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Altars & Sacred Tools

First of all, it is important to remember that tools, herbs, candles, crystals and so on are not actually
necessary to work magic. Your own energy and the power of your mind, as well as the blessings of the
deities and spirits, are the important things.
However, these extra ingredients do make it easier to work spells – and are undoubtedly nice to have.

BASIC TOOLS

Athame:a ritual knife used to direct magical energy, this is usually a black-handled, two-edged knife,
meaning theblade is sharp on both sides, but it may be dull rather than sharp as this is not a cutting
tool. This knife may be made of wood, stone, horn, or metal, and could be a regular knife if visualize
as the ritual tool (as with Kitchen Witch tools being taken from those used in daily work around the
house). An athame may be a letter opener, pocketknife etc as long as it is seen as a ritual tool. The
handle color may also vary, but black is traditional.

Bell: may be a tiny bell with a delicate chime, or a larger bell, used during ritual and to call upon the
Faerie Folk (if delicate in tone); may be of brass, ceramic, crystal, silver etc

Boline: a cutting tool used in magical work to inscribe candles, cut herbs, cut thread, or any other
such use. Traditionally a two-edged blade, with a white handle, but any tool designated as the
working tool may be used.

Bowls:one for salt, one for water, and one for the libation.

Broom/Besom: a ritual broom not used for housework, but for clearing the ritual space during circle
casting and for spell work.

Candle Holder: can be individual, candelabra, votive holders etc but there should be one for the
Goddess and one for the God, and one for magical work.

Cauldron: metal pot for magical work; when burning a candle inside it, you might want to put a layer
of clean sand on the bottom of the pot. Must be large enough to hold melted wax and to burn twigs
or incense inside without creating a hazard. Lidded is best, but if not possible, get a separate lid for
covering when ready to put out any fire within.

Censer: container for incense that can be carried around the Circle or set on the Altar. May be of
brass, a shell, wood, or any other suitable material and as a container should be partially filled with
clean sand to hold the incense and prevent burns.

Cingulum: a nine-foot-long cord of red silk, wool, or cotton that is knotted at Initiation and worn
with the Robe, kept on the Altar, or wrapped around the top of a Staff.

Crystal Ball: a smooth sphere without facets, but may contain bubbles and other markings within;
clear ones of natural quartz are very expensive, but manufactured lead crystal also works.

Chalice: used for the beverage of Cakes and wine, Esbats, Rituals etc. May be of pottery, silver, brass,
crystal, wood, etc.

Incense Burner: suitable to hold the type of burning incense used; may be a stick holder, corn holder,
or resin holder and made of wood, earthenware, ceramic, glass, brass, shell etc

Pentacle: a flat disk with the five-pointed star in a circle engraved or painted on it. May be of wood,
ceramic, clay, wax, brass, silver, gold, or simply drawn on a piece of paper.

Plate:one to hold the bread or other such food blessed in the Cakes and Wine Ritual.

Robes: may want a variety of colored robes depending on the type of ritual or spell work involved, or
a basic white or black robe. The cingulum (cord) may be used with the robe to tie it around the waist

Staff: used as a long wand, may be decorated and carried as an indication of Craft association, or
simply for walking in the woods.

Tarot Cards: choose a deck that draws you, and use for divination; you may acquire a variety of decks
over time.

Wand: should be the length of the forearm to the fingertip, about 12 to 16 inches, may be of oak,

willow, hazel, apple, elder for the influence of those woods; select one from nature, or buy one, but
choose one that appeals to you; the tool most associated with witchcraft is the wand.

 

BASIC MATERIALS

Altar Cloths; a variety of coverings for the Altar depending upon the ritual and the season;
attractively patterned sarongs are often used for this purpose.

Beverages; variety of acceptable drinks; be they fruit juices, wines or liqueurs.

Candles; votives, tapers, jar, shaped, tea light candles in various colors. Natural tallow and beeswax
candles are good, but ultimately all you need are some plain white candles. You can change the color
using crayons, or you could tie a ribbon of the color called for in the spell around the base of the
candle and from that it will take on that color’s energy.

Charcoal Disks; used for resin incense such as copal or dragons blood.

