Since man’s earliest days on earth, people have created altars and shrines in sacred places to invoke the spirits, pray to their chosen deities and gods, and express their devotion to the forces of the unseen that guided their lives.
That tradition has continued into the modern society. These days, it’s not uncommon for individuals to have a small, personal sacred space to connect with the unlimited abundance present in the universe.
There is a time-tested methodology for creating personal altars based on the ancient teachings of Vastu Shastra, the primary system of sacred architecture used in India for more than 7,000 years. The system uses the five elements in a prescribed order to create a specific response. This response is similar to what happens when you tune a radio to a station or frequency—the closer the frequency, the clearer it is.
Similarly, the response to a desired outcome can occur when setting up an altar.
By following a simple set of directions, you can create aesthetically pleasing altars that will touch your heart, and attract positive change and fulfillment in your life. We suggest you work with no more than two to three altars at a time to make them manageable, not overwhelming.
Vastu Is a Directional Science
There are eight distinct directions within your home or workspace to place a Vastu altar. Each directional altar has a specific aspiration and colors for items to place on it:
- The northwest is associated with relationships. The primary color for your relationship altar is yellow; the secondary color is blue.
- The north is connected to abundance and prosperity. The primary color for your abundance altar is green; the secondary color is gold.
- The northeast is related to your personal spiritual work. The primary color for your spirituality altar is gold; the secondary color is white.
- The east is connected to good health and well-being. The primary color for your health and well-being altar is white; the secondary color is gold.
- The southeast is associated with life changes and transformation. The primary color for your transformation altar is silver; the secondary color is red.
- The south is related with our career and recognition. The primary color for your career and recognition altar is red; the secondary color is gold.
- The southwest is connected to helpful people. The primary color for your helpful people altar is orange; the secondary color is red.
- The west is connected to creativity and knowledge. The primary color for your creativity and knowledge altar is blue; the secondary color is yellow.
Create Your Altar
Select a surface on which to place your altar. It can be a corner of a desk, a small area on your nightstand in the bedroom, a table in your living room, or your kitchen counter. The layout of the elements on each of the eight directional altars is always the same; the only thing that changes is the wall your chosen altar is placed against and the corresponding aspiration.
- The air element will always be placed in the northwest. The air element can be represented by incense, a feather, fan, a small standing mobile, or wind chime.
- The water element is always in the northeast. This element can be a vase with clean, pure water, a fountain, or even a fishbowl. If you use flowers in a vase, make sure they are fresh. We never let flowers die or put dried flowers on an altar; you want your flowers to be as alive as your dreams. Silk flowers are also acceptable if you have water in a container.
- The fire element is placed in the southeast. This element can be candles, oil lamps, or an aromatherapy lamp; incense can also be used here.
- The earth element is placed in the southwest. This element can be represented by anything of the earth: crystals, rocks, stones, wood, small plants or seeds, even rice in a bowl.
- The space element is placed in the center of the altar. The space element is represented by a flat surface, such as a plate or small dish, even a rice bowl will do. This container will hold written words or a symbol of your intention. For instance, you can write affirmations of your intention on unlined paper. Affirmations such as love, abundance, good health, or success can be used to simulate the end feeling of what you want. Some people place coins or jewelry. One of our clients used seedpods that symbolized growth for him.
- Use a personal symbol in back of the space element. This can be a picture, a statue, or even a photograph that represents the result you’re hoping for. If it’s a new home, find a picture of your ultimate dream home, frame it, and place it in this position. Some people use statues or deities that represent a particular quality to them. Others create collages that give it a more personal feeling.
The key to successfully creating altars is whatever you place upon them should touch your heart with their beauty and bring you joy.
Ignite Your Altar
There are many techniques people use to activate an altar. You may already have your own method. If you don’t, here is a simple, yet effective method you can use.
- Initiate this process with a grateful heart
- If you have incense or a candle on your altar, light them now.
- If you have a bell on your altar, ring it now one time.
- Once you have done these few actions, take the paper with your affirmations, or other item(s) you have placed in the offering tray and hold it to your heart in your right hand, covering it with your left hand.
- As you breathe in deeply, close your eyes, and imagine your dreams and desires fulfilled. Take several deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, making an “Ahhhh” sound as you exhale.
- Continue to imagine the wonderful feelings that fulfillment brings when you receive your heart’s desires.
- In your own time, you may slowly open the eyes.
- Place the item back on to the offering tray and bring the palms of your hands together and bow to your altar.
Your altar is now ignited and will begin to transmit the frequency of your desire. Feed your altar with love and appreciation whenever you pass it. And make sure to keep the items clean and the flowers fresh.
If items lose their significance to you, replace them with others that touch your heart. Give your altar time and attention by doing your spiritual practices close by or admiring it whenever you pass by. Doing so feeds your ongoing connection to the divine and things become manifested.
Be attentive to subtle changes in your life. If for any reason you feel your altar needs an added boost, disassemble it, lovingly clean the items and the surface it is placed upon, replace the items and reignite it. Enjoy the process!