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 Cleansing & Preparing Your Ritual Tools

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StarrFire Jolie
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PostSubject: Cleansing & Preparing Your Ritual Tools   Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:23 am

Cleansing & Preparing Your Ritual Tools


Now you've got your ritual tools, what do you do next? You certainly don't want to just put them on your altar or on your person, without clearing them of any energies they've collected!

Preparing your Wiccan ritual tools doesn't need to be long or complicated. But it does need to be done.

And what about after using them? Where do you keep your sacred objects, and what do you do with them once you're done with them?

This article covers all the basics of using sacred tools . . .

Using Animals
Purification Methods
Dedication Tips
Consecration Reasons And Tips
Charging Your Wiccan Tools With Magickal Energy
Storage Of Ritual Items
Passing Sacred Objects On
Caring For Altar Deities





You've Got Your Wiccan Ritual Tools, Right?


The first step, once you've chosen your location and altar table, is acquiring altar items and other ritual tools.
If you haven't, see Getting Started With Wiccan Tools for tips on how to find, buy, harvest, and make your Wiccan ritual tools.



Using Animal Parts As Ritual Items


If you choose to use horn, antler, bones, or other animal parts you need to attend to the spirit of the animal.
Purification, blessing, and thanksgiving are particularly critical, more so than for other altar tools: it does you no good to have anything with lingering negative energy on your altar!

In fact, that is the most dangerous place to have it.

If it is an item that was dropped naturally, this is not an issue. For example . . .

Antlers in the fall,
Feathers in the molting season,
Snake skin sheddings.
But if it's an integral part of the animal, or something taken after its death, then follow these precautions.
If the animal was harmed in taking the item, do not use it. Some of that harm will linger, no matter what you do to purify it.



Can You Use Animal Parts Safely?


Well, we're not talking about life and death situations, probably. But the energy can contaminate your spiritual progress, your rituals, and your spells.
Because of the subconscious training that we are programmed with as a European-derived culture, death is tricky to work with.

Even if consciously you reject the Western attitude toward death, on a subconscious level it can linger. And it certainly remains in our cultural energy field, of which you are a part. This will draw contaminating energy to the item. So . . .

It is safest to refrain from placing parts of dead animals on your altar, or using them in ritual.

At the least, wait until you are able to sense energies clearly. That way you will be able to perceive whether a negative residue lingers in the object, or rises in you when in its presence.

If you must use them, purify thoroughly and on a regular basis, and offer something to the spirit of the animal to help it on its way either to the Divine or to rebirth.






Purification of Your Ritual Tools


Purification and dedication of your Wiccan ritual tools should be done as soon as you can after you get them.
Certainly purify them at least, before using or wearing the object!

Items that have a heavy or dark or hot energy need purification. This is particularly true of crystals. When clear, they will feel cool, tingly, bright, or positive.

A purified object is much more powerful than a contaminated one, and its magick is less likely to go awry.

Purification, dedication, and consecration of ritual objects take place in sacred space - that is, within Ritual. So begin by casting a Circle.

_______________________________________________________________________________

WITCH TIP: Before going further, check that the item won't be harmed first . . .

Water - Crystals and other stones may be damaged by hot water. Always use cool water. Some crystals may be damaged even by cool water, I've heard, but I've never experienced that. Leather may harden in water. Fabric may run, fade, or shrink - especially in hot.

Sunlight - Gem stones, crystals, and other items may also be damaged - faded, melted, or broken by the heat.

Salt - Opals, metal, leather, and fabric can be damaged by salt, either dry or in water.

Smudging or Flame - Stones may be damaged by heat. Other items, like cloth and plant material, may be flammable - use extreme care.
_______________________________________________________________________________



Moon Bath


The simplest way to purify Wiccan tools is to bathe them in Moonlight. This will not only cleanse them, but recharge them as well.
Except for the very lightest cleansing, you'll probably need to leave them at least one full cycle of the Moon. Full to Full, or Dark to Dark . . . whichever feels right to you. For lighter Moon-washes, use the Waning Moonlight.

If your altar is in the Moonlight, this is the best place to leave your ritual tools for a Moon bath. Otherwise, hanging them in a tree is good. (If it's sparkly and you have lots of crows, ravens, or magpies around though, they might make off with it when you're not looking!)



Herb Baths


You can bury your Wiccan tools in herbs for cleansing. Particularly effective are rose petals, sage, and mint. This is a lovely way to clean sacred objects, but it can take a while.


Sea Salt


A faster method is a sea salt bath. You can bury your Wiccan tools in dry sea salt, or a salt-water bath.
Washing it in the Ocean, or even running wild water like a river, is even better.

If it feels like it needs a very deep cleansing, you can leave it in the salt water for a period of time - even in the Moonlight, for a double whammy.



Earth Cleansing


You can bury certain items in Earth for purification - like stones and crystals. This will do a very deep cleansing.
Simply bury them, pointing downward, into Earth outdoors, between the roots of a tree is ideal. If you can't manage that, bury them with a potted plant.

The real trick to this method of purification is remembering exactly where you buried your ritual tools! Be sure to leave a marker that is unlikely to be removed.



Smudging


Even more rapid is smudging, particularly using cedar or sage. Pass the ritual tools through the smoke a few times. This is enough for most purposes. But you can do as much as you need.
This is a great method for healing tools, especially stones.

For tips on smudging, see this article on Sacred Scents.



Bathing In Light


Similar to smudging, you can pass ritual tools through (or above) the flame of your Goddess candle.
The Light will purify and remove any negative energies.

It needs to be done carefully, to avoid burning yourself and scorching your tools.



Cleansing Breath


After coming to a place of calm and peace, you can blow into your ritual tools, with the intention of being a conduit for Divine Energy.
Blow the negativity away, and blow positivity in - imagining this as white or golden light replacing any shadows in the object.



Running Water


Holding your ritual tools under cold running water can cleanse them, but this is usually unadvisable except for stones.
In which case, if they are pointed, make sure the points face downward with the flow of water, so the negative energy flows out and away.

You can do this with tap water as a last resort, but living water is much better.






Dedication Of Ritual Tools


The dedication, or programming, of Wiccan tools is simply setting an intention for their use. And communicating that intention to the ritual item, making sure that you have its consent.
This cup will be my Chalice.
This knife will be my Athame.
This shell will be for healing.
This stone will be for grounding energies.
And so on.
The dedication of your Wiccan tools begins in those first moments when you scan to find the right tools for you.
It continues when you pick up the items, and ask them whether they are willing to work with you, and in what way.

The purpose of dedication is to have the two of you - you and the Wiccan tool - coordinating your energies and focusing them on a single purpose. This magnifies the Power available to you.



How To Dedicate Your Ritual Tools


Once you've purified your Wiccan tools, take a minute or two in sacred space — that is, still within the Ritual Circle - to quietly feel the item's energy.
Once you have a sense of that, visualise clearly what purpose you have chosen it for. Send that image or idea into the ritual item. Ask it if it is willing to participate in this.

Then sit quietly, and open yourself to hearing its response. You may feel an increase in energy - which signifies yes, or a decrease - which means no.

Chances are that at this stage, the objects will be right on board. If so, this step serves to clarify the item's purpose.



If The Object Disagrees


But it is possible that it rejects the idea, even now. If so, there are three likely reasons . . .
It has not been sufficiently cleansed. In this case, do a deep purification.
Your intention is not clear, or in some way harmful. In this case, spend some time exploring your intention and getting clear on what you want to do . . . and why. Divination might help, since it is excellent at revealing hidden currents.
It has a specific purpose in coming to you, but not the one you thought. In this case, spend some time with this item, and ask it to reveal its purpose to you. Sooner or later - generally, as soon as you're willing to hear it - you'll understand. At which point you can dedicate the object and yourself to that intention.





Consecration Of Sacred Objects


For some items, dedication may be enough. Personally, I think you can never go wrong by invoking the Divine.
Consecrating your ritual tools is a way of setting them at a high vibrational level. This protects them from contamination by negative energy, and charges them with Divine Energy. This greatly increases the item's Power.

Consecration is especially useful for anything that may be used in healings.

You may want to consecrate your ritual tools to specific deities. For instance, Tara or Quan Yin for compassion, Kali for releasing the old, Hecate for protection, Artemis for clear focus, etc. Or you may simply align it with positive energy.



How To Consecrate Sacred Objects


After purification and dedication, you can do one of the following in sacred space, using both your imagination to visualise it and your voice to ask for it . . .
Hold the item in your dominant hand (usually the right), and focus on the purest, brightest white Light you can imagine. Imagine it filling yourself, your sacred space, and the ritual object.
Smudge the Wiccan tool with cedar smoke, visualising the sacred Power of the cedar aligning its energy with the Most High.
Pass the object "through" (or above) the light of your Goddess candle (or if you choose, both Goddess and God candles). Think of that Light penetrate and filling all the spaces between the atoms in your Wiccan tool.
After each of these, place your Wiccan tool on your object, in the very centre. Focusing on it completely, ask your Deities to sanctify this tool.
State clearly "Only the most pure Divine energy may enter and work through this sacred object."

Hold this intent, until you feel it has completely "taken." Then close your intent with "So mote it be! Blessed be."

Your Wiccan tool is now consecrated.






