1. Location, Location, Location. Work out where you want to put your altar. You might want to dowse, or you might just *know* where the perfect spot is. But I would always urge you to consider that the more times in a day you pass the altar the more likely you are to be provoked to use it. Of course everyone is different and you might have important practical reasons for wanting the altar hidden and out of the way but if you can give it a go in a more public space then trial it for a week and see if it works for you!
2. Cleansing the space. Before you start to use your altar you will want to spiritually cleanse the space. This has two effects – firstly, psychologically you will feel better about the space if it is cleansed; it will feel more sacred to you. Secondly it will remove any unwanted energy from the area, this space should be a heartfelt manifestation of your spiritual being so don’t allow anything in the space which you don’t put there yourself actively and with intention.
3. Establishing ground rules with your housemates. Most people live with someone else and it is polite to establish some ground rules here about what it is and is not ok to do in a communal living space. Be respectful of their wishes and ask that they respect yours – for example your housemates may be fine if you have an altar in a communal space as long as you don’t burn incense because the don’t like the smell. Equally you might ask that they do not touch your altar, lean on it or leave mugs of tea on it.
4. Make it special. In my last two posts I talked about how I treat my altar as a combination of an amphitheatre where I converse with the Gods and the Universe, a workspace, a portal, an energy centre and a part of my subconscious. Any one of these things is special so dress you altar in a way which reflects how and why it is special to you. If you need your space to be clear and uncluttered then make it clean and simple but above all I think that altar should invoke a sense of wonder and beauty and it is to this end that I decorate my space with things which are deliciously scented and gorgeous to look at. If you treat the altar as a special place by decorating it and cleaning it in a mindful way then it will be a special place.
5. Getting you in the Mood. I have talked a great deal in the past about using positive triggers to get you in the mood for spirituality. On my altar I light candles, I burn incense and I keep sweet smelling herbs – all of which are things which I associate with being in a spiritual state of mind and which therefore invoke that state of mind in my when I use them. I think that the act of candles and lightening incense in itself is a powerful act. It draws a line under the mundane day and signals to your subconscious that you are ready to start some serious spiritual work.
Tune in tomorrow for tips 6-10!