Witches use a variety of tools in their practice, too many to mention in a single post and the blogs coming up over the next few weeks will begin to look at particular tools and their associations in more detail. You can check out my Tools of the Trade series to see what tools I have previously blogged about and I will be adding to this page as the weeks go on.
So what are the core tools of Witchcraft? Many agree that the four most important tools are those which are used to represent the elements in the ritual circle. These are;
Item – Element/Purpose
Anthame/ Sword – Air (H) or Fire (GD)
Wand/ Staff – Fire (H) Air (GD)
Chalice/ Cauldron – Water
Pentacle – Earth
Another tool of importance is the Broom, used for the cleansing of ritual space and to represent the union of both the male (handle) and female (brush) principles in one item.
We are going to cover these four items, as well as a few more in the Defining my Craft series so don’t be surprised if I link back to old articles where I have already covered the ground before as there are some interesting subjects coming up that I want to concentrate my research on.
Some Musings on Tools
I know I have mentioned it before but it is worth mentioning again; tools are in important part of Witchcraft but they should never break your bank. It is all well and good buying the latest OOAK (one of a kind) product of Etsy or Folksy but it is important to remember that it isn’t the tools that make the Witch, it is the Witch themselves. Tools are symbols. They may be symbolic of an element, a concept of divine force, of authority or power but ultimately their appearance or price tag does not make them any more or less effective.
Don’t run out and buy lots of stuff on line and in specialist “new age” shops if you are feeling strapped for cash. Look around your home and see what you have around you. Perhaps you have a knife (domestic or otherwise) which belonged to an ancestor which you can use as your anthame, a plate which has a pattern you associate with the Earth and/or North with a bit of table salt on it can serve in place of your Pentacle and so on. Even if you feel you want to purchase something to set aside purely for ritual purposes you don’t need to spend a fortune. Visit your local charity shops (USA thrift shops) or car-boot sales (USA yard sales) and see what you kind find. I often find that I am drawn to items and sometimes get the sense that they have been “used” before. It is amazing what you will find, I have bought cups and chalices, offering plates and ornate keys. I’ve repurposed boxes and ornaments and found interesting books and trivia tucked away on back shelves. You never know what you will find until you look with an open mind. Glass ornaments/Christmas Baubles can become Witch Balls, old mirrors scrying tools and old medicine bottle a container for spells.
You also should be afraid to make your own tools as well. Wands are possibly the easiest thing to make yourself, more on this later, however it is possible to make other items by learning skills and crafts. You can make your own robes rather than have someone make them for you, you could take a pottery class as a hobby or ice breaker and use it as an opportunity to both socialise and make your own chalice. There are even blacksmithing courses for those who may be so inclined. I readily acknowledge that this isn’t necessarily the cheapest option but if you are looking for an evening class and you don’t know what to do there is no harm in having a go at a craft you may think is outside your comfort zone both to achieve and activity and socialisation and something that can help in your Craft at the same time.
Some Tools of Witchcraft
So for fun, and to save on duplicating my own boring pictures, I thought I’d share some photos of ‘old’ craft tools. Some have been owned and used by the likes of Doreen Valiente and Gerald Gardner, others beloged to people who may not be as well known as some but whohave added to the legacy of Witchcraft through their gifts and donations. All the rights to the images lay with the organisation and people who took them. For information on each items context and origin please follow the links.
Blasting Rod – Museum of Witchcraft
Pottery Chalice – Museum of Witchcraft
Ceremonial Blade – Museum of Witchcraft
Pentacle – Museum of Witchcraft
Doreen Valiente Altar Tools – The Doreen Valiente Foundation