle, hold a crystal in the palm of your hand, close your eyes and express gratitude to the Universe….then that is exactly the right thing to do! If you feel a little overwhelmed and anxious and just want to quiet your mind, practice mindfulness and ground yourself…then THAT is the right thing to do! You can’t go wrong if you have fun and let your creativity be your guide.
Although I have a few other altars set up in various areas of my home, the altar in my bedroom is the only one I regularly include in my self-care practice. Here’s a short list of my personal practices in which I include my altar: meditation, charging my crystals, prayer, manifestation, expressing gratitude, conducting spells and rituals, connecting with Spirit, and honoring/remembering loved ones no longer with me in the physical world. Some days I spend only a few minutes “checking in” at my altar and other days I can spend several hours in front of it.
What You Will Find on My Altar Right Now:
- Earth Element Scarf
- Sage Smudge Stick
- Peacock Feather
- Fairy Tarot Card Deck
- Himalayan Salt Lamp
- Amethyst Necklace
- Rose Quartz Pendulum
- Rebecca Lowell Cat Painting
- Angel of Courage Pin/Poem
- Binder Clip (personal significance)
- Fortune Teller Potion Spray
- Meditation Oil
- Costa Rican Currency
- Candles and Votives (various colors)
- Gemstones and Crystals
- Incense and incense holders
- Large Quartz Crystal Cluster
- Absinthe Spoon from New Orleans
- Rider Waite Tarot Deck
That will wrap up my introduction to altars. Please check out the corresponding YouTube video and follow my blog to be notified when I will be releasing additional related content.
Sending you love and light,