November 1st, also known as the Day of the Dead – A time where in many cultures this day is set aside for honoring the deceased.
I know you want to honor and bring forth the guidance of your favorite relative or departed friend, but, are you not sure where to begin? Looking for a blueprint on how to create an altar?
There isn’t just one.
However, that’s simply because the energy you put into it and the interactions you have with it are much more important.
That’s great news, guys.
An altar is a space you create to shift from everyday life into the spiritual realm, including the area you use and the spiritual atmosphere it inhabits. They are often used to reconnect with passed loved ones or to dedicate energy to a specific cause (like overcoming serious illness). No matter why you are creating your altar, there are several phases you should respect as you build your sacred space.
Phase One – Choosing a location
The more private the location in your home or outside space, the better (to avoid people messing with it or disrupting you). Your spot should be quiet, away from the busiest places in your home.
Phase Two – Clean up time
Remove existing clutter in your chosen space. This is pretty straight forward: your location should be considered sacred, and that means it shouldn’t be dirty.
Phase Three – Energetically clean up, too
Sprinkle water or smudge-burn your favorite incense in and around the location. This ensures you have an energetic fresh start.
Side note: you may do this as a ritual to sweep away old, negative energy as time progresses.
Phase Four – Construction begins
The first thing you should construct is a boundary around your altar. By doing this, you separate the everyday world and the spiritual world. The visual cue of a boundary, such as a rope, a rug, curtain or wall, allows you to mentally shift from one world into the other as you step over the constructed boundary.
Phase Five – Start Building and Filling
Place a table or shelf inside of the altar. This will allow you to put items associated with the person you’re honoring or the cause you’re focusing on. These include photographs, jewelry, personal belongings, stones and candles: all things that represent your spiritual purpose and act as an energy channel.
You can also consider adding elementals to your alter (things that represent the elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water). Each element brings with it a grounding, balancing effect good for your space.
DO NOT put everyday items in your altar (i.e. tossing your house keys onto the table because you’re passing it). Only items associated with the altar should be within the designated area.
Phase Six – Hold the space sacred
Now’s the time to concentrate the space. There are two major ways this can be done, but you should be focusing on the spiritual energy of the altar:
- Ritual (A small blessing. Keep it simple. Perhaps lighting a votive candle. Calling to the heavens above and asking them to bless this space and allow for a direct connection to the loved one or your guides.)
- Meditation (sitting in front of your newly created space, spend approximately 15 min in thought, prayer, or calling in the energy of the individual).
Whatever you choose to do to concentrate the space is a very personal decision. Whatever you do, make your dedication significant to you.
Phase Seven – Use Ritual as you enter and leave the altar
Every time you step into or out of your sacred space, be sure you do this by signifying the importance of the space (again, in a way that’s significant to you).
Finally, once you’ve mastered these seven phases and you’re using your altar, I highly encourage you to do an annual cleaning. If you feel it needs to be done sooner than that, trust your intuition, but don’t be a neat freak (you want the energy to settle in and stay there, so a little dust isn’t a huge deal).
It’s not uncommon to begin identifying other sacred spaces in the world around you after you’ve created and used your own, and – hopefully – you’ll being to create and witness the sacred in your everyday life.
The best date to create an altar space is November 1st, also known as the Day of the Dead. (And the “original” new years day.) On this sacred day, there is a Universal collective of energy that will support you in the creation of a new altar space. Go with your gut, but if you need and specific guidance or assistance connected with a departed loved one, I’m a phone call away. (VIEW SERVICES HERE).
And if you did not have the opportunity to harness the energy this day, don’t fret. Any day will work, some dates may be a little more auspicious than others, but do not let the specifics of the date hold you back if you were not able to begin today. Creating an altar space is the easiest method to begin communicating with your ancestors and invite their guidance into your life. Why wait?