Cloths; variety of solid colors of cotton cloth for use in spell crafting, for wrapping tarot cards,
crystals, stones, holding herbs, making poppets, herbal/dream pillows etc

Cords; the cord designating the three styles of green practice (wild witch, hedgewitch, green witch,
kitchen witch etc) are gold for energy worker within a cultural tradition, red for working with the
Powers of Nature, and black for dedication to the Goddess and the God. As many styles as have been
used, such colors may be combined or braided together. The red is also the Cingulum of Wiccan
Initiation, to which later may be added the black after Dedication, but only with the red is the
practitioner’s measure taken. The symbology is gold for energy work, red for powers, and black for
wisdom and union with the Divine.

Glass Bottles; for herbs, oils, moon water, spell work, and storage of other items as needed. Rinse with
spring water and sea salt to cleanse.

Herbs; a variety of herbs stocked in labeled containers (a glass jar is best; do not use plastic) and kept
out of direct sunlight; used in spell work.

Incenses; stick, cone, resins in a variety of fragrances, will need charcoal disks made for incense if
using resins. Light incense, look for glow, then wave to extinguish the flame so only smoke results
(this keeps the fragrance from getting harsh).

Matches; may be regular or long stick variety, or use a lighter.

Musical Instruments; may use drums, bells, flutes, harps, sistrums, cymbals, gourd rattles, other
rattles etc to aid in meditation, spell casting, energy raising, etc.

Oils; a variety of essential oils (rosemary, sandalwood, lavender, benzoin, rose geranium,
frankincense, pine, Juniper, mint etc) for anointings. (Do not use cinnamon – it will burn) and spell
work; also need carrier oils (olive, sunflower, almond, jojoba, coconut, etc) for mixing own fragrance
blends. Often, the easiest thing to do if you cannot find the required essential oil, is to go back to
basics – instead of dabbing with clove oil, push a clove into your clothes; instead of rubbing a candle
with basil oil, rub a basil leaf on it. Sometimes, oil is necessary though. Making your own essential oils
is difficult, but you could make an infused oil. Use a simple, plain carrier, such as almond or olive oil.
Put some in a small bottle, add your chosen herb, such as rosemary, and leave this to infuse for one
lunar month.

Salt; Sea salt, rock salt (Himalayan Rock Salt is best) used in rituals, spell working and cleansings, as
well as Circle Castings.

Spring Water; collected in a natural spring and stored for use in spell work and ritual, or bought
pre-packaged (remove from plastic container and store in a prepared glass bottle or jar).

Stones; a variety of crystals, semi-precious stones, river and Earth stones for use in spells, healing,
and aura work.

Threads; or embroidery floss of various colors for tying up magical works.

Tiles/Trivets; used under items that will burn hot (such as cauldrons), to avoid scorching a surface
beneath.

 

 

TIPS

You can often buy these tools and supplies inexpensively at witchy conventions or on the internet,
but ordinary, non-witchy shops can also be good places to look. For example, for an athame, check
the $2 stores for a nice letter opener, for pentagrams, check the clearance aisle of your local
supermarket after Christmas for “Star of Bethlehem” items; cloth gift bags make great charm bags,
or receptacles for your tarot cards, dried herbs are not ideal but may be easier to find and use than
fresh, especially if you don’t do a lot of herbal magic. Otherwise, it’s easy to grow herbs in a small pot
on your windowsill. For cauldrons, look in garden centers for pots, or kitchenware stores for soup
terrines. Besom Brooms can be found in hardware stores. For robes, you could use old fashioned
nightgowns in plain white, or purple (the color of occult knowledge), or your favorite color. Ideally,
they should be made from natural fabrics, such as cotton or wool, and you could embroider them
with sigils, your magical name, the names of deities, or other symbols.
When you absolutely cannot find the right colored candle, or make the right smelling oil or are
simply unclear about what is needed, use something plain, because that is pure energy and you can
never go wrong with that. White as a color is always good, which is why new members in most coven’s
wear white. Use white candles when in doubt. And a non-perfumed massage oil for anointing
yourself, your wand or other equipment will always work, although it may not be as potent as the
specified item.

 

Categories:   Paganism and Witchcraft

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