Chalice

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Chalice

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A chalice or goblet is a footed cup intended to hold a drink. In religious practice, a chalice is often used for drinking during a ceremony or may carry a certain symbolic meaning.

Christian

In Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and some other Christian denominations, a chalice is a standing cup used to hold sacramental wine during the Eucharist. Chalices are often made of precious metal, and they are sometimes richly enameled and jeweled. The gold goblet was symbolic for family and tradition.

The chalice is considered to be one of the most sacred vessels in Christian liturgical worship, and it is often blessed before use. In the Roman Catholic Church, and some Anglo-Catholic churches, it was the custom for a chalice to be consecrated by being anointed with chrism, and this consecration could only be performed by a bishop or abbot (only for use within his own monastery).

The Holy Chalice, also known as the Holy Grail, is in Christian tradition the vessel that Jesus used at the Last Supper to serve wine. The Synoptic Gospels refer to Jesus sharing a cup of wine with the Apostles, saying it was the covenant in his blood. The use of wine and chalice in the Eucharist in Christian churches is based on the Last Supper story.

Witches

The chalice, or goblet, is symbolic for the element of Water. Many Witches do not consider it to be a tool, but instead to be a symbol of the Goddess, particularly her womb. The chalice bears many similarities with the Holy Grail, except for its symbolism used in witchcraft. Rather than being the blood of Christ, it is symbolic of the Goddess’ womb. The chalice is often used to hold wine.

In Witches a chalice, as a feminine principle, is often used in combination with the Athame (ceremonial black-handled knife), as male principle. Combining the two evokes the act of procreation, as a symbol of universal creativity. This is a symbol of the Great Rite in Witches rituals. A chalice is also used in the Small Rite. Use it to hold any appropriate wine for your magic, offerings and/or drink. Your chalice is placed in the West: Water Element direction.

The Tree of Life

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  • The Flow and Cycles of Nature

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Witchcraft Altar

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Witchcraft Altar

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An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, churches and other places of worship. They are used particularly in Pagan, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Modern Paganism, and Witchcraft. Many historical faiths also made use of them, including Witchcraft, Roman, Greek, and Norse religion.

Personal altars are those placed in a private bedroom, closet, or other space usually occupied by one person. They are used for practices of piety intended for one person.

Witchcraft Altar

A Witchcraft altar is a raised structure or place used for worship or prayer, upon which a Witchcraft practitioner places several symbolic and functional items for the purpose of worshiping the God and Goddess, casting spells, and/or saying chants and prayers. There are many types of altars Witchcraft may choose to use during ritual. Depending the rite they are performing, the material used for their altars may vary. This is because in many circles, different types of wood are believed to carry certain magical qualities. The altar is often considered a personal place where practitioners put their ritual items.

Some Witchcraft arrange their altars to represent all four elements and directions. In the North the earth element is represented; in the east is air, in the south is fire, and in the west water. These elements can be represented in various ways, but generally do not vary in elemental and directional correspondences. When placing items on an altar or when a practice involving inviting the elements to be a part of the circle and lend their power a practitioner will move clockwise and when dismissing the elements they will move counter-clockwise.

Common items on a Witchcraft altar include athame, broom, candles, cauldron, chalice, incense, pentacle, wand, etc. Some of the items represent the Earth’s four elements, but elements may be represented more literally, with gems, salt, water, plant material, etc.

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Magic Circle

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Magic Circle

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A magic circle is a sacred and purified space in which rituals, magical work and ceremonies are conducted, which they generally believe will contain energy and form a sacred space, or will provide them a form of magical protection, or both. It offers a boundary for a reservoir of concentrated power and acts as a doorway to the world of the gods. The magic circle is an archetypal symbol of wholeness, perfection and unity; the creation of the cosmos; the womb of mother Earth; the cycle of the seasons and birthdeath-regeneration. Within the circle, it becomes possible to transcend the physical, to open the mind to deeper and higher levels of consciousness.

Traditionally, circles were believed by ritual magicians to form a protective barrier between themselves and what they summoned. In practitioners generally cast magic circles to contain and concentrate the energy they raise during a ritual. Grimoires and other magical teachings give detailed instructions for casting the circle with consecrated ritual tools, such as an athame, sword or wand. The circle is drawn on a floor that has been carefully cleaned. Salt may be sprinkled around its perimeter to reinforce the boundary.

The circle is inscribed with magical symbols, words and Names of Power. In casting the circle, the magician moves clockwise, the motion of the sun, moon and stars through the sky. He leaves a small opening, then steps inside, closing the opening very carefully to prevent unwanted presences from entering. The magician consecrates the circle with the four elements, Earth, Air, Water and Fire, and invokes the guardian spirits who watch over the four quarters of the sky and the four elements. The circle is entered in anticipation of uniting with the gods and the forces of nature in a harmonious relationship, not to conjure or control spirits. The deities are invited to witness and participate in the rites; all spirits are treated respectfully.

Negative energy is banished prior to casting a circle. The consciousness of participants is prepared through meditation, visualization, breathing, drumming and other esoteric methods.

The altar and ritual tools, such as a wand, pentacle, censer, cauldron, scourge, athame, chalice, cords and other items, are placed inside the circle area. Witches working alone may have fewer tools. Candles, stones or other objects are placed on the Altar at the cardinal points. Offerings of food, stones, crystals, flowers and so on are made. At the close of rites, food and drink are consecrated, offered to the deities, and shared by all.

North

To the north was the source of great power. North, the cardinal point never touched by the Sun, was associated with darkness, mystery and the unknown.

East

The quarter of enlightenment, illumination, mysticism and the eternal. It corresponds to the element of Air, the athame, the colors red or white. The northeast is the symbolic dividing line between the path of darkness and the path of light.The east represents mankind’s highest and most spiritual consciousness.

South

Solar energy, the Sun, the element Fire, the colors blue or white, and the magic wand are associated with the south. This is the quarter of the will, the direction and channeling of the energy forces of nature and the psychic. In the south is the halfway meeting point between the spiritual intuition of the east and the rationality of the west. It represents the zenith of intellectuality, as the sun attains its zenith in the southern sky.

West

The quarter of Water, creativity, emotions, fertility and courage to face one is deepest feelings. It is associated with the chalice, the symbol of female creative power and fecundity, the after life, and the colors red or gray. In it represents reason, common sense, and mindedness.

The circle is usually closed by the practitioner after they have finished by drawing in the energy with the whatever was used to make the circle counter-clockwise. This is called closing the circle or releasing the circle. The term “opening” is often used, representing the idea the circle has been expanded and dissipated rather than closed in on itself. As a final release of energy, the spirits and deities are bid farewell, candles are extinguished, and the circle is ritually banished. It is important to close a circle in order not to leave the ritual space psychically active.

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