Tag: witch

April Author Blog

An Excerpt from “Secrets of Greek Mysticism” by George Lizos

Setting Up Altars to the Gods

An altar is a portal between the sacred and the profane. It is a bridge between the spiritual and earthly realms—a creation that aims to bring the gods into the physical realm so we can have an easier, deeper interaction with them. Therefore, setting up an altar opens up a portal to the spirit world and eventually transforms a secular space into one that is sacred.

Altars have been used by most indigenous traditions around the world, including the ancient Greeks. Since the beginning of time, humans have felt the need to communicate with the spirit world and have built physical altars with the aim of channeling and communicating with the nonphysical realm.


What to Include on the Altar

There are many schools of thought around setting up altars. In this section, I’ll share what we know about ancient Greek altars coupled with tips from my personal experience.


Although outdoor altars were common in classical times due to the layout of ancient houses, it may be more convenient to set up your household altar indoors. You can set up your altar on any surface in any room of the house. It could be on a side table in your bedroom, a shelf on your bookcase, a corner of your office desk, or simply a corner of the floor. However, I suggest that you set up your altar in a quiet space in a common area, especially if you plan on performing the rituals with the entire family.


Traditionally, Greek altars were rectangular. However, feel free to give your altar a shape that has meaning for you and for the god or goddess you’re working with. It could be a circle, square, pyramid, star, or any other shape you feel inspired to use.

Altar Cloth

Setting up your altar on a piece of cloth is a symbolic way to set its extent and boundaries. It’s also a simple way to transform a secular surface to something more sacred. Choose the colors and materials of your altar cloths mindfully so that they make sense for your chosen god or goddess.


Our modern lifestyle doesn’t always allow for a hearth to be permanently lit in the house, so the next best option is candles, an oil lamp, or even an electronic candle or lamp if you want to avoid fire completely. Always use natural substances, such as beeswax and soy wax candles or olive oil for the lamp.

Cleansing Water

Known as khernips, cleansing water is used specifically for cleansing and purifying our energy before we perform any kind of ritual. You can make it yourself by using either spring water or saltwater and setting the intention that it clears and purifies your energy. It’s important to avoid using tap or stagnant water, and always drain and clean the bowl following the ritual. You can learn more about creating cleansing water in my book Protect Your Light.


During rituals, the statues are more than just representations of the gods; they embody the gods’ essence and should be treated with the utmost respect. Although you can purchase statues for affordable prices from many online retailers, you can also use any sculpted or unworked natural materials as statues for the gods. For example, you can choose stones, crystals, and pieces of clay or wood. In fact, in the archaic period Greeks used xoana (singular xoanon) to honor the gods, which were often uncarved pieces of wood.

If you choose to purchase your statues, it’s important that you choose statues depicting the god’s or goddess’s whole body rather than their busts or replicas of vandalized statues depicting the gods with missing limbs and other damage (most of which were performed by the early Christians).

Although statues are helpful aids to connecting with the gods, they aren’t essential for your ceremonies, and you don’t need to include them if you don’t want to. Your intention to connect with the gods is the most important component of the ritual.

Ritual Dagger

Similar to the Wiccan athame, a ritual dagger is used symbolically to protect the altar from negative intentions, people, and energies. You can use any dagger for this purpose, but it’s best to choose something that looks and feels sacred to you and that you use only as part of your ceremonies.


Near your altar, you may dedicate an additional surface or storage space for the statues (if you choose to include them) and other ritual items. It’s important to have 200 Connecting with the Gods specific ritual items used solely for your ceremonies, and consecrate them using the practice in the next section.


The ancient Greeks used different incenses to honor each god, many of which you can find in the “Symbolism” section of each god’s chapter. Traditionally, they used a tripod burner to burn the incense and other offerings, but you can use any burner you prefer. Personally, I’ve handmade a ceramic tripod burner, as well as most of my ceremonial tools, in my pottery class. If you have the time and energy to make your own ritual items, it’s a great way to add your own personal essence to them and deepen your practice.


