Copyright © 2006 Denise Zimmermann & Katherine A. Gleason
The most common mistake a new witch makes is to run out and buy a huge amount of stuff. You’ll want to get some things, but be reasonable. Some tools you may not need for years, and others you may not need at all. And some products—such as essential oils—don’t keep. You don’t want to be stuck with a closet full of rancid oil! As you meet people and learn magick, your collection of supplies will grow and grow. You’ll buy what you need as you need it. Don’t worry about having the “right” stuff right away.
You can start out with simple things. If you don’t have an athame to use in your ritual, you can use your two fingers held together, or use a wand. You can draw a pentagram on a piece of paper for your altar instead of buying one. You will need candles and bowls for salt and water. You should have a broom to sweep out the energy in your ritual space. If you don’t have a censer for burning your incense, you can use a small cauldron. Or use a ceramic dish with some sand in the bottom. You don’t have to go broke and buy a carload of things. Start small and build up slowly.
Here is a list of basic items. Remember, don’t let this list trigger uncontrolled buying. Some of the things here just may come to you! And some of the items may be things that you already own. Remember, too, once you have cleaned, consecrated, and used a tool for magick, you can never use it for mundane purposes again.
Altar- A table or other flat surface that Witches and Magicians use to focus their energy and organize their other tools during ritual. Many witches choose an altar made from wood or stone as they contain energy rather than conducting it away too quickly as metal tends to do. The altar can be placed to face any direction, but most prefer to face their altars towards the North (represents the Goddess and the Earth) or to the East (the rising sun).
Altar cloths come in all shapes and sizes to fit your altar. You can make them as magickal as you like. They are both bought and made in different colors to represent the Sabbats or to decorate the altar. If you have a very special one and don’t want to worry about wax or oils dripping on it, you can either put a small topper over it or set your candle or work on a place mat.
Amulets are nature made-objects used in protection or with magickal intent. It is worn or carried for magickal purposes. Amulets are typically engraved with symbols and are usually worn as a necklace.
Athame- A double bladed knife that a witch uses to conduct and direct energy during a ritual. The athame represents the feminine principle of nature as it is only used for nonphysical actions. Most athames are made from metal and this is especially appropriate if the tool is to be used for banishing. However, many practitioners choose to use athames made from wood, stone, or horn when invoking because these material do not drive energy away as metal does. Some witches only use metal athames for banishing and designate their wands for invoking. The athame is also compared with the boline, which is used for physical (masculine) purposes. The athame is used for circle casting and other ritual actions and is pronounced a variety of ways though the most common pronunciation is "a- THAY-me'. The dual blade represents the duality in nature.
Baskets are used for many things. Plain baskets are good to keep your magickal notions, potions, and powders organized. That way you can find everything you need, when you need it.
Bath salts, both plain and magickal, are used in the ritual bath taken before doing ritual or magick. They help calm and relax you and make your bath a special treat. Bath oils are used alone or in conjunction with bath salts and have the same purpose as bath salts.
Beads are used in decorating talismans, medicine bags, feathers, and many other objects.
A bell is used in ritual when calling in the quarters and deity (asking the four directions and the God and Goddess to join you). At the end of ritual, the bell is rung to let the elements return to their realms. Also can be used to call spirits during ritual, align energy to the proper frequency and to herald the beginning and ending of a ritual. This tool symbolizes the Goddess and can be rung to invoke her to join a ritual.
A Bolline/ Boleen/ Boline traditionally is a white-handled knife with a curved blade. This is your working knife. It is used to cut a variety of things—string, clay, herbs, candles, or what have you—while doing magick or ritual as compared to the energy actions of athame. The boline represents the masculine energies in nature while the athame represents the feminine energies.
A Book of Shadows is your personal magickal book. In it you record your spells, magickal information, dreams, chants, or any other material that has to do with your workings in the craft. It includes all the rituals, spells, recipes and spiritual thoughts a witch uses in the practice of his/ her craft. It can also hold any beliefs; principles or other important information a witch feels should be included
Bowls are important for your altar. You will need at least two small ones. In one keep salt, in the other water.
A broom—a magick one—represents both sides of nature with the brush symbolizing the feminine and the handle representing the masculine. This tool is used to sweep away negativity and clean a ritual area prior to ritual workings
Candles of various shapes, sizes, and colors are used in magick and on the altar. Candleholders of various shapes and sizes are needed to hold the type of candle you are working with. Used as a symbolic representations of manifestation. For example, a witch can charge a candle with an intent and then light the candle to bring his desires into being. As the candle burns, his intention passes from his mind into the universal void where it emerges as reality. Colors and shapes help to focus attention and energy to the will of the caster.
The cauldron represents the womb of the Goddess and is used to cook, burn, scry, or hold things that are used in ritual or magick. This fireproof pot or kettle can be used for a variety of purposes including divination, a censer for burning incense, parchment, potions, etc.
CDs and streaming special music are used in ritual and magick. The music helps you ground, center, and relax, or it helps you build a cone of power or celebrate in dance.
A censer is a special container used to burn incense. Censers often have feet so that the heat they contain will not scorch the surface upon which they rest. Some censers have chains attached on top so that you can lift them easily and spread the smoke from the incense around the room. Purifies the ritual area and attunes the energy current in the environment to the proper frequency for a specific working. Symbolizes the element of fire.
