Are you ready to amplify your energy and channel your desires through the power of altars? Step into our spiritual journey as we explore the fascinating world of altars, their historical significance, and how they can be a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms.
We navigate through the rich history of altars in different cultures including Egypt, Greece, Rome, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism. More importantly, we share valuable advice on how to craft and maintain an altar that resonates with your personal beliefs and aids your spiritual evolution.
Delving into the practicalities, we delve into the symbology and meaning behind different statues, deities, and offerings. Learn the significance of the four elements on your altar and ways to set it with intention.
Beyond just creation, we discuss the importance of regular maintenance, cleansing, and refreshing your sacred space. Whether you aim to manifest your desires with an altar or simply wish to shift stagnant energy in your home, this enlightening discussion promises to inspire and guide you on your path. Tune in and kindle your spiritual curiosity with us!
Are you ready to stop feeling stuck, lost or confused about what to do next in your career? Then the Manifest your Career Podcast is just right for you. With me, your host, dr Norma Reyes, the Manifest your Career Podcast offers you career advice that integrates your mind, body and spirit. It's time you start listening to your own inner guidance. Learn in each week to learn how to combine your intuition, strategy and logic so that you can manifest a career of your dreams. Hey everyone, welcome back. Today I am going to be talking about alters. I have been wanting to talk about alters for a little bit now, and I don't know why exactly that they've been calling to me to share this with you all. But here we are. And now, when you think of the word altar, you may not even know what I'm talking about. If you grew up in church and you went to Catholic, you might think about the alters. Or if you grew up having an altar at home, you know, perhaps your mother, your grandmother, somebody in your family had an altar, maybe to pass loved ones, maybe to love you right, and so you might be a little familiar. Or you may have seen alters from others outside of your culture and be like well, that looks like something very religious and maybe that it's not for you, but I wanted to give you guys a really good overview today. Now the information may be a little overwhelming, so when you are creating your altar, I want you to go ahead and keep it simple and have it resonate with you and whatever cultural background you have and that you are currently embodying. Because I'm a Mexican American, I didn't grow up with a lot of my heritage because my parents are both immigrants and I'm a first-gen here in Texas, and so I didn't have the extended family readily available to me. Of course I have aunts and cousins and uncles, like everyone else, but my family actually is pretty disconnected from them, and so growing up I didn't have any of that, and as a child we did go to the Catholic Church for a little bit, but I want to say, after about age five I didn't go to church very often. It wasn't something that my parents did, and so we didn't go. And then I myself did go and find a church when I was a teenager and I technically converted to Meda Baptist at like 16 or something. I don't really remember how that was, but I have stepped away from the church and do not participate in any major religion. I am definitely very spiritual. I do believe in God, I do believe in angels and the energy that the universe gives us and allows us, and I embody it in the way that I feel connected. I am working to connect even deeper with my own spiritual roots and reading and researching and discovering a lot of different things and really looking at I don't want to say that I'm choosing what aligns with me, but I am working to find what is aligned with me, because there's so much out there, there's so much different information. And so, before I dive into all of that, let's get back to altars, because an altar can help you manifest. An altar can help you honor loved ones, and it can also help you connect with your spiritual self. So what is an altar? So an altar can really help you amplify the energy. But before I get there, let me take a step back. So an altar, in the context of spirituality and manifestation, is a little different than other types of altars, and so today I will be talking to you guys specifically about altars that you can create for your spirituality and for your manifestation purposes. So this type of altar can help you amplify your energy right. So altars are believed to amplify a person's energy and intention. So they help to serve as a focus for you to channel your thoughts, emotions and your desires toward your spiritual or manifesting goals. They can help you connect with higher realms, so altars help you establish a connection with the divine, the universe or higher consciousness. This is a means for you to communicate and commune with the spiritual forces, ancestors, deities or guides that you choose, and you can personalize your altar however you want, right Reflect on your personal beliefs, experiences, your spiritual journey, and altars are highly customizable. The one thing that I will say is important not to appropriate anyone else's culture and religion. I know we see a lot of different things out there and this is where I say, like I'm doing a lot of research and looking at okay, this does come from my culture and it aligns with me. Or this doesn't come from my culture but it does align with me, and it's important to honor where it comes from and understanding that if you are pulling from different religions maybe Buddhism, hinduism, native American cultures that you are also respecting it in the appropriate way that it needs to be. Also, the last thing