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Clerics often use ceremonial tools when performing hymns and other rites – they serve as a focus for the ritualized singing or chanting and assist the congregation in visualizing the desired effect. While many of the ceremonial tools may be used as weapons, doing so will immediately destroy their effectiveness as a religious implement. In fact, using one of these tools for any purpose other than that for which it was blessed will render it useless for performing religious ceremonies of any type. For this reason, most ceremonial tools are stored in the sanctuary of a church and never find their way outside where they might be inadvertently ruined.
Athame: This ceremonial, double-edged blade is used by lead clerics to direct and store the energy released by their congregations while a hymn is being performed. This tool is never used to physically cut anything, so its blade is typically dull but polished to a mirror-like finish. The hilt of an athame is rarely crafted from metal; instead, bones and gemstones are intricately carved and carefully smoothed to form artistic hilts.
Bell: Used to signal the beginning or ending of a hymn or other ceremony, large bells (or any other ringing instrument, such as gongs or cymbals) serve as a crucial focus in directing the energy of the congregation. The bell is often used in conjunction with the dorje.
Besom: A ceremonial broom, the besom is used to sweep negativity and lingering traces of energy out of a sacred space, cleansing it for a coming ceremony. During a rite, a besom is sometimes burned after use to negate the darkness it absorbed and banish whatever might still be lingering behind.
Bull-Roarer: A musical wind instrument on the end of a long cord, a bull-roarer is played by spinning the instrument overhead quickly. The air passing through the weighted end creates a low, droning sound believed to be both attractive to good spirits and repulsive to bad ones. Some belief systems make a distinction between which direction a bullroarer should be swung, with its effects reversing if used the wrong way.
Candle Snuffer: A candle snuffer resembles a clapper-less bell on a long metal arm. Used to quench candles during a ceremony, the candle snuffer exists because many spirits are believed to take offence at flames being put out with the ritualist’s own breath.
Chalice: A large cup, usually fashioned of a precious metal, which is used to offer wine, blood, water or other fluids to the gods during the performance of a hymn. When the hymn is completed, the congregation is often offered a drink from the chalice to seal their communion with their god.
Crystals: These semiprecious gemstones, usually clear or pale-colored, are sometimes used to mark ritual boundaries. Crystals serve as excellent meditation foci, with spellcasters and vision seekers staring into their depths during rituals designed to increase inner consciousness.
Dorje: This short scepter is representative of both the divine wrath that smites the wicked and the indestructible power of faith. Used in conjunction with a bell, it serves to balance the feminine energies of the hymn with more masculine forces. A dorje is often made from ivory or jade, with precious metal inlays and gems set into the tips.
Drum: Priests use these simple instruments to help the congregation focus on the cadence of the hymn and to keep chants ordered and rhythmic.
Fairy Dust: Rarely created from actual fey creatures, fairy dust is more often made from ground crystals and herbal ingredients. Fairy dust is used during rites that draw upon the spirit world or other dimensions. Some rituals performed to call upon the powers of inspiration and creativity require participants to sprinkle fairy dust over their projects.
Fire Wheel: A small, wooden disc with painted parchment tubes attached at diametrically opposite points, fire wheels are filled with black powder. When the powder tubes are ignited, they spew flames from one end, causing the disc to spin wildly and generate a high-pitched whistle. From a ceremonial standpoint, .re wheels are used to drive off negative influences and evil creatures that, theoretically, cannot stand the light and noise.
Graveyard Soil: Many ritual items have figurative names, suggesting a more exotic or macabre origin than they really have. Graveyard soil is an exception, coming from the turned ground of a grave. Preferably taken from the root of a tree growing in a graveyard, this dark soil is burned as a type of incense during dark rites and, conversely, during ceremonies designed to ward off the undead.
Headgear, Ritual: This catchall category covers all manner of headgear, from antlered crowns to swan-feather veils. Ritual headgear normally symbolizes the wearer becoming the creature depicted by the item. While these items are not normally magical in nature, they take transmutation magic very easily, reducing the time required to enchant them to one day per 2,000 gold pieces of the base cost.
Horn: Typically taken from a bull, the horn is used in a manner similar to the chalice, as a tool to hold liquid offerings to a deity and for divine communions.
Kartika: This elaborately decorated, ceremonial knife has a wide, crescent-shaped blade that is mounted perpendicular to the handle. The knife is used to represent the severing of physical bonds and mortal connections; most often a kartika’s presence in a ritual is to spill a small amount of the cleric’s blood to serve as a focus for the congregation.
Mandala: A ritual pattern, often made with stones and lines drawn in a natural substance such as wood or soil, the mandala is an example of a ceremonial pattern inscribed to invoke a specific effect over an area or participant. These patterns are usually quite simple and easily repeated during a rite.
