Ritual Set-up

Timing, Duration and the Altar

In Anna Riva's words:

After a candle has been lighted toward a certain objective, it should not be used again for a new or different intention even if it is not fully burned out.

It is all right to burn the same candle any number of times as long as the purpose is the same, but if the aim of the ritual changes, start with new candles.


The length of time a ritual should take is a decision which must be made based on the petitioner's goals and commitment.

Small goals do not require as much concentrated effort as larger or more important ones. The simple act of igniting the candle in itself sets up a field of energy which can be sufficient to cause one's mind powers to become focused on the problem at hand. A brief moment's meditation, or the repetition of a short prayer or affirmation, may be all that is necessary to bring about a successful solution.

For more serious or complicated situations, longer and more concentrated attention is usually required before results are obtained.

A candle may be lighted and allowed to burn until it is consumed. This method is most often employed when the purpose is for healing of the sick or for restoration of one's health. As one candle dies down, the next is lighted from the flame of the first, and a perpetual candle vigil is kept until the recovery is complete.

Once the outcome of the situation is clearly in mind, light the candle and allow it to burn for about an hour. During this time period, sit quietly and meditate upon your ritual's purpose and contemplate its successful ending.


There are general guidelines about scheduling which are considered to contribute toward the success of the spell, and this section will cover these various factors to be considered before the ritual is begun.

Your Best Day

Since certain days are considered more favorable to certain people than to others, it is most appropriate to begin a ritual on the day which is believed to be sympathetic to your particular astral sign.

see also: Astrology

Lunar Timing

The Waxing Moon

The period of time between the new moon and the full­.

Best spells during this time: Attracting, uplifting, drawing, improving, increasing, reuniting, or restoring

The Waning Moon

The period from full moon to dark.

Best spells during this time: Banishing, driving away, destroying, rejecting, dispelling, defeating, reversing, or punishing

The Full Moon

The period of time when the entire moon is illuminated

Best spells during this time: Health or Power

The Dark of the Moon

The three day period just before the new moon appears

Best spells during this time: No spells of any kind should be instigated

Days of the Week

Each of the days of the week are ruled by a particular planet, and each planet affects certain matters. Therefore, to begin your ritual on the day of the week which is governed by the planet which influences those matters involved in the spell can be of benefit.

For instance, almost everyone is familiar with the belief that the planet Venus affects love and other matters of the heart-and Venus rules Fridays, so rituals relating to love, sex, and marriage could commence on a Friday so that Venus' vibrations are added to the elements already in the spell.

Here are the days, their ruling planet, and some matters which are best suited for that day.

And do keep in mind that, as in all things, each planet has both positive and negative qualities.


Ruling Planet: Sun

For acquiring renown and riches

To free oneself from prison

For dealing with government or authority

To repress others

For spiritual enlightenment

To dissolve hostile feelings

­To make friends

For gaining hope


Ruling Planet: Moon

For safety in travel

To bring rain

To acquire merchandise

To receive answers in dreams

In matters where children are involved

For reconciliations


Ruling Planet: Mars

To acquire courage

To overthrow enemies

For self ­preservation and insure survival

Obtain military honors

Cause hostility among others

To wound others


Ruling Planet: Mercury

For seeing into the future

All matters concerning the intellect

To influence the written word

Open closed doors

Acquire knowledge and understanding

Pass examinations

Settle quarrels

Con­cerning reason and sensibility





Ruling Planet: Jupiter

Gain peace of mind

Expansion of interests or hold­ings

Buy or sell real estate

Acquire money








Ruling Planet: Venus

Form friendships









Ruling Planet: Saturn

Success in business

Impose your will on others

Concerns with food or agriculture

Make others to be possessed by demons


Commune with the dead

Sow seeds of discontent


An altar is a platform used for religious or magical rituals. It does not have to be elaborate, and your altar for candle burning rites need not be anything you specially purchase for this purpose.

Choose Your Altar

Any sturdy, flat, smooth surface will do­, a chest, box, table, counter top, or even a wide board laid on the floor. It should be a designated place set aside for the particular purpose for which it is to be used, and of a rectangular shape if possible.

