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Tools

Tools are not, as some people may have you believe, the most important part of magical working. You raise all the energy, the tools just help you direct it more efficiently. Tools tend to find you, so don't try too hard to acquire a whole set immediately. The best tools for magic are ones that were gifts, or that you made yourself, because their energy will be more sympathetic to your own. Some Witches believe that magical tools should be only used for that purpose, whilst others use their kitchen knives! It is a rule of general etiquette that you do not touch anothers tools without their permission, likewise you should only let other people handle your tools if you are sure that they will not pass on any negative energy to them. The type and number of tools you use is entirely up to you, just use things you feel comfortable with. Below is a list of the most commonly used magical tools.

Broom (besom)

The broom is linked to the element of Water since it is used to purify. Each besom is made from three types of wood: Its handle is made of Ash (which is hardwearing and doesn't splinter), its bristles are made of Birch, and the two are bound with Willow. Its main task is in sweeping the sacred space before the ritual. This sweeping is more symbolic than physical, and it removes any unwanted influences in the chosen space. It may also be used to create a opening in the circle, and is used for jumping over in certain rituals, such as handfasting.

Cauldron

The cauldron is linked to the element of Water. Like its smaller counterpart the chalice, the cauldron is a symbol of femininity. It represents the womb of the Goddess, and with it such things as renwal, rebirth, and inexhaustible plenty. The cauldron used to be used by Witches for everyday tasks such as cooking, and making brews and potions. Now it is used as a symbol of fertility and transformation, and to hold many things including water, fire, incense or flowers. The cauldron is also used in divination. It is usually made of iron, and rests on three legs.

Chailce

This, like the cauldron, represents Water and femininity. It is usually used to hold any drink needed for the ritual such as fruit juice or wine. If in a group, the last person to drink from the chalice is supposed to finish the remaining drink. Some people believe that your first chalice should be a gift (even it is only a mug!)

Censer

The censer is an incense burner, the incense usually represents air but different types give rise to different influences, and the charcoal (if used) represents fire. The burning of incense cleanses the circle. There are many different types of incense.

Knives

There are 3 main types used in ritual:
  • The Athame
    This represents the element of Fire and is a masculine symbol. It is usually double-edged, made of steel, and blunt with a black handle, but certain types of Witch prefer it to be sharp. It is used for directing energy gathered by the ritual. Some Witches think it is interchangeable with the sword and is more practical in small spaces. Athames vary widely between different traditions, we believe it should be a practical tool and therefore sharp, although some others would disagree.

  • The Bolline
    Those witches who prefer to use the athame as a purely ritual tool, and keep it blunt, often use this white-handled knife for cutting anything to be used in ritual. It may also be used to inscribe words and symbols onto ritual items such as candles. It doesn't have to be made of steel, and is white to symbolise purity and distinguish it from the athame.

  • The Sword
    This may represent either fire, or spirit (all four elements combined). It is masculine, and if used by a woman she must fulfill this role. It is never used for cutting. It is most often used in ceremonial magic, and larger covens. Most others prefer to use an athame.

The Pentacle (or coin)

This is linked to the element of earth. It can be made of anything (eg wood, metal, clay, etc) and has a pentagram (and maybe other symbols) inscribed on it. It is used for consecrating objects, which may be placed on it. It is occasionally seen as a feminine symbol, and forms the centrepiece of the altar. A pentagram is used as it is the symbol of modern witchcraft, representing the 5 elements in perfect balance.

The Wand

This is linked to the element of air, and is a masculine tool. They are made out of wood, usually Hazel, Oak, or Rowan, although the choice of wood is very much a personal decision. It is used for similar things to the sword, but it uses a more gentle form of energy - it invites rather than commands. The traditional length for a wand is from the elbow to the fingertip of the owner. Coven wands are usually 18 inches long. Wands traditionally stand for communtication and matter of business. Take care if cutting branches from living trees. Some witches feel the wand should have a tip, of crystal or pine cone etc.


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