No matter your spiritual outlook, creating a place that is set apart will help you in countless ways. Create a holy altar at-home to bring spiritual peace and joy to your life as you balance all the other activities in your living spaces.
When I walk into my church sanctuary, I am surrounded by things that alert my senses that this is a unique place for something special.
The stained glass uplifts my heart and opens my imagination. The sacred symbols of crosses, bread, cup of wine, and images from my Scripture tell me that this a holy place. The smell of wax melting as the candle on the altar burns evokes peace. Everything speaks to my heart that I can rest here and I can open my spirit up to God safely.
A sanctuary, at best, is a place of peace and joy for our souls to rest.
Sacred spaces are important because they create a special place of otherness in our life to find peace.
In the Greek language in which most of the Christian New Testament was written, the word holy comes from the Greek word ἅγιος. To be holy is to be set apart, our holy space should be different than the other spaces in our life.
No matter your spiritual outlook, creating a place that is set apart will help you in countless ways. We can create holy altars at home to bring spiritual peace and joy to our lives as we balance all the other activities in our living spaces.
Here are three steps of how to create an at-home altar.
1. Find a space to set apart in your home.
To make an altar at home find a room, or a corner of the room, or perhaps a coffee table that will be a sacred other, holy, spot that will not be used for other daily activities.
It can be as big or as small as your living space allows. My altar at my home is a small, round end table, and is my favorite chair that I call my praying chair. I have a small houseplant and candle that sits in front of me next to my window. This is my at-home altar that provides peace as soon as I sit down in this old chair. I know it is working for me because when I light my candle I feel joy as I breathe in peace. Find a spot in your house that will provide that time of comfort for you.
2. Decorate with objects that provoke your senses.
Is incense the smell of sacred for you? Does lighting candles give comfort? Are there objects that symbolize a holiness, a set-apartness, in your life. Maybe shells from a special beach. Or twigs, pine cones, and leaves outdoors from outdoors that you bring inside to create a comforting natural altar. Holy objects help us create our altars at home.
I have one friend who puts a picture of her grandmother on her altar because it was her grandmother who taught her how to be a Christian and when she sees her it evokes a sense of inspiration for her. Our at-home altars help us engage our sense to pray and receive peace from God.
3. Make holy rhythms and rituals at your altar.
Church is a weekly ritual of going to the sanctuary and praying with the people I love as we experience God. We make time to do that every week. The same is true for our at home altars. Create time in your week to pray, meditate, or just sit in silence at your altar. Maybe your altar is the place where you light a candle and write in your journal. Maybe your altar is the place in your home where you read a portion of a sacred text or poetry.
Find the rhythm that works with your schedule. Maybe first thing in the morning or maybe it is on Sunday mornings like a church service. Those rhythms help sustain our week and provide the comfort we need.
Creating an at-home altar can be a creative process and in that process, we are carving out the space for our own soul care to bring comfort and joy. As you go to your altar, just like when I step in the church sanctuary, you will find your heart and soul being opened to experience peace in the daily life of your home and that will bring more joy to your life!
Read more on at-home spiritual practices here.