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A Rainbow of Spirituality

Wiccan Ritual

Even though its purely will power and sheer emotional intent that the witch uses in casting spells, certain equipment are traditionally utilized by the practitioner in the performance of spell work, the purpose of these items being to subconsciously "program" the mind with symbolism, making the spell that much more effective. Just remember that it is the practitioner that empowers the object, not the other way around. These are the basic items you will need to practice Witchcraft:

  • Altar...Just about any piece of furniture large enough to hold all your candles and other accoutrements will do. It should preferably be made of wood, or you can purchase a large marble block with rubber legs to place over the wood (stone, especially marble, is also a good resonator of mystical energy). It is symbolic of the element of Spirit.
  • Athame...This is a name for a ritual dagger. A sword can be used instead or in addition, though swords are usually far more expensive. Daggers aren't too hard to find, and you don't need to purchase one of the many fancy and expensive ones on sale. A simple hunting knife or steak knife will do, as long as its blade is double-edged. The athame is utilized by the witch for summoning, directing and banishing mystical energy. It is never intended to be used as a stabbing weapon; instead, it's a sacred weapon used for strictly magickal purposes. It is symbolic of the element of Fire, though some traditions consider it symbolic of Air. I prefer the former.
  • Cauldron...These three legged iron bowls are a powerful feminine symbol, used to hold candles, or brew and burn herbs and scrolls of paper. Cauldrons can be expensive, particularly bigger ones, but a simple metal mixing bowl can do the trick if your strapped for cash.
  • Censer...The censer, used for burning incense, can be any shape you choose, is generally inexpensive (unless you want to get a fancy one) and is usually made of flame resistant brass.
  • Chalice...This item is used for holding water, and is symbolic of the element of Water. You can get a chalice of any substance, including somewhat expensive metallic ones, but a simple glass normally used for wine will do the job perfectly. You will sometimes need an additional one for holding wine.
  • Pentacle...As all practitioners of magick know, the pentacle is a five-pointed star set within a disc. It is a powerful protective symbol, and is very good at consecrating your chalice and censer just by placing them on top of the pentacle. It is representative of the Mother Goddess, and is also symbolic of the element of Earth. You can get a small one normally used as a necklace, or a large one made of wood. You can also use a plack of wood with the star etched in it.
  • Bowl of Salt...Also representative of the element of Earth, you should have a bowl of sodium on your altar. Sodium is a powerful substance for purification, and it can expel negative vibes from your ritual area.
  • Candles...You will need to stock some candles. Usually a white one is used on the altar simply for light, but I prefer to use one of a color corresponding to a particular deity or effect that I am calling upon. Refer to the section on candle magick to see which color candles are appropriate for which type of spell work, and you should have a variety of candles. You will need four candles specifically to line the four corners of your magick circle, which will represent one of the four elements. You will need a yellow one in the east for Air, a red one in the south for Fire, a blue one in the west for Water and a green (or brown) one in the north for Earth. The candle(s) on your altar represent Spirit. There will be a separate section here dealing with the elements of antiquity. It is best to use taper candles for spell work, as they are the easiest and least expensive to acquire, though any shape or type will do (votive candles are sometimes scented, for those interested in using scents for spell work, or aromatherapy).
  • Candle Holders...These are readily available, and you will need several of them, for the obvious purpose of holding your candles. They are most often available in glass, brass or iron. Try to avoid those made of wood.
  • Wand...Yes, witches really do use a magick wand. You can use a simple stick for this, or if you prefer, purchase one of the fancy and expensive ones available. It is used for directing mystical energy, and is really a modern addition to the witch's equipment, taken from the Ceremonial Magicians. Oak wood is perfect for your wand, though others types of wood can be used. It is symbolic of the element of Air, though some traditions use it as a symbol of Fire. I've been taught the former.
  • Altar Bell...You will sometimes use a bell during the rituals. Any little bell will do, and they are readily available and very inexpensive.

Other items are also employed by the modern witch for spell work. Examples include a cloak worn strictly for ritual purposes (these can be purchased, but are usually quite expensive; it would be much cheaper if you can make your own, though not everyone has this talent) and an additional dagger called a boline used for utility purposes, such as carving symbols on the candles or cutting herbs. It is also good to purchase a candle snuffer, as this is preferable and more respectful to the elements than blowing a candle out.

Wiccans also traditionally compose what they refer to as their Book of Shadows, which is a tome including original spells that they have written, but often includes other things such as personal observations about all aspects of magick and Witchcraft, as well as all personal discoveries and insights obtained while walking the path of the Craft. 

The Book of Shadows is intended to be used as a personal reference source for spell work, a journal of one's magickal experience and the accumulated sum total of all of the Wiccan's insights to be left to those who may read it in the future. The Book of Shadows was obviously handwritten in the past and left in notebook form, though today it can be typed on a computer and printed out and stored in binder form, or even completely stored on a computer floppy disk. The Book of Shadows may be kept personal while you are alive, or freely shared with others; a few Wiccans have even published their Book of Shadows.