about altars is maintenance and care, but I'll talk about those a little bit more later. Those are the things that you do with an altar. I didn't want to talk a little bit about the significance of altars in different cultures throughout history, ancient rituals and religions like Egypt, Greece, rome. They had altars that were central to their religious practices. They were dedicated to specific deities and they used these for offerings, prayers and ceremonies, much like the Aztecs and the Mayans in the Americas right. They had elaborate altars used for ritualistic worship and offerings. So that is some ancient history. But then there's also altars in Christianity. You can see this in churches. You can see this as they symbolize a presence of God, and often in Christian churches they serve as a site for religious ceremonies such as weddings and baptisms. In Buddhism, altars are known as the Buddha shrine or stupas, and they're a place for meditations, offering and paying respects to the Buddha teachings. They often have statues, candles, incense, offerings of food or flowers. While in Hinduism, hindu temple contains altars dedicated to various deities and practitioners will make offerings, perform rituals to seek blessings and divine guidance. Altars can be simple or highly or neat, depending on the temple's size. This kind of reminds me of Catholicism and how some of the churches will have different saints and you can set offerings and prayers to the specific saints, depending on what you need. Native American, indigenous cultures worldwide have altars. They do incorporate elements of nature, such as stone feathers, herbs, and altars serve as a place for connecting with earth, ancestors and spirits for them and performing healing rituals. In Wicca and paganism, they have traditions where altars play a central role in rituals and spell work. Altars are personalized with symbols, tools and offerings, aligning with the practitioner's intentions and connecting them to nature and divine and, of course, modern spirituality, which is us, and, of course, all of these other ones still exist, but I do consider myself more of a modern spiritual person, and so it goes beyond the religious context. Altars have gained popularity in modern spirituality and new age practices, and people create altars to manifest intentions, cultivate mindfulness and honor aspects of their spiritual journeys, such as the moon phases or specific energies. So, overall, altars have been a part of human history and culture, serving as a space for connection, worship, meditation, manifestation, and they symbolize a bridge between the physical and the spiritual, facilitating communion with higher powers, nature and the inner self. So I don't know, that's a lot. It's a lot of it. I feel like I barely touched on it. So many things, so much goodness. Altars are a great way for you to just connect with yourself as well. So know that there is no wrong way to do this. Whatever way feels good to you is the way that you want to do it. And, like I said earlier, you know, just make sure that when you are doing something, that you're not just appropriating it and doing whatever, do it with honor and sacredness, because you are connecting with beings and force beyond you. You know they have energies as well, and so you want to respect them by showing reverence. So, for myself, I have had some altars. I do have some areas that look like altars, but I will tell you that they are more decoration. Right now. I don't have an official altars set up at this moment, but I will be soon, because when I'm rearranging my space here in my office and I'm also working to know, like, where do I want the altar? What kind of altars do I want? And maybe perhaps this is why I want to have an episode and teach you guys about altars. So let me talk about the essentials, the essential components of creating an altar. So it really depends on your spiritual or personal beliefs and the specific purpose of your altar. However, there are some common elements that you can find across altars and different traditions and spirituality. So the first thing is finding your altar space, which is I talked about right, I'm trying to figure out where I want to put it. If you're looking for a place where you can go deep, like figuring out Feng Shui money in a certain part of the room, would be a great place to have your altar. If you're trying to connect with your ancestors, that would be a different space in your room. I don't know about Feng Shui, but it is something I am trying to learn because, oh my God, my learning journey is never ending. So you could probably Google or connect with someone that knows more about that, about where in your home to put certain type of altars. You could have an altar in your living area that would be an altar specific to, maybe, home or family goals, and then in your own personal space, if you have a room where you do things aside from your bedroom, you could have an altar there. You could have an altar in your bedroom, although I would say is make sure that you are putting it in a place that feels safe and sacred. It is also not going to disturb your own energy. So that's talking about the physical space of where it goes. But then you also need to think about the actual placement of it, so designated an area or surface for your altar. It could be a table, a shelf, something portable, even a cloth on the floor. You can put things on the floor, just make sure that the space is clean and then you've taken the time to bless it. The next thing that you typically see on an altar and I said typically because I haven't created an altar this way yet, but mostly it's been out of like. I haven't gone on and gone in the material, but altar cloth. So many altars you will see will have a cloth or a fabric that covers the altar surface. The color and the material can be based on a personal symbolism or a theme of the altar. Often white is used. I