Divine Magic 101: My Must-Have Tools For Creating Deluxe Goddess Rituals
Martha Beck, Finding Your Way In A Wild New World
Your Goddess altar is a stage. The ritual actions & words: a performance. Our rituals aren’t tangibly affecting the Divine flow of the universe. Our faith believes that, by clearing away the psychic junk, we can find & strum the resonances in the universe, initiating an unconscious process that will eventually deliver to us what we want.
Goddess rituals, specifically, are about communing with the sweet universally feminine energy of the cosmos. Shakti energy. Moon magic is a pretty common Goddess ritual. So are most rituals for self-love, devotion, & beauty.
Okay, so magic rituals are metaphorical. Got it. But what are magic rituals TECHNICALLY? What’s the process & what are the necessary pieces? Tell me how to commune with Goddesssss!
True confession: You don’t technically need a single item to create a Goddess ritual. There is no pat process for making the magic, either.
HOWEVER--when you’re first experimenting with a Goddess ritual, moving pieces around in a validated procession can actually be extremely comforting. For me, tools & a process helped me trust the ritual enough to actually fall into a mystic swoon.
And the swoon is critical for opening the Cosmic Gate. The mystical experience is key to how “productive” the ritual turns out to be. If you’re trying to magically energize an intention, you’ve got to transport out of the banal reality you’ve taken for granted, so that sweet, infinite Goddess nectar can flow into your life: healing, fueling, & transforming your whole soul while you do the same for your reality.
Because the entire point of performing Goddess rituals is to reintegrate ourselves with the Divine!
So, if you want to create luscious Goddess rituals that leave you in a mystic swoon, then you need to 100% trust in the ritual process.
Let me help you begin the process of trusting / experimenting in Goddess rituals by explaining the tools I use, how I use them, & what they mean!
If you haven’t yet, read my last post about why I practice Divine Magic. That post lays out the Big Picture behind my Goddess rituals, while this post is going to dig into the step-by-step process.
Special note, though: Magic rituals are creative systems. I will definitely break down the bits & pieces--the hardware--I use in Goddess Rituals, but the process of pulling it altogether will sound SO ambiguous!
But don’t worry: at the bottom, I link you to my column, Goddess Moon Magic, which shows dozens of various tools, concepts, practices, & even ritual actions / words you can build off of!
WHAT IS A GODDESS RITUAL... TECHNICALLY?
Goddess Magic consists of ceremony, meditation, & a cache of mindset-shifting ritual actions & words. Everything that happens in a magical ceremony or ritual is metaphorical for what happens in reality. Your ritual creates a portal. Through that portal, you enter sacred space-time—a peak experience suspending all self-conscious barriers between the root of your psyche (with all the shimmering soul jam we want to tap) & the magical intentions you stepped into the ceremony with.
So, any ritual where the objective is to achieve Henosis with the Divine Feminine is a Goddess ritual. Henosis in Theurgy (the ancient magical system Divine Magic is based on) translates to “mystical union with the Divine.” It’s an ecstatic state where you seek to transform yourself in the mo’ in the company of the archetypally femme Goddess avatars.
In fact, if you’re performing rituals for the sake of “charging an intention”, but you don’t swoon even a little, you’re… just rehearsing.
You could do magic without invoking Goddess or Henning out, but it’s a little like heading to a rave with no intention of dancing. You might still have fun, but you’ll never feel that explosive confetti-heart feeling of knowing for certain that your ritual actions & words tangibly affected the world around you.
Because the whole point of a Goddess ritual is to experience Henosis. Goddess Girls & Divine Magicians expect to have ecstatic interactions with the supernatural. Not only that, we expect to gain white hot clarity, inspiration, & personalized guidance for our spiritual evolution.
We crave Divine communion (aside from the ecstatic experience it is) in order to find insight to help us juice our 3D human experience for everything it’s worth. We’re witches who are power-hungry for self-Enlightenment.
And by Goddess, we’ll going to have it.
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL IN A GODDESS RITUAL
Specifically, your psyche is the most important tool. Your psyche is the manifold on the sphere of localized starlight you occupy in this 3D realm. Open up & clean out the manifold, & you’ll have more cosmic yummy flowing into your ritual.
