How to create a Sacred Altar for your Sharing Circle

The art of creating the sacred altar (or centrepiece) is a magical and mystical aspect of a Sharing Circle.

As participants arrive at your Sharing Circle, they see the sacred altar at the centre of the space. This acts as the focal point of your Circle. It is the gateway into the Circle dimension of time and space. It is the anchor point that each participant’s energy passes through.

…each women connects to her own centre, connects with the centre of the circle, and feels like both a spoke and a part of the rim. Invisibly part of a wheel, connected to everyone else in the circle through the centre. This is what makes circle a sacred space.
– Jean Shinoda Bolen in The Millionth Circle

The Power of the Sacred Altar

The centrepiece is a powerful contribution to the wider experience of your Circle. Dedicating the care and time to create (or co-create) the altar is always worthwhile.
An altar is something that, when you behold it, it brings you back to yourself.
– Margot Adler in Drawing Down the Moon
Sacred Altars may be complex or simple.
You can create them as part of your own preparation or ritual.
Or, you can co-create the centrepiece in ceremony with the circle participants.
As with everything in your Circles, your approach will be an expression of who we are and how you hold space.
When you’re planning and creating your altar, remember it:
  • is a representation of your intention for the sacred space
  • brings a beautiful focal point to the Circle
  • gathers the energies of all present in the Circle
  • is a ritual process in co-creation

8 Steps to Create your Sacred Altar with Intention and Beauty:

Take time to connect with your intention and the meaningful purpose of your Circle.

Start to collect the materials and items that represent your intention and theme.

Decide if you will create the centrepiece alone or within your Circle. If you will co-create, extend an invitation to the women gathering to bring an item to add. You may wish to be prescriptive in line with your theme or simply ask them to bring an item that has meaning to them.

Choose a beautiful piece of fabric, sarong, scarf or invest in an altar mat, cloth or tray.

Think about the colours you wish to us and what they can represent:

  • Red for playfulness, vulnerability, passion, energy, fire, root chakra, maiden archetype
  • Orange for warmth, enjoyment, nurturing, creating new things, sacral chakra, mother archetype
  • Yellow for cheerfulness, self-power, focus, self-esteem, individuality, solar plexus chakra, wild woman archetype
  • Green for connection, harmony, balance, compassion, forgiveness, heart chakra, medicine woman archetype
  • Blue for freedom, space, clarity, communication, truth, throat chakra, muse archetype
  • Indigo for inspiration, wisdom, perception, intuition, third eye chakra, wise woman archetype
  • Purple for transformation, shape shifting, crown chakra and priestess archetype
 Choose items to represent the elements:
  • Air: feathers
  • Fire: candles or red flowers
  • Water: a bowl of water or a mirror
  • Earth: stones, soil or crystals
    Choose items for their beauty and function:
  • fresh flowers or petals
  • oracle cards (I love the Moon Deck and Spacious)
  • candles
  • responsibly foraged items
  • pictures
 Plan how you will lovingly and intentionally dismantle your centrepiece. You may choose to do this as part of you Closing Ritual, inviting to reclaim their item. Or you may do this as your own personal ritual after everyone has gone.

Create a Sacred Altar for your On-Line Sharing Circle

If you’re holding an on-line circle, there are many ways you can create the altar:

  • create the altar in advance and share a photograph or the individual items, with an explanation of what they represent
  • join the call from a second device and have the camera on the centrepiece so they can see it throughout the Circle
  • create a collective virtual altar by inviting participants to bring an item for the altar and share what they brought and why

How will you Create your Sacred Altar?

I would love to hear how you create your altar or centrepiece for your women’s circles. How you approach the process for your in-person and and on-line Circles?
In Circle School, we explore the power of the altar together with creating and sharing ritual and ceremony in in women’s circles.
If you are seeking a practical, wholehearted and radical women’s circle facilitation training, I invite you to join us in Circle Skills
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