Although the ancient Greeks often sacrificed animals to the gods, this is no longer a common practice. Instead, we now offer grains, fruits, and flowers as a way of acknowledging, showing gratitude, and reaching out to the gods. For this purpose, have a tray or a bowl that you can use to make your offerings during the ritual and potentially leave on the altar table. I often arrange a selection of grains in a tray in a visually appealing way and leave it on my altar until the next ritual.


A libation is the ritual pouring of a liquid—usually red wine, olive oil, honey, milk, or water—in honor of gods, heroes, other minor deities, and the dead. For this purpose, have a large bowl to pour in your libations, and another vessel to store the liquid. When offering a libation to the Olympian gods, you should always use red wine, while for chthonic (subterranean) deities, minor gods such as the Muses and the Nymphs, heroes, and the dead, you should instead use milk mixed with honey, or water. Libations to chthonic gods and the ancestors (known as a choe) are poured directly into the earth rather than your altar libation bowl.

Additional Items

In addition to or in lieu of the traditional ritual items used by both ancient and contemporary Greek pagans, feel free to make the altar your own by arranging and decorating it in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing and feels right to you. Remember, you’re setting up a sacred space to help you commune with the gods. The more personal you make it, the easier it’ll be for you to connect.

A great way to bring life into your altar is to include natural items, which I like to call gifts from nature. Such items may include crystals, stones, soil, flowers, leaves, shells, sea glass, tree bark, fallen branches, or anything else you’re guided to collect from the natural world. Always be mindful not to dismantle any animal’s shelter or home. Walk softly upon the land and take only what you’re intuitively guided to, with love and respect in your heart. If you feel guided to collect flowers or plants, it’s important to intuitively ask them for permission before you cut them, and do so only if you get a yes.


Laying Out Your Altar

Setting up your altar is a ritual in and of itself. Once you have all the items and have spent some time planning how you want it to look, lay down your altar cloth, and with intention, prayer, and ceremony, place each item on the altar. Notice how you feel while setting up your altar, and include only items that inspire a sense of joy and upliftment. You’ll know when your altar is complete by the emotion you feel when it’s done! You’ll feel a sense of completeness or open-heartedness and joy along with reverence, as the items you’ve placed create the perfect energetic combination to bring in your chosen god’s energy.


Consecrating Your Altar

Consecrating your altar means to purify the energy of both the space the altar is set up in and the items you’ve included. Physical space and the items you’ve chosen all absorb vibratory frequencies from their surrounding environment as well as the people who have interacted with them (the ancient Greeks called this miasma, which means energetic pollution). Consecrating your altar resets the energy of everything so it can better align with the energy of the gods.

Follow these steps to consecrate your altar:

  1. Start by practicing the Meditation Prep Process from Chapter 8 and bring yourself into a meditative state.
  2. Choose your cleansing tool. There are many cleansing elements and tools you can use to cleanse your altar and ritual items. The most common cleansing aids used in ancient Greece were fire (in the form of sage and incense) and water (usually seawater or flowing water from springs and rivers), but you can also use sound (such as bells and gongs), essential oils, or your inner light channeled through your hands.
  3. Bring your chosen tool/s close to your heart. With eyes closed, call upon the oversoul of the tool to activate its power and support you in this process. Intuitively, you may feel your tool vibrating or lighting up in some way, signifying it’s ready to use.
  4. Use the tool to cleanse your altar space in an intentional, ceremonial way. For example, if you’re using lit sage, wave the smoke above, below, and around your altar with the intention that it’s cleansing all negative energy.
  5. After you’ve cleansed the altar, do the same for all the ritual items. Take each item one at a time and use your chosen tool to cleanse and purify it from all negative or residual energy.
  6. When you feel the space and your ritual items have been consecrated, place the tool close to your heart and thank it for its assistance.


Activating Your Altar

After you’ve consecrated your altar, the next step is to dedicate and activate it so it serves as a sacred space to strengthening communication between you and the gods you’re revering.

