A Circle Purification that doesn't use Incense:
for asthmatics, those with allergies, and those with other pulmonary
by Matrika, co-sysop of
PAN- the Psychic Awareness Network, 300/1200/2400 baud at 1-703-362-1139

This ritual was inspired when someone in our circle back in Central
Massechusetts started dating a young woman who was a great herbalist,
knowledgeable about crystal healing, a competent tarot-reader and a
beginning astrologer.  She had read "Spiral Dance" by Starhawk on the Craft
of the Wise (Wicca) and wore a pentagram around her neck, but couldn't try
circle work because she was allergic to smoke and had a serious asthma

So, heres the rite.  You prepare your altar as usual, with the exception of
the incense and incense burner.  5 non-electric pot-pouri burners filled
with water and an appropriately scented pot-pouri should be on or near the
altar with 5 candles.  Be sure that you use the correct type of candles for
yuur pot-pouri burners, as other types can destroy the burners.  Put these
on the altar, which should be at the center of the circle and facing North
or East according to your custom.  If they do not fit without obstructing
the work, place them in a semi-circle at the foot of the altar.  Have
matches there to light the candles under them at the proper time.

The rite
(Leader 1 should be a male, if possible.  Leader 2 should be a female, if

Leader 1 - blessing the water and herbal mixture in each pot-pouri burner
with the wand.  a long-stem rose with the thorns removed can be used for a
wand if you do not yet have one.  Of course, this must be replaced each
time you do a ritual -
"By Fire and By Air
By Water and by Earth
by the Lady and the Lord
I conjure thee to purify our circle this night"

all- " So mote it be"

He takes one of the burners and the matches to the North where he lights
it.  Leader 2 accompanies him with her wand, after he lights it she raises
her wand and says

Leader 2 - "By fire and air
By water and by earth
Let us purify the
Northern Quarter of our circle"

There is a pause during which everyone visualizes (vividly imagining in
every detail from a relaxed, meditative state) an arc of rainbow light
forming that quarter of the circle then, when she lowers the wand, everyone
all - "So Mote It Be"

Leader 1 returns to the central altar and gets the next burner, placing it
in the East and lighting it.  Leader 2 continues in the same way as above.
This procedure is then repeated in the South and then in the West.  Each
time the invocation is changed to reflect the direction they are in.  Each
time the group visualizes the rainbow arc of light.  And after each
direction,  Leader 1 returns to the center to get the burner for the next
direction ready.  By constantly returning to the center each time, the
emphasis is placed there.  After the Western quarter is lit, Leader 1
places the final burner on the altar, between the candles, where the
incense burner would be if there was one and lights it.  Leader 2 stands
before the altar, raises her wand and says
Leader 2 - "By Fire and by air
By water and by earth
Let us purify the sacred center of our circle
where Heaven and Earth Unite
Where the Lord and Lady are joined in love."

While her wand is raised, everyone visualizes the rainbow light from the
outer circles flooding in to the center and filling the circle with
harmonious vibrations and energies.  After a few moments, she lowers her
wand and everyone responds.
all- "SO mote it be"

The circle casting is continued as usual with the invocations of the
elements at the 4 corners, according to your tradition.  Then the actual
circle-casting is done as usual.  After this do whatever rite and/or magick
you would usually do and close in the usual manner.  Be sure to snuff the
candles and not to blow them out.  Use a silver teaspoon to do this, if you
don't have a snuffer.  This ceremony ONLY replaces the part of the rite
where you sprinkle with salt-water and then cense the circle to purify it
in PREPARATION for the actual circle casting.  It is NOT the full casting
of the circle.  (Some traditions purify with all 4 elements seperately,
sprinkling salt on the floor for earth, water on the floor for itself,
censing the circle for air, and carrying a candle around for fire.  Either
way this rite replaces the elemental purification, as the burners embody
all 4 elements - the water for itself, the candle for fire, the herbs for
earth, and the scent the steam gives off for air.)

OF course the pot-pouri burners used for this should only be used in your
psychic work and should have been consecrated or smudged (by someone who
can deal with the smoke) in preparation for this ritual.

To prepare appropriate pot-pouri scents for the purpose of your rites, use
the directions for making the various home-made herbal incenses traditional
in Witchcraft and in Magick; however,  don't grind them with a mortar and
pestle as you would in making incense.  If you do not know the recipes for
these, any of the Scott Cuningham books on making incenses would provide
them for you.  They are available from Llewelyn Publishing, box 64383 St.
Paul Minnesota. (They will send you a free catalogue on request)

Despite the initial cost involved in obtaining the 5 burners, it is highly
suggested you do it that way for two reasons"
1.  In anything but a very small and enclosed space, you will not get
enough scent to represent the air element sufficiently for magickal and
ritual working.
2.  To represent all 4 elements in EACH of the quarters and in the center
of the circle is very important in establishing the traditional boundaries
between the worlds (the ordinary and non-ordinary or shamanic realities)
that is the purpose of casting the circle and creating sacred space.

WILL CERTAINLY BURN YOUR FINGERS BADLY.  (It is not appropriate to bring a
pot holder into circle to carry it either! PLEASE!)

I hope this is helpful to those who have breathing problems and wish to
perform magick.

(submitted to Harvest newsletter, under JUKNO)