Mani Wheel: These large wheels contain scrolls on which are scribed myriad mantras and prayers. During the hymn, the wheels are spun to indicate the times when responses from the congregation are required.
Offering Bowl: Decorated with religious symbols, offering bowls serve a vital function during ceremonies by providing a receptacle for gifts made directly to the deity itself. Small samples of ritual food and drink are sometimes placed in offering bowls as a symbol of feeding them directly to the divine. Other times, wealth is placed within them as a way of supplicating worshipped beings for their blessing. After a ceremony, anything in a offering bowl is burned as a sign of divine acceptance.
Pendulum: An ornate weight depending from a length of chain or rope, the pendulum is most often fastened to the ceiling of the sanctuary. During the hymn, a cleric sets the pendulum swinging as a way to help the congregation enter a meditative or trance state.
Pipe: An implement used for inhaling the smoke of burnt herbs, a pipe is used to both alter perceptions and symbolize the acceptance of spiritual energies into the ritualist. Ceremonial use of a pipe is often done in a circle, with each participant sharing the pipe in turn.
Portable Altar: Designed with the adventuring cleric in mind, the portable altar is a heavy, polished, wood case, properly sanctified by the cleric’s religion. Carefully engraved with the symbols and imagery of the church, the heavy lid opens to reveal a silk-lined compartment designed to contain a large amount of religious paraphernalia. With a fully-stocked portable altar, a cleric can hold services anywhere he travels.
Prayer Beads: Also known as malas, these smooth, polished beads are strung together on wires of precious metal and used to count mantras or prayers during religious ceremonies. Their distinctive clicking becomes greatly magnified during the performance of a hymn, serving to keep the congregation coordinated and focused.
Prayer Rug: A prayer rug is used to denote sacred space and is generally used when a specific ritual site cannot be adequately prepared ahead of time. Embroidered with symbolic diagrams, prayer rugs can be laid down over any space to create a consecrated area for worship and ceremony. Prayer rugs are almost always swept with a besom after use.
Ritual Sword: Ritual swords serve much the same purpose as an athame. Also double-edged and straight bladed, a ritual sword is most often used instead of an athame when hostile energies or banishments need to be channeled during a ceremony. Like athames, ritual swords are never intended to shed blood, becoming ruined if they ever do so.
Sacred Cords: A physical representation of energy lines, ritual cords are tied around objects, people or places to ritualistically ‘bind’ them, holding in all of their spiritual power. A cord can also be imbued during ceremonies with certain conceptual properties like good fortune or blessings. This is then tied to a ceremonial subject to impart that property for as long as it stays bound.
Scourge: These short, leather whips often have multiple heads and are used by the lead cleric to demonstrate his physical and mental discipline. By flogging himself with the scourge, the cleric is also able to heighten his own concentration for the task at hand while simultaneously displaying his devotion.
Sea Salt: Collected from salt water, sea salt is generally purchased as large, composite crystals and ground during meditations before a ritual. Used in many different ways, sea salt is most often called upon in its capacity to cleanse dark energies from ceremonial tools and spaces. Sea salt is preferred over other forms of salt because of its association with water, the element of life.
Singing Bowl and Puja Stick: When the interiors of these large, metal bowls are rubbed with puja sticks, they produce a haunting, hypnotic pair of wavering tones. The sounds help the congregation to focus and serve as a powerful tool for meditation.
Smudging Stick: Ritually significant grasses or leaves bound together with cord, smudging sticks are lit on one end, allowed to burn for a few moments to release their smoke as incense and then extinguished. The charred tip of a smudging stick is used during rites to mark participants for attention from the spirit world or to impart protection from inimical forces.
Thurible: Also known as a censer, this is a metal vessel designed for the ceremonial burning of incense. The thurible is suspended on long chains, which are used to gently swing the vessel from side to side, dispersing the fragrant smoke of burning incense throughout the temple.
Tingshas: These small cymbals are used by assistant clerics to signal the beginning and ending of different sections of a hymn. Tingshas are also used to enforce the timing of chanting during hymns, especially when several different sections of the congregation are being led in different parts of a hymn.
Vase: Sanctified vases are often placed on the altar during a hymn as a receptacle for the gathering divine energy. At the conclusion of the hymn, the vases are shattered by the lead cleric, releasing the power and activating the hymn’s effects.
Wine, Ritual: Wine is used in rituals to symbolize blood, especially during rites that would be tainted by the shedding of actual vital fluids. Blessed during a ceremony, wine is often used to anoint objects, denote lines of power or imbibed to gain the favor of the divine. While used in this capacity, any spilling of sacred wine is considered an extremely bad omen and is usually grounds for invalidation of the entire ritual.
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