To understand the point of using tools in a ritual, picture the psyche like an onion. Or an ogre. It’s got layers, baby. Upper & lower layers; inner & outer layers. The upper layers make up the crust of who you are: your personality, ego, sense of self. The lower layers are undefined: nonverbal, feeling-based, archetypal, karmic. The lower psychic layers are where unmet emotional needs & repressed erotic cravings fester.
And at the very deepest reaches, psyche becomes impersonal. That’s where I Am seeps into We Are.
Below even that: the Universal Soul. Pure quantum potential. Goddess.
So, in Divine Magic, our ritual words & actions induce the mystic swoon. The mystic swoon peels away the upper, crusty layers of your consciousness: your identity, mental chatter, entrained feelings, habits.
To get to the swoon, you have to seduce not only your physical senses, but convince the different drives in your psyche that they’re getting exactly what they need.
If your ritual can speak to each piece of the psyche, you can bring your whole Mind-Soul--your entire consciousness--in service of an intention. It can also mellow out that psychic drive, so you’re capable of true mystic swooning.
So, all the power is there. It’s about creating the safe space for that power to rage & allowing the experience to transform you.
When I say you, I mean your soul.
A.k.a. Your psyche.
Imagine the little bubble of consciousness that is you as a lens focusing Divine light into the world. The quality of that projection depends on your psychic integrity: how all the substance in your consciousness--thoughts, feelings, shadow-drama, & dreams—commingle in the limited, finite space of You. If there’s clutter or muck, the light doesn’t shine too good.
So, how can the ritual address that muckity psychic clutter?
How do you even go about getting a clear sense of that clutter?
LOGOS, THYMUS, EROS: PLAYERS IN YOUR MAGICAL THEATER
Divine Magic thinks of the psyche as having 3 drives: the Logos, the Thymus, & the Eros. The objective of your Goddess ritual, if there is one, is to unite these 3 drives, so they’re pulling in the same direction, towards fulfilling your intentions.
And the magical process of uniting these drives actually gives you a bird’s-eye view of the clutter & muck in your psyche. When you have this kind of divine perspective of your soul, you’re core empowered to start making insightful, astute changes to your beliefs, feelings, & consequently, your actions.
You’re already on pretty familiar terms with the Logos. That’s your thinking, believing mind.
The other two pieces of the soul—the Thymus & Eros—are more instinctive. Instinctive needs & desires are the bedrock of your reality. The Thymus & Eros act out in your unconscious behavior.
The Logos is supposed to be the stage director, but is known for getting tangled up in its own agenda. An imbalanced Logos will rationalize the shade we throw on the world. Everything we perceive is tinged with the shadow we’re oblivious to. Thwarted desires, festering emotional wounds, egotistical obsessions. That’s when you start rationalizing your worst unconscious behavior without tuning into the need / desire the unconscious behavior is actually trying to fulfill.
The thing is, the Logos, Thymus, & Eros want to unite. Each piece wants to find equilibrium within itself; to stay in its own sweet spot, while also cooperating with the other drives.
So, your ritual words & actions symbolically unify these psychic drives.
Let me characterize each drive, so you can start thinking about how each drive will play out in your own ritual.
Speaks to your emotional needs. The Thymus corresponds to the spirit of your magical intent. Remember any new moon intention or New Year’s resolution you didn’t follow-through on? Realize that it’s not the intent / resolution you wanted, but meeting the emotional need behind it. Slimming down, earning more cash, & finally making it to Paris symbolize your need for feeling beautiful, powerful, & lovely—or any variation of those feelings. You actually have all the moxie you need to slim down, get rich, & see the world—the spirit is willing. But all your ego-drama likes to put its own spin on what the spirit vies for. Spirit can’t shine through the static.
