Articles — altars

What's in your chalice? Ceremonial drinks for every season

Posted by Michelle Gruben on

What's in your chalice? Ceremonial drinks for every season

Passing the cup is a time-honored rite that's part of many a Pagan gathering. The act of blessing and sharing a beverage is certainly more important than what's in the vessel—but that doesn't mean the contents should be overlooked entirely. Celebrating with a seasonal beverage is a great way to honor the turning of the Wheel. If you've been filling your ritual chalice with boxed wine and Sprite since the beginning of time...well, read on. The suggestions in this article are based on traditional correspondences. Of course, what fruits and vegetables are in season depends on your climate and location....

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Let's talk athames! Choosing a ritual knife

Posted by Michelle Gruben on

Let's talk athames! Choosing a ritual knife

One of the most important Witch’s helpers is the athame, or ritual knife. The athame is the elemental tool of Air or of Fire, depending on your tradition. It is generally not used to cut physical objects, but to direct energy and draw boundaries. Most closely associated with Wiccan practice, the word “athame” is of ambiguous origin. (Read: Gerald Gardner probably made it up.) But you don’t have to be Wiccan to use an athame. Magickal practitioners of many paths have adopted the term to distinguish ritual knives from their mundane cousins. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the...

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Holy crap! On the proper disposal of magickal trash

Posted by Michelle Gruben on

Holy crap! On the proper disposal of magickal trash

The candles have been extinguished, the circle opened, and the spell completed.  But what do with the leftover stuff?  You probably know how easy it is to get saddled with ritual debris: candle stubs, bits of fabric and string, bottles, bags, and written spells.  Though no longer useful, these items once held great meaning.  Just throwing them away seems inappropriate.   But keeping them around can stunt your magic and clutter up your house.  In this article, we'll consider ways of ethically, safely, and effectively disposing of the physical remnants of spellwork. Re-using ritual items Some ritual items are suitable...

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All about candle snuffers

Posted by Michelle Gruben on

All about candle snuffers

A candle snuffer is a tool made of a hinged bell attached to a handle.  Its purpose is to neatly put out burning candles, without the danger or mess of spattering wax. Candle snuffers are usually made of brass, pewter, or iron, though some are made of heat-resistant resin. The candle snuffer is a quaint implement, which harkens back to pre-industrial days when many, many candles would have been needed to adequately light a room.  Blowing them all out certainly would have required a lot of breath!  Also, candles in the past were often made out of animal tallow, which...

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Magic wand basics (Part One): Choosing a wand

Posted by Michelle Gruben on

Magic wand basics (Part One): Choosing a wand

A wand is a basic tool that can make your magic more fun and effective.  Sure, it won't levitate your enemies like Harry Potter's, or illuminate the entire room like Gandalf's.  But it can help you to visualize and send energy more precisely--a strong advantage in spellwork, healing, and many other magickal pursuits. This article addresses some common beginner's questions about choosing a wand.  Your wand may be purchased, handmade by you, or adapted from some other, non-magickal item.  No matter where your wand comes from, here's some options to consider: Material The material of the wand is probably the...

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