Wicca Basics and the 3 Cs: Cleansing, Consecrating, and Charging
Cleansing, consecrating, and charging—I call them “the three Cs”—are mentioned quite often in the Wiccan community. 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 serious thought to what each of these practices means? When these terms are new to you and all the books you read are throwing them at you left and right, things can get a little muddy. I invite you to grab yourself a cup of tea and sit with me a while so we can break them down to their basics. Let’s take a look at the meaning each of the three Cs, discuss their purposes, and learn how they are done.
The 3 Cs in a Nutshell
To Purify Spiritually
To Dedicate as Sacred
To Imbue With Power
The 1st C: Cleansing
Cleansing an item is essentially what it sounds like—cleaning it. The difference is that 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—an energetic level.
Cleansing disassociates items with their past vibrations. While sitting in a factory or store, being handled, being transported, or sitting on a shelf in your room gathering dust, items pick up various bits of energy. Before using an item, you'll want to wipe its vibrational slate clean, so to speak, in order to attune it with your own energies (or those conducive to your goal). There are several ways to cleanse an object.
Common Cleansing Methods
- Burn a cleansing incense like sage and run the object through its smoke.
- Bury the object in the earth for a while (or in a bowl of salt/dirt/cornmeal).
- Soak the object in saltwater (or sprinkle/spray it).
- Hold the object under running water for a while.
- Wave the object over a candle flame or place it inside a fire.
- Sweep away the object's negativity with a besom (a blessed broom).
Be practical about the cleansing process—you probably wouldn't want to soak metal in saltwater overnight, as it might rust. Similarly, you wouldn't want to put a fabric pouch of herbs anywhere near a fire. Use your judgment. It’s good to get into the practice of cleansing new tools or items before using them for spiritual purposes. It's also a good idea to occasionally cleanse jewelry, crystals, divination aids, and altar tools, especially if they’ve been used a lot or have been sitting unused for a while.
Sandalwood is a great cleansing incense. is my favorite brand. They are very high quality, and they last forever—I bought a box once and it lasted almost a year because once I burned one stick, the scent lingered all day. Morning Star
The 2nd C: Consecrating
To consecrate an object is to make it sacred through some minor rite or act of blessing. I only do this to the main ritual tools I use in my circle. For almost everything else, I find that just cleansing is enough. There are a number of ways to consecrate an item.
Common Consecration Methods
- Say a prayer over your tool/object and dedicate its use to your Gods.
- If you keep oils that are cleansed, charged, and consecrated, you can anoint objects with those oils.
- If you work a lot with the four elements, you may wish to consecrate an item using Air, Earth, Fire, and Water in a ritual. One way to do this is to run the object through incense smoke, sprinkle some salt on it, pass it over a flame, and sprinkle some water on it.
You can consecrate anything—your tools, your jewelry, or even the ground on which you hold your rituals. But do remember this: once consecrated, an item is sacred and should be treated as such.
The 3rd C: Charging
To charge something is to empower it with energy. In some cases, this simply means imbuing an item with positive energy, while in other cases, it means charging an item so that its energies are aligned with some specific purpose. For example, in candle magic, I always charge the candle I use to align it with the purpose of the spell I wish to perform. Charging requires raising a bit of energy and directing it into an object. Once again, the method you choose may depend on your preferences or on the item you’re charging.
Common Charging Methods
- Rub candles with oil repeatedly (if doing candle magic).
- Dance, chant, and meditate to raise power, then pour that energy into the object you wish to charge.
- 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 to charge the object.**
- Lay the object on a healthy crystal for several days so that it absorbs some of the crystal's energy.
Like consecrating, charging isn’t always necessary. For example, I don't charge all of the jewelry I wear. In fact, most of it I just cleanse. If I use a piece primarily for a ritual, I cleanse and consecrate it. If I want to use it as an amulet or a talisman, I charge it as well.
*The sun, moon, and crystals can cleanse and charge an item at the same time.
**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, your wand, etc. This keeps them charged and ready to use, and it also empowers them so that they can be used to charge other items.
Go Forth and Practice
When and why you choose to use one, two, or all three Cs is up to you. But it’s good to know what they are, be familiar with their purposes, and know how to do them. You’ll find that when all relevant energies are aligned and operating in harmony, particularly during a ritual, your experience will be greatly enhanced. Now, go cleanse, consecrate, and charge your heart out!
Before reading this, how clear were you on the three Cs?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright