In the previous post, “Sacred Space and Magickal Circles”, I gave the basics for creating a spiritual working space. Before doing any magickal workings I shield, ground, and then open myself up like a battery. However, preparation for serious workings is crucial, as it helps to change your state of consciousness.
Not all workings need to have formal preparations, but I will include my more formal practices.
I cannot stress enough about researching correspondences, and deities, before performing any sort of ritual. The purpose of correspondences is that they represent a certain energy and vibration, which calls specific goals and entities into the sacred space. Also, studying a deity’s personality, mythology and correspondences, allows for better communication and understanding how your goals may be achieved.
I have noticed many popular sites and books spread false, or incomplete, information. I would suggest reading the actual mythologies, history, and archaeological books. There are sites with free PDFs for books that no longer have copyrights. You can also check out, or request, books from your library. Your library can also request rare and academic books from universities. Your local bookstore and internet stores are also a great source for obtaining these types of material.
I would advise discretion, and more in depth research, regarding books written after the turn of the century, as many are propaganda or target audiences for sales. Many of these popular books are regurgitated information, including from other popular authors of their time, and don’t always have the correct information regarding correspondences, entities, deities and ceremonial magick. I have found that while many of these books contain great techniques, there is also much misinformation regarding mythology and history of pagan and magickal ceremonies.
Many practitioners adhere to the belief that before a major working, one must follow a concrete set of rules. These may require diet restrictions, fasting, wearing different clothes (or none at all), dedication and cleansing of tools, and a ritual bath/shower. While these do help with the shift of consciousness, I do not feel they are necessary for all workings.
I do prefer a ritual bath before doing any working, especially if I will be working with other beings. I feel that it not only prepares your consciousness, but also cleanses one on all levels. I think of it as a regimen of proper hygiene before meeting a dignitary or political leader.
This particular practice was taught to me in the classes I took in the Temple of Hermetic Mysteries. There are a few differences, as I find certain ways of preparing for ritual more effective regarding my needs. The most important goal when bathing is to set the intention for the bath. It is suggested to use all natural cleansing items when ritual bathing. I add salt, herbs, essential oils, along with a crystal in bath. Regarding shampoos, soaps, etc., try to use the most natural products. There are companies online that sell all natural cleansing items. Co-ops and farmers’ markets are also good places to look for natural soaps and shampoos. You can even make your own. There are a plethora of books and sites that have recipes for natural cleaning and beauty products.
1. Check the temperature of the running water until it is comfortable, then plug the tub.
2. Add the salt, herbs, oils, and crystal in the tub, while the water is still running.
3. After the bath is filled, you may either get in and bless the water, or bless the water before entering the bath. I personally get in the bath first, so when I say the prayer/spell, I am physically included in the blessing. Begin by placing your dominant hand on the water and imagine light flowing from your hand, while seeing the water being infused with the light. Next bless the water. Here are some examples of different blessings:
“I bless this water to dispel all blockages and negativity; body, mind, soul (alternatively: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually) — on all levels of my existence. So shall I will it.”
“I bless this water in the name of the Lord and Lady (or other deity) to help remove all negativity and obstacles, body, mind and soul. So Mote it Be.”
I prefer to draw a pentacle in the water after the blessing, starting from the top right of the pentacle to seal it with Spirit.
(The difference between blessings is in the former the practitioner is using their own Will to bless and change the water. This demonstrates power that is internal. In the latter, the power is external, but just as effective.)
4. While bathing remember to wash all areas, including behind the ears.
5. Give some sort of gratitude, or thanks, when draining the water. If you have blessed it in your name, thank the water itself, as it will be the carrier of your magickal working.
If you are taking a shower, add the herbs and salt to a mesh bag and hang it over the shower head. Bless the herbs before taking a shower. Then give thanks or gratitude before leaving the shower.
Dressed or Skyclad?
Depending on the type of ceremony you are holding, it is important to ask yourself what kind of apparel and accessories one should wear. Sometimes, especially in certain covens, it is preferred that members go skyclad (nude).
It is important to feel your best when interacting with other beings. Many beings have the ability to pick up moods and energy, and will use it to their advantage — including higher level entities such as gods, angels, djinn and demons.
The way you present yourself also sets the mood and the type of working you are doing. If you are doing a ritual for abundance, or wealth, you dress and buy supplies that reflect that attitude. Though it sounds silly to some, the Law of Attraction does exist. If you wish for more money but dress in your casual, thrift store clothing, the universe and deity you work with (even if it is your Higher Self) will see what you are presenting as your version of having money. Instead wear the nicest clothes you have, even drawing logos on pieces of paper and attaching them to your clothing. This draws in the energy of the expensive brands you wish to possess. An example would be to draw a logo representing a popular and expensive shoe brand, then taping the logo to the nicest shoes you own that look similar to that brand. When doing a similar type of spell, you will also want to look and smell nice, as you are drawing in affluence.
Many initiation rituals are the opposite. Wearing simple ritual clothing reflecting the ritual, or even going skyclad, brings in the sense of humility and new beginnings. Going skyclad with no jewelry (this includes removing earrings, lip rings, tongues rings, bellybutton rings and any genitalia piercings), shows that you are committed to strip down the ego of your old Self, and if working with other deities, that you humble yourself before them.
When doing most rituals remember that what you wear and how you present yourself is going to be your trademark. First impressions allow an entity to judge the best way to help you achieve your goals, while allowing them to decide what they want in payment. It is to your advantage to dress well, be well spoken, and do extensive research on the background of the entity you choose to work with.
Altars and Offerings
Altar and circle preparation are equally as important. Candle color should carefully be considered based on the entities you work with and the type of working. Same with altar cloth colors and items on the altar. Back to the example of money, the colors green and gold emit vibrations that draw in wealth and money. Placing coins, or representations of hundred dollar bills, is an example of items that can be displayed on the altar.
Offerings, or cakes and ale, should also mirror the ritual. For example, when doing a wealth ritual any food that displays wealth, such as expensive chocolates, the most expensive wine you can afford, food shaped like money or whatever you personally see as wealth, can also be blessed and consumed.
Remember that it is important to offer deity libations first, then take some yourself. You are not only communing with the entity you have chosen to work with, but are consuming the intention of the ritual, allowing it to permeate your being.
Incense, and certain smells, aren’t always on listed in legends. Try to use your best judgement, and in this case, I would study many different books — the older the better — for correspondences. The reason older correspondences work, is because the intention has been set and used for many years. This does not mean that when inspired you can’t choose to use something other than a traditional scent. However, be aware that some entities are very traditional and only accept what offerings have been established in the collective consciousness.
I will discuss other preparations regarding grounding and generating energy before the ritual, in the next article.
Photo Credit: “Venus and Nymphs Bathing” Louis-Jean-Francois Lagrenee (1776)