Ritual Working

Let’s Talk Witch – Gestures In Magick


Gestures In Magick


Gestures are silent counterparts to words. Gestures can enhance Wiccan rituals when performed in conjunction with invocations or dance, or can be used alone for their real power. Pointing (as mentioned tioned above), the use of the first and middle fingers splayed to create a “v,” and the vulgar presentation of an upraised middle finger demonstrate the variety of messages that can be conveyed through gesture, as well as the range of our emotional responses to them.

My introduction to Wicca happened to include some of these old gestures. In 1971, I saw some photographs of magical protective gestures tures such as the mano figa (a hand clenched into a fist, the thumb jutting ting out between the first and middle fingers) and the mano cornuta, a “v” formed by the first and little fingers and held upside down. Both have long been used to avert the evil eye and negativity, and the latter is used in Wicca, with points up, to represent the God in his Homed aspect.

The magical significance of gestures is complex, and stems from the powers of the hand. The hand can heal or kill, caress or stab. It is a channel through which energies are sent from the body or received from others. Our hands set up our magical altars, grasp wands and athames, and pinch out candle flames at the conclusion of magical rites.

Hands, as the means by which most of us earn our livings, are symbolic of the physical world. But in their five digits lie the pentagram, tagram, the supreme protective magical symbol; the sum of the four elements coupled with akasha, the spiritual power of the universe.

The lines on our hands can, to the trained, be used to link into the deep consciousnesses and reveal things to the conscious minds that we would otherwise have difficulty knowing. The palmist doesn’t read these lines as streets on a roadmap; they are a key to our souls, a fleshly mandala revealing our innermost depths.

Hands were used as the first counting devices. They were seen to have both male and female qualities and symbolism, and images of hands were used around the world as amulets.

Gestures in Wiccan ritual can easily become second nature. When invoking the Goddess and God, the hands can be held uplifted with the fingers spread to receive their power. The Goddess can be individually invoked with the left hand, the thumb and first finger held up and curled into a half-circle, while the rest of the fingers are tucked against the palm. This represents the crescent Moon. The God is invoked with the first and middle fingers of the right hand raised, or with the first and fourth fingers up, the thumb holding down the others against the palm, to represents horns.

The elements can be invoked with individual gestures when approaching the four directions: a flat hand held parallel with the ground to invoke Earth at the North; an upraised hand, fingers spread wide apart, to invoke Air at the East; an upraised fist for the South to invite Fire, and a cupped hand to the West to invoke Water.

Two gestures, together with postures, have long been used to invoke the Goddess and God, and are named after them. The Goddess dess position is assumed by placing the feet about two feet apart on the ground, holding the hands out palms away from you, elbows bent slightly. This position can be used to call the Goddess or to attune with her energies.

The God position consists of the feet together on the floor, body held rigidly upright, arms crossed on the chest (right over left, usually), hands held in fists. Tools such as the wand and magic knife (athame) are sometimes held in the fists, echoing the practice of pharaohs of ancient Egypt who held a crook and flail in a similar position while trying ing disputes.

In coven work, the High Priestess and High Priest often assume these positions when invoking the Goddess and God. In solo workings they can be used to identify with the aspects of the Goddess and God within us, and also during separate invocatory rites.

Gestures are also used in magic. Each of the fingers relates to a specific planet as well as an ancient deity. Since pointing is a magical act and is a part of many spells, the finger can be chosen by its symbolism.

The thumb relates to Venus and to the planet Earth. Jupiter (both the planet and the god) rules the forefinger. The middle finger is ruled by the god and planet Saturn, the fourth finger the Sun and Apollo, and the little finger by the planet Mercury as well as the god after which it is named.

Many spells involve pointing with the Jupiter and Saturn fingers, usually at an object to be charged or imbued with magical energy. The power is visualized as traveling straight out through the fingers and into the object.

Other ritual gestures used in Wiccan rites include the “cutting” of pentagrams at the four quarters by drawing them in the air with the magic knife, wand or index finger. This is done to alternately banish or invoke elemental powers. It is, of course, performed with visualization.

The hand can be seen as a cauldron, since it can cup and contain water; an athame, since it is used to direct magical energy, and a wand since it can also invoke.

Gestures are magical tools as potent as any other, ones we can always take with us, to be used when needed.


–Scott Cunningham, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner


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Spells and Formulas Record Sheet

Spells and Formulas Record Sheet


TYPE OF SPELL OR FORMULA: This should state very clearly what the type of spell is e.g. blessing, binding etc. When developing formulas for lotions and potions, for instance, you need to be clear as to the exact purpose.


