home, Space

How to build your own altar

Creating a sacred space where you can sit down to connect with yourself, the earth, and the spirits guiding you through your journey of life, can become such a beautiful and important part of your every day. I, personally, cannot recommend this practice enough. 

Devote a specific space in your home to emanate nothing but good vibes. Imagine a space where you can show up no matter what kind of day you’ve had. If you’ve had the best day of your entire existence and you just want to bask in that high frequency, or you’ve come home from a day that has taken you to the lowest depths of your being. This will become a space for you to find silence, release stress and built up energy, to move your body in any way that you wish, to invoke love and prayer, among many other things. 
The best part? It is so simple. Really. It gets to be as simple as you like. There is no right or wrong way to build your own altar. As long as you approach this practice with intention, it shall serve you. So, let’s dive into how you can build your own by answering some of the burning questions that might be on your mind. 

Why would I want to build my own altar space? 

There are many ways in which an altar space can support and serve your everyday. Perhaps you desire a quiet area in your home where you can shut the door and carve out some peace. Or, maybe you’d like to reconnect with a benevolent ancestor or angel for guidance and support for a specific life event you’re navigating. This space can also be of service to you for gaining clarity on your own soul’s mission. Giving yourself space to go deeper within yourself. An area where you can ask yourself questions and find answers. Your altar can be a physical manifestation of your dreams supported by spirit. 

How do I want to use this sacred space?

Your altar gets to be a reflection of you and what you are working through in this moment. So it’s a good idea to ask yourself how your altar can be of service to you. For instance, in this last year, my altar has mainly been a space for me to sit with difficult thoughts and patterns that have come to my awareness. Giving myself space to observe how I’ve been showing up in life and getting clear on the kind of life I want to build for myself as I move forward. 

Do you often find yourself getting caught up in stressful or anxious thought patterns? Is there a particular situation where you’re feeling stuck or would like some clarity on? Do you find it’s difficult for you to express your feelings? Do you desire more opportunities for unfiltered self-expression? 

Sitting in your dedicated space to bring awareness to your body, your breath and your emotions, will offer the perfect space for you to become the observer of all that is taking place in your internal world. Your mind associates places with emotions based on experiences.The more you allow yourself to truly let go and explore all facets of yourself in this sacred space, the easier the energy you’ve infused into your altar will be to tap into. 

What can I use as a base for my altar?

There is no wrong answer for this. It really depends on your home and how much space you have available or are willing to dedicate to your practice. 

You could use a small table, stool, or chair. A windowsill or countertop of a cabinet also works well. A small corner of a table, a bookshelf. There is no way you can mess this up. Whatever works for you, is perfect. 

What objects can live on my altar?

The elements, pictures, words, objects that will take up space on your altar add personal meaning and substance to the practice. 

Something to consider when building your own altar is the feeling you want to embody when you come and be in this space. If you want to connect with inner peace, you could find a quote or object that brings you close to that feeling. If you’re looking to channel more joy and passion in your life, consider inviting objects that invoke these emotions in you. 

Printing a photo of a beloved ancestor or angel you would like to connect with, or an object that represents them, can be a beautiful way for them to support you by taking up space on your altar. 

Affirming quotes or phrases that help you connect to your vision might be a nice daily reminder as you come to sit in this space. 

Something on your altar that activates your sense of smell is a beautiful addition to invite presence. Such as, incense or a scented candle, some essential oils to rub on your hands or wrists, or even a fresh flower. 

This doesn’t have to be particularly “pretty” or spiritual or anything that doesn’t feel right for you. For a good part of last year, my altar for a was just a small cardboard box with a candle, a picture of my Nonna and a couple pinecones on it. This is not for show, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of it. It is your sacred space. 

Feel free to change up your altar as rarely or as often as needed. You will intuitively feel when it’s time to move things around, replace or remove some items or completely start afresh building a new altar. 

How can I structure my practices by my sacred altar? 

Your practice is your practice. How you decide to be in this space is going to be catered to you and what you’re going through. Each day that you come to your altar may look very different.
I use incense as a guide of how my practice is structured. When I light my incense, my practice begins. The smoke clears the energy of the space and also it gives me a bit of a guide as to how long I will be sitting or moving in my sacred space. This may be very different for you. Perhaps you prefer to light candles, beat a drum or cymbal, say a prayer, or do some breath work to tap into presence. Again, this is completely up to you. The more you gift yourself time by your altar, the more you will understand what you need the moment you arrive at your altar. 

Some ideas you can consider incorporating into your sacred altar practice: 

Breath work 




A movement practice (Dance, Shaking, Yoga…)



Creating art


Plant medicine

What if I’m traveling or am often away from home?

As someone who is often on the move — or at least has fallen into the habit of not being in one place for very long — I can tell you that you can create an altar with very little. If you have the time to prepare for being away, then the easiest way is to just pack a small pouch with 3-4 items of value to you. When you’re ready to sit down for your practice, you can just lay them out before you along with some incense or a candle. 

If, however, you’re finding yourself in a situation where you’re having to create an impromptu altar, you can always create one taking a few elements from your surroundings. This summer, I was traveling in my self-converted home on wheels and just by bringing a couple small items with me I was able to re-create a little on-the-go altar for my time away from home. Often I simply would poke a stick of incense in the earth, take a couple elements from the space around me such as some stones, a flower or piece of wood, accompanied by a quote scribbled down in that moment. Any object infused with your energy and your intention can be sacred. 

I hope these questions are getting you excited to start building your own altar! Remember that, just like with any practice, returning with consistency will be sure to invite more of what you desire and less of what you don’t. Carve out the space in your home devoted specifically to help you to manage your thoughts, emotions and channel your energy towards where it is needed.