Rituals, Altars and Sacred Spaces

Though it’s not a new thought process, I’ve always said – you don’t have to be religious to be spiritual, and you don’t have to be spiritual to be religious. I tend to think that nowadays, spirituality is more a practice of feeling at peace and one with whomever you believe to be “source” whether it be Goddesses, Archangels, Jesus, Witches, Fairies, or someone you know that has passed on and view as your guardian, etc. Everyone has different beliefs and practicing spirituality is a way to connect with them. Rituals are a great way to practice spirituality and connect with yourself, your beliefs and bring yourself back into balance.
A ritual doesn’t mean you need to practice voodoo in your basement with a voodoo doll as some people who are not familiar with them may think. It can quite literally be anything you want it to be. It’s helpful to carve out a particular time of day you’d like to do it so it’s something that you can look forward to each day. Or maybe there’s a specific ritual you’d like to practice each month rather than day, such as on the full moon or the first of each month.
There a few different rituals that I like to practice regularly. My favorite one is before bed time in which I meditate with my crystals and pull a few oracle cards for myself. It sounds simple, nothing fancy – and it is. But this simple practice does so much to keep me feeling balanced and in touch with myself and my surroundings. I like to do a lot of my rituals at night or on the weekends because it tends to get hectic during the day and unlikely for me to be able to do anything. After such stressful days, as I’m sure many people face, it’s helpful to have something to look forward to for yourself at the end of the day. A moment of quiet to go within and get in touch with how you are feeling, or let go of whatever is bothering you.
If you’d like to do your own nighttime meditation ritual, designate a separate place to do so – preferably somewhere quiet and comfortable where you are surrounded by things that make you feel happy and relaxed. It could be your bedroom, or a separate part of your living space. Decide if you’d like to lie down for this, or sit. If you prefer sitting, make sure you are sitting somewhere comfortable such as a pillow, blanket or chair. I prefer a small meditation chair (there are tons you can find online) and it’s small enough where you can take it different places and has just enough back support to keep you sitting up straight.

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If you prefer lying down, also make sure it’s somewhere comfortable like a meditation mat or blanket. Once you’ve decided where you’d like to hold your meditation ritual, you can decide what you’d like to put in your space. It can be whatever objects or materials that you hold as sacred and valuable sentimentally – crystals, figurines, artwork, incense just to name a few suggestions. Whatever will make your soul feel at peace. Or maybe you choose not to have anything except a candle and that is fine also. There’s no right or wrong way so long as you are benefiting from the practice. After your sacred space is set up your ritual can begin. For me personally, I like to meditate for at least twenty minutes (longer if I feel I need it) and as mentioned before, I like to pull a few cards for myself. I also keep a note pad and pen nearby for ideas or thoughts that may have come up for me during meditation, or regarding the cards I had pulled for myself. You can choose to do that or simply use the meditation as a tool for setting yourself up for a good night sleep. Admittedly, sometimes if I’m over-exhausted I will cut the process a bit shorter, and may choose to simply meditate in bed instead. I do highly recommend playing your meditation in your headphones regardless of which way you choose as it is more effective in blocking out surrounding noise enabling you to connect more and really delve into it deeper.
Another very simple nighttime ritual I like doing is reading a small chapter or quote from a book that I keep on my bedside table. It can be a book about spirituality, quotes, uplifting messages, etc. Reading one little line or chapter from the book allows me to have something to reflect on before bed, and something to resonate with me for the new day ahead the next day. I also keep relaxing things on my night table like lavender, my oil diffuser and of course – more crystals!

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Another ritual I like to practice are those surrounding the full and new moons. When the moon is full, I like to leave my crystals out to charge and do spiritual work of letting go and releasing. As I lay each crystal out I say aloud what I would like them to help me with for the next cycle, and the things I would like to let go of or work on. Giving them that energy ensures that they will help in a time of need and bring me closer to fulfilling the intentions I have set for myself. If you don’t have crystals, then pick your favorite stones or rocks, or it could even be an object that you regard as an amulet. Once in awhile, I like to enhance the charging process and also cleanse the crystals (see my Crystal of the Month section on how I like to do this).
When the moon is new, I like to plant seeds of new beginnings and manifest those things I would like to attract with the new moon cycle. Pick a sacred space and lay out the objects and things that are important to you and help you spiritually. When it’s cold out and I can utilize my fireplace, it’s my absolute favorite time to do this. If you don’t have a fireplace, then there are other ways you can do this. I make a list or letter of all of the things I would like to attract with the new moon cycle or coming cycles. It doesn’t have to be written perfectly and can just be a random collection of thoughts. Write out WHATEVER it is that you feel – even if you think it may sound harsh or not make much sense. Having an outlet for getting it out is so much better than keeping it in, especially if you can do so privately without hurting someone’s feelings. This next part is where my fireplace comes in handy. Once I’ve written everything out, all of my worries, fears, hopes, dreams, wishes – I take that list/letter and fold it up and toss it right into the fire. I do not re-read it or change anything. The fire consumes it, burns it and transforms it into energy where the flames carry those messages up into the heavens to be heard by my guardians and guides. If you don’t have a fireplace then you can buy a tabletop one, use a mini cast iron cauldron to burn it, or you can use other elements such as pouring water over it and destroying it, bury it in the earth or simply rip it up and throw it out! All of these ways are effective. Fire is just my favorite thing to use because I’m a fire sign myself (Sagittarius!) and it resonates more with me and I can’t get enough of it!
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Of course, if you’re more advanced in ritual work then there are a number of different rituals or spells you can do for whatever desired outcome you seek. The point is that if you don’t have the proper objects a spell/ritual calls for then you can reach for whatever is at hand. Use your intuition to guide you to whatever it is you need to perform a spell or ritual. Maybe you don’t have a black candle for a particular protection spell you’re doing but there’s a black feather that you hold as a protective source – use that instead. Rituals are meant to be sacred to you and your beliefs. What works for one person may not work for another. If you’re new to all of it, it helps to use other people’s experiences as a guide or a starting point, and then gradually adding in those objects and traditions that cater more to you and your desires and intentions.
Altars are a great way to keep all of your spiritual tools and goodies together on display. An altar doesn’t necessarily mean the kind which are seen in church. As mentioned earlier, this can be comprised of all of the things that enhance you spiritually and the things you use either daily or when performing your rituals and spells. Some suggestive items you can put on  your altar are:
*Crystals, rocks or minerals, candles, incense, oracle cards, sage for smudging/palo santo stick, holy water (I have water from one of my favorite stream spots Upstate), soil from a fertile garden, objects or figurines that speak to you spiritually, favorite books on spirituality, meditating, mind/body/spirit etc.

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It also helps to have all of these objects together for ease of access. I recommend using a small bookshelf if you have a few things, or maybe a dresser top if you only have a small amount of space. If you don’t have the space to purchase a whole separate bookshelf, then floating shelves would also work.
There is no limit to the things that you can hold in your sacred space, and no limit to what kind of rituals and spells you can hold in your home. Practicing rituals and having an altar in my home has helped me tremendously to keep in touch with my spirituality and open my crown chakra further. It’s a fulfilling feeling when you can walk into your home and feel the energy of the space you created.

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