A DIY Guide To Manifesting Your Highest Self With An Altar
Curating an altar in your home is a wonderful way to invite positive energy and healing into your space. Religions and cultures around the world have been using them to honor deities and ancestors for generations, and today, anyone can make their own for a number of functions and intentions.
To get some firsthand advice on how to DIY an altar to manifest your highest self, we spoke with author of Inner Witch and Bewitching the Elements (coming this April) Gabriela Herstik. She explained that an altar is really a reflection of our own spiritual practice, and with some thoughtful attention and special tools, we can create a space to magnify the energy we're calling in.
So grab your crystals, start visualizing, and prepare to get creative.
Set your intention.
The first step to any ritual—especially an altar—is setting your intention, according to Herstik. In this case, we're focusing on using the altar to manifest our highest selves, which of course will look different for everyone.
"Setting a clear intention of what you want the altar to represent is the most important thing," she says. Perhaps your highest self is more connected to the elements or more open to love. Maybe your highest self is more in touch with deities and worship. "Getting clear on what you're looking for will guide you."
In general, she says white is a great manifesting color. "If you're looking to bring in more positive energy in general, something like a lot of white would be good."
Some ideas to incorporate.
"There's no one thing you need to create an altar," Herstik says, "but what's more important to me is choosing items and things you connect with that make you feel peaceful or calm and connected to your intention."
For that reason, a vision board can be a good place to start to give the intention a visual element on the altar. Some other popular items include, but are certainly not limited to, candles, various crystals, tarot and oracle cards, herbs, flowers, plants, coins, letters, poems, and so much more.
Integrating the elements is a great way to ensure a balanced altar, as well. Herstik recommends things like seashells, holy water, or rosewater to represent water. Incense and smudging herbs represent air, while plants represent Earth, and of course, candles for fire.
In addition, "I love having photos, maybe some jewelry or a talisman on there," she notes. "I grew up Jewish, so maybe you have a Jewish star, or a cross if you're Christian. If you're Pagan, maybe a pentacle."
Ultimately though, it's not so much about what's on the altar so much as how it makes you feel. "It should be arranged in a way that makes you feel good, makes you feel connected to love or the divine," Herstik says. "That's going to be personal."
Altar rituals and practices.
Once your altar gets you inspired with just a glance, you can start homing in on the practices and rituals that bring it to life. Many of the items you may have included, like tarot cards and candles, can be used for quick and simple rituals. Herstik, for example, pulls tarot or oracle cards for the day and week and places those on her altar to connect to the intention she's working with.
Color can also be a powerful tool to work with. So if you're hoping to manifest some extra cash, crystals like green aventurine or citrine, as well as green candles, can help attract abundance. Similarly, rose quartz or other pink stones and pink candles can help attract love.
For a simple daily ritual, she explains, "You can charge a candle on the new moon and then light it every day up until the full moon to help you draw whatever you want in. I think this is really powerful because it doesn't take very long, and you're reinforcing this intention over and over again."
These tips are a great jumping-off point for some altar inspo, but at the end of the day, working with an altar is very much a creative and personal thing. "It has to resonate with you, nobody else," Herstik says. "We're not doing it to impress other people—we're doing it to connect to something bigger than we are."
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.