Minimalistic Pagan

If you think ritual is all about temples, expensive robes and flashy kit, think again. There seems to be a widespread belief that costly items such as exquisite ceremonial robes, ornate swords and an assortment of fine, costly resins with esoteric names are indispensable if one is to pay due homage. ‘Anything less will offend the gods’. Nonsense. Ritual can be much simpler.

The Quarters

The elements of air and fire can be challenging. Rented accommodation often prohibits naked flames, so no incense or candles. How can those quarters be represented without something burning? Everything associated with the element is valid as a representation.

Many people think that Air demands smouldering incense, But this quarter can be represented by subtle and non-flammable means. Depictions of creatures that are associated with air such as birds or butterflies would be fine. Feathers and found butterfly’s wings are also beautiful objects for the altar.

For fire any object that is flame-coloured can be used. This could be a metal or ceramic plate, especially one with an image of the Sun, or a flame. As well as showing an image of fire, the plate has been formed by fire, in a forge, or kiln. Better still, you can get creative, buy some paints and a plain plate and do it yourself.

Water is seldom contentious: there is no problem using a bowl of water in your room. You could also consider using something that evokes the watery realms, such as a seashell, or seaweed. A picture of ocean waves, a lake or pool of water, can stand for the element itself.

Lastly we come to Earth and finding something to mark this quarter is easiest of all. A container of salt, a stone, a piece of natural coal, even a handful of earth will do. Houseplants can also be used as they grow out of earth and therefore represent not only the element but that which is sustained by it. Things that live closely with the earth work well: for example the found bones of a small animal. Or you could choose to use a picture of a stag, fox, or badger.


Wear whatever is comfortable and feels right. Honouring or celebrating the elemental forces can be done in your everyday clothes, or no clothes, if you choose. There aren’t any rules. If you are skilled at sewing you could make a special garment and decorate it with whatever feels right for you. Wearing something that you keep only for rituals is ideal. This will help concentrate the mind, because what we clothe ourselves in contains the accumulated vibrations of our rituals. However, this isn’t necessary and even without a robe your devotions will still be appreciated by the gods.

What is going on in your mind and heart is far more important than any external clothing. Rest assured you can safely cast a circle and work in your jeans and t-shirt, or just nude if it feels right.


If you don’t feel like chanting, play some music on your speaker. Anything that simply ‘feels’ Pagan or spiritual is best. Try humming a tune make it up spontaneously so that it is unique to each ritual. If you are shy about being heard or don’t think you have a good enough voice, keep it inside your head.

Ultimately you are attuning yourself to the elements and spirits of place, so do your own personal devotions and enjoy yourself without worrying. That’s the way to celebrate!