How to Make an Altar or Sacred Space: A Guide to Personal Spiritual Sanctuaries

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How to Make an Altar or Sacred Space

Having a dedicated space for contemplation, prayer, reflection, and worship is essential for everyone. Learning how to create an altar or sacred space can bring a sense of harmony to all aspects of your life. By delving into the art of altar-making, you can reconnect with your inner self and find solace in the midst of life’s challenges.

Altars have long been employed as conduits for spiritual energy, whether nestled in natural elements like trees, springs, or rocky formations, or incorporated into religious practices spanning Christianity to Buddhism. In recent years, altars have become a foundational aspect of spiritual exploration, especially for those who may not identify with organized religion but seek to deepen their spiritual connection. Altars serve as spiritual sanctuaries for manifestation, spiritual guidance, and offerings to ancestors and spirit guides.

Altars have been a mainstay of channeling spiritual energy since the dawn of time. These altars were typically constructed in trees, springs or rocky formations that people had regarded as sacred spaces in which spirits lived. Altars have been used in many religions from Christianity to Buddhism, but in more recent years, altars have become a cornerstone for spiritual babes who may not necessarily relate to organized religion, but want to strengthen their spiritual practice. Altars are spiritual spaces used to promote manifestation, spiritual guidance and gift-giving for your ancestors and spirit guides alike.

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Don’t have space in your room or home to put all of your crystals, candles and Tarot card decks on display? Don’t worry! Altars are simply dedicated places that you intuitively feel will be best to hold your belongings and act as a gathering place for your meditation, daily spiritual practice, prayer, or gift-giving to your guides.

Whether this means adding an end table, picture frames filled with imagery of your gurus and manifestation visuals, candles and more *or* simply clearing off a section of your nightstand, window sill or bookshelf. As long as you know that the space your altar takes up is sacred and you use it regularly, it doesn’t matter what size your altar is or where you put it inside (or outside) of your home!

How to Make Your Own Altar

First, you will want to sit with yourself and set an intention for what your altar will mean to you or be used for. Having a clear and intentional understanding of why you are creating your altar will take some of the overthinking out of the equation and instead allow this process to be creative and fun.

Whether your intention is to connect with your spirit guides, have a space in your home to promote a daily spiritual practice, or to strengthen your intuition, let yourself make a unique and individual approach to this process. Click here

Next, you will want to choose a space for your altar. As mentioned, the size or placement of your altar means less about whether it will work and more about listening to your inner voice. Let yourself take a mindful walk through your living space. Watch the way that the sun comes in, notice how you feel in different parts of your home, and make your decision.

You can also set up your altar outdoors if you have a garden, balcony, or nook outdoors that is private and belongs to you. If you plan to use your altar for prayer, meditation or spell work, you may want to pick a more secluded area. Otherwise, allow this part of the journey to be intuitive!

Finally, you’ll get to the fun part: decorating and gift giving! Just like anywhere else in your home, your altar is a space for your unique self-expression to shine. Some items that you may enjoy including on your altar, or will help you remember your spiritual journey:

  • Tarot or Oracle decks
  • Crystals
  • Candles
  • Abalone Shells
  • Dried rose buds or dried flowers
  • Photos of their passed loved ones, gurus, or deities of choice
  • Manifestation/Visual Board imagery
  • Written manifestations, prayers, intentions, or spells
  • Magical tokens or natural knick-knacks (rocks, twigs, shells, leaves, four leaf clovers, etc.)
  • Incense
  • Sustainably sourced cleansing tools (such as palo santo, sage, feathers)
  • Journal
  • Important books
  • Gifts for your guides (cigarettes, ground coffee, rice, coins, etc.) – this will be unique to you and your guides!
  • Figurines and statues that represent your spiritual practice
  • Plants
  • Jewelry that has significance or importance

What you should not be Pressurized to do when Performing an Altar

You should never feel pressured to buy items for your altar or decorate your altar to anyone else’s liking. Allow your altar to grow and change over time with you. It’s also important once your altar has been built to protect it and keep this space as sacred as it was when you first ideated on it. You can protect your altar with salt (especially black salt), white and red candles and protective crystals such as selenite, obsidian, black onyx, and laying out some sort of protective covering on the surface of your altar, like a cloth.