know that's what I've been meaning to go get to go get a white cloth to put over my altars whenever I decide, whenever. I guess I'll start with one in my office soon, but the plan is to go get a white cloth for the altar. The next most common thing that you'll see in an altar are candles. They represent the element of fire and can be used for illumination, as a symbol of transformation, to set the mood for any rituals that you might be wanting to do. You can choose the candle colors that resonate with your intention. Quick Google search will give you and tell you. You know, like green is for money and that's the only one I can think of right now, but you can just do a quick Google search and see which colors are which Okay crystals and stones you can have and you can again look up a crystal that's going to amplify the energy that you want to bring in, the energy that you want to channel into the altar. Make sure that you're choosing stones that correspond with your intention. If you are wanting to manifest more money than you would, look for crystals that symbolize and bring in abundance or the energies right that you want to work with. You can also use incense if you like. Incense and since represent the element of air and it's often used to purify the space and hands focus and connect with higher energies, select sense that are aligned with your intention. So if you are using this as a way to connect with higher energies, you want them smells to be sweeter, lighter, you know flowy, versus if you are doing a cleanse, where the sense would be, you know, a little bit heavier and trying to think maybe a little more muskier, right, but you can easily find that on a Google search like what intents are good for connecting with the higher realm, what intents are good for releasing and detoxing? And if you are looking at something in the Mexican American cultures, there is Copal and there's different kinds. There is sage in the Native American communities. Make sure that again, you research it more, that you're not appropriating anybody else's cultures and what else? Okay, so we talked about an altar, space, cloth, candles, intents, crystals and next, symbols and statues. You can incorporate symbols, statues or images that represent your spiritual beliefs, deities, guides, any of the energies that you are invoking. The symbols can vary widely based on your tradition. Now I will say then I have several different books on different goddesses and learning about that right, and so I have created an altar with a Indian goddess, gosh. I can't even think of the goddess name, but she's the goddess of money, on bringing in abundance, and so I had done a whole altar to her. And when I was learning about the different goddesses at the time, you can't remember all the details, but I was following someone else's guidance in it and other goddesses as well that wasn't the only one and so just select things that you are familiar with, right. So I did work with that particular goddess in bringing in manifesting abundance into my life, but I didn't just go do a quick Google search, pick a picture and do it Like I actually followed someone else's guidance in it, who is not just saying do this, but actually teaching about the goddess and teaching about the history and understanding right, and think of it like this way let's say that someone wanted your ancestors help and they just did a quick Google BAP search and they found that your ancestor lived in this particular space and they just went like, hey, you know, I want your advice. No one would want that. No one would want anybody to just come in into their space not knowing them, not showing any respect and just being like I want you here now. So really, you want to take the time to understand who you're calling into your space, why you're calling them into your space and give them reference. And I say this in regards to like symbols and statues that you incorporate into your altars. I will say look and connect with your own family history. I think it was almost a year from now. I've been doing a lot of this work and really wanted to create a space and an altar that had things from my cultural background and for some reason I am. At the time I was very focused on connecting with my dad's side of the family, so he was going to Mexico and I asked him to bring me back a statue of it's called. Actually, let me go grab it. So I had done some research and I found that there is this Indian Indigenous person in the area and it's called Ray de Coliman, and so this was a warrior who fought the Spanish and there's a huge statue of him where my dad's from, in Colima. And so I had done that research and thought it was like amazing and I was like dad, can you find me a statue of this? And he went to the shops and he was able to find one and I think it's made out of like plaster or something. It has a little bit of white, but not too much. Anyway, he brought that bug and so I've had it on my shelf where I had began to start an altar, but again, I hadn't really been keeping up with it. There wasn't a lot of intention behind it. It was more like picking up the pieces of altars but not really putting a lot of intention behind it. And so he's been there and I love that I found this. And then also, as I continue in my spiritual journey, I was thinking. I was thinking like, why have I been so resistant towards connecting with my mom's history and where we've came from? And part of it, I believe, is because so we've done the DNA stuff and my mom has a lot of more Spanish blood and you can see it in her traits as well, my dad's, and so I have a lot of more indigenous blood in my DNA, reflected in me as well, from my dad's side. And I don't I'm still processing, right. I don't have answers to the resistance other than you know, like there's a part of me that does not want to look at the Spanish background, right, the Spanish blood that runs through me. I know that I've always gone