DATE AND TIME MADE: This gives a cross-reference should you wish to use the correct planetary hours or magical days.


REFERENCE: you should develop your own system of reference; this might be, for instance, according to the time of year or alphabetically. Do also remember to keep safely somewhere a record of how you have developed your reference system so that others may benefit from your experience.


ASTROLOGICAL PHASE: if you have an interest in astrology you will probably want to record where the planets are when you prepare the spell or formula. A decent ephemeris (list of planetary positions) can be of great help here though there are also many sources of information on the internet.


SPECIFIC PURPOSE: you should always state the specific purpose of the spell or formula very clearly. This is partly because it helps to focus your own mind, but also because it leaves no one in any doubt as to your intentions. Should you have more than one main purpose, you should also record these.


LIST OF INGREDIENTS AND/OR SUPPLIES NEEDED: Having all your ingredients to hand ensures that you are working with maximum efficiency and not misusing or needing to adjust the energy by leaving the sacred space. Also, when you repeat a working you will need to replicate what you did the first time; even one small change in ingredients can make a tremendous difference to the outcome.


SPECIFIC LOCATION REQUIRED: You may well need to perform some spells within a certain area or setting. Also you may discover that your own energy responds to some locations better than others.


DATE, TIME AND ASTROLOGICAL PHASE WHEN USED: In all probability you will not want all your spells to take effect at the time you cast them. suppose you have applied for a job and wish your spell to work at the time of interview. You would need to carefully calculate the date, time and astrological phase of the interview as well as the time you are actually casting your spell and incorporate both sets of information into your working.


RESULTS: Record carefully all aspects of results you feel are associated with your working. This record should include how successful you consider the spell to be and how it might be improved. There will be some unexpected results, some which appear not to give a tangible result and others which come into play some time after they were expected.


DEITIES INVOKED DURING PREPARATION AND/OR USE: Often a particular god can be helpful in bringing about a needed result for a spell. You will chose the most appropriate for your purpose and can always petition a different one at another time.


STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARATIONS AND/OR USE: Often when spell-working, movements and words are intuitive and instinctive; the more you are able to remember what you did the more likely you are to achieve similar results. Also, should you require them for someone to work on your behalf or to undertake someone else’s magical training, you will have an exact record.


ADDITIONAL NOTES: Here you should record for each occasion anything that seems strange, bizarre or noteworthy so that you know what to expect next time.


In each of the spells we give a list of ingredients and special articles which may be required to achieve a result for that particular spell. Because each individual brings their own energy into the process, you may find that you intuitively want to change something, whether that is an ingredient, a container or the words used. This is absolutely fine, and means that your spell has a very personal ‘feel’ to it.

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Casting A Circle

Casting A Circle


Purify yourself first. You can do this by meditating, or taking a ritual bath. One way is to, try to keep the water flowing, possibly by leaving the bath plug half in, or by having a shower. This reinforces the idea of washing away any impurities so you are not sitting in your own psychic rubbish. (Scent your bath water with your selection of a sacred or special herb or oil.) Ideally, your towel – if you choose to use one – should be clean and used only for the purpose of your ritual bath.


• • Wear something special if you can, something that you only wear during a ritual or working. You can always add a pretty scarf or a throw in the correct color for your working. This sets apart spell working from everyday confusion.


• • Decide on the extent of your circle, which should be formed in front of your altar. Purify this space by sprinkling the area with water followed by salt – both of these should have been blessed.


• • Sit quietly for as long as you can inside the area that will become your circle.


• • Imagine a circle of light surrounding you. This light could be white, blue or purple. If you are in a hurry and cannot purify and cleanse fully, reinforce the circle of light by visualizing it suffused with the appropriate color for your working.


• • Circle the light around, above and below you in a clockwise direction, like the representation of an atom. Feel it as a sphere or as a cone of power. Sense the power Remember to leave a ‘doorway’ through which your magic energy may exit. You should always feel warm and peaceful within your circle.


• • Use your own personal chant or form of words according to your own belief system to consecrate your circle and banish all evil and negative energy, forbidding anything harmful to enter your space. Remember, you are always safe within your circle if you command it to be so.


• • If appropriate, invite the Gods and Goddesses to attend your circle and magical working.


• • Relax and be happy.


If you wish, you can use objects on the ground to show the boundaries of the circle, such as candles, crystals, cord, stones, flowers or incense. The circle is formed from personal power. This may be felt and visualized as streaming from the body to form a bubble made of mist, or a circle of light. You can use the athame (ritual dagger) or your hands to direct this power.


