Simple Altar Set Up for Beginners

When you have no idea where to start, setting up your altar can be intimidating at first. However, setting up a simple altar is not an elaborate or expensive task. All you need is to know what you want to do and the result that you want to get out if it. Altars are used worldwide, but are mostly recognized for religious practices. However, altars are a traditional practice across many cultures. Your altar will be used to channel spiritual energies and reinforce clarity, love and peace into your personal space (i.e. your home). Establishing a sacred space within your home is a must. Your altar will grant you the ability to honor and communicate with your ancestors, which will further provide harmony for you and your manifestations being actualized from the spiritual realm. If you are interested in setting up an altar in your home, then let’s get started!

I was first introduced to an altar in my youth by my late grandmother (my father’s mother). Unfortunately, I did not know what it was then. She kept her altar in her room on her dresser by her bed or on her nightstand by her bed. On it, she had her Bible, a candle, a cup of water, photographs and other miscellaneous items. We used to ride the bus with her to go speak with her spiritual advisor when she needed to conjure with the spiritual realm. None of this registered for me back then, but although she was religious, she was very much aware of the spiritual world. She was truly my first indirect teacher of spirituality. When I started to get into spirituality and had this revelation, I cried. I cried because I couldn’t talk to her in the flesh about it, but knew that I could through my altar. Prior to setting up my altar, I cleansed myself of all the negative energy that I acquired and harbored. If you need assistance with doing that, then check out my Spiritual Hygiene 101 blog post.

Why and Where?

Traditionally speaking, altars were a site for people to make their offerings to God. However, personal altars within the home are a physical representation of you connecting with the spiritual realm and staying at peace within this chaotic world. Furthermore, a personal altar is the best way to connect with your ancestors. Before reaching out to Orishas and other spirits, you must honor your ancestors first. They are your direct bloodline; they need you to uplift and worship them to repair life bridges before spiritual work can be completed for you. You do not need to buy new furniture to set-up your altar. If you want to keep it personal and away from guest traffic in your home, set it up in your room. It can be set up on your nightstand, dresser or on the floor. Personally, I had mine set up in the living-room. I am very private when it comes to my place of peace, my home, so I was comfortable with it being set-up in my living-room. I had a very inexpensive bookshelf from Walmart that I used for my books, painting canvases and printer. I set up my altar on the very top shelf.

Photo for reference purposes only


  1. After choosing the location of your altar, you want to sage your space. I know, I know, spiritual people act like sage is the crème de la crème of spritual work, but you want to ensure that your space is cleansed of negative energy. Also, go ahead and tidy up your entire home. Clutter and unkempt space harbor negative energy; we don’t want that! When cleansing/cleaning, make this a ceremonial and joyous thing to do. Turn on music, open your windows and get to work. In doing this, you are already channeling positive energy into your home. Pour water into a cup and repeat your intentions for it while saging it for your altar. If you can, wipe down your altar space and items with Florida Water.
  2. After cleaning is complete, select the purpose and what you want on your altar. Your altar should include all of the elements (earth, fire, air & water). Usually earth is represented by crystals, fire is represented by a candle, air is represented by incense and incense powder and water is represented by a cup of water. I would recommend the following crystals for starters: (rose) quartz, amethyst & hematite. I also recommend purchasing 7-day burning candles from a spiritual store. Although there are tall candles in Dollar Tree, they do not burn for 7 days. Your incense doesn’t have to be purchased specifically from anywhere. If you are setting up your altar to uplift and channel positive energy for yourself, then place items that you personally love onto your altar along with your photo. If you are setting up your altar for abundance (money and etc.), then purchase spirit money from a spiritual store, green candles, money oil and etc. If you are setting up your altar to honor your ancestors, then place items that they enjoyed in their free time (wine, and etc.), the food they loved and their photo onto your altar. There are so many different purposes for an altar and they can change as your spiritual journey progresses, so Contact Me for more information.
  3. There is a little bit of debate about how an altar should be set up. When you’re beginning, you are setting up your altar to honor your ancestors or for yourself. Therefore, the intention and items being used should be of more importance than their placement. Overall, allow the items to speak to you and place them accordingly. So, that you are not overwhelmed, there isn’t a right or wrong way to set up your personal altar for personal enrichment and honoring your ancestors.

Now, create a routine that will be dedicated to acknowledging your sacred space. Personally, I recommend doing so in the morning after meditation. Stretch, do yoga, write in your journal, meditate and more by your altar. You want to channel and pull energy from your sacred space. I primarily stretched and wrote in my journal in my living-room, so that is why I preferred for it to be set up in that room. Overall, your altar should become a staple part of your day because, just like eating, your spiritual health is just as important! If you need assistance locating and/or acquiring the items needed for your altar or just need further clarity, please do not hesitate to Contact Me.

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