The desire. The craving. The wanting. The erotic fixation vibrating in your viscera & deepest tissues. Desire is the irrational urging to feel something. When there’s self-sabotage, there’s an erotic glitch. You crave weed / Adderall / sex, because it makes you feel a certain way. You like instigating fights with lovers & friends, because it quells the urgent wanting you have for catharsis. Shine a light on the core feeling, what the craving is actually scrambling for, & you’ll figure out another way of satisfying it. Maybe it’s talk therapy, bi-weekly massages, or midnight bubble baths. The wanting is always much simpler—& more healthfully satisfied—than we think.
How you organize your beliefs & opinions about the world. The Logos corresponds to your innate ability to manage the logistics of satisfying your desire & meeting your needs. Rituals are products of the Logos. Logos is the great synthesizer: taking your needs & cravings into account, so it can create the most elegant approach to satisfying them. Ego-drama corrupts the logos specifically, making totally wild ideas or self-destruction seem “easier” or “more rational” than doing something else that would spiritually satisfy us. Schlepping to your gross, low-paying job with the pervert boss, even though it makes all your internal organs scrunch up, seems easier than finding & paying a career coach to get you on a brighter track. It’s reasonable to put up with your dad’s verbal abuse, because, well, he’s always been that way, so obviously you should adjust to that. (Sure, until you attract a great guy who likes calling you a fat idiot, so reminiscent of Daddy, how’d that happen? Oh, well, at least you know how to deal. Right?)
So, your ritual must convince these drives they are getting exactly what they want. That’s the metaphor behind each tool used to create the ritual.
How you incorporate these items depends on the sequence of actions, which I’ll talk about that at the end.
The only objective of Goddess Magic is answering:
What do you have to believe, feel, & do to become the girl you want to be?
What stands in your way to Love, Beauty, & Wisdom?
THE 3 MAIN TOOLS OF A THEURGICAL GODDESS RITUAL: FIRE, WATER, & AN INSTRUMENT
In every magic ritual, the tools represents an element corresponding with the forces the witchy babe believes participates in the realization of her intent.
For example, most Wiccan babes use 5 tools, each corresponding to a different natural element. I’ve practiced Divine Magic for a little over 4 years, & my Goddess rituals rely on 3 tools: fire, water, & an instrument. I also usually include a Goddess offering & a mini cauldron, but you can also use a metal waste bin cleared of debris.
You can (& should) also incorporate items that speak specifically to what’s going on in each particular psychic drive. (The Logos, the Thymus, the Eros.) For example, I use the cauldron when I need to purge a habit, belief, or ingrained feeling that’s been stuck on repeat. I’ll write it down on paper or bring a photograph, touch the edge of the page to a candle flame, then drop it into the cauldron.
Right now, let’s get on the same page for the symbolism behind each ritual item & how it speaks to the psychic drives.
THE CEREMONIAL FIRE
Fire symbolizes the Mind. Fire also symbolizes the Numinous, the divine order of the cosmos, or the Sacred Masculine. Fire is penetrative & dynamic; a Yang tour de force. When we go through the fire, we burn away everything but the essential. Fire cleanses a thing down to its diamond-core essence.
In the ritual, fire has 2 functions: purging & clarifying. Fire for banishment & ignition. When you activate your intentions (later on in the ritual), you only want the purest form of the intention to be energized. What we burn are our self-limitations: like a burdensome mindset or a toxic feeling. We burn what is not essential to (or hinders) the manifestation of our intention. Ideas, beliefs, old feelings, entrained habits.
You can also use fire to send a message to the Numinous, like if when petitioning a Goddess for her patronage. So, fire is also like a voicemail system. (Visit this post to learn more about finding & invoking your Patron Goddess.)
But bear in mind, you’re not negating whatever you burn. Like, poof, gone now!
No. That doesn’t happen.
Whatever you burn won’t erase the belief, feeling, or historical event. You can’t burn your way to Brand New. Fire is like prayer. Everything you burn in your ritual symbolizes something that you’re giving up to the gods. In Christian terms, the burning is basically like leaving it up to God. This doesn’t serve me. I’m prepared to leave it right here & go on without it.
So, after you’ve purged your weaknesses & clarified your intentions, you will still need to take real-world action. That comes after the ritual.
AND FOR REALSIES: you will feel powerful taking your real-world actions to subdue those self-limitations. Far more powerful than you felt before purifying your intent.
