Create an Altar for the Full Moon
The Full Moon is a time of blossoming. Some say of fruition, but my sense is that at the New Moon we plant a seed in the rich, dark soil of our heart’s desire. That seed grows and blooms in beauty, but it isn’t done in the middle of the cycle, it still has work to do. The next step is for the flower to produce a fruit (fruition!) that contains seeds – the seeds of the next cycle. It’s not often we’re able to bring something into being in one moon cycle – though certainly it happens! But often there’s a lot of planting, tending, growing, and even pruning that happens first. The moon cycle is a metaphor, and a powerful series of energies, that we can use to make beautiful creations in our lives.
You can make an altar for any part of the moon cycle as they each have their own resonance and purpose. I like to make them at the Full Moon, however, because it offers some very strong energy, but also because it’s a great time to step back and reassess our activities & experiences so far. It’s the perfect time to ask what we need to let go of so that we can achieve our desire or intention, and then release that (pruning). I also like to be aware of what’s going well, what’s flourishing and helping me on the way? And then I offer appreciation for that and help it along in any way I can (tending). This is a great time to regroup!
Creating an Altar:
I begin by thinking about what my altar is for. It helps to have a clear purpose and/or intention. A Full Moon is a moon of flourishing and growing into fullness so your full moon altar will be a good place to express this kind of growth. Consider what you want to bring into fullness over the next month and choose your altar location and items to support this wish. You can also consider the seeds you planted in your heart’s soil on the previous New Moon(s). It is time to add energy and attention to a project you’ve been wanting to make happen – not the time to come up with new ideas, that is the energy of the New Moon. Building an altar is a creative act so have fun and relax – you can’t mess it up! Make something that pleases you. Your intention can be simple, like intending to put together an altar that helps you with a desired goal, to get clearer on a dream, or to feel a certain way – like more peaceful, or joyful, etc.
You may want to journal about your desires and use that information to choose items for your altar and to make intentions or affirmations for the month ahead that you can place on your altar. I enjoy making a small vision board to place on the altar too. You can use a 3x5 or 5x8 index card and then cut images and words from magazines (or you can draw or paint them) that express your dreams for the coming weeks. It’s a fun practice to let your intuition speak to you by choosing images that really resonate for you right now, place them on the card in a way that pleases you, and then see what you can learn from them.
Choose a location: Some places you can build your altar are: inside on a table, windowsill, or shelf; or outside (some people recommend this, weather permitting). Choose a space that feels good, and that you can access to spend a bit of time nearby meditating, journaling, or just resting.
I don’t like to get too picky about what goes on the altar (if you prefer more explicit instructions you can Google full moon altars – Vastu). My approach is to place on it what feels right. Use items that symbolize what you want to feel and enhance this month. Here are some ideas for items you can use on your altar:
- You can use items that represent the elements on your altar: air, water, earth and fire. This provides a sort of structure, yet each element can be represented in creative ways.
- For Fire, a candle is lovely, but something red can do the trick too.
- I use purified Water for the water element, you can place flowers in it – or not. You can use the color blue for this, or anything else that means water to you – like an image of the ocean.
- A feather, a wind chime, a bell, or a bird can represent Air. You could also use incense. The colors white or silver seem to work here as well, but use your own preferences.
- For Earth a potted plant is very nice, or a beautiful crystal, or things you pick up on a nature walk. I like the colors green and/or gold for earth.
- Use what suggests to you the element you want to represent. It can be anything you like and that resonates for you.
- I like to have something that is fresh and/or alive on my altar. This is often flowers or a plant, but might also be a rock, or crystal, or piece of art that feels fresh to me.
- It’s lovely to have something personal to you. This may be a picture, a statue, or a quote that has meaning for you. It could be a special vase or a bowl, a souvenir of a trip, a small vision board, etc. It could be an oracle card drawn for the same purpose as the altar. The key here is that it resonates with your purpose for this altar.
- I usually have an offering bowl or tray in the center of the altar. In here I may place a question for my Higher Self to answer, or a symbol of something I want to attract or to resonate with. You can write words that express how you want to feel on a small piece of paper and place it in the offering bowl. This is a great place to put the intentions for the month that you wrote above.
Pull it all together: My method is to collect a bunch of things I may want to use. Then I just put them together, deciding as I go what to keep. I like to place the altar items on a tray, piece of fabric, or even a book to define the altar area on the table (or wherever you’ve placed your altar). If you use a tray you can move it easily, even take it outside if you like, or to another room. Finally, move the altar items around until you like how they look and interact with each other and it feels good to you.
Activating your Altar:
For a Full Moon altar it’s suggested that you activate it the day prior to or up to the time of the “exact” Full Moon. You can look online to determine this time. (Although I must say I have “missed” the day and time, done it a day later, and it was just as meaningful and useful to me.) Here are some suggested steps:
- Kneel, sit, or stand in front of your altar.
- Light your candle and/or incense, if you have them.
- If there are bells or chimes, ring them to purify the energy in the area of your altar. It also will bring your focus to this moment.
- Now hold the item for your offering bowl in your hand (I like to use my right hand). This item should symbolize your intention or desire for this Full Moon. As you hold it take a few deep breaths and then feel and/or imagine your desire happening. Experience the feeling of having, right now, what you want to achieve.
- Place the item in the offering bowl.
- Stay here for as long as you like enjoying the feeling of activating your dreams. You may want to journal or meditate as well.
I visit my Full Moon altar regularly and generally keep it at least until the New Moon, but you can leave it just for the day, the month (until the next Full Moon), or as long as you like. If you decide to keep it up then I suggest checking in with it daily by lighting the candle (or you can change the water, or ring the bell, etc.) to re-energize it. Keep the flowers fresh. You can sit before your altar and ask for guidance about your purpose and see what you learn. Altars operate as wonderful reminders for the things you want to activate or create in your life, and they’re lovely to look at as well. They’re a message to the Universe – and especially to yourself – that you are ready for this desire and willing to take steps. When you spend time here you send energy to your dream.
I hope you enjoy this experience! You might also want to track what happens and what you learn. This type of altar is a focal point for accessing your intuition about what you want to have and do. It can energize an area of your life because you are giving it attention and care. It can bring clarity and suggest actions to take for your highest joy.
Best Wishes for a delightful Full Moon!