Follow these steps to activate your altar:

  1. Start by practicing the Meditation Prep Process from Chapter 8 and bring yourself into a meditative state.
  2. Place both of your hands on your chest and focus your attention in the center of your heart. Visualize a bright golden light extending from your heart outward and into your palms. This is your own inner light and life-force energy.
  3. Extend your hands outward to face the altar, visualizing the light washing over all the altar pieces and the surrounding space, instilling it with your loving energy and intention. Stay here for as long as it takes for your altar to feel elevated.
  4. Dedicate the altar to the gods you’re working with by saying and changing the call to the appropriate god: “I call upon [name of the gods] to enter this space and render it sacred, creating a clear portal of communication between the physical and spiritual realms. Thank you, and so it is.”
  5. When you’re done, place your hands on your chest to end the process and ground your energy into the Earth.


Animating the Statues

As I mentioned earlier, statues aren’t just representations of the gods, they act as gateways for the gods’ presence during the rituals. They embody the gods’ presence. Before they can take on this function, you need to animate them, meaning to invite the gods represented to bless and embody them.

Here’s the process to animate the statues:

  1. Having cleansed the statues, prepare a tray or bowl of a mix of grains, known as panspermia in Greek.
  2. With intention, circle the tray over each statue in a clockwise direction while reciting the god’s Orphic hymn (which you can find in the gods’ respective chapters) and pour the grains on the statue.
  3. While doing so, visualize the gods’ light entering and activating the statues, blessing them with their presence.
  4. Once you’re done, your statues are animated and ready to be used in your ceremonies.


Dismantling the Altar

Before you perform a new ritual, it’s important to dismantle your altar from the previous one, then consecrate and ground the energy of your altar space. The dismantling process should be carried out with the same sense of ceremony and reverence as setting up your altar, to show your gratitude for the work you’ve done with the gods.

Follow these steps to dismantle your altar:

  1. Start by practicing the Meditation Prep Process from Chapter 8 and bring yourself into a meditative state.
  2. Slowly and ceremonially, remove each item from the altar, holding it in front of your heart and silently thanking it for the role it played in your ritual.
  3. Having dismantled your altar, use one or more of the consecration tools you used previously to cleanse the altar pieces and space, preparing them for the next ritual.

Now that you know how to set up and dismantle your altars, in the next chapters I’ll share guidelines for performing your monthly festival rituals, as well as the new moon and full moon rituals.

—George Lizos, Chapter 23, Copyright © 2024

March Author Blog

An Excerpt from “The Marie Laveau Voodoo Grimoire” by Denise Alvarado 

Marie Laveau held her services on Wednesdays and Fridays. Never on Sundays. But people went to see her all the time.” —Mrs. Marie Dede, 1939

People often wonder whether or not there are optimal times—days of the week, phases of the moon, and so forth—when it comes to conjuring. As a practitioner, you can cast a spell at a moment’s notice, but there can be advantages to using certain timing correspondences to optimize power and impact. The association of special times with ritual activities is called magickal timing.

One of the primary things to consider about pairing ritual work with specific timing is intention. People are often driven by emotion and act on impulse; thus, they do not think the work through clearly. As a result, they experience any number of unwanted consequences; the most common is simply an ineffective conjure. We live in an instant gratification society and want what we want when we want it. We don’t like to wait. However, waiting for the right time can sometimes be one of the most important things you can do to render an effective spell. The intricacies of magickal timing are why many folks hire a professional rootworker to perform a spiritual service instead of attempting the work themselves.

Magickal timing can be broken down into several categories, including days of the week, moon phases, sunrise and sunset, planetary hours, time of the year, major life events, hands of the clock, biblical associations, and even a woman’s menstrual cycle. The most commonly considered magickal timing categories are days of the week, phases of the moon, and sunrise and sunset. Which method a worker subscribes to is entirely personal; it boils down to what works.

