Altar - Some information on the Tools, Preparation, Rituals

Purification for Ritual Begin by emptying your mind of mundane concerns and worries, then have a ritual bath. Light blue or white candles. Try to clear your mind while soaking in the water. Burn incense containing rosemary, frankincense, or cinnimon or perhaps annoint the candles with frankincense, mryhh or sandlewood oils. If the rite is to be held near water this may take the form of a quick swim. While having the ritual bath, imagine the water washing away the negativity of everyday life. Use the time to centre and calm yourself. Once you have dressed in ritual garb, use a purification incense to smudge yourself. This reinforces the initial cleansing as well as making it plain to yourself that this is a special occasion. Getting in the right frame of mind is the most important part of ritual preparation. Basic Ritual A circle should be marked on the floor, surrounding those who will participate in the ceremony. An altar is to be set up at the center of the circle. At the center of the altar shall be placed an image of the Goddess, and an incense burner placed in front of it. Behind the image should be a wand fashioned from a willow branch. Candles should be set upon the altar ... a total of five, since on is to be set at each quarter and one will remain on the altar during the rite. When all the people are prepared they shall assemble within the circle. The woman acting as priestess shall direct the man who acts as priest to light the candles and incense. She shall then say: "The presence of the noble Goddess extends everywhere, Throughout many strange, magical, And beautiful worlds, To all places of wilderness, enchantment, and freedom." She then places a candle at the north and pauses to look outwards, saying: "The Lady is awesome, The Powers of death bow before Her." The person closest to the east takes a candle from the altar and places it at that quarter, saying: "Our Goddess is a Lady of Joy, The winds are Her servants." The person closest to the south takes a candle from the altar and places it at that quarter, saying: "Our Goddess is a Goddess of Love. At Her blessings and desire The sun brings forth life anew." The person closest to the west takes a candle from the altar and places it at that quarter, saying: "The seas are the domain of our Serene Lady, The mysteries of the depths are Hers alone." The priest then takes the wand, and starting at the north, draws it along the entire circle clockwise back to the north point, saying: "The circle is sealed, and all herein Are totally and completely apart From the outside world, That we may glorify the Lady whom we adore. Blessed Be!" All repeat: "Blessed Be!" The priest now holds the wand out in salute towards the north for a moment and then hands it to the priestess, who also holds it out in salute. She motions to the group to repeat the following lines after her: "As above, so below ... As the universe, so the soul. As without, so within. Blessed and gracious one, On this day do we consecrate to you Our bodies, Our minds, And our spirits. Blessed Be!" Now is the time for discussion and teaching. Wine and light refreshments may be served. When the meeting has ended, all wil stand and silently meditate for a moment. The priestess will then take the wand and tap each candle to put it out, starting at the north and going clockwise around the circle, while saying: "Our rite draws to its end. O lovely and gracious Goddess, Be with each of us as we depart. The circle is broken!" By Ed Fitch RITUAL BATH | +-------------------------------------------------------------+ The purpose of a ritual bath is to cleanse Yourself, from the inside and out, of negative energies and prepare your Physical, Mental and Spiritual Self for Circle. A ritual bath is a rite in and of itself. The rite is ideally done just prior to Circle, but this is not always the case. [An example of such is if you have to travel to the meeting place.] After the rite is completed and you must travel to another place for Circle, try to keep your mind in a Spiritual frame as this will aid you in Circle. The bath water should be infused with salts, herbs oils and colors that are harmonious with the work to be done in Circle. To prepare for the bath: Select the Herbs, [it is best to have your herbs in a satchel for easier clean-up] oils and salts [of the same color as the candle] that you will be using. Have a censer and charcoal block ready to burn a corresponding incense on. Anoint a candle of appropriate color [Possibly using the same oil as you are using in the bath water.] If you have a shrine set up in your bathroom there should be a Goddess and God candle present. Have some Holy Water ready. [Holy Water is made from: 1/3 sea-water {river-water with sea-salt added will do if sea-water is unavailable}; 1/3 river-water; 1/3 spring-water {store bought is OK}.] Have a tape recorder with meditation music in the bathroom with you, as its aid to visualization and meditation is invaluable. [Be cautious to have the tape recorder far away from any water and DO NOT TOUCH IT WHILE YOU ARE STILL WET.] A glass of wine is also needed for consumption upon completion of the rite. And your libation dish for the libation to the Gods. To begin turn out the lights and light the candle(s) and incense, turn on tape, fill the tub with warm water and add herbs, oils, salts and a cup or so of Holy Water. With your Athame draw and visualize a Water or Banishing Pentagram over the bath water. All of these tools represent the four Elements; Air/the incense and the scents from the bath, Fire/the heat of the bath, Water/the bath and Holy Water and, Earth/the herbs and oils. 746 Lower yourself into the water and visualize it cleansing you of all negativity. Know that these energies are flowing from your Physical, Mental and Spiritual Self into the water. Relax and enjoy the warmth of the water, the scents in the air and the feeling of being cleansed of all negativity, let yourself drift. Now concentrate and visualize on the purpose of the coming ritual and know that you are truly prepared. When you feel you are ready, pull the plug and stay in the tub until all the water has drained. As the water is draining visualize and know that the negative energies that are now in the water are going into the Earth and are grounded. Rise up out of the tub and do a Self Blessing like the following: Anoint each area while saying aloud: Blessed be my Mind, that learns of Your ways [anointing your forehead] Blessed be my eyes, that have seen this day. Blessed be my lips, That utter Your names and keep Your secrets. Blessed be my breast(s), formed in strength (Beauty). Blessed be the phallus (Womb), For without which I would not be. Blessed be my knees, that shall kneel at thy Sacred Altar. Blessed be my feet, that have brought me in these ways. Pour a libation to the Gods and drink the wine. When dried, robe, clean-up the bathroom and take the libation outside to return it to the Earth. The rite is ended. So Mote it Be!