Ritual and Tools
The Rites and Rituals which are done to honor the Lord and Lady, are also ways to touch, however briefly, the creative power and assistance of the deities.
They are our small way to merge with the God and Goddess whom we wish to honor and serve, as well as permitting us to engage in the perpetuity of birth, death and rebirth, the natural cycles of all things.
The tools with which you do your rituals should be treated as sacred, but too, as trusted old companions.. They will serve you, and the gods greatly in the months and years ahead, so treat them with love and respect. Bless and charge them prior to your workings, and care for them carefully.
Choosing tools with which to work is a matter of real and great importance.
The tools which we use are reminiscent in Celtic Spirituality, of the four magical objects brough with the Tuatha De Dannan to Ireland.
The objects, arranged in a clockwise direction are representative of the four elements, while we, the human spirit, are the fifth.
The Lai Fal, the spear of Lugh, the Sword of Nuada, and the Cauldron of Dagda, are the objects brought to light by the Tuatha De Dannan. We in our turn use the athame, the cauldron, or chalice, the wand or staff, and often use sacred stones in our work.
These are not always easy to find, and in some cases it takes years. My own still seem to come to me when I least expect one, and in many cases the tools will in fact choose you.
The wand and chalices that you choose may or may not be the only ones you possess, but the first, will evoke memories of your beginnings in a new life ,and in a new craft, and will most likely be with you for many years. Choose them wisely and well, or wait, until they find you.
There is no need for your tools to be gold, or gem encrusted or silver and of vast expense.. Many witches and druids find that the perfect tool is one which manifested itself on a woodland walk, or in a garden. What feels right to you most probably is right, and will work for the good of all. Remember that your tools, as all else you do in the craft, serve not only you, but the Lord and Lady, and all else that your life touches. The work they do must be for the good of all and harming none, as our laws tell us. Assure yourself that this is so by proper dedication and charging of your tools.
Remember this as well. Believe in what you do. Believe in who you are and what youdo within the circle. There is no tool which can serve you, no faith that can guide you and no Lord or Lady who can touch your life in any way, unless you believe in its ability to do so. Your faith, above all else, will teach you what is the proper path for your workings
is a knife bearing a double edge. It is typically black handled, usually not sharp, and is used for ritual direction of energies, in ceremonial and magickal purposes.
The athame represents the masculine aspects of power. It manifests and directs your powers and energies in the direction that you wish them. With time, the energies of both athame and witch grow, in accord and concert with one another
Give your athame a name, in your dedication of it, further enhancing its relationship with you.
some of the usages of the athame are casting the circle, closing a circle,invocation of thr God and Goddess,direction of magick, and as a representation in the Great Rite.
traditionally the bolline is a white handled knife, and unlike the athame is sharpened,used specifically for work with other articles of the craft. It is usually used to carve candles, to cut herbs, or do other day to day work of the craft.
is the representative of the Goddess .Feminine in nature, the cauldron is associated in the most intimate manner with female energies.
It is representative of the womb of our mother earth. Used in the kitchen, usually for cooking, a cauldron is therefore seen as nurturing and aiding the growth of the family.
The cauldron is used to hold elements. Earth,Air,Fire,Water, as well as to mix certain brews in ritual.
Also a feminine energy tool, it is representative of receptivity, or the openess of the female. The chalice can be as simple or as ornate as you desire. It can be a goblet specially bedecked with gems or enscribed with symbols, or a simple glass from your kitchen. Do keep that glass separate and apart, using it just for ritual.
The chalice is used to share wine or water, to share a celebratory cake or drink, and in the great rite, the athame is passed into the chalice to evoke the image of the union of the God and Goddess.
The most fundamental part of the ritual is the circle in which it is held, and the altar which it is held upon.
The altar is a basic part of Celt rites, each element represented upon its surface by one of the tools.
To set up your own altar, first select the tools for the altar, which should include, a symbol of the Goddess and God. These may be anything which is right for you, a plant, a statue, or a small ornament in the shape of hawk, eagle or owl, if that is your choosing.
The wand, chalice, (or cup if you prefer) bowl, athame, incense holder, altar cloth, wine cup, three candle holders, as well as three candles, and a pentacle, even one which is drawn on paper will suite.
