Tools of the Craft


Altar

This is a witches working area. A flat surface where you will stand your candles and symbols and work your spells. It can be made of anything, a table, the floor, or a large rock outside.


Altar Cloth

Not essential to have but it does keep any spillages off of your altar. Some people like to have special, fancy ones for the Sabbats and plain ones for every day workings. When I first started on my path, I used a pillowcase.


Athame

This is a Witches ritual knife. Usually it is black handled and blunt as it is never used for cutting on the material plane. It is used for directing energy, casting and taking down the circle and cutting astral ropes/bindings as well as many other things.

For more ceremonial witches (with a lot of room), a sword is more appropriate. Personally I prefer a knife as it is easier to handle and I am less likely to damage something.


Bolline

A witches bolline is usually a white handled knife which is used for all the practical things in witchcraft such as carving candles, cutting hair and harvesting herbs.


Book of Shadows

A Book of Shadows (BOS) is a personal spell book where a witch will record spells, meditation and recipes that they have written or that have particular meaning for them. It can be a huge leather-bound book written with quill and ink or it can be a ring binder where the contents are typed up on a computer.

My BOS' are 2 notebooks from a local stationary store, handwritten and 1 ring binder with word processed documents in plastic wallets and 2 resin books. One thing I enjoy doing for my own use is if I find a poem, ritual or meditation that someone has written that I like a lot, I will copy it into my BOS to use myself. I will make sure the authors name is there so that every time I use it, I can give thanks to them with a prayer.


Broom (Besom)

The broom is not used for flying.... It is used for sweeping astral and physical rubbish from the magick circle. The is also a tradition of 'jumping the broom' at ones handfasting (wedding).

The broom can be as ordinary or as flashy as you like. It is good fun to decorate your broom yourself with things such as ribbons, shells and feathers and it can be re-done every year at Ostara to replace any bits that are getting tatty.


Candles

Candles have many, many uses and it is always good to have several of each colour. Their colours can mark the directions, they can symbolise fire and they can be used in spells to help empower a specific need. If they are spell candles, it is best to use small ones because some spells call for the candles to be burned down all the way in one setting and if you live in a house where the other inhabitants don't know of your chosen path, it can get quite tricky.

It is always best to snuff out candles when using them for a spell because if you blow them out, you blow the magick away.


Cauldron

A witches cauldron is often quite small and used more for holding water, a fire or flowers than brewing potions, although there is nothing to stop you doing this. The cauldron is a symbol of the Goddess.


Chalice

Similar to the cauldron in that it can hold blessed water when on the altar, it can also hold wine. The chalice is used in performing the Great Rite.


Divination Tools

A witch will usually have at least 1 form of divination tool that they are proficient with if not more. This could be a pack of tarot cards, a set of runes, a dowsing crystal or one of the many, many other tools that are available for this purpose.

The best time to use these tools is at Samhain, when the veil between worlds is thinnest but they are by no means limited to this time. You can use them to perform a divination for yourself or a friend, but just beware, not all the answers that you find will be good.


Incense

Used to symbolise air, this is another very common tool in a witches cabinet. You can buy incense from stores or make your own using herbs and resin. Incense comes in cones, sticks, a raw form that is burned on charcoal disks.


Pentacle

A pentacle is the centre of a witches altar. Offerings are place on here, tools for consecration and spell components for empowering. A pentacle can be made of anything that you choose and it can be made by you or bought in a store.


Robes

Some witches work robed, some work skyclad (naked), it is personal choice. If you choose to work robed then you may want to have different colour and style robes for different occasions.


Salt

Witches use salt to purify ritual tools and to symbolise earth. A magick circle can be drawn in salt and swept up again afterwards and gems can be buried in salt to remove all negative astral goo that may have gotten stuck to them.


Wand

A wand is a very similar tool to the athame and is different for every witch. You can buy wands from specialist stored but by far it is best to make your own. To do this, take a walk in a local wood and find a tree that calls to you. Spend a moons cycle visiting the tree, gifting it with silver coins and holy water, then at the full moon, ask the trees permission to harvest a part of it for your wand. Find a branch and cut it with your bolline. The wood for your wand should be no longer than the length of your forearm, from elbow to middle finger. Treat and decorate it to your liking.

A witch can have many wands for different purposes.


Water

As the name suggests, witches use this to symbolise the element of water. Water can be drunk, blessed and made holy or used to anoint ones self and tools. Running water, such as a stream or a tap, is a great way to cleanse all negativity from tools, or if using a shower, a person!

 

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