That’s the sweet, immediate effect of magic rituals.
What objects can symbolize fire in the ritual? Candles, bonfires, or a hearth. Environment determines the kind of fire you can use in your ritual, & honestly, be safe. If your ritual will take place in a gathering & the proper permits are in place, go ahead & host a bonfire!
But if you’re flying solo, just light a single candle on your altar. You can buy a pack of votive candles from any drugstore, but I love the candles at Artisan Witchcrafts! They’re huge, fragrant, & infused with herbal magic. They’re rightfully pricey, so if you decide to invest, maybe commit to only burning your candle for ritual ceremonies.
And for a touch of drama, use flash paper in your rituals!
Put the fire element to the east of your altar or environment. Use the Compass app on your phone or approximate based on where the sun rises in relation to where you’ve set your altar.
How you can prepare: Make time for a little introspection leading up to your Goddess ritual. You have to dig into the who, what, & why behind your magical intentions. This post has a few exercises to help you pinpoint what’s threatens to block you from realizing your intention. You could also figure out what you want to request of your Patron Goddess, or what messages you want to send to the posse of deities you’re working with.
THE CEREMONIAL WATER
In the ritual, water symbolizes the soul. A soft, devouring, & Yin-ful darkness. The Sacred Feminine. Water represents our embodied, limbic reality, which is fluid, changeable, & conforms completely to the shape it’s held within.
Water in the ritual symbolizes how you will give form to the Divine. Water is how you will materialize the Ideal. (The Ideal = your vision or phantasm. Click the link for a little how-to on creative visualization, which is super important for any ritual process!)
We use water to seal our intentions. We seal them by submerging an item in a chalice. When we drink the liquid, we symbolically transfer forms of the Mind into Matter.
Remember, fire purifies an idea; fire cleans away Matter from the Mind. The intention you submerge into your ritual water should be pure. Clarified. It should be an intention inspired by your Highest Self, which the Self uncomplicated by your current psychodrama, like fears, shame, & guilt.
Think of all of those heavy, low-vibe feelings to be mud splatter from the material world.
This is an important distinction, because you do not want to materialize more self-limitations into your life. We need the flame to come before the water, because the heart of our magical intentions should be made up of the most innocent, uncomplicated inspiration for who we want to become.
That’s what Goddess wants to nurture.
What can symbolize water in a ritual? A chalice, dish, or pond. You can incorporate a natural body of water, like the ocean or a river. If working at an altar, a pretty wine glass suffices. And if you really want to, you can also buy a special cup crafted of an element related to your Patron Goddess, like gold, copper, or silver.
You can use water charged in the sunshine all day with crystals soaking in it. (Research whether your particular stones can be submerged in water without melting, unless that’s what you’re going for.) I dust my water with pink Himalayan salt, squeeze fruit juice, or dribble herbs. (Depends on my magical intention.)
Bear in mind: you’ll have to drink this water. In the ritual, drinking the chalice water confers your magical intention. Drinking the chalice is often the final step in the ritual. If appropriate to the intention, you can also pour the water out into a special zone.
Coordinate your water element with the west. Use the Compass app again or note where the sun sets in relation with your ritual space.
How to prepare the ceremonial water: Decide how you want to infuse the ceremonial water with your intention. Come into your ritual with your intention inscribed on a piece of paper or charge the water in the sunshine or moonshine, with herbs, stones, spices, or other tinctures. You can charge the water in a clean mason jar or a ceramic cereal bowl. Here’s a recipe for making moon water & a place where you can learn about the solubility of your crystals.
[ My special tip: if you’re charging your water on the windowsill, open the window. Don’t let the light shine through the window pane, because the glass inhibits the flow of the super-yummy lightwaves, while augmenting yucky damaging UV rays. ]
THE CEREMONIAL KNIFE, WAND, ETC.
The last tool for your Goddess tool: a conscious instrument that demonstrates your will over the ritual. You can use a knife (called an athame), your favorite pen, a novelty wand you bought at Harry Potter World, or a pointed crystal. This is entirely subjective.