Place Your Altar

A quiet out-of-the-way place should be selected so that the rites do not have to be disturbed. Also, those who believe in burning candles to achieve their objectives find they are using the altar for one purpose or another most of the time and it will be inconvenient to interrupt the proceedings to move the altar's location.

Clean Your Altar

Once the altar's place is decided upon, it should be cleaned thoroughly to remove all foreign matter. Use any soft, clean cloth or sponge and a pure soap or detergent. After the surface is clean, wipe it over with a new cloth saturated with Holy Water.

Cover Your Altar

The altar should then be covered with a Cloth-any clean cloth is acceptable. Some persons use very elaborate embroidered or lace altar cloths, but these are not necessary to the success of the ritual. Any color can be chosen which is pleasing to the petitioner, and white is always in good taste and appropriate.

Altar Set-up

Some purists believe that the altar must contain all of the four elements­ earth, fire, water, and air.

The candle is the fire, the incense fumes are air, so small bowls of water and earth may be added so that all elements are represented.

The position of the earth and water containers is not important, so place them wherever it is convenient.

Incense is placed at the center of the altar. Any type of burner is correct, so find one you like and large enough to hold about one-half cup of incense powder.

If you wish to include readings from the Bible as part of the rites, the Book of Psalms or the Holy Bible can be placed in the front left hand corner of the altar so that it will be convenient.

If altar candles are to be used, they can be the Cross-Shaped ones (often called Crucifix Candles, though this description is not accurate), or any regular candle.

Two are usually used, one placed in each of the back corners of the altar.

White is the proper color for all rituals concerned with attracting, drawing, spirituality, luck, safety, protection, etc.-all the white magic objec­tives. Black altar candles are used for black magic rites, and these do not have to be rituals intending harm to another person. Any rite which is designed to dominate, control, or change another's will or intentions is considered to be black magic. (see also: Candle Color)

The candle which represents the person working the spell should be placed to the left side of the incense burner. The candle representing the objective of the spell, or the purpose which is to be accomplished, is placed to the right of the incense burner. When there are two or more persons involved in the objective, place their candles side by side or one below the other.

Any other objects you wish to include on the altar can be placed at the front right hand corner.

These items should be to enhance the objective of the spell-a photograph of the one you wish to attract, a piece of clothing, nail or hair clippings.

If the objective is not a particular person but is an intention such as luck in games, use your imagination for the objects to be added-a pair of dice, your special lucky talisman, a magnetic lodestone, or a rabbit's foot.

If the rite is of a spiritual or religious nature, you might wish to use the statue of a favorite saint, a cross, crucifix, or a rosary.

While other authors have made requirements about the kind of clothes to wear while conducting the rites, or specific requisites as to the size and shape of the candles, Anna Riva believed that the ceremony itself should be kept as simple as possible so that all the mind powers can be directed completely into the objective to be accomplished.

Few results can be expected without the petitioner's faith in the undertaking, and no book can instill into the ritual the commitment needed for success-this only comes from the one actually doing the work.


Repeat an affirmation as each candle is ignited.

Allow the candles to burn for an hour, during which you will meditate upon the objective for which the candles are being burned.

When the allotted time is over, conclude the meditation with the Lord's Prayer or other meaningful recitation.

Then snuff out the candles in reverse order - the Object Candle first, then the Personal Candle, the right Altar Candle, and lastly the left Altar Candle. The incense should be allowed to burn until consumed if possible.

Repeat the ritual daily until the purpose is accomplished. Depending on the type or size of the candle used, replace them as necessary. Simply light a new candle of the same type from the light of the old one.

When the ritual is concluded, the unused portion of the candles, the incense, and any other paraphernalia on the altar should be cleansed to use at another time, or disposed of in a proper manner.

The candles along with any incense residue can be wrapped and cast out in the garbage. Any other objects used-such as nail clippings, a piece of clothing, hair cuttings, seals, etc., are destroyed. Burning is the best method of disposing of these symbols, but if that is inconvenient, wrap them well and place them in the garbage. Objects of sentimental or monetary value, such as photographs, a Saint's Statue, or Bible, are wiped clean and may be used again.