The cardinal points of the compass may be denoted with lit candles, often white or purple. Alternatively, place a green candle at the North point of the circle, yellow candle at the East, red candle at the South and blue candle at the West. The altar stands in the centre of the circle, facing North in the direction of power.

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Consecrating Altar Objects

Consecrating Altar Objects

If you are not using completely new objects on your altar – here we are referring to the basic ‘furnishings’ of candle holders etc – you should cleanse them before you dedicate them to your purpose. Treat them in the same way as you would any crystals you use, by soaking them overnight in salt water to remove anyone else’s vibrations and then standing them in sunshine (or moonshine) for at least 12 hours to charge them with the appropriate energy.


When you are ready, hold each object and allow your own energy to flow into it, followed by the energy of your idea of Ultimate Power. (That way you make a very powerful link between yourself, the object and the Ultimate.) Ask this Power to bless the object and any working you may do with it and perceive yourself as truly a medium or channel for the energy.


Hopefully, each time you use any of the objects, you will immediately be able to reinforce that link rather than having to re-establish it. It is like a refrain continually running in the background. Now place the objects on your altar however it feels right for you.


Finally, if appropriate, create and caste your circle so that it includes yourself and your altar. The magic circle defines the ritual area, holds in personal power and shuts out all distractions and negative energies. You now have a sacred space set up which is your link to the powers that be. Again it is a matter of personal choice as to whether you choose to re-dedicate your altar and what it contains on a regular basis

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Dedicating Your Altar

Dedicating Your Altar


Now you have turned your space into an altar, dedicate it in such a way that it will support any workings you may choose to do. One good way is to dedicate it to the principle of the Greater Good – that none may be harmed by anything that you may do. (Remember that traditionally any harm you instigate deliberately will return to you threefold, particularly when it comes from such a sacred space.) It will depend on your basic belief just how you choose to dedicate the altar further, perhaps to the Moon deity and all her manifestations, perhaps to the Gods of power.


Try to put as much passion and energy into the dedication as you can and remember to include a prayer for protection of your sacred space. Some people will need to cast a circle each time they do a working, while others will feel that just by setting the altar up in the way suggested that that space is consecrated henceforth. If you wish to follow the principles of feng shui rather than Wicca within your work, your placings will be slightly different, as they will also be if you choose to follow the tenets of other religions.


However, whatever you do, you should take care to dedicate all of your tools and altar furnishings to the purpose in hand. You are empowering them and making them usable only in ritual and magical work. If you try to use them for any other purpose, you will negate that magical power.

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Consecrating Your Sacred Space

Consecrating Your Sacred Space


If you are going to be carrying out a fair number of rituals or spells, you will really need a sacred space or altar along with various other altar furnishings. Whether your altar is inside or outside does not matter. To set it up indoors, your altar and or sacred space should preferably be in a quiet place in the home, where it will not be disturbed and where candles can be burned safely.


The space first needs to be dedicated to the purpose of magical working. You can do this by first brushing the area clean with an ordinary brush, concentrating your thoughts on cleansing the space as you work physically to bring this about. Mentally cleanse the space three times, imagining doing it once for the physical world, once for the emotional space and once spiritually.


If you wish, you may sprinkle the whole area with water and with salt (which represents the Earth). You might perhaps also burn incense such as jasmine or frankincense to clear the atmosphere. Think of the space as somewhere you would entertain an honored guest in your home – you would wish the room you use to be as welcoming as it can be. You will later use your besom to keep the sacred space clear.


If you travel a lot or are pushed for space, you might dedicate a tray or special piece of wood or china for ceremonial working. This, along with your candles and incense, can then be kept together in a small box or suitcase. Otherwise, you could dedicate a table especially for the purpose. Ideally, you should not need to pack up each time.


You will also need a ‘fine cloth’ – the best you can afford – to cover the surface. Place your cloth on your chosen surface and spend some quiet time just thinking about its purpose. You may, if you wish, have different cloths for different purposes or perhaps have one basic cloth which is then ‘dressed’ with the appropriate color for each ritual.

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Your Ritual Clothing and Jewellery

Your Ritual Clothing and Jewellery


Inevitably there are certain things you will need to remember before you begin your magical working. While you are preparing and putting on your robes or ritual gowns you might spend time in reflection, silent meditation or prayer. Prior to the beginning of any spell and while dressing concentrate on the matter in hand. Alternatively, simply focus on the Supreme Being, Cosmic Responsibility and/or a successful outcome and ask that the event to follow helps you in your learning..


There is no limit to what can be worn. Some suggest white robes with black cords or vice versa, while others simply suggest that you are comfortable in what you wear. Many people will spend a great deal of time, energy and effort on fashioning suitable robes.


