Before you begin a formal ritual, you must cast an astral or spiritual temple above and surrounding the circle and the location. In your mind's eye, visualise your own temple, perhaps one from the ancient world, resplendent with gold and jewels, with a statue of a deity in marble, gold or silver. The roof of the temple may form a crystalline pyramid or be open to the stars. (Readers of the late Dion Fortune's occult novels will have no difficulty in forming images of such splendid edifices.) Or you may create a grove of oak or olive trees or one of the ancient stone circles as your working place or a castle room whose battlements are lashed by a stormy sea.
The altar in your temple may be pure gold, ornate stone or beaten copper, and the candles may be set in ancient lamps. With practice, you may find that a particular temple form automatically creates itself in your mind's vision, but if this is not helpful, then concentrate on the magick that exists your own very special working place.
Let us go through a formal ritual. I have created this one for a solitary practitioner, but it adapts well for a group.
A Formal Ritual To Restore Prosperity
Such a ritual could be used, for example, to boost employment in a town that has become an urban wasteland.
* Set four floor candles in the elemental colours in the four main compass points of what will be the circle. The altar is in the centre.
* Place a single large beeswax candle in the centre of the altar. Arrange your tools and the four elemental substances, also on the altar, to form a square around the central candle: salt in the North, frankincense, fern or cinnamon incense in the East, a gold candle in the South, for abundance, and a jug of water and two small dishes in the West.
* Set the pentacle containing a honey cake in the North, and place the athame in the East, the wand in the South and the chalice of juice or wine in the West.
* Place a ball of clay or dough within the elemental square, on a dish in front of the candle so that light shines on it.
* Facing North, light the altar candle.
* Take the salt from the North and stir it deosil with your athame, saying:
Power of new life, power of healing, power of regeneration, enter this salt, I ask, mother and father of light and love.
You can substitute the names of gods and goddesses associated with success, prosperity, fertility and renewal into the ritual if you wish.
* Take next the water from the West and pour some into one of the dishes. Stir it deosil, saying:
Power of growth, power of fertility, power of prosperity, enter this water, I ask, mother and father of abundance and increase.
* Now take the salt to the water and tip a little in it, stirring it once more with the athame, saying:
Dissolve and disperse, flow far and free to attract rebirth to -[name the town] and its inhabitants.
* Now cast the circle around the elemental candles, with your wand, starting from the North in a single unbroken movement, visualising as you do a stream of light emanating from it that encloses you above, around and beneath. (If you are working with a group, they can stand or sit within a circle while you cast around them. This is better than slowing the ceremony by having people entering the circle separately after it is cast and then having to close the circle after each one.) Say:
I cast this circle of light, of power and of protection. May the circle that is cast always be unbroken. Bless my workings this night [or day], O mother and father of rebirth and renewal, unified and yet two, and all that is and has been and shall be, creative spirit of the universe, the cosmos and the smallest blade of grass.
Pick up the bowl of salt water and sprinkle a second circle deosil around the perimeter of the first, saying:
Salt and water, enclose, bless and protect you who have sustained life from the beginning and will so to the end.
If others are present, a second witch or the High Priest then sprinkles all present individually with the water, saying 'Bless and protect'.
* Light the incense in the East (or add to it if it was lit before the ritual).
* Create a third circle around the perimeter, saying:
Breath of life, bring purity, clarity and focus, force of life itself that flows alike within plant, tree, bird, animal, human and stone. Bless and protect.
You are now going to light the elemental candles, and as you do so invoke the Guardians. Re-light the taper from the central candle as necessary.
* Light a taper from the central candle and carry it to the North, saying:
Lord [or Lady] ofthe Northern Watchtower, I call upon your strength and persistence to restore the prosperity and stability to this town where new industry and investment are so badly needed.
* Light the green candle of the North.
Lord [or Lady] ofthe Eastern Watchtower, I call upon your swiftness and clarity of purpose, to bring technologies and opportunities into this town to attract new kinds of work, perhaps from overseas.
* Light the yellow candle of the East.
* Go next to the South and say:
Lord [or Lady] ofthe Southern Watchtower, I call upon your cleansing fire and spirit of inspiration to purge what is redundant and corrupt and to bring hope and energy to this town where decay and despair have taken root.
* Light the red candle of the South.
* Go finally to the West and say:
Lord [or Lady] of the Western Watchtower, I call upon your healing and restoration to heal bitterness and divisions between the people who have experienced such hard times and whose town has become ravaged and neglected.
* Light the blue candle of the West.
Now you are going to empower the clay. If working as a group, once the clay has been empowered with the ritual substances, you could pass it round for each person to fashion it and add their energies.
* Take the salt and sprinkle a few grains on the clay, saying:
Make new buildings rise, new industries grow, new houses and parkland, schools and health centres be created, that this town may be a worthy home to those who work in it.
