Last October I wrote a purification ritual in anticipation of Samhain rites and led it at the October Spirit Circle. The original ritual was set up with participants encircling a raised altar. The initial results were positive, but not really in line with the amount of effort it took to put on the ritual. The following week, I adapted the ritual for an outdoor setting, encircling a bonfire. The participants moved in and out of the center, each taking their turn in contemplation at each of the four elemental stations. Participants were deeply moved, and the energetic results were spectacular. Yesterday, I adapted the ritual for a smaller, more intimate indoor setting.
The ritual went smoothly, and all participants reported a feeling of weight being lifted from them. I, myself, even as the facilitator of the ritual, felt strong effects in the moment. After the ritual, I was overcome by a deepening sense of calm. I slept well for the first time in weeks. I felt fantastic in the morning, which is something that almost never happens.
I think it’s safe to say that the ritual is ready for wider testing.
Clever readers will recognize elements from a variety of sources. The altar construction and layout has its roots in eclectic Wicca. The blessings of the elemental components are adapted from Agrippa via Rufus Opus. The magical Names and barbarous words are drawn from the Stele of Jeu. The concluding meditation on the Light is drawn from Thelema and modern Gnosticism. The decision to mix all these things together, of course, is rooted in my study of chaos magick.
Please check out the ritual behind the cut.
I. Altar and Tools
The altar for this ritual goes in the center of the ritual space. Enough space must be left round the altar so that everyone can circle up around it and still leave enough room for up to four people to be at the altar at once. The altar needs for elemental stations surrounding a central sacred fire. The Earth station requires a bowl of salt. The Air station requires a great deal of insense. The Fire station requires candles or a lamp. The Water station requires a bowl for lustral waters large enough for participants to put their hands in. At the center should be a cauldron or bonfire or other vessel for a large open flame into which something might be thrown and burned.
In addition to the bowl and cauldron and everything else for the altar, there must be enough cutting implements for everyone participating in the ritual and rope, thread, ribbon, or something else for them to cut. The lustral waters are made by combining salt, Florida water, and cool clean water in the bowl. (Substitute your own recipe as desired.) I recommend frankincense and/or myrrh for the incense.
Ritual tools, robes, and altar bling can be added to taste.
Build the altar in advance. Set the cutting impliments and thread where they can be easily accessed during the ritual. Make sure that everyone washes their hands before the ritual (because sharing isn’t always caring.) Recruit volunteers to call the elements.
Gather everyone around the altar. Enter group mind with breathwork; escalate this as needed. Have everyone turn their backs to the altar and draw a banishing pentagram. When you are done, face the altar again and cast the circle by invoking the elements.
The ritual leader performs the preliminary invocation: “Aoth! Abraoth! Basum! Isak! Sabaoth! Iao! Subject to me all spirits, so that every spirit, whether of the earth or the waters, or upon the earth, or beneath the earth, or of the air or the far heavens, may be obedient to me, and to every enchantment.”
The ritual leader then repeats the six names, which are chanted back by all participants: “Aoth! (Aoth!) Abraoth! (Abraoth!) Basum! (Basum!) Isak! (Isak) Sabaoth! (Sabaoth!) Iao! (Iao!)”
The ritual leader then purifies the materials while the other participants chant tones (ex: “ohm”): “Io Iao! Io Dionysos! Io Zagreus! Make pure these vessels that they may purify us in turn! Io Zagreus! Io Dionysos! Io Iao!”
Pour salt in bowl at Earth station – “Make pure these creatures of earth that they serve us as a firm foundation against which to face our demons!”
Light the incense at Air station – “Make pure this creature of air that it may drive away the miasma that surrounds us!”
Light the candle at the Fire station – “Make pure this creature of fire that it may illuminate the darkness and the things which stand in our way!”
Mix the lustral waters at Water station – pour salt into the bowl, pour florida water over salt, poor water over that mixture – “Make pure this creature of water that it may wash away our sins.”
Light the caulddron – “Make pure this creature of light!”
All participants begin to chant “I A O”. One by one, participants step forward to contemplate at each of the elemental stations, washing their hands with salt at Earth, fumigating themselves at Air, candlegazing at Fire, before finally washing their hands and faces in the lustral waters at Water. The chanting continues throughout.
When all participants (including the ritual leader) have presented themselves at all four stations, the ritual leader passes out lengths of thread, rope, or cord to each participant and instructs them to envision the thread as the things which restrain them and from which they wish to escape. After giving them time to do so, the ritual leader instructs everyone to cut their cords in two and throw the pieces in the cauldron.
Once all cords are burning, resume tonal chanting as the ritual leader yells: “anlala lai gaia apa diakhanna knorun!”
The ritual leader then draws everyone’s attention to the sacred fire: “Behold this light for it is the light of all creation. It is the spark that brought you into this world. It is the heart of the sun to which you will return. It is the dream you have forgotten, and the ambition toward which we must all strive. Behold the light. You are the light. Recall the dream. You are the divine light of creation. It is you who possesses the immortal fire. Awaken. It is you who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world. It is you who begets and destroys. It is you who are the creator. Hold the memory of that knowledge in your hearts.”
Give everyone a moment to hold that energy then call for volunteers to dismiss the elements. Banish after everyone leaves