Often times, one of the most frequently asked questions by people just attempting spell work or ritual is what do I actually DO with all the stones, herbs, and other stuff? It's a complicated question, and one that has no easy answer. We all have our own methods for preparing our ritual items, and a few ideas will be presented here. This is by no means a complete list of possibilities. Explore and develop your own unique method for getting your items ready for ritual and spell work.

One of the most commonly used items in spell work and ritual is herbs.  Preparing herbs requires a bit of thought. It is much easier to charge and energize your herbs prior to the actual ritual. By doing so, you are free to concentrate on the ritual itself and not all the extra things going on.

Preparing your herbs aligns the vibrations of the plants that you will be using in the ritual to your goal. By aligning anything with the goal of the ritual, you will increase the effectiveness of your efforts. Scott Cunningham, a popular Wiccan herbalist, considers this process "enchantment." Enchantment, according to Cunningham, actually means "to sing to." He suggests taking several steps to enchant your herbs.

The first of these steps is to attune yourself to the herb. Pour the herb or herbs into a bowl and gaze at it. Allow your vision to become slightly hazy, and sense the vibrations emitting from the leaves, flowers, or stems. Lightly touch the herb, and visualize your need. After a moment or two, run your fingers through the herb, visualizing strongly your goal. Feel your fingertips charging the herbs with energy. It may be helpful to visualize a blue streak of energy running through your arm to your fingertips as you attempt this visualization. Cunningham suggests chanting to your herbs at this point, corresponding the chant to the magical goal. For example, if you are using yarrow in a love spell (ethics apply here, of course) chant something like "yarrow, yarrow, make love grow." (Courtesy Cunningham.) When you feel that the herb is tingling with power, the enchantment process is complete.

Some ideas for herbal magic include sachets, poppets, infusions, baths, ointments, oils, and incense.

Preparing candles for ritual use isn't too different. Many witches and magic workers "dress" their candles prior to spell work in order to focus their need onto the candle. To charge the candle, several steps are taken.
First, cleanse and prepare the candle. Wash the candle well with warm soapy water to remove any grease, dirt or dust. Rinse the candle in salt water to cleanse them of any negative vibrations. This renders the candle "clean," or free of any residue from the manufacturers, handlers, sellers, or anyone else who may have come into contact with it.

Next, anoint the candle with a corresponding oil. If no corresponding oil is available, plain olive oil will do the trick in a pinch. Take a drop of the oil on your finger, and begin in the middle of the candle to rub the oil on. Move your fingers from the middle of the candle to the outside. The reason for this, according to many magicians, is to draw out negativity from the candle. Another method for dressing the candle is to rub the oil on from the ends to the middle if the goal is of a drawing nature, or rub the oil on from the middle to the ends if the goal is of a banishing nature. Find the method that feels right to you. However you apply the oil, continue to do so until the candle is completely covered with a very light coating of oil. The candle is now properly "dressed," or charged, and is ready for use.

by Meredith Edwards-Cornwall

~from Maat's Book of Shadows