* Take the incense and circle the clay nine times, saying:
Bring retraining, new investment, government grants, new technology and new equipment so that the town may become a hive of activity and generate ever more opportunities into the next century and beyond.
* Light the gold candle in the South (in this case it will be different from the candle of the southern watchtower) and pass it over the clay so that single drop of gold wax falls on it, saying:
Bring gold of prosperity, gold of abundance, fire of inspiration and creativity so that this town maybe rich in opportunity, in the arts and in culture, as well as in material wealth.
* Finally, sprinkle the clay with a single drop of water from the jug or a second dish, saying:
May the lifeblood of the town be restored and fertility course through the veins of the people that their children and grandchildren may know happiness and lives unclouded by sorrow and anxiety for their livelihood and their dwellings.
* Taking the clay between your hands, begin to mould it, using a marking tool if you wish, to make a tool, such as a wheel, or a figure, a bridge, a loaf, a house or a flower, or any abstract symbol that represents the rebirth of the town through its people. Endow it with your wishes, visualising the place growing and prospering, perhaps reciting:
Go forth, increase and multiply, or
Rise again from the ashes, rise anew, rise glorious, rise, rise again. Chant faster and faster until at last you toss the ball into the air and catch it, saying;
Go far, go free, bring life to thee.
In a group, you could pass the endowed clay round a second time, tossing it from person to person while chanting.
* Return the clay to the altar and take your honey cake on its dish.
* Hold it over the central candle, saying:
Bring abundance to those who need it, enough for their needs and a little more, joy and hope.
* Bite into the cake and scatter a few crumbs on the clay, instead of in a libation dish.
* Take the athame and plunge it into the chalice, saying:
God to goddess, join thus thy power and give power to thy people who are in need this hour.
* Drink from the chalice and instead of dropping some wine in the libation dish or on the ground, let a drop fall on the clay, saying:
Fruit ofthe vine, harvest gathered and transformed, transform likewise what is barren to what is fruitful and living.
If you are in a group, you can pass the cakes and wine round and each person can contribute a positive thought or perhaps voice any personal worries they may have about employment and ask for blessing.
* Sit in the candlelight, seeing the new town rising from the old, and if you have any special fear about your own job security or those of loved ones, let these too flow away as the released energies multiply. Allow any excess energies to drain back into the Earth, by pressing with your hands, feet and body.
* Beginning in the West, blow out the candle, saying:
Lord [or Lady] ofthe Western Watchtower, I thank you for your healing and your harmonising light.
Go now in peace.
* Move next to the South. Blow out this candle, saying:
Lord [or Lady] ofthe Southern Watchtower, I thank you for your inspiration and your cleansing light.
Go now in peace.
* Move next to the East. Blow out this candle and say:
Lord [or Lady] ofthe Eastern Watchtower, I thank you for your clarity and your life-restoring light.
Go now in peace.
* Move finally to the North. Blow out this candle and say:
Lord [or Lady] of the Northern Watchtower, I thank you for your grounding power and your protecting light. Go now in peace.
* Take again your wand and, starting from the North and working widdershins, close the circle just once, saying:
May the circle be uncast but remain unbroken, may light and love and healing still remain and fall on whoever needs their blessing.
* Leave the clay and allow the central and elemental Fire candle and the incense to burn away. When they are burned through, clear them away and bury the clay beneath a living tree or in a large plant of lavender or basil.
There are many other things you can add to a formal ritual, for example, ringing the bell or drawing pentagrams. In this ritual, you could also have passed the elemental tools over the clay to give it additional power. Ceremonies are really a glorious mix and match and this is just a sample of how you can combine the tools and the forms to create the ceremony you want.
You may like to record in your Book of Shadows those rituals that work well and others that did not seem so potent, together with any reasons why you think this is so. In time, you will develop perhaps three or four basic ritual 'templates' for coven or personal work, and with practice the preparations and stages will become almost automatic. As your energies ever more creative and spontaneous, they will, within a formal framework, become incredibly potent.
11 - Moon Magick
Moon magick is one of the oldest forms of ritual, rooted from the earliest times in the observations of humankind, of the changing phases of the Moon. These associations have passed into modern magick and it is by reconnecting with the natural energies that we can use the ebbs and flows of the lunar cycle, not only to amplify our own powers for magical purposes, but also to harmonise with them, rather than fighting against our bodies and spirits in our everyday lives.
Rituals throughout the ages have tapped into the prevailing lunar energies that, like the tides, are affected by the different cycles. In this way, magical intentions can be carried on either the outflowing or inflowing psychic tide to give them the impetus to manifest themselves in the physical world.
To go against the Moon cycles in magick or in life is a bit like swimming against the flow: quite possible with practice, but involving unnecessary effort.
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