back and forth between, like you know, spanish is my language, but Spanish is also the language of the colonizer, so is it really my language? So, again, I'm not going to take us into a different thing, but really like processing all of that. Right, like, I am proud to be Mexican, but that also includes being part Spanish. Right, being part of a culture that was created when the Spanish came. Like, mexicans are not native alone. Right, they are indigenous communities in Mexico who have survived barely, but that is different from a person who has both Mexican indigenous blood in them as well as the Spaniards. Right, and everything else, because there's not just Spanish and bloodline. Like, there's just like I'm like 5% Irish or something like that, and it's like what? But probably comes from Spain. Anyway, but you know, taking the time to connect with your personal history and then choosing symbols, statues that you connect with and, if they're outside of your culture, take the time to really get to understand those particular deities, goddesses and everything. Okay, I'm gonna move forward so this episode doesn't end up being like two hours long or something crazy. So, in your alters, you can have offerings. Depending on your practice, you may offer food, water, flowers, herbs or any other items to the deity, spirits or energies that you're working with. These offerings are a sign of respect and gratitude. Of course, if you did decide to have offerings of food and water or whatever else, make sure that you're refreshing it and that's why I keep saying like I had an altar, but not really where I started it, but then I didn't really keep up with it. And this is so important, why? At the end of this, I'm gonna talk about maintenance and making sure that you are refreshing your altar. Otherwise, you know, it becomes just another decoration in your space and if you no longer are going to maintain your altar it's important to you know put everything away. So there is so many other things that I could go into on what you can put in your altar, you know, thank you. The element of sound having a bell or chime can be used to signal the beginning or end of your rituals. If you have that there, you can have a bowl of salt or earth, and salt and soil can be representing the element of earth and it can be used for purification and grounding purposes. You can have things like holy water or a ritual type water for yourself. Some traditions use consecrated water. Other liquids are also purified and blessings, where you can have moon water, if you know what that is. I have some moon water actually in my altar that I've been meaning to just refresh because it's been there. There's other optional things that you can have on there, like tarot decks, oracle decks, maybe some personal items of yourself photographs, alums, mint, mentals and, of course, you can also have seasonal or lunar decorations, depending on the time of year, the lunar phase, and you can place these items on your altar. Again, with the intention, right, you want to make sure that you're making your altar meaningful and that it's personalized to you, to your intentions, whatever it is that you are wanting your altar to represent, especially in your spiritual path and energies that you want to work with. So, if you're still with me, because that has been a lot Now, I want to talk to you guys a little bit about moon phases and creating your altar. So, when you are creating your altar, you can choose to use the moon to enhance your manifestation practices. So, like the new moon and the full moon If you're not familiar with that, go back to my episode that talks about that. I will work on getting it linked in the show notes where I talk about the moon phases. And so the new moon is a great time to set new goals, to refresh your plans for that lunation, maybe that quarter, maybe the year, and then the full moon is a great time for an altar that helps you release things that are no longer working for you. So make sure that when you're looking at the different specific moon phases, if you want to do that right Like if you want to have your altar and you don't want to stress out about what moon phase you're in don't stress out about it. It's not going to change your intentions, not going to change the connection that you're having. The difference in doing it with the moon and without the moon is just that you are using outside energies. You are then calling in on the moon's energy and bringing it into your altar versus not including it, and it doesn't make it any different. Right, I didn't talk about the sun, but you can use the sun in your altars as well, but most people aren't talking about using the sun, although it brings us plenty of life force, energy. So now I do want to talk a little bit about grounding techniques you can explore on different ways to help you get grounded. The altar is a place for you to feel grounded, to remember your intentions, whatever you're manifesting, and also connecting with the different earth's energy. Right, so fire, air, water and earth. And that's why you want to have those four different elements, because that helps you ground and as you maintain your altar, you can see, like, perhaps you replace the incense a little more often, maybe not the water. Okay, that's a perfect example actually for myself, because I am very low on the water in my astrological natal chart. Maybe that's a reminder to me, right, Like, if I'm not replacing the water on my altar very often, does that mean I'm not connecting with my emotions? So earth is groundedness, right, being here in the present air is our thoughts, our thinking, whether they're positive or negative, whether we get stuck in the clouds or not, with overthinking right, which can be symbolized as smoke, incense, those types of things represent air and then fire. It's like our drive. I have a lot of fire in my chart, so when I decide I want to do something, I