Some Goddess Girls use only their hands. If you’re a kinesthetic babe who vibes with that, then skip the conscious instrument & use your digits. Rub a few drops of coconut oil & a sage essence into your hands, rub them together, then shake them off.
This element represents the Logos, so it should reasonably relate with your magical intention. A reasonable ritual instrument is one that makes you feel empowered in the proceedings--you are the wielder.
You’ll use the instrument to conduct the ritual’s flow.
After invoking or summoning your deity, you’ll indicate the fire: This symbolizes [ your magical intent ].
Next, you’ll indicate the water: This symbolizes [ your intended transformation ].
You’ll probably want to state aloud what each tool symbolizes in the ritual, not just for deity’s sake, but for your own. It’s basic, but very useful.
Which is why, whatever your ceremonial instrument, make sure it’s something that feels strong in your hand.
An offering is kind of like a tactic for getting your Goddess’s attention.
What you offer is a matter of taste. Food or drink make up most Goddess offerings, but be creative & genuine. Seriously consider your Goddess’ tastes. (Which you’ll understand through research.) Original haikus, a sketch, a promise. I’ve even offered a spoonful of cupcake frosting, a bottle of Corona, & lipgloss!
For more info about researching & invoking Goddesses, visit this post!
You may also indicate a sacrifice. Your sacrifice is what you avow to give up in order to create space for your transformation to arise. Sometimes that’s as trivial as your daily latte or Netflix. Sometimes it’s something that would shift your life completely, like breaking up with a frenemy.
For ideas to materialize--which is what magical intentions are, remember--they need time, space, & energy. Your sacrifice offers that space. So don’t be clever or coy.
I have a friend who always gives up potato chips for Lent, “because I don’t eat potato chips anyway.” Goddess doesn’t expect a sacrifice as a formality. Offerings symbolize good intentions. I like you, so let me share with you. Sacrifices are what you make so Goddess has space to channel into your life.
What is synthemata? Totems, talismans, statuettes. Crystal grids. Altar cloth. Sigils & altar cards. Matches, incense, oils. Mostly, synthemata are just materials that signify the Goddess you're invoking, but synthemata can also be used to create or affirm your ritual experience.
3 types of synthemata to gather:
- MATERIAL SYNTHEMATA • Look for Goddess signatures on different types of matter. What crystals, herbs, types of food, metals, & other types of matter are associated with your Goddess?
- SYMBOLIC SYNTHEMATA • Symbolic synthemata is matter manipulated to symbolize the Goddess, like statuettes or altar cards. You can find statuettes of your Goddess at any online metaphysical shop, though they're pricey. Instead, you can use symbols for modern archetypes related to your Goddess. Do you have an intensely close relationship with Katniss from The Hunger Games? Adorn your altar with a trinket with the MockingJay symbol or write quotes from the books on pieces of fine stationery.
- CONCEPTUAL SYNTHEMATA • This one’s tricky. Conceptual synthemata isn't necessarily upon the altar, but is part of your Goddess meditation. Conceptual synthemata can be from the Zodiac, Numerology, sacred geometry, or Tarot cards. You'll identify your conceptual synthemata with intuitive knowing--feeling the je ne sais quoi that tips you off whether a stranger is a Scorpio or a Gemini. If you really can't come up with anything, start with a circle. (Which is universally femme.) Meditate on the circle. You don't need to place circles on your altar, your conceptual synthemata helps shift your mindset.
If you're not invoking a specific deity, then gather synthemata corresponding with your intention, e.g. synthemata for Beauty, synthemata for Genius, etc.
Research will help you clue into your Goddess synthemata. You’ll learn which herbs & flowers traditionally adorned Goddess temples or were used in Goddess spells. You’ll find hundreds of images of your Goddess in Google or in metaphysical shops. And with a little digging, you’ll find all the airy-fairy ideas associated with your Goddess, like the celestial season she was associated with or the name she was invoked by.
Once you have the synthemata, you can place it around your Goddess altar or encircling the space you plan to conduct the ritual. Some mysticky magical babes attach all the synthemata to an icon of their Patron Goddess. You can buy a traditional Goddess statuette, poster, large amulet, etc., or you can use a femme image that speaks to you about divine femininity. This icon ≠ the Goddess, but a dwelling space. (Patrick Dunn has a great tutorial for animating an icon in his book The Practical Art of Divine Magic.)
