1. Full aratik

A full aratik consists of offering 6 or sometimes 7 items in a ceremony. The articles are (1) incense, (2) a ghee lamp, (3) water in a small conch shell, (4) a piece of cloth, (5) one or several flowers, (6) a yak-tail fan, and, if it is hot, (7) a peacock fan.

The items are offered in the above-mentioned sequence. They represent the elements earth, fire, water, air and ether and are meant to please the transcendental senses of the Lord.

Each item is offered by circling the transcendental body of the Lord seven times clockwise. A cup of water and a spoon are used to clean one’s right hand and each item before offering it.

A conch shell is blown at the beginning and end of each aratik to drive away inauspicious elements.

Personal cleanliness, cleanliness of the place of worship and all the elements is essential in arcanam, especially in its advanced forms.

2. Bathing

In the temple, small deities from brass are bathed on a daily basis. If your deity is made of metal or stone you can also bathe Him on a regular (or irregular) basis, especially before changing His clothes and on festival days.

Before the ceremony take bath yourself and put on clean clothes.

You’ll need a clean surface (a table), an acamana cup with water and spoon, a small bell, a small water pot, a bowl with tilaka powder mixed with lemon juice, (if polishing metal deities), scented oil, cotton wool, a bathing receptacle (e.g. a big plate with raised border), separate towels for each deity and one for your hands, clothing for the deities, jewelry, sandalwood paste, Tulasi leaves, flowers, incense and ghee lamp, and some food for offering. 

Assemble all the items, then offer obeisances and perform acamana. Sit on the mat and lightly sprinkle yourself, the area around you and all items with water from the acamana cup, while chanting mantras.

If you have a spiritual master, first offer prayers and worship to him by ringing a bell with your left hand and offering flowers at his lotus feet (on his picture).

Invite the deity (the deities) to the bathing receptacle with a gesture of the hands. Remove their clothing. If your deities are made of metal you may now polish them by using cotton wool to apply powdered tilaka mixed with a little lemon juice.  Avoid their eyes and painted areas. Then clean off the paste with cotton wool.

Ringing the bell with your left hand, pour water over the deities from the conch held in your right hand. Do this at least three times. Use plenty of water if possible, but be aware of the limits of the bathing receptacle. 

Chant mantras and prayers during the bathing procedure. You may also hear a recording of mantras or mantra music.

Dry the deities with soft towels. Dress the deities and decorate them with ornaments and garlands. Apply flowers and tulasi leaves with sandalwood to their lotus feet.

Place the deities back on the altar. You may offer incense, a ghee or camphor lamp, while ringing the bell. Then offer some fruit and/or sweets and drinking water while ringing the bell, and chanting mantras or prayers.

Observe the forms of the freshly bathed deities. Offer obeisances. Clear away, and wash and dry the paraphernalia used in the worship.