definitely have all of the inner motivation to do it. So that can be represented by a candle right, and you can see that lighting up and you can easily see when that needs to get replaced. I said earth, air, fire. Oh, I said water. I didn't say what did I miss. I talked about water, I talked about grounding. I think I got them all. If I didn't, please let me know. But you can find that right. Earth I don't think I talked about earth elements, so earth elements would be like anything from the earth. You can pick a branch, flowers, dirt, you know. Just make sure that you're collecting it in a way that isn't just like oh, I'm going to go chop off some random tree branches for my altar, like being tinchino, and then you know, of course, thank the earth for its blessings before putting it into your altar. Whoa, I feel like I've been talking to you guys for a very long time about altars and I hope that you find this information useful when creating your altars. The way that you can use altars for manifestation is by creating a space where you are setting intention. So if you want to bring in more financial abundance, then you would have things that show that for yourself, right? You can look at different images that you want to bring in, different deities that you're connected with, and you can place them. Always remember to try to have the four elements on your altar, and then you can also have affirmations, right, and you want to set everything in your altar and place it carefully and setting it with intention, and then, when you have your altar set up, however long you decide to have it for you can then visit your altar to help you connect with that manifestation. So it's important to do affirmations, to do visualization and meditation to amplify your manifestation efforts, and that's the reason for the altar right To have a space that is sacred for you to visit to show and see how your intention is unfolding. Perhaps you visited in the new moon to refresh your intentions and then you visited during the full moon to release with no longer Sarena. You also want to just maintain it regularly, cleansing it regularly, replacing items that need to be replaced. Maybe you place something on your altar that didn't align with you. Then make sure that you are going and replacing that as needed and taking it off on the course. Thinking Energies, universe, any goddesses, any spirits, any guides that you were working with, think them Once you are done with your altar. This is super important. If you do create an altar and you're like, okay, I want to make sure that in three months if I've forgotten about my altar or in one month or two months, just set a reminder for yourself that you are going to clear off your altar on this particular date. If you're no longer working on it, I highly suggest putting a calendar reminder for yourself. I know it sounds a little extra, but you can always ask Siri or whatever phone app you have then put a reminder. We have so much technology all around us that is helping us and we should use it to advantage that. This has nothing to do with altars, but my asthma is changing the AC filter and it looked bad. I'm like how often do we need to do it? He's like three months. Put a notification, bam. Don't overthink it. Same thing with your altar. Don't overthink it. Make sure that you are having regular maintenance on your altar, doing regular energy cleanses, whatever works for you. You could do it on a weekly basis, you could do it on a new moon, full moon basis, you could do it on a monthly basis. I just don't allow it to just sit there and create dust, because that's not what you created it for. And if you have lost interest in your altar, just take the items and put them away somewhere where you want to put them, wherever you put your things, and just clean off the space and let the space be open. And that goes for anything in your house, not just an altar. You know, often we buy things a decoration, a lamp, a chair, whatever, and you no longer using it and it starts to collect just dust and that energy gets stagnant. So that's another reason to make sure that you are refreshing your altar, because your altar is going to get stagnant, that energy is going to get stuck. So if you are not necessarily interested in creating an altar, but you want to change the energy in your home, a simple way to do it is move 27 things in your home. Go around your house and start shifting the different energies by simply moving things. So maybe you have a plant that hasn't been thriving. Get that plant and put it in a different space and ask the plant. It may sound crazy, but ask the plant where do you want to go, and it may tell you. You take the time to just try to listen. Follow your intuition, follow the first thing that comes to mind. That is where it wants to be, and anything else right. Maybe you shift one lamp to another area, maybe you sweep behind some couches that you haven't moved in a while. That is a great way to move any stagnant energy. I know I went off on a different direction, started with altars and a whole bunch of other things, but there's just so much to tell you guys about manifesting energy using the elements around you, and so if you do have any questions about altars, feel free to send me a DM. Connect with me. If you are ready to connect with your spiritual roots, really ready to connect with intention on your manifestations, I am here to coach you one on one. You can find the link in the show notes or you can just simply send me a DM to find out more. Have a great, wonderful day. If you do create an altar, I would love to see it, so send me a picture via Instagram or tag me whatever works for you. Thank you for listening. I will chat with you guys next week. Thank you for listening to the Manifest your Career podcast. Are you ready to take action today? Visit ManifestYourCareercom to get started and schedule a free discovery call with me and gain clarity today.