OPTIONAL: A MINIATURE CAULDRON
A cauldron makes a great accessory for the ceremonial fire, but isn’t required. A metal wastebin free of debris & normal writing paper work as well.
Nothing in your ritual has to be pure-blooded magical swag, but I want you to know there are options for lathering up the enchantment of your ritual. If you want to ooh & ahh, think about a cauldron & flash paper, then hit up Google to find a retailer.
What’s flash paper & a cauldron for, anyway? You can write self-limiting beliefs or feelings on the paper, touch it to the ritual fire, then release it forever into the cauldron. You can ignite wishes, ideals, vows.
Basically, anything you use with the ceremonial fire.
You would use this element after you’ve invoked your Goddess & indicated the meaning behind your ritual items. In the Goddess’s presence, you’d revoke those beliefs or feelings that get in the way of your Goddess grind. You can write as many as you want in the mo’ or prepare them ahead of time. Read them aloud as you burn them. Kiss them good-bye. Bless them.
CREATING YOUR OWN RITUAL ACTIONS + PRAYERS
So, what is the sequence? How will the ritual flow? What will you say & when will you say it?
Many Goddess rituals follow a certain routine: sometimes learned from a coven or another witch. I’ve invented my own ritual choreography, but I always hit certain checkpoints:
First, meditation. Become 100% present in the ritual. This is the part that everyone wants a hack for, but there isn’t one: you’ve simply got to psychically dissociate yourself from the banal mental chatter in your mind. Self-consciousness sabotages the mystic swoon.
Second, invoke the Goddess or deity. Here’s the link again to my Patron Goddess post for more insight re: finding & invoking deities. (The actual invocation is hella easy-peasy, but depends on how intuitively you explore your Patron Goddess.)
Third, indicate the offering. What is it & what does it mean? The part that makes newbie ritualists squeamy is addressing the deity out loud. If you want to speak silently, give it a go.
Fourth, indicate your intention. What are you calling on the Goddess for? What effect are you trying to create? How do you expect her to boost your efforts?
Fifth, fire. Dispatching messages to the Numinous. Incinerating perceived self-limitations. Touch slips of stationery or sheets of flash paper inscribed with sigils, secrets, & prayers. What’s your ideal outcome?
Sixth, water. Submerge your purified intention into the ceremonial chalice. Or, if working with a natural body of water, submerge in that. If you’re not dissolving anything into the chalice (you don’t have to), then sip it. Climb into a waiting ritual bath.
Other ways you can build your Goddess ritual:
Take a song, film, or story of your Patron Goddess & break it down into actions & words. You figure out the symbolic & literal tools you can use to invoke the primal Goddess power you feel inside that story.
This doesn’t have to be from the “original” Goddess myth. If you feel the Goddess myth inside anything (a film, short story, tapestry, etc.), then you’re probably tuning into its core resonance.
When you feel it, let it move you.
Are there other ways of creating a Goddess ritual? OF COURSE! Dozens of ways! Don’t be afraid of experimenting. The point of this process is to ease your self doubt. Once the ritual begins, you’ll have to stay in the moment, so it’s best to figure out ahead of time the checkpoints you want to hit!
Remember, if this whole process feels ambiguous: GOOD! Magic is the wilderness, baby girl.
And luckily, you have a built-in navigation system. Instinct. Intuition. Chilling with Goddesses is what psychically conditions you for braving & thriving in this badass forest of the Anima Mundi. (The Collective Soul.) Everything you want & need can be foraged out of here. But you’ve got to get your psychic house in order. That’s the whole who, what, & why of Divine Magic.
If you need more inspo or data before you’re comfortable creating your own ritual, check out the back issues for my Goddess Moon Magic column. Every new moon, I break down the sublime characteristics of the astrological climate & tell you how to create a sensational, mystically luxe new moon ritual to go along with it! You'll have plenty of data to help create a Goddess ritual that's patently your's.
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