FENG SHUI - Making A Home Altar
After I initially submitted my sanctuary article to my editor, I
received back from her a request to think of writing a piece on how one might create a
sanctuary space or altar if one had no particular faith system. This was tougher than I
had thought it would be. I think the problem was that I was missing what was already
right under my nose.
As a person who has had personal experiences which have pretty much made it impossible
for me to not believe in spirits or in energy all around us, I stressed with how one
would make a spiritual altar if one did not believe in spirit. Then it hit me. Feng Shui
is based on the premise that there is energy all around us and it is concerned with trying
to harness this energy in order to bring us greater personal prosperity. Many state that
the lack of belief in Feng Shui does not negate its affectability on a person's energy
environment. And, it seems if you were to ask the average religious person who professes
the belief in some sort of god or goddess they might reply that likewise the lack of
belief in a creator does not negate the ability of that creator to impact on a person's
In making an altar in my home I attempt to bring worship symbols I respect and value into
my home. I do this to affirm my cultural religious experience. However, when you think
about it - when one utilizes Feng Shui in home décor one has turned one's whole place of
living into an altar of sorts. Each item's placement in one's home becomes something of a
power symbol/tool much like each item on a typical religious altar might.
So with this mind I might suggest the following for the person wanting to create a
sanctuary space in their home or in their office to affirm some sort of spiritual aspect
of undefined nature:
1) Evaluate those symbols that speak to you of what you think is God/nature/life force or
of some ideal you think spiritual. Think of how you might combine these symbols in your
home altar to affirm what you personally perceive as spiritual.
2) Being mindful that you are trying to utilize Feng Shui principles in your home take
the time to evaluate the colors and shapes of those things that you wish to incorporate
in your altar.
3) When you go about making the sanctuary place of your own think of setting the intent
as you do so of making this a place where you can come and be quiet or meditate about
life and what spirituality really is for you.
4) Place your altar in a place in your home that makes you feel calm and speaks to you in
a beautiful way.
One person I spoke with thought that a small barren area was his ideal spiritual altar.
He felt that in order to be filled with things of the spirit that one needs to be empty
of things of the world. He likes to contemplate and meditate on life before an empty space
that does not distract him. He is very into the barren Puritanical way of religious
decoration. For him this is ideal. For you this might not be so ideal.
Not all altars have to be perceived as strictly religious to be altars. Some artists
create altars in their home to affirm their creativity. Some may call them altars - some
may call them areas where they enjoy and celebrate their creative expressions. If I put a
bunch of stuff together in a decorative way in order to encourage myself to write more,
have I created an altar - a manifestation focus point - a dream space - or maybe just a
collection of my stuff that expresses interests that concern me and bring me joy?
Maybe you value nature and you would like to create an altar dedicated to your love of the
great outdoors. Such an altar might have plants, rocks, books, or other various materials
on it that express what nature means to you. Maybe you are into a certain performer or
artist and you would like to make a tribute to this person's work by decorating an area
in your home to pay homage to this person's abilities. The possibilities are almost
endless when it comes to what you may value and honor in your home. Using Feng Shui we
can take such collections and try to enhance the placements of them to help draw certain
types of energy to us. Different people require different types of energies at different
times. So even when you create an ideal altar or placement in your home, over time you
may need to make adjustments as you as a person change and grow.
In one altar space in my home I decided to utilize the Feng Shui belief that Peonies are
auspicious flowers. I love Peonies and when I happen to be in Seattle and they are in
season I make a point to pick up a bouquet of Peonies at Pike's Place Market. Knowing
that in Feng Shui these flowers seem to be highly valued, I decided to buy a few prints
of these flowers and to buy a collection of silk Peonies for a corner in my kitchen area
to celebrate hope. When I put my little kitchen altar area together I tried to be mindful
of the principles of group placements and being non-cluttered. By combining the personal
symbol of what Peonies mean to me with the knowledge that such flowers are seen as
auspicious I felt as if I had created a more powerful space of joy in my home. Is my
flower altar area less spiritual than my formal religious altar with Christian symbols?
I somehow doubt it. Both have their place and both affirm different things to me. In many
ways only we can determine what we need to affirm within ourselves. It is up to each of
us to determine what works for us, what doesn't, and how to work around this.
© Desiree A. Krautkramer