Many spiritualists will tell you that symmetry is an important part of keeping the spiritual hygiene of your altar. You may consider setting up your altar in a way that promotes the energy by starting in the middle with your biggest (or tallest) item and then arranging smaller items around it in a visually appealing way. This is also not required, but something that can help you feel connected and at peace when you come to your sacred altar space.

Tips For Practicing at Your Altar

Your spiritual practice may include meditation, prayer, intention setting, ritual work, or spell magic. The altar is meant to be the hub of all of your spiritual practices after it is built, encouraging you to do these practices regularly and ultimately create a lifestyle where you prioritize your spiritual well-being and connection to yourself. When you think about the rituals that you will practice at your altar, much like the building of it, these will be individually tailored to you.

Some rituals that you may choose to include into your practice:

  • Full and New Moon practices: setting intentions around the new moon and burning lists of people/situations/habits that you are ready to let go of around the full moon
  • Prayer: whether this is done in the morning, mid-day, or in the evening, prayer is a great practice to bring to your altar space
  • Gift giving to your guides: some of the gifts listed above, or any that correlate to your passed loved ones, ancestors, or spirit guides
  • Meditation: you could do a guided meditation, kundalini, crystal charging meditations, and so much more at your new altar space!
  • Scrying: Light your candle and try fire scrying, get a crystal ball and try scrying with your new piece.
  • Tarot or Oracle card readings
  • Chanting
  • Manifestation practice: whether you’ve put visual representations of your manifestations or simply close your eyes and visualize your dream life, let your altar amplify these manifestations and bring them to life

Let the practice of building and keeping your altar be one of dedication, joy and creativity. Try to remember that an altar helps you to strengthen your spiritual practice, and the spiritual practice is both unique and deeply transformative. This practice does not need to be rushed or perfected, rather it asks you to align to your own truth. And above all else: your altar is most likely to help amplify your life if you have a positive feeling toward it. Allow the process of building your altar to be fun and let the magic begin

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What are altars used for?

A: Altars are utilized for various spiritual purposes such as manifestation, seeking spiritual guidance, and honoring ancestors and spirit guides.

Q: Do altars have to be large and grand?

A: Altars can be created in spaces of any size, from a dedicated end table or nightstand to a small section on a windowsill or bookshelf. The size is less important than the intention and regular usage.

Q: Can altars be set up outdoors?

A: Yes, if you have a private garden, balcony, or secluded outdoor space, you can create your altar there. This is especially suitable for activities like prayer, meditation, or spell work.

Q: What items can be included on an altar?

A: Altars can be personalized with meaningful items such as Tarot or Oracle decks, crystals, candles, dried flowers, photos of loved ones or revered figures, manifestation boards, written intentions or spells, natural tokens like rocks and shells, incense, cleansing tools, journals, important books, gifts for guides, figurines, plants, and significant jewelry.

Q: Are there any specific ways to arrange items on an altar?

A: While there are no rigid rules, some spiritualists believe that symmetrical arrangements promote energetic harmony. Placing the largest or tallest item in the center and arranging smaller items around it can create a visually appealing layout. However, this is not a requirement and should be approached intuitively.

Q: How can I protect my altar?

A: To maintain the sacredness of your altar, you can use protective measures like salt (especially black salt), white and red candles, and crystals such as selenite, obsidian, and black onyx. Additionally, placing a protective cloth on the surface of your altar can safeguard its energy.


Creating an altar is an act of dedication, joy, and creativity. It serves as the focal point for your spiritual practices, encouraging regular engagement and fostering a lifestyle that prioritizes your spiritual well-being and self-connection. Rituals at your altar can include full and new moon practices, prayer, gift-giving to guides, meditation, scrying, tarot/oracle card readings, chanting, manifestation practices, and more. Embrace the process of building and maintaining your altar as a personal journey, one that allows you to align with your own truth.