Chalices represent the female. They are used to drink wine from during ritual. A chalice is also used in doing the great rite—a symbolic unification of the male and female in which an athame is lowered into a chalice. Many witches own more that one. You always seem to find a great one that you just must have. Keep an extra inexpensive one on hand in case someone in ritual doesn’t have one. Can be used as a substitute for a cauldron.
Charcoal is used to burn powdered incense or herbs
Modeling clay can be used in poppet magick. It comes in all colors and can be formed into many shapes.
A compass is used to determine where your directions are. It’s a hard call in the north wind when you are facing south!
The cord is a long length of thread that is most often used to delineate the bounds of protective circle and to bind spells once they have been cast. The cord is most often colored red, but it can be any color the caster finds appropriate. Another use of a cord is for cord (binding magick) and as a Cingulum or Witch' s Belt. When worn as a belt this tool is often black, but can be any color of your choosing.
Crystals and gems are used in magick, healing, ritual, and talismans among other things. Your collection of these pretty objects will continue to grow and grow.
A decanter is used to hold wine during ritual.
Divination tools such as tarot cards, runes, pendulums, and the I-Ching are used in looking into the future, to aid you in decision making, and in doing magick. It’s best to learn more than one type of divination.
Feathers are used in magick to represent the element of Air.
Felt is used in poppet magick, in making pouches and dream pillows, or to wrap items to cover or protect them.
Fiber stuffing is used for filling pillows or poppets.
Herbs are used in healing and in magick, and can include dried plants or spices, dried corn, and even tobacco.
Holy water is used to cleanse and consecrate ritual tools and magickal items. Holy oil is used to consecrate ritual tools and magickal items.
Incense- Used to help set the mood and the energy current for ritual workings. Incense not only helps nature attune to the will of the caster, but also helps the caster achieve the proper mind state to perform their ritual workings. For repeated orroutine workings, the type of incense used should be chosen with care, as it is easy to program one's inner mind to open just from the scent of a certain kind of incense. This can be dangerous because if one goes into an "open" state when outside the protection of the ritual circle, he or she is susceptible to any number of opportunistic forces/ energies that may wish to take advantage of his/ her vulnerable state.
Lighters are great to have on hand to light your candles.
Magickal inks: homemade, dragon’s blood, or dove’s blood. No, these inks are not really made from the blood of a dove or dragon. They are specially made from herbs and resins to enhance your magickal spells. These inks come in a variety of colors, and some have essential oils added.
A magick mirror is a mirror that has been cleansed, treated with herbs and magickally charged to help you see things as they really are or as they should be.
Magick pens can be quills, hand-blown glass, or antique. These are very special pens that are used only for writing your magick spells or in your Book of Shadows.
A mortar and pestle are used to grind your herbs to a fine powder.
Needle and thread are used to sew magickal bags and poppets and to attach talismans or amulets.
Oils of various types—essential, fragrance, and herbal—are used to consecrate, anoint, or charge people and tools both in ritual and magick.
Parchment paper is paper that is usually enhanced with cloth fiber. It is used when writing magickal spells or rituals
Pentacle/ Pentagram- Symbol of a five pointed star enclosed inside a circle, the pentacle is placed on the altar for protection and meditative purposes. Each of the five points of the star represents one of the following elements: earth, air, fire and water as well as the fifth element of spirit, which occupies the top point of the star. The pentacle with the point facing upwards has a pretty universal meaning, that of mind over mater or the spirit of the magician controlling the elements. This form symbolizes the body of man with the top point being man's head and the other four points being his arms and legs. The pentacle with the point facing downwards can represent the mind of man being controlled be the elements or his animal passions. In this case the symbol represents the negative aspect of magick and witchcraft, or what is known as the Left Hand Path, (such as binding rituals), as compared to the Right Hand Path or the positive aspect of magick. However, in the realm of formal initiative traditions, the inverted pentacle can be a symbol that an initiate wears when s/he has attained his/ her second level of proficiency with their tradition.
A pocketknife is great for cutting or carving. Pouches are used for keeping crystals, tarot cards, herbs, jewelry, or anything else special.
Powders come in various colors. Mixed with herbs, they are used in magick or to mark boundaries.
Robe/ Cloak- Form of ceremonial clothing that some practitioners of magick choose to wear when they are performing ritual workings. Robes and cloaks are often worn today in place of going sky-clad which is a term used when the practitioner wears no clothing at all.
Scissors are used for cutting cords for binding spells or cloth for poppets.
A scrying mirror is usually made of black glass and is used in divination or magick
Sea salt is used on the altar to represent Earth. It is also used in making holy water and in magick.
Seeds are used in magickal ritual. Various kinds are used to represent different intents in your magickal working.
Smudge sticks are bound herbs and grasses used in cleansing an area or item
Statues, which represent the God or Goddess you are working with, are usually placed on the altar
String is used in beading, tying, or binding objects.
Talismans are man-made objects or symbols that have magickal intent placed in them.
Wand - Used by some practitioners in place of an athame for the purpose of casting a circle or directing energy. While many practitioners use both tools and designate different functions to each, the wand can easily fill both functions. As most wands are made from wood, glass, stone or horn, they are perfect for invoking circles, gods, elements, and other spirits.
Wooden spoons are used to stir notions—magickal mixtures, potions, and powders
A revised edition, updated with magickal concentration exercises, magickal ethics, expanded coverage of Wicca and its deities, and loads of new spells and recipes.
With the integration of witchcraft into pop culture (e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed on TV) interest in these topics is going ever more mainstream. According to FoxNews.com, Wicca is growing on college campuses...Lehigh and the University
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