Wicca Basics and the 3 C’s: Cleansing, Consecrating and Charging

Updated on August 10, 2017
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A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

Cleansing, Consecrating & Charging

I call them the “3 C’s”. A lot of books will tell you to do one, two or all three of them to your tools, altar, spell components, herbs, crystals, jewelry... the list goes on.

But have you ever given good thought to what each of them mean? When these terms are new to you and all the books you read are throwing them at you, things can get a little muddy. As usually, I invite you to grab yourself a cup of tea and sit with me a while so we can break it down to the basics. Let’s take a look at the meaning of each of the C’s, the purpose for the process, and how it’s done.

The Basic Building Blocks of Wicca

The Sorceress; Public Domain Image
The Sorceress; Public Domain Image | Source


To cleanse an object is just as the word implies—you are cleaning it. The difference is, you’re not cleaning it on a physical level (though you can certainly do that first). What you’re attempting to do is ‘clean’ it on a spiritual level—on an energy level.

Cleansing disassociates items with their past vibrations. Sitting in a factory or store, people handling it, being transported, sitting on a shelf in your room gathering dust—items pick up various bits of energy. You want to wipe the vibrational slate clean to attune it with your own energies, or those conducive to your goal.

There are several ways to cleanse an object:

  • Burn a cleansing incense like sage, and run the object through the smoke
  • Bury it in the earth for a while, or in a bowl of salt/dirt/cornmeal
  • Soak it in salt water, or sprinkle/spray it
  • Hold it for a while under running water
  • Wave it over a candle flame, or actually put it into the fire
  • Sweep away negativity with a besom (blessed broom)

Be practical about it— you don’t want to soak metal in salt water overnight or you’ll rust it; you don’t want to put a fabric pouch of herbs anywhere near fire. Use your judgment. But it’s a good practice to get into to cleanse new things before using them for spiritual purposes, or to occasionally cleanse things like your jewelry, crystals, divination or altar tools, especially if they’ve been used a lot, or sitting unused for a while.

The 1st C: Cleansing

Cleanse an object
Cleanse an object | Source

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Consecrating an object is to make it sacred through some minor rite or act of blessing. I only do it to my main ritual tools used in the circle. For almost everything else, just cleansing is enough. Some ways to consecrate an item include:

  • simply say a prayer over it and dedicate the use of the tool to your Gods
  • If you keep oils that are cleansed, charged and consecrated, you can anoint an object with those oils and blessing symbols.
  • If you work a lot with the four elements you may wish to consecrate it by Air, Earth, Fire and Water in ritual: run it through incense smoke, sprinkle some salt on it, pass it over a fire flame and sprinkle some water on it.

You can consecrate anything—you can consecrate all your tools, your jewelry, even the ground on which you hold your rituals, but do remember this: once consecrated, the item is sacred, and should be treated as such.

Sandalwood Incense

Morning Star Sandalwood Incense (200 Sticks and Holder) - 1 box
Morning Star Sandalwood Incense (200 Sticks and Holder) - 1 box

Sandalwood is another great cleansing incense. Morning star is MY FAVORITE brand of stick incense-- they are very high quality, and they last-- I bought a box once and it last almost a year because once I burned one stick the scent lingered all day, I didn't have to burn another.


The 3rd C: Charge It

Charging an object.
Charging an object. | Source


Charging something is empowering it with energy. You might just imbue it with positive energy, or charge it so its energies are aligned with some specific purpose. For example, in candle magic, I always charge the candle to align it with the purpose of the spell.

Charging requires raising a bit of energy and directing it into the object. Once again, the method you choose can largely depend on your preferences or on the item you’re charging.

  • Rub candles with oil repeatedly
  • Dance, chant, meditate, etc. to raise power then pour that energy in
  • Put the object out under the sun all day to charge it with solar power*
  • Put the object out under the full moon all night to charge it with lunar power*
  • Use the energy you have accumulated in your tools**
  • Lay the item on a healthy crystal for a day or a few days so it will absorb energy

Like consecrating, charging isn’t always necessary. For example, I wouldn’t charge all my jewelry just because I’m wearing it; most I would just cleanse. If I primarily use a piece for ritual, I’d cleanse and consecrate it. If I wanted to use it as an amulet or talisman, I’d charge it.

*The sun, moon and crystals can both cleanse and charge the item at once.

**When you finish a ritual and draw up the circle, ground, etc., it’s a good idea to pour most of that residual energy into your tools—your athame, your pentacle, wand and such. This keeps them charged and ready to use, and empowers them enough so that they can charge other items.

Crystal Allies Specimens: Natural Amethyst Quartz Crystal Cluster from Uruguay w/ Natural Edges - 2lbs to 3lbs
Crystal Allies Specimens: Natural Amethyst Quartz Crystal Cluster from Uruguay w/ Natural Edges - 2lbs to 3lbs

These kinds of crystal clusters are great for cleansing and charging your jewelry-- just lay them in there overnight.


Here is a Way to Charge Crystals With Sound

Putting it in a Nutshell

Cleansing =
spiritual purification
Consecrating =
to dedicate as sacred
Charging =
imbue with power

Go Forth to Cleanse, Consecrate and Charge your Heart Out

When and why you may use one, two or all three C’s is up to you. But it’s good to know about them, the difference, and how to do it. You’ll find that when all the energies are aligned and operating in harmony, particularly in ritual, it can really enhance the experience.

© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright


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    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 24 hours ago

      Hi Maddy; through visualization. That's what the meditation & training is for.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 24 hours ago

      You're welcome, thanks for commenting!

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      Maddy 2 days ago

      I have a question...how do I pour my energy into the crystal?

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      Kelso 2 days ago

      Thanks for this information, Sage.....

    • profile image

      Shara 5 weeks ago

      Is it okay to charge with both sun and moon? Or just 1?

    • profile image

      Witch bitch 3 months ago

      When I was writing in my book of shadows I was wondering if you could charge amulets, wands etc to have a specific purpose like a herbal amulat

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 5 months ago

      You can do it again if you like, but there is no one verse only that allows you to do this. If you feel comfortable with the first time you did it and the verse you use, it'll be fine. If it makes you uncomfortable and worried, then you might do it again to put your mind at ease.

      Thank you, hope that helps!

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      Deborreh 5 months ago

      I consecrated an object but use the wrong verse do I have to reconscerate the object again?

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 months ago

      Hi Ms.Moseille; oh, how terrible. Wow, and paper too. Just being shaped like a knife, crazy they would take that away.

      It's always heartbreaking to lose our beloved tools, I don't personally believe it causes us any bad luck. I wouldn't worry about it on that level. Hopefully the loss of one thing will open the way to something new.

      Hope that helps!

    • profile image

      Gonzalez Rita 7 months ago


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      msmoseille 8 months ago

      Hi, i have a question please! last year while i was travelling by air. My athame was taken at Dubai airport ( it was not a knife, it was a very beautiful handcrafted paper knife made out of clay). Just coz it was shaped like that they took it. I travelled half heartedly after as I used it in most of my rituals. do you think its bad luck to lose athame like that :((( i really miss it :( it was with me for 8 years :((

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 11 months ago

      Thanks Wolves!

    • Wolves Forge profile image

      Wolves Forge 13 months ago

      Wonderful article Mackenzie it clears up some questions I had as I am new to the craft and beginning my journey and learning from many different sources. I am in the middle of setting up our alter and this will help me get it done and feel better about the process. Thank you and many blessings.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 14 months ago

      You're welcome Erin, and thank you so much for your feedback! I'm glad to have helped.

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      Tammy McMillan 14 months ago

      I like your article, and look forward to reading and learning more .thanks,tammy

    • profile image

      erin 15 months ago

      hey, I'd like to thank you for this article. I have been doing this for a while and understood all three of the c's however I did not know all the options or ways to perform them individually so I really appreciate how you broke it down and kept it brief and uncomplicated yet extremely effective and understanding. you were right in saying that all the books and available information on these things can confuse the **** out of me! lol when meanwhile the message is not that complicated. so, thanks again. i'm new to this site but will follow you and look into more of your posts.. thanks again:)

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 15 months ago

      Do some research for sure, esp. with crystals, minerals, gemstones and which way to charge them. Some would be harmed by sunlight, some by water, some by salt, etc... so whenever you get a new kind with which you're unfamiliar it's best to do research on basic care.

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      suzy 16 months ago

      Loved yr article. Im just starting to practice skrying i hv a lead crystal ball and charge it once a month at the time of the full moon i was told that sunlight will actually ruin the ball, how do i kno which crystals can b harmed by sunlight and which ones r ok to sun charge? My crystal/stone collection is getting quite large now

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      Xavier DAH 18 months ago from Utah

      i made an account and im sure ill be back on when ever i need help with somthing thanks again

    • profile image

      DarkDAH 18 months ago

      hi im just starting and all this really helped

      my grandmother is a witch but she isnt able to help me

      you sure know your stuff

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 18 months ago

      Hi White Wolf;

      For me, I do not use the Sun or Moon to consecrate items; for me that is a ritual act-- the bestowing of a blessing, deliberately and with specific intent. This is certainly a personal preference though. Thanks for your comment and for bringing a different perspective!

    • profile image

      White wolf 19 months ago

      Liked your article only one thing was wrong. That was the sun, moon, and crystals they can do all three, not just two.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi Avery, glad to be of help! Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      Avery 2 years ago

      Thanks for this! It really helped! Now I can do it to my altar!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Kristin. I appreciate your comment!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Mackenzie, this was an insightful hub about the three C's in Wicca. Thanks for sharing.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Great Ms Lizzy, glad it was what you were looking for!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Thanks very much for the referral to this article. Now I know what to do to clear my new pendant, as well as my pretty new blue crystal, and a few clear ones that have been rather just sitting about...

      Voted up ++

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      Jacki 3 years ago

      This was so helpful!!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thanks Nell Rose, I'm glad I could inspire you! I go through my periods where formal rituals kind of fall by the wayside-- life gets crazy. It always takes a push for myself to get back into them but I'm always happy that I did. Appreciate your comment!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hiya, this was great reading, and reminded me of how I used to do all the rituals, I admit to not doing any for a few years. Its something I have let slip again, now I will get straight back to it, thanks!

      Forgot to say, yes I was a practising witch/pagan! lol!