Making Mini or Traveling Altars

Not every one is out of the closet, can practice the Craft openly, perhaps you travel a lot, or simply don’t have space for a large altar, in whichever situation fits your circumstances, the answer may be a mini altar.  The idea of mini altars are not new and the clever crafty witch will have already figured this one out, but for the rest of us pondering the dilemma, here are some simple but great ideas for creating your dream altar in miniature!

What makes a good base container for your mini altar?  Well, the answer is simple whatever you like, but things like breath mint tins are quite popular, cigar boxes, small hinged wooden boxes, strong cardboard candy boxes, small flat rate shipping boxes when properly reinforced would also do the job nicely.  Virtually any type of strong secure box that can easily be opened and will still be able to protect the contents inside is a good candidate for a starter traveling or mini altar.  Also think outside of the box, not everything has to be square.  Containers in heart shapes, triangles or other fun configurations are also great and unique ideas for altar holders.

It’s always a good place to start any project by gathering your materials. Collect your container and all of the items that you think you will use to decorate and even store within the completed altar.  For me, the first step is always purifying by smudging and rattling over all of the objects to cleanse them.  For me the creation process is also a spiritual act and I like to work in spells while I am layering things, so I might be giving gratitude as I add an image to represent the Goddess or some other guide and I want to make sure that they are done with reverence as well as spiritual cleanliness.  I do this with all of my projects whether I am sewing healing cloths or creating a mojo bag, I think that it’s best to keep things free of any unwanted energies.  Additionally, I tend to also cleanse a space where I’m going to store the project in case I don’t finish it in one sitting.

Ok, so once you’ve cleansed all of your items, you can choose how to approach your altar container; leave the outside untouched, advertising whatever was in it previously to throw off nosey on lookers, or you can make the decision to decorate the outside of your container.  If you are going with the decorate route, then I’d start with a base coat of neutral paint to build your design on, but that’s me, you are free to do it anyway you like.  Once your paint is dry it’s ready to accept any designs you are drawn to.  You can draw on it, decoupage, (glue pictures on it,) attach three dimensional decorations, or artifacts on to it, any thing that speaks to your spiritual side.  Remember, you are creating a sacred space here.

Now that your outside is looking the way you want it to, it’s time to focus on the inside.  What will you choose to represent your spiritual practice inside of the container? Think about nature elements, Gods, Goddesses, Guides, symbology, emblems, three dimensional figures, or leave it blank; all of these are good choices.  You can layer in collage or leave it simple with one central image, it doesn’t matter; all of the choices are up to you and your path of practice.

Once your inside is complete, you can think about what items you will store in your altar container; have you collected small vials for herbs or salt, small crystals and charms with your path represented on them?  You can make items yourself.  There are many plastic clays that you can bake in the oven to make small candle or tea light holders, images of spiritual figures or to represent the elements.  Whatever calls to you is perfect.  I have seen a birthday candle, tiny candle holder, shell, dried herb, small vial of water, a salt packet from McDonald’s, and a self lighting match suffice for an altar.  You can do stripped down versions or go quite elaborate in these little containers.

The last step once you have everything completed just the way you like it, is to dedicate it.  You can consecrate it and dedicate your altar to whatever your spiritual path is.  This is like making a promise to keep this object as a sacred space, a spiritual center of your journey and relationship with whomever or whatever you connect with in the universe.

Even if you already have a regular sized altar in your home, a small one for travel, school, your office, your car, the gym locker, or some other space you inhabit is a great idea and they are fun to make.  You can even make one to keep in your garden if you make it water and element proof. It’s fun to collect the small items and allow your creativity to go wild in decorating your mini altar, let the spirit of your muse take you to unknown heights and try one this week!

2016 copyright by Katie Pifer

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