By Sonia Choquette

To genuinely tune in to your Spirit and feel its guiding force, it’s important to make it a central part of your life—something you want to turn to automatically without pause or hesitation. One way to help you achieve this is by creating a personal altar in your home and sitting quietly in front of it every day for a few minutes (preferably during peaceful moments in the morning).

There is no right or wrong way to set up an altar—just follow your intuition. What you create should reflect your deepest, most genuine Self. An altar is meant to be a visual reminder for you to go within through prayer, meditation, contemplation, song or intuitive listening. Set up your altar as a place where you can anchor your attention inward, detach from the outer world for a moment and instead tune in to the subtle forces of love and guidance arising in your heart.

Your altar serves as a place that helps center your awareness on your inner voice and the guiding flow of love and support flowing from Divine Source to your Higher Self and on to you.

An altar is far more than a beautiful “thing” to look at. It is an active doorway to your beautiful guiding Spirit in many profound ways. Sitting at your altar trains your conscious and subconscious mind to let go of familiar mental patterns (which have habitually controlled you) and tune you in to the subtler, more loving, au- thentic frequency of Spirit. When you sit in prayer or meditation in front of your altar, you’re teaching your mind to relax and surrender to the higher power of the Spirit within.

Altars also serve as energetic portals, or openings, to the realm of Spirit. When you enter the sacred energy surrounding an active altar, the veil between the worlds thins and the heavens open up. If you consistently hold the intention of connecting with your Spirit as you sit at your altar, you’ll be “spirited away” into a beautiful higher realm. At first, the shift may be so subtle that you hardly notice the changes through your senses, but with repeated visits, your perception of this heightened vibrational frequency will become stronger. And no matter what you may be thinking about when approaching your altar, your mind will quickly be- come calm, quiet and clear as you settle before it; and your heart will open as your vibration shifts to one of pure loving-kindness.

With daily practice, you’ll actually feel yourself entering this sacred opening to the spirit realm the moment you approach your altar; it feels very similar to what you might experience when you approach an altar in a church, temple or other holy place. If you haven’t felt this or don’t think you’re energetically sensitive enough to feel it, be patient. Sitting for a few minutes each day in the energy of your personal altar will heighten your awareness, and you’ll start to feel this higher vibration. Also, the more you sit in prayer or meditation before your personal altar, the more the energy itself builds.

The shift in vibration around your altar is strengthened by regular, intentional acts of meditation, prayer, song, chant, and contemplation. If there’s no holy inner work going on, the vibration of Spirit won’t be present and the portal won’t open. It will simply be something pretty to look at, but it won’t possess Divine life force. Therefore, I encourage you to create your altar with holy intention, reverence and enthusiasm.

Where to Place Your Altar

Making room in your home for an altar might not seem like the easiest thing to do, especially if you live in tight quarters, but with a little creativity, it’s not difficult. Ideally, you may want to set up your altar in a room that’s not used every day, such as a spare bedroom or dining room, or simply clear a small area in any room.

A personal altar doesn’t require a lot of space—that’s not the point. It can be one square foot in size and still open up a tremendous portal if it was created by your heartfelt devotion, love, and intention to connect to your Spirit. I know one woman who shared a two-bedroom apartment with six people, so space was at a premium. She created a small altar on a Kleenex tissue, and no one touched it. If the Spirit is willing, the way is made easy.

My personal altar is in my bedroom. I set it up on a small table in front of the window, and it’s one of the first things I see every morning. I love it and always start my day there. It emotes a powerful healing force, enabling me to become grounded and centered on what is important. As I sit at my altar I feel God’s love surrounding me. My husband, Patrick, created his own altar in his office on a tall, slim stand. His altar is very different from mine and reflects who he is, which is exactly what it should do. So know that you can certainly have more than one altar in your home. Each family member can set up his or her own unique space—and I believe that everyone should! It’s an easy and meaningful way to create a private, sacred portal between you and your Divine Spirit.

What to Place on Your Altar

What you put on your altar is of great importance, as each item must speak directly to a significant part of your inner being and Spirit. Choose whatever energetically resonates with you and touches your heart. For a lot of people, this may mean including a picture of a spiritual figure, such as Mother Mary, Jesus, an Ascended Master Teacher, the Buddha, Krishna, Vishnu, Kali, or the Dalai Lama. Select images or things that really move you in some inner way—those that you feel hold meaning for you at this time. From time to time you may want to change what is on your altar— replacing old items with new ones as your outward life and inner landscape change. The key to creating a powerful altar is feeling. So in addition to using images of holy or inspirational figures, also include photos of the people you love, such as your family, friends and even your pets.

You may also feel inspired to place images and totems from nature, such as seashells, stones, animal bones, or feathers on your altar, as these may carry meaning for your Spirit. You might be drawn to placing beautiful living things on your altar, such as fresh-cut flowers, fresh herbs and spices, or a bowl of clean water that’s changed daily to symbolize the holy waters of our loving Mother-Father God, the Source of All Life. Your options are limitless. Be creative, use your imagination, tune in to your intuition and know that anything goes, as long as it holds meaning for you.

Another way to enhance your altar and make it an ever more powerful one is by adding some natural crystals, especially quartz. Often dismissed by energetically insensitive people as “silly New Age trinkets,” crystals are, in fact, extremely powerful living energy tools that can cut negative cords, remove unhealthy energetic attachments, clear energy fields, and amplify your personal intentions. They’re essential in many fields today, including technology and medicine; valued for their power and precision; and work with subtle realms of energy in profound ways as well.

Other wonderful objects to place on your altar are bird feathers, which also seem to somehow suddenly find their way to you once you decide to procure one. Feathers are universal symbols of Spirit and represent the Divine Self in flight. All living things, particularly birds, sense when you’re in the process of transformation or elevating your personal vibration as you return to personal power and will show support by offering up their feathers. So pay attention as you move through the day, and don’t be surprised if a feather finds you.

Bells, chimes and rattles are other powerful tools to place on your altar, as they serve to call out to the Divine for guidance and support. Sacred hand drums are also potent tools for connecting with your Spirit and can be placed near your altar for use in connecting with your guiding light. Using these items actually calls your powerful Spirit forward, which is why they’ve been incorporated into almost all spiritual ceremonies throughout the ages.

Trained in religious studies and metaphysics at the University of Denver and the Sorbonne in Paris, Sonia Choquette is a spiritual counselor who has been in private practice for nearly 30 years. She is a popular lecturer and workshop leader known for her storytelling and accessible style. She has appeared at the Omega Institute in New York and Costa Rica, the Transitions Bookstore and Learning Center in Chicago, New York’s Open Center, the Infinity Foundation in Illinois, and the Hoffman Institutes. She also makes regular television and radio appearances across the country. 

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