The candles, which are traditionally white, red, and green have meaning in each color. Suite them to the sabbat celebrated, or to your tastes after you have researched what you wish to ask or portray.
Your altar is your own personal merging, your travel to the God and Goddess so let it be individual to your tastes, or those of your group, if you practice in such a way.
An altar may be the earth, a stone, or rock, or a lovely carven table, of symbology to you.
Cover its surface with the altar cloth, which may be embellished with symbols of the Goddess, spirals, stars, celtic knots, suns and etc.
Position your altar facing the north, permitting yourself a sturdy enough surface to allow movement of tools and items.
Facing north, place the Goddess symbol to the left and that of the God to the right, toward the back, center of the altar.
Place a green candle in a holder on the left side of the altar next to the Goddess symbol, and a red candle in the holder on the right, or the God side. '
The wand rests on the goddess side as well, as the bowl of salt and chalice of water.
On the God side, rests a white candle of the Goddess, an incense burner, and the athame.
In the center stands the chalice or goblet of juice or wine, which may rest over the pentacle, a symbol of perfect love and perfect peace.
The circle is the symbol of the earth, and all of the elements that reside upon her breast.
All of life is a circle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.
It is as well a symbol of unending union between God, Goddess, and humanity.
The circle, well cast, with the watchtowers and gate in place, is a place of sanctity, much as the Christian church is sacrosanct to them.
It may be lit surrounding it with fires, or as the ancient Celt tradition, may be made from stones placed around it, or simply of your own energy.
It is a means of protection from negative energies or influences, and is considered sacred space until it is undone.
Calmly and silently visualise a clear light which washes the room, as you ask aloud, "May all that is foul begone, now and forever more, in the Lady's name." Three times this is spoken, as the speaker moves in a sunwise circle.
Taking up the athame, draw a clockwise circle around the ritual area, seeing the blue flame sweeping outward from the blade.
Purify the four directions with salt, starting at the northerly side, moving to east, south, and west.
Face the altar and speak, "Blessed be Blessed Be the Lord and Lady, Blessed Be those who gather here."
Merging, or in alpha, knock nine times on the altar with the wand, or handle of the athame, in three sets of three knocks.
When the circle is drawn, call the four wards to stand guard at each of the four directions during your ritual.
Bring the altar tools to the center of the circle.
Sprinkle a bit of salt at the north point, set the bowl down, and holding the athame in the right hand, life both arms intoning the words "Ruler of the north march, come I pray you, to protect the gate of the north ward. Come, I summon you."Set the athame back on the altar.
Taking incense, to the east direction, move the burner back and forward hree times, setting it down, raise the arms, and speak "Ruler of the East march, come I pray you, protect the gate of the east ward.Come I summon you.:
Lighting the white candle, take it to the south point, and in the same fashion set the warders at the north.
To the west goes the chalice of water, and the wards are set again, speaking the same phrase.
Returning to the center of the circle, the names of the Gods and Goddesses who patronize you, or with whom you are most comfortable, "I ask your aid in the circle this eve. I ask your aid in protection for those who work in your name. Our fires still burn at your altar."
CUTTING THE GATE
Just below the eastern point, a gate is cut, an energy gate, with the athame, for those with whom you are working to enter. After entry, the gate is closed with the athame, which is them replaced on the altar,
Typically after the ritual, and especially on Great days, and High moons, it is the custom to fill a glass with mead or ale and toast to a favorite God or Goddesses.
Feasting also is the tradition, with a meal prepared and eaten after the ritual by all who took part, or looked on. The feast, one of the gifts of Dagda, is a sacred meal in honor of the God and Goddess, with the spirituality or magicks discussed in a round table fashion.
CLOSING AND RELEASING THE CIRCLE
At the end of the rite, thank the God and Goddess for their kindness and aid, and for being a part of the circle in which you worked.
Moving in a counterclockwise circle, lift the athame and see the circle being lifted into its blade.
Knock three times on the altar, and lower to the ground, the hands pressed flat to the earth, to ground the energies to the earth.
The words, "Undone, but not broken" release the circle.
The rite is completed, leave the circle immediately.