Even though having a home altar is not a tradition in most Western countries, more and more people are creating small altars in their home. The growing popularity of yoga and meditation introduced numerous people to stunningly beautiful Eastern altars that express the deep human longing for—and adoration of—Divine energies.
In the feng shui tradition, each home, as well as business, has an altar of its own; this practice is apparent in many Chinese businesses, such as restaurants or gift shops.
What makes a good altar and how can you create an altar for good feng shui in your home? Are you limited to specific statues, colors, or materials? Are there strict guidelines?
Start with the essence of an altar—to honor Divine energies, express gratitude, give offerings, and ask for blessings and protection. When you think of divine energies or blessings, what images, colors, or symbols come to mind?
Find images that speak to you of love, devotion, protection, or any other feelings you associate with divine energies. These can be statues or images; choose what you like the most because it is your altar. The most beautiful altars are the ones that are infused with personal meaning and have a strong energy connection to the person who created the altar.
Think of an image that will center the energy of your altar and serve as a focal point. You do not have to start with many items; in fact, the simpler the altar is, the more powerful and meaningful each altar item is.
Home altars often have an image or statue of Jesus, Buddha, or Quan Yin, along with any symbolic representations, such as angels, wings, flowers, etc. Another approach is to create an altar with natural elements, such as rocks, a plant, a water feature, and no images. You might also want to look for some beautiful fabric for your altar.
Once you have the items for your altar ready, start by finding the best spot for it. Feng shui-wise, it is best if your altar can be located in the Northwest area of your house. This is not necessary, though, so no worries if your altar has to be in any other bagua area.
Start with a space that is higher than the floor level. An even better option is on a shelf or table surface. Choose a spot that you do not use for practical purposes, so you will not have to disturb the energy of your altar in order to use the spot for other activities.
You might want to clean the space well, as well as do a mini space-clearing session for the area; this will assure a fresh, clean foundation for your altar. Spend a bit of time clarifying your intent or saying a prayer. In other words, focus your attention and be completely present.
The next step is easy—place the items you chose in the way that speaks to you the most. Trust your intuition as to the right placement and know that it is actually good feng shui to move your altar items often and keep the energy flowing and fresh.
The energy of your altar will get stronger in time and is powered by your attention to it, so be sure to maintain your connection. Light a candle, burn fragrant incense, and spend some time every morning or night in silence by your altar.
Your altar will inevitably change in time, so trust that you do not have to have it all perfect when you start. Sometimes a candle and a crystal might be all you need to begin with. It is the energy you feel and your urge to express it that matter the most.
For bigger, more elaborate altars, you will want to consider the main feng shui element of your altar as it relates to the feng shui bagua area where the altar is located. For example, if you have an altar with a big Buddha statue made from metal, it is best to place it in a home area that welcomes the Metal element (the West, Northwest, or North bagua areas).
You certainly can have more than one altar in your home, as well as several altars/sacred spots in your garden. For an outdoor garden, you can also work with a water feature, as well as crystals and garden statues.
The sky is the limit when it comes to expressing your creativity and your love for the Divine. Eventually, one comes to realize that every spot, every step and every moment is sacred. And any place where you find yourself becomes an altar.