Each of the previous items are completely up to the individual practitioner.

These items are for sale online from our commercial sister-site at A-rainbow-of-spirituality.com as well as many other quality retailers, both online and in traditional stores.

Purification

Before beginning any sort of Wiccan ritual, either for purposes of devotion or for working any sort of magick, spell work, or healing, it is important to purify onesself. The reason for this is not because Pagans view themselves as impure but rather to leave the mundane world, along with its worries and limitations behind. Traditionally, purification begins with a ritual bath before the ritual, both soaking away worries, and solidifying the purpose for the ritual in one's mind. During the ritual, various items are used for purification, including salt, water, oil, or smoke.

Smoke is also used in Native American traditions, and is often called a smudge. It is a means of purification used in circles and rituals of many Pagan traditions.

How to make a smudge

Native American Shamans often used smudge sticks in their own rituals, and these ever popular tools are a wonderful addition to any from of cleansing ritual or general cleansing you may wish to perform.

Many Pagan Paths, including Wicca, include a practice of smudging for may reasons and occasions.

What you will need

  • You will need natural twine or cotton ( I usually choose colors symbolic to the type of ritual I am to perform. For example when completing a house cleansing ritual where there have been negative relationship issues, I would wrap the smudge in a pink colour for emotions and feeling of the heart or perhaps yellow for healing. )
  • You will also need a selection of herbs and plant material appropriate for your particular focus. (three examples are included at the bottom of this section)
What to do

  • Collect a selection of herbs around 12 to 15 inches in length. Snip them neatly from the plant, sending a note of thanks as you do.
  • Lay your plants flat out on a newspaper and assemble them into roughly a straight line of about 2 inches in width.
  • Starting at the bottom, secure the end tightly and begin wrapping the cotton or twine around the plant.
  • Do this randomly, so that plenty of the leaves show through, whilst encasing the plant securely.
  • Working from the bottom to the top and then securing tightly at the opposite end will hold everything together.
  • Trim any particularly wayward pieces.
  • Lay the smudge on a fresh piece of newspaper and wrap it tightly within the paper. This ensures the stick will dry more quickly and remain held together.
  • Store in a cool dry place, change the newspapers every other day and allow to dry for at least a week. After this time your smudge stick will be ready to use.
  • If you have any feathers available to disperse the smoke then these are also a useful tool.
  • Alternatively, you may purchase smudge sticks already made. Smudge sticks are available from our sister site at A-rainbow-of-spirituality.com

Notes on Smudgeing

When lighting your smudge stick please ensure you do not leave it to burn. Blow out the flame quickly. Using natural twine prevents the release of noxious fumes into the environment, but please be aware that inhalation of smoke should still be avoided.

Make sure you dispose of your used smudge stick in the most safe and environmentally friendly way possible.

Lavender
Love, Protection, Sleep,
Chastity, Longevity,
Purification,
Pine Healing, Fertility, Protection,
Exorcism, Money

Sage
Immortality, Longevity,
Wisdom, Protection, Wishes

Rosemary
Protection, Love, Lust, Mental Powers,
Exorcism, Purification,
Healing, Sleep, Youth

Sample Ritual

Here is a sample ritual of spell work utilizing your equipment. I wish to thank Pagan author D.J. Conway for this part of the section, as this is a slightly modified version of the ritual she wrote in her books Celtic Magic and Norse Magic. I'm simply switching a few sentences around to make it non-tradition specific.

Sit in front of your altar and take a few deep breaths. Smudge or otherwise purify yourself as you choose. Have soft music playing in the background. Try to pick instrumental music only, as vocals tend to be too distracting. Concentrate on your spell work at hand, and get yourself in a relaxed state. Face the north. Take your athame in your power hand, and beginning in the east, project a line of silver-blue personal energy from the tip of the athame. Only gifted psychics or longtime practitioners can actually see this energy, and they describe it as silvery-blue in color. Walk in a circular clockwise motion (called deosil) until the circle overlaps the point in which it began. The circle will automatically form itself into a protective sphere around your ritual area. Everything you use will be inside the circle...this magick circle will both contain your built up energy until the moment you release it, as well as keeping negativity and astral entities out. Remember, your spell work will attract such entities to your ritual area, so the casting of the circle is important. Try not to break the circle until the end of the ritual (see below).

As you cast the circle, say:
"I consecrate this circle of power to the Goddess and God; here may they manifest and bless their child."

Stand in front of the altar, hold up your arms in greeting to the Goddess and God, and say:
"This is a time that is not a time, in a place that is not a place, on a day that is not a day. I stand at the threshold between the worlds before the gates of Infinity [or Avalon, Asgard, Heliopolis, Olympus, or any other realm of the gods your tradition may worship]. May the Ancient Ones guide and protect me on my magickal journey."
This helps shift your consciousness into a state conducive for ritual and magick.

Take the chalice, filled with spring water, and place it upon the pentacle. Hold your athame over it and say:
"Great Goddess [insert your goddess name], I bless this creature of water to your service. May we always remember the cauldron waters of rebirth."

Place your athame over the bowl of salt, saying:
"Great Goddess, I bless this creature of earth to your service. May we always honor the blessed earth, its many forms and beings."

Take a pinch of salt in your fingers and drop it in the chalice.

Lift the chalice in the air and say:
"Great Goddess, be you adored!"

Walk the chalice around the circle counterclockwise (called widdershins, a direction used for banishing), sprinkling droplets of salt-laden water around the perimeter of the circle to banish negativity. Place the chalice back on the altar and place your athame over the flames of the lit candle. Say:
"Great God [insert your God name here], bless this creature of fire to your service. May we always remember the sacred flames which dance within the form of every creation."

Take the censer with the lit incense and place it on the pentacle. Place your athame over it and say:
"Great God, I bless this creature of air to your service. May we always listen to the spirit winds which bring us the voices of the Ancient Ones."

Take the censer and walk the incense around the circle counterclockwise, banishing more negativity. Next, it's time to summon the elementals to witness the rite and to guard the corners of the circle from unwelcome astral influences. Your four element candles should be in the appropriate directions, and just inside the magick circle.

Walk over to the yellow candle in the east and light it, saying:
"I call upon you, powers of Air, to witness this rite and to guard this circle."
Imagine a spinning vortex of air suddenly whirling outside your circle. Little diaphanous faerie-like elementals called Sylphs (and zephyrs) can be seen dancing in the vortex.

Walk over to the red candle in the south and light it, saying:
"I call upon you, powers of Fire, to witness this rite and to guard this circle."
Imagine a large plume of flame blazing just outside your circle. Long, snake-like and glowing elementals called salamanders can be seen writhing about in the flames.

Walk over to the blue candle in the west and light it, saying:
"I call upon you, powers of Water, to witness this rite and to guard this circle."
Imagine a large fountain of water erupting just outside the circle. Small mermaid-like elementals called undines can be seen swimming and playing in the fountain.

Walk over to the green candle in the north and light it, saying:
"I call upon you, powers of Earth, to witness this rite and to guard this circle."
Imagine a large tree suddenly materializing outside your circle. Tiny elf-like elementals called gnomes can be seen walking in and out of the roots of the tree. Know that these four types of beings are here to protect your circle.

Walk to the center of the altar and say:
"This circle is bound with power all around; within it I stand with protection at hand."

Return to the center of the circle and begin your spell work. You can use spells already written, and found in the numerous books on Witchcraft available, or you can write your own. Walk around the circle clockwise for positive spell work, and counterclockwise for negative. Use your wand to direct the energy that you summon. When the energy is built up to its maximum point, say:
"By the power of the God and Goddess, I bind all power within this circle into this spell. So mote it be!"

Upon saying this, release the energy. The circle will automatically open and release it into the biosphere and astral realms, where it will eventually manifest on the physical plane. You may also want to ground the extraneous mystical energy left over, so it does not remain in your temple area. Use your wand to direct it into the bowels of the Earth, where it can then be utilized by Mother Earth for her own purposes, such as the healing of the planet.

When you are done, you will then dismiss the elementals you have summoned. Do not forget this part! And do it before breaking the circle. [Try never to break the circle during spell work except in an emergency. Remember to keep all pets except for cats out of the room during spell work. For some reason, cats can walk through the circle without breaking it.]

Walk to the yellow candle in the east and snuff it, saying:
"Depart in peace, O powers of Air. My thanks and blessings."
Imagine the vortex of air collapsing in upon itself and vanishing.

Walk to the red candle in the south and snuff it, saying:
"Depart in peace, O powers of Fire. My thanks and blessings."
Imagine the plume of flame extinguishing itself.

Walk to the blue candle in the west and snuff it, saying:
"Depart in peace, O powers of Water. My thanks and blessings."
Imagine the fountain trickling out and disappearing into the ground.

Walk to the green candle in the north and snuff it, saying:
"Depart in peace, O powers of Earth. My thanks and blessings."
Imagine the tree outside the circle dematerializing.

Walk to the candle(s) on your altar in the center of the circle to dismiss the element of Spirit. Snuff the candle(s), saying:
"To all powers and beings of the visible and the invisible, depart in peace. May there always be harmony between us. My thanks and blessings."Imagine the God and Goddess, or any deity and beings you invited into your circle to conduct the spell work with, vanishing from this plane of reality.

Now, take your athame and walk to the edge of the circle. With a quick swipe of your hand, break the circle. Say:
"Though the circle is broken, ever it remains a circle. Around and through me always flows its magickal powers."

This will finalize the ritual in your subconscious. Be sure to place any offerings, such as cookies and milk, outside to the little ones if you called upon the faerie folk for assistance. Your ritual is done.

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