How to Create a Spiritual Altar for Your Home

When we think about altars, we may think of churches and other religious institutions, but many meditation practitioners also have home altars. The purpose of these altars is to serve as a source of peace and inspiration, and to refresh us spiritually and mentally. As Yoga Journal puts it:

ďThink of an altar as a physical manifestation of your inner spiritual landscape Ö Itís a place of solace and repose that becomes a receptacle for your spiritual energy. And when you sit before it, that energy is reflected back to you.Ē

Whether you pray in the Christian sense, meditate in the Buddhist tradition or just clear your mind as a secular form of relaxation, a home altar can help remind you of whatís really important. Here are some tips and ideas for how to create and use your own home altar.

Step 1: Find a Spot

Your altar doesnít have to be huge. If you have the extra space and you can dedicate an entire room to meditation, yoga and relaxation, more power to you. However, you can also use a smaller space, such as a footstool along your bedroom wall or a spare closet in the guest bedroom.

Step 2: Consider How Youíll be Using the Altar

If you really want your altar to be a source of inspiration, it should align with your own goals. If you want to clear your mind and relax in front of your altar at the end of a long day, perhaps the majority of its contents will be relaxation-focused. If, on the other hand, youíre starting an entrepreneurial venture or new career, you may want it to be a physical vision board, reminding you of why you embarked on this challenging adventure in the first place.

Once youíve decided upon your altarís purpose, youíll be able to use that information to inform your choices for its contents. However, donít pigeonhole yourself, either–just because you might not plan on praying in front of your new altar doesnít mean you canít include a religious object or picture if those things bring you peace. Simply use your purpose as a starting point for design.

Step 3: Select Your Contents

Again, the contents of your altar should be informed by the kinds of feelings, thoughts and emotions you want your space to inspire. However, there are some typical items that many prominent gurus and yogis place on their altars.

  • Deity and Hero Figures: What deities inspire you? Do you find peace and spirituality in Jesus or Buddha? Even if youíre not religious, is there a particular god or goddess that you find fascinating and inspiring? Perhaps youíve always been a little enamored with Heracles or Achilles. Perhaps Ganesha, the Hindu Remover of Obstacles, appeals to you. Or maybe you greatly admire a human such as Saint Joseph or Joan of Arc. Whoever it is that you feel inspired by, find a beautiful figurine in his or her image for your altar.
  • Crystals: If you believe in the healing power of crystals, itís a no-brainer that youíll want some of these for your home altar.
  • Favorite Books: Whether youíre into spiritual texts, self-improvement books or great novels, place works of literature that inspire you on your altar. These will remind you of the values you find important.
  • Photos of Loved Ones: Keep your loved ones close to your heart by placing photos of them on your altar.
  • Flowers and Herbs: Flowers and herbs donít just look pretty, they create a beautiful scent around your altar that will help you feel happy and at peace.
  • Inspirational Quotes: A pretty printed card with your favorite quote will keep your source of inspiration front-and-center.
  • Something to Remind You of Childhood: Most yoga leaders, including yoga teacher and author Kathryn Budig, swear by including a childhood memento on their altar. Budig displays her teddy bear, which she says reminds her to be playful and childlike. You might prefer a photo of yourself as a childhood, a gift from your parents, or a baby blanket.


Ellen J
E Away J2 months ago

Thanks for the info!

natasha p
Past Member 8 months ago


Janet Diehl
Janet Diehl1 years ago

Please, when writing a petition spell out the name of a group, building, school or whatever....befoer you use initials in place of the name. And I for one wish the country and nearest big town were included. I have no idea what or where MLC is.

John B
John B1 years ago

Thanks Maggie for sharing the interesting info and links.

George L
George L1 years ago


Simon L
Simon L1 years ago


Tin Ling L
Tin Ling L1 years ago

thanks for the article

Philippa Powers
Philippa P1 years ago


Sophia X.
Past Member 1 years ago

Thank you so much. I'm going to make one this weekend.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.