We don’t dwell a whole lot on what some may consider proper ritual clothing and tools but admittedly, we do enjoy our bling. 😉 The primary purpose of ritual tools and robes, etc. is that these preparations put us in the right frame of mind for communing with the divine. When a particular item of clothing or tool is dedicated to the purpose of ritual and magickal workings, it helps us to mentally prepare ourselves for the task at hand. It is a good idea to spend as much time with your ritual tools as you can and cleanse and charge them regularly. The more of our own energies we put into something, the more it will become totally ours.
A disk or plate inscribed with a pentacle often used on the altar to represent the element of Earth. Sometimes used as a base for the chalice or other magickal object.
An athame is a magical knife used in ceremonies and rituals for directing energies such as when casting circle or drawing an invoking or banishing pentagram. Traditionally this tool has a black handle and the blade is intentionally dull but some practitioners opt for less traditional styles.
It’s basically a broom but it’s designated for magickal purposes. Used for cleansing sacred space or to sweep negative energy away from any area where it is unwanted. Often used for home cleansing rituals as well.
In our tradition, initiated members (clergy) receive a charm on their purple, initiates cord with one given for each Sabbat and each Esbat attended by the member. During their training, one factor considered by the elders when deciding if someone is ready to advance to the next level in their training is based on attendance. The more Sabbats and Esbats one attends, the more charms (bling) one receives, therefore proving their attendance. If you see someone with a lot of bling on their purple cord then that person has been to many events with us and is probably quite knowledgeable in our ritual elements.
A representation of bounty and blessings as in the good god Dagda’s cauldron from which none went away hungry and is often used to hold just about anything you want it to such as herbs or offerings. Surely you’re familiar with what a cauldron looks like. It’s basically an old styled cooking pot.
Censer or Incense Burner
A container for a hot coal used for the altar incense or a holder for stick or cone incense and may even represent the element of Air.
A ceremonial cup. Often used on the altar to hold the element of Water and to represent the feminine energy of the Goddess. Also used to hold the wine or juice for the ale part of the consecration of cakes and ale.
A purple cord is the initiate’s cord and it is thinner than the others but has a loop at the end which is intended for collecting charms which are given out to clergy members who attend Sabbats and Esbats. These charms are often referred to as “bling” among the members and the cord itself is often called a “bling cord”. This is not only a fun way to show off how many events you have participated in as a priestess or priest but also it is how the elders within the temple determine whether a person has had a sufficient level of participation to be considered for elevation to the next degree in their clergy training. This is by no means the only factor considered in that decision but it is one of them.
A white cord indicates a first degree and these people are generally knowledgeable in ritual elements used within the temple such as calling the quarters, sweeping the circle before ritual (a magickal cleansing of negative energy), guardian duties (one of the roles within the temple), anointing or smudging participants into circle or helping with altar setup. These clergy members have a good foundational know ledge of general Pagan practices and concepts and can usually help an initiate or dedicant find answers to basic questions.
A black cord indicates a second degree priest or priestess and these are people who are learning the more in depth elements of ritual and magick. These folks may sometimes be called upon to write and officiate a ritual themselves as part of their training because upon attaining their next degree they could, at their discretion, choose to hive off and start a group of their own so they are expected to know how to do all of these things and teach them to others by the time they reach that level. They should have a good working knowledge of concepts regarding energy working, divination, Pagan philosophy and culture, ancient languages, writing and symbology and other areas of interest which they have chosen to study. For some this may be herbology, or spellworking or ancient mythology and lore or any number of things. We allow our clergy to pursue those topics which interest them and do our best to provide them with the tools they need to attain proficiency. But we don’t prescribe a set area of knowledge and expect one size to fit all.
A red cord indicates a third degree member and this is the highest level attainable. If this person has chosen to hive off and form a group of their own they may additionally have a metallic cord indicating their status as a High Priest or High Priestess. With or without the metallic cord though this person is expected to be able to fill any role needed within the temple as well as write and officiate their own rituals. People of this degree should be quite knowledgeable in Pagan history, ritual, culture, mythology, magick and other areas regarding Pagan studies. Although this person has attained the highest degree we offer learning never ceases and we do offer some advanced studies and activities intended for our third degree clergy such as paranormal investigation, remote viewing, energy working practices and deeper study of ancient cultures, etc.
Many of our temple members, but not all, have chosen a magickal name (sometimes called craft name) to be called by. The history of this practice is said by some to date back to a time when keepers of the old ways were only known to each other by their magickal names, making it impossible for anyone to turn a casual acquaintance in to the authorities during the inquisitions where rewards sometimes were great. These names also give a persona during ritual when a person steps into the body of that magickal person and leaves their mundane self outside the circle. This, for some, serves a similar purpose as a robe and the use of dedicated magickal tools.
Pentagram or Pentacle
A pentagram is drawn as five lines crossed to form a star with five points. A pentacle is a pentagram enclosed within a circle. It has been a symbol of peace, truth, and protection for many thousands of years. We look at it as representing the four Elements ruled by Spirit at the top.
For a lot of folks, putting on your ritual robe is a way of separating yourself from the mundane world and day to day life and putting yourself into the ritual mindset. Most people prefer to wear nothing at all under their ritual robe, but do what is comfortable for you.
Skyclad, or completely unclothed, is to be clothed in your original ritual robes, the skin of your body that you were bestowed with when you were born into this incarnation. Skyclad ritual is a standard practice in many traditions and is our preferred mode of ritual for Initiation rites and Esbats at Temple Of the Standing Stones. There is nothing wrong with it if all agree and are comfortable and the founding members of our temple unanimously agreed that the energy raised at skyclad Esbats has been exquisite. Still, we hold Sabbats and New Moons throughout the year as well which are robed so if skyclad is not something you are comfortable with there are plenty of opportunities to participate in ritual with us and stay clothed.
Sometimes used for opening or closing gates between the worlds or to ground energy. Also good to lean on when you’re tired or have a long way to walk! Many people adorn their staves with trinkets, charms and other decorations or carve runes, symbols, talismans or other decor into them. Sometimes pyrography (wood burning) is employed to decorate them. Some anoint their staves with oils and often, as it is with wands, the wood and other materials used in their construction has magickal significance.
Also used in the same manner as an athame, but may have more specific purposes depending on the wood or other materials used in it’s construction. Sometimes a wand is used rather than an athame in many public rituals where a ritual dagger might be mistaken as a weapon by people not familiar with their use.