In Hoodoo, timing is associated with activities of daily living and the days these activities typically occur. For example, people generally get paid on Fridays, so Fridays are associated with prosperity work, getting a job, and getting a raise. In classical traditions, Friday is associated with Venus, the love goddess, and therefore is the ideal day to perform spells related to love and relationships.

While there are other ways to incorporate magickal timing into ritual work, the ones described in this chapter are easy to implement. Try pairing your ritual work with one of the described methods, and you should see an improvement in the power and success of your ritualistic endeavors.


The days of the week are associated with magickal timing in many esoteric and occult traditions, but it was the Babylonians who first created the concept of a seven-day week. They named each day after one of the seven celestial bodies known at the time: the sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. According to Babylonian beliefs, these heavenly bodies impacted people’s lives on the corresponding day.


Sunday is the sun’s day, and its power can amplify any ritual work. It is a good day for gaining wisdom and seeking assistance with health, wellness, blessings, prosperity, individuality, and power. In New Orleans Voudou and related African-derived religions, Sundays are devoted to God and the orishas Obatala and Orunmila and the loa Gran Bwa.


Monday is the moon’s day, a great day for water rituals, healing, fertility, transformation, intuition, and family matters, particularly those concerning women and children. In New Orleans Voudou and related African-derived religions, Mondays are devoted to the gatekeeper spirits Papa Legba, Ellegua, Eshu, and Exú, the ancestors, and the barons.


Tuesday is ruled by Mars and is appropriate for works involving aggression, offensive battle strategies, enemy work, protection, justice, and manipulating testosterone. In New Orleans Voudou and related African-derived religions, Tuesdays are devoted to Ogun, Erzulie Dantor, and the spirits of the Petro nations.


Wednesday is Mercury’s day, ideal for communication, teaching the arts, transformation, traveling, learning, and luck. In New Orleans Voudou and related African-derived religions, Wednesdays are devoted to Ogun, AnnieChristmas, Oya, Damballah  Wedo, and Babalú-Aye.


Thursday is ruled by Jupiter, and is ideal for conjuring increased wealth, finding treasures, abundance, success, and seeking answers to burning questions. In Catholic Conjure and Laveau Voudou, yellow candles are offered to St. Roche and St. Expedite on Thursdays. In New Orleans Voudou and related African-derived religions, Thursdays are devoted to the spirits Damballah Wedo, Olodumare, Olofin, Oshun, Obatala, Agassou, and Orunmila.


Friday is Venus’s day, and the classical love goddess makes Friday ideal for working on matters of the heart—love, desire, beauty, and romance. Friday is also the day many people get paid for their week’s work, so it is a good day for prosperity work. In New Orleans Voudou and related African-derived religions, Fridays are devoted to Chango, Oya, Babalú Aye, the barons, Erzulie Freda, and Manman Brigitte.


Saturday is Saturn’s day, perfect for conjures related to righteous anger, justified revenge, causing sickness, creating obstacles, banishing, binding, and destroying enemies. In New Orleans Voudou and related African-derived religions, Saturdays are devoted to Yemaya, Oshun, and Baron Samedi, and it is the day to celebrate all spirits.


A moon’s phase refers to the shape of the illuminated portion of the moon as seen from earth. Since the moon and earth are forever locked by the tides, we always see the same lunar surface. Four principal lunar phases hold significance to magickal workers: the first quarter (waxing), full moon, third quarter (waning), and new moon. There is also the period at the end of the waning phase, just before the new moon crescent, that holds significance to workers. This is referred to as the dark moon because the moon is not visible.

The new moon is when the moon officially begins to wax, growing invisibility until it reaches full moon status. The new moon is an excellent time to start new projects and prepare new conjures.

Waxing moons begin after the new moon and visibly grow until the full moon. Rituals designed to draw things to you are best done during this moon phase.

Waning moons begin after the full moon and end the day of the dark moon. Rituals designed to eliminate obstacles, conditions, or people are best worked during this moon phase.

The dark moon is the day before the new moon. Take advantage of the moon’s invisibility to perform clandestine works such as crossings and reversals.


