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As in most
religions, Wicca makes use of certain items as tools in ritual and
in the performance of magick. Many of these tools have gained their
own reputation, much of it misconceived, among the uneducated masses
and with the popular media. The tools are symbolic, but do have
purpose. They direct and receive energies, invoke the God and
Goddess, and banish all realms of negativity. As witches, it is
important that we gather at least some of these items, consecrate
them, and use them. It is not necessary to have tools, but they do
lend their energies, energies you've infused them with, to whatever
magick or ritual you're performing.
you find these tools? Just about anywhere. Antique stores, flea
markets, junk stores, garage sales, and occult and metaphysical
stores. Just remember that the tool, be it a lavish, crystal
encrusted athame or just an old, scratched knife, it must feel right
for you. What is good for one witch is not necessarily right for the
next. Also remember,
use what you have!
athame (pronounced ah-thah-may) is normally a dark or black handled,
double-sided knife or dagger. The athame is normally dull, for it is not
used to cut. The athame is used to direct energy and is often employed
when casting circle. Symbols and words are sometimes engraved on the
handle, but it is not necessary.
The athame is
the tool of the East and is associated with the element of Air. In some
traditions it is the tool of Fire.
The athame is
phallic in nature and is therefore a masculine tool and linked to the
The wand is one
of the most renown of the tools and one of the most versatile.
Traditionally, the wand is made from the wood of many different kinds of
trees including willow, elder, oak, hazel, and fruit trees. The length
of the wand varies from tradition to tradition, but it is safe to say
that the wand should be fairly straight, comfortable in your hand and is
not so long as to be unwieldy. When searching for wood for your wand,
even wood from a building supply store will work. If you take your wood
from a living tree, remember to ask the tree first, then thank it for
its sacrifice. Wands can also be made of crystals and metal. Make the
wand your own by carving or painting symbols on it, adorning it with
ribbons, whatever makes the wand special to you.
For thousands of
years the wand has been used in both magick and rituals. The wand is
used mostly to invoke the God and Goddess, direct energy, and to charge
other objects. It is used to draw symbols on the ground and even to stir
The wand is the
tool of the South and is associated with Fire. In some traditions it is
the tool of Air.
The wand is
phallic in nature, is a masculine tool and is sacred to the Gods.
The cauldron is
an ancient tool of magick and ritual. It is normally a three-legged
vessel, ideally made of iron and has the opening smaller than the body
of the cauldron. They come in a variety of sizes from little ones that
can be held in ones hand to behemoth cauldrons that take three strapping
young men to move. Finding cauldrons may not be easy, but there are mail
order houses that they can be ordered from or possibly a metal smith
could help you out.
The cauldron is
used for many different purposes. It is used for magickal brewing and
cooking, and is used for scrying. It is used many different ways during
ritual, especially the rituals of the Sabbats.
The cauldron is
the tool of the West and is associated with Water.
The cauldron is
feminine in nature and represents the Goddess, fertility and femininity.
Of all the
symbols and tools used in Wicca and witchcraft, this is probably the
most misunderstood. The pentacle is usually a flat piece of metal or
wood inscribed with a pentagram, a five-pointed star.
came from ceremonial magic and has been used in ritual and magick for
thousands of years. It is used to represent feminine energy and to
consecrate objects such as amulets and charms. The pentacle is also a
traditional symbol of protection and is one of the official symbols of a
The pentacle is
the tool of the North and is associated with Earth.
The pentacle is
feminine in nature and represents the Goddess.
The pentacle, as
used by Wiccans, has the a single point of the star pointing up, which
is not to be confused with the Satanic version which is inverted (two
The censer is an
incense burner. It can be an ornate brass burner that hangs from chains
or something as simple as a small ceramic bowl.
The censer is
used to burn the incense that are often offered to the Deities, as well
as being used to invoke the spirits of the Air, the Sylphs and Faery.
The censer is a
tool of the element Air.
The broom is a
tool of magick and ritual that is still used by Witches today. The
traditional Witch's Broom is made of ash, birch and willow because of
the attributes of those woods, but it can be made of just about any wood
employed for flying purposes, the broom does have many uses. It is used
for protection. It is also and most commonly used for physically and
magickally cleaning an area that will be used for sacred space. The
broom does not have to touch the ground to sweep away the psychic
clutter that often collects in well used spaces. Brooms are also often
used in hand-fasting rituals (broom leap).
The broom is
associated with Water and is sacred to both the God and Goddess.
The Book of
Shadows is a book that contains a witch's rituals, spells, runes,
dreams, recipes, etc. Within covens, the original Book is copied by hand
by the initiates. A solitary may also keep a Book, recording within,
spells, etc. The Book is normally a secret book.
What is found
within the Book is often spells and such copied from other sources and,
of course, those that are uniquely your own. The Book is a record of a
witch's magickal work. What is wonderful about it is that every Book of
Shadows should be a little different. Maybe you've found clove oil works
best for a prosperity spell while the original spell called for
patchouli oil. Because of the multitude of personality and available
resources, not every Book of Shadows should be the same and therefore
not only ONE Book is the right
To make a Book
of Shadows, any blank book will do. Most are hard bound, but that's not
mandatory. I prefer a ruled book because of my lack of ability to write
in a straight line. The color of the book is optional, but black does
seem to be traditional. Today, in this wonderful world of computers and
the internet, many witches are keeping their Books on their computers.
Just keep in mind that if you keep your Book on computer to back up
These are some
of the other tools that are used by witches. For a few of these tools it
is believed by some that they are a direct result of the persecution of
witches over the centuries. Take for example the sword. A sword is long,
cumbersome, and very visible. During the darkest years of the Burning
Times, for a villager, especially a woman, to possess a sword was very
suspicious. Some believe that to blend in, to assimilate if you will,
the sword became the dark-handled knife we call the athame. It was not
unusual for all walks of life to possess daggers. The same applies to
the staff. The staff is several feet high, and again, very visible. Some
believe the wand is a direct result of "shrinking" the staff to a stick,
something that could be found in every home in one form or another.
directly relates to the athame and has the same attributes and uses. The
sword is still used by many witches in ritual and magick.
directly relates to the wand and has the same attributes and uses.
Staves are used very frequently by witches today. I've seen some of the
most beautiful hand crafted staves that are both functional and works of
The Stone is
used in much the same way as the pentacle and relates to it in many
ways. It is a tool of the North and represents the Earth. For those of
the Faery Tradition, the Stone has a very rich history. Again, the Stone
is another tool that is often thought to be a trade off for many
witches. Where a pentacle can be an inflammatory symbol, much
misunderstood, just about everyone has rocks lying around in some form
or another. Only you need know what meaning it really has.
Chalice is actually used more today than its direct descendent, the
Cauldron. The Chalice has the same attributes and is used in many of the
same ways as the Cauldron (minus the cooking parts). This is again an
example of witches using what they had and what would not get them
burned at the stake. During those dark years, everyone had drinking
vessels, but not everyone had cauldrons. Witches just used their
chalices for more than quenching thirst.
the tools you use should be comfortable to you. If a pentacle does
absolutely nothing for you, don't use it. Use a stone or maybe just a
small bowl of salt to represent the Earth and North. If your athame is
too heavy and you tend to avoid using it, why have it? Wicca is a
wonderful religion that celebrates creativity and improvisation on the
part of its followers. It is part of our tradition to use what we have
and this applies to our tools as well.