The idea is that when working magically you leave behind the ordinary mundane world, so turn off mobile phones, put away keys and name tags, remove money and other objects from pockets and so on.


It will be a matter of choice as to whether you wear jewellery or not. Magical jewellery such as the pentagram, ankh or rings with magical symbols or significance are often worn, although they are by no means essential. Many prefer not to wear watches, since time is considered irrelevant. It is often better not to use perfume or cologne unless it is based on essential oils which are suitable for the work in hand, or complement any incense being used.

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New Moon Rituals

 New Moon Rituals

A Portal of Change

Rituals are a way to mark turning points in your life. They can be used to symbolically welcome changes in your life. They can be simple rituals or elaborate ones. The most important thing is your full presence in the moment.

The new Moon is a magical time of beginnings, when you can recharge goals, or set new ones.

Rituals bring meaning to our lives by “charging” an intention with power. We’re always setting intentions, and this is a way to do it in a more conscious way.

There is power in coming up with visions for your life, and keeping them in your sights as they come into being. But even as you fully commit to those visions, stay flexible, since new doors may open that you didn’t expect. At the new Moon, goals and wishes take root, as you reach out for spiritual wisdom, draw on unseen allies and open the door to magical change. You might get what you ask for, or something even better that you can’t imagine yet.

It’s important to come up with a ritual that has meaning for you, instead of trying to follow any set guidelines (unless you’re part of an established ritual group).

You’re the one that knows your personal story best, and what to lift out of that narrative, what will infuse your ritual with power. Here are some general guidelines to shape your rituals using the unique symbols and totems from your life.

Gathering your Sacred Supplies Your altar is where you collect your sacred objects — pictures, found objects and the like. Using herbs with healing or symbolic properties adds to your ritual.

Stones and crystals are another powerful ally. Candles are magical, and in its form contains all four of the elements. A small journal on hand allows you to keep a record of your intentions.

Preparing for the Ritual This is the most important part of ritual, since your commitment is the key. Take a ritual bath with sea salt to clear your field of any negative energies. Sage is an herb used by the Native Americans to clear a space, and make it sacred for ritual. It’s available in most health food stores these days, and easiest to use in its wand form. Light the end and blow on it until there is a smoldering glow.

Use it around your own body, and in the space of your ritual. Clear your mind with meditation, using music or just quieting down in your cleared, sacred area.

Grounding This is something that’s important anytime, for staying connected to earth energy. Signs that you’re not grounded are mania, nervousness, racing thoughts and the like. Too often we forget to feel the earth under our feet. I’ve mentioned Starhawk a few times on the site, and her tree grounding excercise is one of my own daily rituals. In a nutshell, it’s visualizing the roots going down into the Earth, through the layers, into the core, and then drawing that energy back up through your feet again. It moves through each chakra, coming out the top and down around you. Try this or another variation of grounding before you set new Moon intentions.

Your New Moon Wishes After you’ve cleared a sacred space and settled your energy, you’re ready to set your intentions. Make a list of what you’d like to draw into your life, and Dream Big! The new Moon is a moment to conjure what seems out of reach, and creating the vision is the first step to making it a reality. But these are not just words on paper. As you write them down as intentions, you are committing to doing your part to make them real. Some call it co-creating, since you’re opening to universal energies to set dreams in motion.

Dreams of the Soul Your intentions come from the longings that keep coming up. In the days leading up to the new Moon, give some thought to those longings, and see what images, dreams and streams of thought come up. Use symbolic associations to go along with your intentions. Weave in the element for the new Moon, and think about the houses and planets that are affected by it. For an earth new Moon, for example, you might plant seeds that represent your intention. Rituals are a way to work with universal energies, and draw attention to the particular life lessons, or arena (house, planet, etc) that it illuminates for you.

Symbolic Acts Here’s where you get to be creative. If your intentions are to write a book, or broadcast your ideas out to the world, tie them to a helium balloon and send them off. Write them on a stick and offer it to the fire. To open to love, put lavender and a rose quartz in a small pouch, along with the qualities you’re seeking. If you’re inspired, add a symbolic act to your intention-setting ritual.

Keep them Alive A big part of success with new Moon intentions is what comes after. Find ways to keep them in the front of your awareness. Put them in a visible spot, or keep them in your wallet. Make notes in your journal about your progress. At the full Moon , find ways to take action on those intentions, and celebrate any signs of change.



Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Magickal Boosters, The Sun, The Moon, etc., Ritual Working, The Moon | Leave a comment

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