So you’re considering making an altar? An altar can be used for a place of worship, to connect with your ancestors, or to ground and set up the energy for the rest of the day. Creating an altar is a great way to be in alignment first thing in the morning. Every morning you can set up your space and do a morning practice that sets the entire tone for the day. But how do you exactly make an altar? 

For one, you can make a beautiful altar that has images or items that remind me of memories, elements of nature, items that have a specific meaning such as wisdom or healing, and a candle or two. You can light some sage, say a prayer, send gratitude, and ask for your ancestors’ guidance.

how to make an altar

1. Pick The Best Time Of Day To Be At Your Altar

A morning, mid-day, or evening practice should be every day. It doesn’t need to look the same every morning, but being consistent with taking care of yourself first thing is key.


Mornings are a great time to allow the creativity to flow, to let new ideas in, and to have time by yourself before kids or tasks need to be taken care of. Giving time to yourself allows your highest self to show up. Often you may find that your mind chatter dissipates best in the morning. A quiet mind provides clarity on situations that need it.

Making an alter is a great way to open a channel throughout your body to allow energy to move. This channel can open an invitation to cultivating your desires and needs. Therefore, if you open this channel earlier in the day, manifesting will become much easier.

Altar Items

2. Setting Up An Altar

Things to include in your altar to create a sacred space include:

  • Pictures of your ancestors (grandmother, grandfather, loved ones, etc.)
  • Pictures of spiritual workers (Jesus, Buddha, Mother Theresa)
  • Animal medicine (owl, deer, turkey, seashells, etc)
  • The four elements
    • EARTH: plants, crystals
    • WATER: a cup of hot/cold water or tea
    • FIRE: a candle
    • WIND: incense, sage

(albalone shell with burning sage includes all 4 elements)

  • Goddess energy (I love Kali for endings and new beginnings)
  • Flowers and plants (something living to symbolize growth)
  • Oracle decks or Tarot cards
  • Sacred tools you use (Essential oils, hape’, CBD, palo santo)
  • Hand written notes, poems, or mantras
  • Cash or coins

Currently I have a handmade woven altar rug from Peru, a Buddha statue, a Ganesha miniature statue, a rose quartz egg, a turkey feather, coins, house plants, candles, a picture of a found memory, and sage.

Where To Purchase Your Altar Items

1. Plants that will ship to your house – House Plant Shop

2. Personalized Crystal Boxes

3. My absolute favorite candles – Apogee

4. Sage from a garden, local farmers market, or grocery store

Altar Table

3. Location For An Altar

Whether or not you have a dedicated area for your altar, a corner in the room, or a coffee table, or outside in the garden, it is your sacred space that you can return to every day. Create your altar with intention. Also, make sure that the surface you use for your altar is clean and in a place that won’t be disturbed.

My personal altar has moved around in different spaces. I’ve had my altar flat on a coffee table, on a nightstand, by the fireplace, outside, and on a bookshelf. I have objects that I can pack with me on a plane and ones that I keep at home.

Make your own altar on a surface that works for you and feels like it’s truly yours. This should be a space where you feel you can be your authentic self, safe, and creative.

What To Do At An Altar

4. What To Do At Your Altar

You can have an altar for meditation or for prayer. You can also use the time at your altar to connect with your ancestors and give them an offering. Whatever it may look like, this is a time for you and your spiritual practice.

Think about what you are calling in for your higher self as you adorn it with all the beautiful elements that call you.

Beforehand your practice at your altar, you may want to do emotional release exercises so that you can let go of what no longer serves you and be fully present. 





Read mantras outloud


Send gratitude

Bring awareness to the elements


Play music

Pictures for altar ideas

spiritual altar

Home altar ideas can vary depending on the season you are in. (photo on the left by Lauren Eliz Love.)

You can have an entire Zen Den dedicated to your altar.