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Indoor Ritual Safety Tips
Just as important as outdoors, especially as one candle can easily start a blaze that can destroy a whole apartment block or house. One of the biggest culprits is the simple tea light – one of those small disc candles in a metal container. As this type of candle burns the metal heats up and becomes an extra fire risk, always put a saucer or other non-flammable base under these types of candles. In my safety job I have seen numerous round burn marks on tables, window sills, counter tops, the edges of plastic baths, carpets and other floor coverings and any other flat surface that could hold a tea light, caused by the heated base. In some cases, such as putting them on surfaces with a low flashpoint, it can easily cause a fire independent of the candle flame.
The area above a candle flame is also hot for further above it than you might think too. Always make sure there is nothing that can immediately catch fire or become coated in volatile paraffin wax and styrene to be a fire risk at a later date. This can happen by these two hydrocarbons coating or soaking into surfaces and significantly lower their flashpoint to danger levels.
When I do candle magick I like to have a clear area an arms length in all directions. Years ago I used to use the bath or shower tray as they were porcelain or enamelled cast iron, but nowadays both are plastic so I usually use a large plate or baking tray on a tiled table in the middle of the kitchens tiled floor – with 6ft + of room above it.
When using incense you may need to cover or take down the smoke detectors, make it part of your ritual to uncover or put them back when the smoke has dissipated sufficiently. They can’t protect you if they’re not working.
Also be careful when using charcoal, it’s a great source of deadly carbon monoxide. Usually it is only if you are unwise enough to, for example, use one of those pre-packaged barbeques indoors that it gets to deadly levels for humans. For any pets or familiars it can be deadly in much smaller amounts, particularly in the case of birds.
Keep the place well ventilated while working especially if you are using poisonous substances such as sulphur – more popular in Ritual Magic workings. Not only can you poison yourself and anyone with you but, if you seek medical help as a Witch I know did explaining why you run the risk of being detained for psychiatric examination too! Just use something else
Making your own oils by soaking herbs in food-grade oil such as olive oil or sunflower oil is a relatively safe undertaking. Even so some oils made this way such as Rue (Ruta Graviolens) oil – used for protection, exorcisms, and destroying maleficent artefacts can be dangerous if it gets on skin that is then exposed to sunlight, or if it ends up in the eyes somehow. Check to see if this way of extracting oils extracts any nasty substances too, and avoid making oils with poisonous plants such as Monkshood, Thornapple, or Henbane.
These are the concentrated essences from plants via steam or solvent chemicals and it is this level of purity that makes many of them highly dangerous. Especially ones such as Tea Tree and Pennyroyal which are extremely toxic. In my child safety job I am always telling people to move essential oils out of reach of the under fives, particularly from low placed room fragrancers and around the bathtub. There was a horrible incident a few years ago where a young child drank a 5ml bottle of tea tree oil and all the hospital could do was make them marginally more comfortable while they died as there was no antidote or treatment. Keep all essential oils well out of reach of children and pets and wash your hands thoroughly after using them.
Clothing and Furnishings
These days lots of people practicing Craft like to dress in mainly artificial ‘floaty ‘ gauzy fabrics with some rayon and silk in the mix. It looks very ethereal, but is also highly flammable, and is especially dangerous near candle and other flames. In the early covens and magick groups nudity indoors was as much about health and safety as it was about heightening sensitivity. No or little clothing meant less chance of a nasty accident.
Notice I said “less chance” not “eliminates”. For many years the temple run by Alex Sanders – the founder of the Alexandrian style of Craft- had a hair pomade (Brylcreme actually) stain on the ceiling where one of the nude Witches had sat down without checking the position of the nearest candle and jumped up faster than they sat down!
Also there may be occasion to use protective clothing in special situations. I well recall one naturist Coven where one of the members was allowed to wear steel toecapped boots as the Maiden always dropped the Atheme at some point in whatever ritual they were doing and frequently pinned his foot to the floor – literally. At least with the boots he only had to put up with the occasional nick on the lower leg.
This is also why the space indoors is usually cleared and rituals take place in a room without even a carpet. This is very different to the Freemason and Ritual Magic traditions that are the root of many of the current Craft practices, but that is because these systems are highly stylised whereas Craft is much more immediate and instinctive.
These are some of the basic ways to make your indoor rituals safer for all. Remember to use your common sense and look carefully at all aspects of safety for all involved in the ritual in addition to remembering your responsibility to your wider environment. That way your rituals really will be for the benefit of all and harm none.
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