Purifying Antiques for Use in Ritual

Nearly a month ago, I posted about visiting a local antique shop and purchasing twin brass bowls.  I knew nothing of their previous use.  How many hands had passed them?  I did not feel anything inherently negative about them (I doubt I would have purchased them if I had), but unless I craft a tool, I like to purify it.  Think what you will of energy, positive or negative: this is what I do and believe.

In 2010, I posted about the moon with regards to Druidism.  Since then, I’ve been trying to work with its energies and phases.  Ian Corrigan created The Nine Moons discipline for would-be initiates of ADF.  The system is still being experimented with, but I’ve lapsed from practice due to the demands of college, family, and work.  The system is either not entirely for me or not meant for me now.  Despite that, I benefited from my time toying with it.  I really connected to my ancestors in a way I never had, and I started to work with the moon.  I paid more attention to it, to my feelings, to the energies around me.  I started to work with it.

The waning moon felt like a perfect time to purify my brass bowls.  Many traditions posit that workings meant to decrease or banish should take place during the waning moon – the time when the lunar wheel appears to decrease.  It is a very sympathetic magic – “like begets like”.  It’s a very symbolic way of going about magic.

With that in mind, I set about my task.  I called to my spiritual allies, made offerings, and went into a light trance.  I used ogham to divine whether this was indeed a good time for such a working and the signs indicated that it was.  I placed the brass bowls on a slab of stone I use to draw sigils of purification on*.  I blessed the bowls in the name of the three realms and the three kindreds.  I blessed them in the name of fire and water while passing them through incense and anointing them with water from my blessed well.  I declared the bowls “whole and holy” and dedicated them to the service of my path.  I let them sit on the slab with sigils overnight.

The bowls will now be put to work on my altar. They are perfect for holding incense and are just the thing I’ve been looking for.  Is there something you’ve been hoping to find for your altar?  Rather than going to a big box store, why not see what’s available at  nearby antique shops?  You’ll never know what treasures you may find, and reusing is very good for Mama Earth.  Use a ritual of purification to welcome the tools to your altar and make them your own!

*There are many ways to make sigils in rituals space.  There are woodcuts of alchemists with various sigils and conjuration patterns on their floors.  I live in an apartment and can't draw on my floors.  It would be a pain to vacuum loose powders out of the carpet.  The stone slab, which gave me permission to bring it inside for magical work, is a great way to get around that and connect to earthy energies.  I use chalk to draw oghams on it according to my purposes.  Outside, you can make sigils on the ground using herbs, differently colored soil, bird seed or twigs.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

4 thoughts on “Purifying Antiques for Use in Ritual

  1. I’m actually looking for a new altar. Right now I have a little TV tray table with some shelves above it and a basket below it, but it’s just not cutting it anymore. The surfaces are cluttered, the basket is overflowing with incense and other ritual tools… Ideally, I’d like to find an antique nightstand or other small cabinet I can use for both surface and storage. It’s an ongoing quest, though there is a store between my apartment and work that looks promising.

    1. There are some beautiful pieces of furniture at my local antique shop. Definitely better than a majority of the flatbox stuff you could get at a big box store! And so much more ornate. The craftsmanship that went into furniture once upon a time is magnificent. There’s a cabinet/writing desk I was admiring yesterday with griffins carved into it. Griffins! How whimsical!

      I hope you find something useful to you as well as affordable. The one thing that has deterred me from buying furniture right now is the price. I’m currently saving for a home, but once we have one, the next thing I would like is a hutch. My plan is to save up for it, then start looking around. Think of nice antique furniture as an investment into your home and work towards it. 🙂

      Another thing to keep in mind is that slightly damaged pieces can be very economical. I also bought an oval mirror yesterday. It has an ornate frame with wooden inlays and a pice of one is missing, thus lowering the price to below what I would pay for something similar at Walmart! You don’t notice unless you really look. I love finding treasures like that!

      1. Definitely! We’re saving for a honeymoon and then a house, so I’m a little worried about the price, too. Antique prices can be absurdly inflated. I live in a college town, though, which keeps prices down in the off-season.

        One thing I forgot to mention in my previous comment is physical purification as well as spiritual. I’ve been leery of antiques since my parents bought a hutch once that made our entire house reek of cigarette smoke. Luckily I’m buying small enough that a little sun-bleaching might help. I think one could ritualize the physical cleansing and work it in with the spiritual aspects. Food for thought…

    2. Oh definitely! Great thought about the practical aspects of cleansing too. I know I’m worried about lead when it comes to antiques. I saw an interior decorating show awhile ago in which they suggesting getting little lead testing kits. I hadn’t thought of cigarette smoke but I wouldn’t want that either. Bug infestations are another thing to worry about. It probably helps to establish a relationship with an antique dealer and know how well they inspect and clean things. The lady who runs my favorite shop is my neighbor and friend’s grandmother. Might help a bit…

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