Charging Your Ritual Tools With Magickal Energy


You can do this the same way you consecrated, essentially. The difference is that you build up a certain magickal energy beforehand - in Ritual space, and then fill the Wiccan tool with that energy.
In this case, you can use a smudging herb that contains that energy.

You might want to use essential oils to instill certain energies into your Wiccan tools. They can be dabbed onto the object. But be sure it won't damage the material.

Another option is to place your ritual tools on the altar during rituals and spell-casting. This is especially popular - and practical - to do at group rituals, when appropriate. Lots of good magickal Power can be raised, and if you've set the intention, the object can soak it up.






Storage


Storage of ritual tools eventually plagues every witch, it seems.
The key to good storage is to remember that your Wiccan tools are sacred objects, with a consciousness of their own. They must be treated with respect.



How To Store Your Ritual Tools


Ideally, you might have a wooden chest or something similar to store your ritual tools when they're not in use.

However, in my experience a cardboard box can work, as long as it's a nice one, and clean. And small enough that you don't need to pile things on top of other things.

But make it more than shoving things out of site. You could use some nice tissue paper to store them in. (Pick some up cheap at discount stores.)

Another good alternative is to find scraps of nice fabrics, and sew pouches for your ritual objects. Natural fabrics are definitely best. You don't need to sew them yourself, of course, but pouches are very easy, and putting your care into them will convey your care to the objects that are stored in them.

Plastic mini-drawers are not recommended. Although they are very handy - and I admit to having used them myself. But they seem to stifle the energy in ritual items.

Still, it may be better than a jumble of items in a bag stuffed under the bed.



Where To Store Your Ritual Tools


Keep your ritual tools under the altar if at all possible. Or beside it if necessary . . . as near as may be.
If there's too much to fit, chances are you need to release some. This is actually always a good idea. (See Disposal of Your Ritual Tools, below.)






Disposal Of Your Ritual Tools


When something comes off your altar, you are likely done with it. Unless it is expensive or hard to replace, you'll likely find another one when you need it.
So when you clear something off your altar, consider passing it on.

While it's still vibrantly alive, it will appreciate going to good use elsewhere. Plus, this relieves you of caring for hundreds of ritual tools that you never use - something that simply can't be done properly.



Where To Pass On Wiccan Tools


You can give ritual tools to other witches.
One lovely way is to have a give-away. Wrap each item, and then take them to your next ritual. Let each person there choose, until they are all gone.

This is not only a kindness to your Wiccan tools, but shows your appreciation for those you Circle with!

Another option, if the energy is good and the object agrees, is to give it to someone you love, as a blessing.

You can also release things to the wild. If it came from nature, you can take it back to its natural environment, if possible the place you found it.

Or you can offer them to the Goddess at a natural "altar" - a stone, tree, cave, beach, or whatever feels right. From there, their life is their own. They could end up anyplace! Wherever the Divine chooses for them, or they choose for themselves.



Before Letting Go


Remember to give this object your thanks. It gave a lot of itself for your benefit, and receives so little in return. Show it real gratitude.
In doing so, you become more honourable, and more ritual tools are then happy to work with you.



What To Do With Expired Spells


When you've crafted a spell, and its work is done, you must release it.
Generally, it is best not to recycle spell materials, although everyone has their own ideas about this. Solid objects that can be purified are easier to reuse than herbs and feathers. Use your own judgement.

And what to do with what you can't reuse? Give them to the Goddess . . .

In fire, if safe to burn (no artificial fibres etc),
In water, if not toxic or dangerous to wildlife, or
In earth.

"Losing" Ritual Objects


You can't really lose a sacred object.
They may disappear, but you haven't lost them.

When sacred items have completed the work they needed to do with you, or if they find someone who needs them more, they may wander off.

This doesn't mean you can't look for them, ask around, do a finding spell, and so on. But once you feel it's really gone, let it go with your blessings, and your thanks.






Care of Deities


Deities that you have on your altar may be statues, pictures, or items that symbolise a deity, like a shell for Aphrodite.
But no matter what it's made out of, an altar deity is not just a thing.

It is the Divine.

Anything that is venerated as a goddess or god becomes Divine. You may not be able to sense it, at first, but it happens.

So treating altar deities with respectful care is very important. As you treat Her representatives, so you treat the Divine.



Cleaning Altar Deities


The great way to tend to altar deities - besides making offerings - is to get a couple of new makeup brushes. A fat fluffy one, and a narrow one will take care of any dust that accumulates.
Keep them specifically for tending your altar.

When you are going to handle a deity, it is respectful to bow or lambaste or in some way greet Her, and share your intentions.

Then handle Her gently and with care, as you would a baby in your care. And when She is refreshed, set Her back with another bow, and gratitude for Her presence.

Keep the Goddess fresh and well-loved on your altar, and She will be strong and happy in your life.
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