Exploring the differences between Cleansing, Consecrating, and Charging

Why:  To spiritually and energetically clean an item.
How:  Burn White Sage and run your item through the smoke, soak the item in salt water, bury the item in the earth, or hold the item under running water.
What:  Any tool you plan to use in rituals or keep on your altar.  Items you receive as gifts or items you want to cleanse its history and truly make your own.
When: Anytime.
Elemental Consecration
Why:  To purify an item of any previous lingering energies and to attune it to your own use.
How: Expose your item to all four elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water).  This will customize the item for your intended use.  For the Earth element sprinkle it will salt (dead sea salt or black salt), place it on the ground and place a stone upon it.  For the Air element, pass your item through incense smoke, smudge smoke, herb smoke, or candle smoke.  For the Fire element you can pass your item quickly through any flame.  If your item cannot be exposed to flame, use the sun in its stead.  For the Water element you can use oils or sacred water to sprinkle on your item.
You can seal the consecration with knot magic by tying a string or ribbon on your item, engraving your tool with a sigil or any customization that resonates with you.
When:  Consecrations are usually done within the circle during Full Moons, however can be done at your altar anytime needed.  
Why: To empower it with energy.  Simply stated you are imbuing an item with positive energy or aligning energies for a specific purpose.  Charging requires raising energy and infusing that energy into your item.
How:  Several different ways to charge an item.  Place it under the sun and charge it with solar power.  Place your item under the full moon light and charge it with lunar power.  Place a consecrated and healthy crystal on your item for a few days.  Chant and meditate to raise power then metaphorically pour that energy into your item.  Rub your item with oil.
When: Anytime.
Some items don’t need to be cleansed, consecrated and charged.  For example, I always cleanse anything that is new to my possession.  Items that I plan to use in rituals I perform all three.  Items that are new and I am not sure what their use it as of yet, I will cleanse and consecrate.  I will later charge if needed.  Crystals can be cleansed and charged at the same time when using the sun or moon.  

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