Working by sunrise or sunset is another way to enhance magickal work. Do works designed to draw things to you from dawn until noon, such as love, money, and success. Do works intended to remove or eliminate conditions such as debt or illness from noon until sunset.


When both hands of the clock point upward, it is the ideal time to perform work to draw something to you. When both hands face downward, it is the perfect time to repel negativity.


The traditional time for taking a spiritual bath is at or right before dawn. Some folks pay attention to the moon phases for enhancing the power of their cleansing. For example, when the desired result is removing a condition or obstacles, then cleansing during a waning moon is ideal. A waxing moon is ideal if the goal is drawing something to you. A full moon is perfect for harnessing all the moon’s power towards a desired goal. However, a cleansing can be done any time the need arises, so don’t wait until morning comes if there is an urgent need.

—Denise Alvarado, Chapter 3, Copyright © 2024

Hoodoo Justice Magic – Miss Aida’s Banishing Recipes

For those unfamiliar with hoodoo—also known as Conjure, tricking, or rootwork— it is a form of folk magic practiced in North America by a diverse community of practitioners. It incorporates Central and West African magic along with integrated fragments of Jewish, Christian, Irish, German, Spanish, Asian, and Native American beliefs and practices. Hoodoo is traditionally the magic of the disenfranchised, marginalized and vulnerable because it empowers people to rise above their stations and situations, restore self-esteem and create happier lives for themselves and their families. Over the years, a vast arsenal of justice and pay-back spells has been created to help restore balance.

In Hoodoo Justice Magic, Miss Aida offers the essential handbook for protection, and revenge spells, featuring 129 spells, 32 recipes, and numerous rituals.  Here are three of Miss Aida’s banishing recipes you can use to gently send a person or bad situation away.  The manifestations from using these formulas are effective but subtle. Also included is her guidance on modifying your behavior so you no longer attract predators who take advantage of your openness and kindness.


Banishing Powder

  • 4 teaspoons ground asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground salt

Mix well. Then recite a blessing prayer over them, such as Psalm 23. Don’t forget to state the intention of the powder.

Banishing Oil

Place one-quarter teaspoon of Banishing Powder into a glass bottle containing two ounces of almond oil. Vitamin E oil acts as a preservative, so also add two drops of this to the almond oil. Then recite a blessing prayer. Add one drop of candle wax dye, if desired, as using colors coordinated to a condition will enhance the power of your mix. Place a cap on the bottle, shake it vigorously, and put in a dark cool area. Shake once a day for two weeks. Your oil is now ready for use.


Emergency Banishing Oil

Although not as fervent as the full formula, this recipe can be a substitute for the full formula listed above for anointing petition papers or candles when time and/or supplies are short. Simply mix virgin olive oil with ground asafoetida and stir until there’s a smooth and even consistency.


Modifying Your Behaviors

Why do some people fall victim to these types of predators more so than others? It’s a three-word answer: trust and kindness. We want to see the good in others, but the “bad guys” view these behaviors as weaknesses. Thus, anyone with a pure soul can fall prey to their antics.

As stated earlier when we looked at sociopathic behaviors, some scientists believe that one out of every twenty-four people land in that category. Can you imagine being in a room with one hundred people and knowing that four to five of them are predators? Sadly, that’s the ultimate reality of this generation.

Next, break those numbers down. There may be at least two to three predators in a room of fifty and at least one in a room of twenty-five. Therefore, you must always be aware that plenty of people have ulterior motives.

Predators can identify a vulnerable person within a few minutes. They look for body language signaling low self-esteem, such as slouching or hunching that makes the person look smaller and less assuming; fidgeting during conversations; or even nail biting. A predator will befriend these types of people, overly compliment them, and take steps to gain their trust.

They also look for people who smile a lot and display openness and kindness. Predators will present themselves to these types of people as victims in order to gain not only the target’s sympathy but assistance as well. Thereafter, they continue to seek assistance and information for their own purposes. So be careful with your body language, and although it is honorable to be kind to others, trust others with caution.