The altar can be made of any material, but wood and metal are best. The altar must be large enough to hold all of the tools required for a working (about 2X3 feet is best). It represents earth and is a means of connecting your power and magic to it. It serves as a link between you and the earth as sort of an extension of the earth itself.
The altar sits exactly in the center of the circle facing east, the direction of beginnings and of the rising sun. The altar should be covered with an altar cloth. The color depends on the type of spellwork you are performing. White and black are best and can be used for most any type of spellwork. A soilable altar cloth is best as you will likely be accidentally spilling things onto it such as oils, herbs, ashes, wine and candle wax.
The altar can be set up indoors or outdoors. A working altar for a circle is carefully put away when your working is done, unless it is out of doors. A decorative shrine type altar dedicated to one or more Gods or Goddesses can be set up anywhere and left up at all times
Bell (And Dorje)
Book of Shadows
Books for Info
Capes and Costumes
Crystals and Gems
God and Goddess Symbols
Glass Jar with Cork
Herbs, Dried Plants, Spices
Incense, Bricks, Burners, and Fire Resistant Plates
Fabric for Crafts
Mortar and Pestle
Rawhide, Jewellery Clasps, Etc.
Stencil and Brushes
(And anything else you feel you need)
CLEANSING AND CONSECRATING
There are three basic reasons for cleansing and consecrating:
It removes any negative residue that has attached itself to the item or place.
It melds your positive energy with that of the Universe to bring divinity.
It instills this energy into the object or place for positive purposes.
Cleansing and Consecrating your Sacred Space and Tools
For this ritual you will need:
2 illuminator candles
Pre-blessed water (holy water)
4 element candles (red, blue, brown, yellow)
Incense (sage) and burner
Large pentacle (approx 14")
At sometime during the day you plan to perform the ritual, you should thoroughly clean the sacred space that you intend to dedicate; dusting, vacuming, mopping, whatever. Once you have finished and have double-checked that you have everything, go and take a shower or a bath with scented oil. Choose clothing that is not restrictive, or you may even wish to work skyclad. When you are nearly ready to begin, place each of the element candles at the appropriate compass points. East, yellow or gold candle; South, red or orange candle; West, blue or purple candle; North, green or brown candle. Place the silver candle on the altar.
Light the illuminator candles with the lighter. Going desoil, light each element candle. Light the incense. Pick up the incense burner and as you walk inside in a desoil manner. Repeat: With the elements fire and air I cleanse this space.
Shut your eyes and feel the air and fire energy move within the circle. Return to the altar and pick up the chalice of holy water. Sprinkle the holy water as you walk desoil within the circle and repeat: With the elements water and earth I cleanse this space
Feel the elements flow desoil around the circle. Stand in the center of the circle in the Goddess position and say:With the element of spirit and by the powers of the Divine I consecrate this space!
Feel the power of the Goddess and God enter your being and your sacred space, feel the energy build within you and around you then let it go and meld with the Universe.
If you are not cleansing and consecrating any tools or jewellery, you will want to end the ritual here by thanking the God, Godess and any elements for their participation. When you are finished you must ground and close the circle. If you are going to cleanse and consecrate any items then continue with the following steps.
Stand (or kneel) before your altar and pick up the first item to be consecrated. Pass it over the incense and say: By the powers of air and fire I cleanse and consecrate this___________of all it's negativity so that it may be used for positive means within my magickal workings.
Next, sprinkle the item with holy water and say: By the powers of water and earth I cleanse and consecrate this___________of all it's negativity so that it may be used for positive means within my magickal workings.
Now lay the item down on top of your pentacle. Cup your hands together and imagine a growing ball of bright white light within them. When the ball is big enough push it into the heart of the item. Say: By the power of spirit I have empowered this item, may the Lord and Lady's blessing shine upon and through it always. Follow the closing procedure, that is, thank the God and Goddess, then the Elements and then banish the circle.
These are just a few. On the main page used to be a picture of my personal altar.
You are the most magickal tool of all. It is your intentions and energies that determine the results of any magickal work. Many Witches never use any other tool but their own personal energies! And some of the most powerful workings can be done without ever leaving your armchair. It is the focus, concentration, intentions and desires that reside within YOU that are the real 'tools" of the Witch!
ATHAME: (pronounced "a-thAM-ay" or "ATH-a-may")
Many Witches own one or more ritual knives. These are commonly known as "athames" in Wiccan circles. In the Scottish traditions, the knife is called a "yag-dirk" and in Sax Wicca it is known as a "seax" (see-ax). As with all ritual tools, the athame is a very personal magickal item-one which you will want to take some care in obtaining. It should fit well and comfortably in your hand, for one thing. You certainly wouldn't want it to go flying across the room while you are casting a circle. This type of occurrence could cause a drastic drop in the attendance level at your next circle!
Many Witches make their own blades or "personalize" purchased ones with runes, carvings and other symbols; all of which serve to blend the energy of the tool with their own magickal intentions. Modern Witchcraft books almost always state that the athame is a "black handled double edged iron blade." You may call this model, "the classic', if you like! But many other practitioners now use athames made from stainless steel, copper, silver and various other metals, or even carved stone. Some have family heirlooms, such as letter openers which serve the purpose. Some Witches never use a blade at all! So you can see, it is more important that the tool you choose suits you personally rather than reflect the latest fashion craze.
The athame can be used to cast the magic circle, call the "quarters" or elements, and is part of many an opening ritual, handfasting (wedding) or initiation rite. It is associated with the element of Fire and the South. It is customary in some traditions to have your blade given to you as a gift. Some Witches or ceremonial workers give their tools a magickal "name". (This practice has become a common reference in many role playing games and fantasy novels.)
Almost all materials written state-and most Witches/Wiccans, with the possible exception of the Sax Wiccans, agree- that magickal tools should not be used for any other purpose than ritual work. Often the blade is left "dull" or unsharpened because of this. (Another blade, the "boleen", with a white handle is sometimes used to harvest herbs or carve symbols, but not used for ritual work.) Some Witches will not let their tools be touched by anyone other than themselves. Some covens or working groups share common tools. It is, other than for those who are dedicated into a specific Tradition, what you are comfortable with.
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