Magickal Tools for the Beginner Witch
Magickal tools have been used in Witchcraft for thousands of years, ranging from rattles and drums, to athames and wands. Each tool brings its own symbolism and power to the ritual. Of course, do not feel you have to have every single tool listed here. You can pick and choose, or choose to use none at all! This is just an informational article to help those who wish to learn about the common tools of Witchcraft and to help them choose what they would like to add to their magickal arsenal, if they want to add anything at all.
I would like to emphasize that the most powerful and valuable tool you have is yourself and your energy. Although other tools are nice to have, ultimately they are just props; visual components used to enhance the experience. The magick comes from you and Spirits, Deities, Earth Energy, or whatever you believe in.
You can use your fingers or palms to cast a circle and direct energy. Use your voice to sing or chant to raise energy. You can also raise energy by drumming with your hands on your thigh or a table, and by dancing. As far as I am concerned, you can do anything with yourself that you can do with a magickal tool.
Your altar is a table, bookshelf, bench, etc. that holds your magickal and sacred items. The altar is a part of your sacred space; as long as it is considered to be your altar, it should never be used for anything that is not sacred and magickal. You can have multiple altars, or just one, to suit your needs. You could have one working altar where you perform your sacred rites, one specifically for honoring Deities, and one for meditation. I have one large altar for all three.
An athame is a double edged dagger, traditionally with a black handle, that is used to direct energy. I generally use it to cast my circle. Never use your athame to cut anything, especially flesh. It is said that if even the tiniest drop of blood touches your athame, it must be buried in the Earth and never used in ritual again. The presence of blood indicates physical harm, which brings bad energy to your athame that cannot be smudged away.
The athame is also used to symbolize the God or masculine aspect of the Divine, and is associated with the Element of Fire (Although some Traditions associate it with Air). It is often used in the Great Rite to symbolize the God, while the chalice symbolizes the Goddess.
A boline is a single edged knife, traditionally with a white handle, that is used for cutting. It can be used to cut herbs, cords, ritual cakes, etc. Some people use a regular kitchen knife as their boline and use it to cook their everyday meals; this adds a little bit of magick to the mundane tasks of life, and allows you to become more familiar with your boline and its energies.
The bowl is used to hold water/ salt water for blessing and consecrating the circle and any magickal items. It can be made from wood, glass, ceramics, etc; whatever material calls to you. The bowl is associated the Element of Water and symbolizes the Goddess, or female aspect of Deity.
Candles can be used for a wide variety of purposes. I prefer small votive candles made from natural ingredients for the majority of my rituals, but any candles will do. If you believe in Deities, you can have candles to represent the presence of your Deities. For example, I have a red, unscented, beeswax pillar candle to represent the God, or male aspects of Deity, and a white, unscented, beeswax pillar candle to represent the Goddess, or female aspects of Deity. Whenever I invite them into my circle, I light their candles. I also have a personal pillar candle that is half the size of my Deity ones. I light this candle to say that I am present in my ritual.
You can also use candles to enhance spells. This is where knowing your color correspondences comes in handy. I will do an article on that later. You can choose a candle of a specific color relating to your spell. For instance, if you want to cast a money saving spell, or a prosperity spell, you could light a green candle and let it burn down. This helps to bring your intentions to the Universe. You can also use scented candles to enhance your spells; use scents that relate to the spell you are casting. I have a votive candle from Inked Goddess Creations that is red in color and scented with Rose, Amber, and Musk “to invoke the power of love” and draw love into my life.
Your censer is a fire resistant item that is used for burning incense. There are a wide variety of censers out there, from simple bowls and long pieces of metal with a small hole to insert a stick incense, to elaborate resin and ceramic ones made into dragons and other cool creatures for cone incense. I have a tall metal candle holder that I use to burn my sage and mugwort bundles on. Whatever you choose to use, make sure it is made for burning incense or can withstand the heat and is not flammable.
The chalice is a type of cup that can be made from metals, ceramics, glass, etc. The chalice is generally used to hold ritual beverages, such as those used for the cakes and ale portion of a ritual. If you are doing a group ritual, the chalice is passed around the circle to each member, so they may drink of the blessed beverage and take part in the cakes and ale part of the ritual. It is customary to pour out a libation for the Deities, Spirits, Earth, or whatever you believe in, from your chalice to show your appreciation and give thanks.
The chalice is also used to symbolize the Goddess, or the female aspect of Deity, and is used, along with the athame, in the Great Rite.
Crystals of all kinds and sizes are great for enhancing rituals and spells. Quartz crystal is probably the most common one used because of its general ability to amplify and direct all kinds of energy. Quartz can also be used to absorb and dispel negative energies. Every crystal has its own associations and properties. For example, Amethyst is good for animal magick and to bring one closer to the Divine. Buy and/or find some crystals; research them, get to know each individual crystal and their energies.
The drum is simply a piece of goatskin or synthetic skin stretched over a wooden frame that makes a sound when hit. The drum can be used for trance work, to raise energy, and add to the mood of a ritual. Many public or group rituals involve drumming as a way to connect everyone together spiritually and encourage dancing to raise energy.
You can find feathers outdoors or in certain metaphysical stores. Feathers can be used to direct the smoke from incense or smudge sticks, and are generally used to symbolize the Element of Air. Different feathers usually have different associations depending on their color and what bird they came from. Some people believe when a feather crosses your path, it is a Divine message that either someone who has passed is with you, or something good is coming your way.
The pentacle is a generally a round disc made of wood, metal, ceramic, or other material with a pentagram on it. It is a symbol of protection and of the Element Earth. Each point represents the 5 Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit/Divine. Some people also separate the pentacle into two symbols, representing the God and Goddess, and how they came together to create the circle of life. When connected, the top point, the two bottom points, and the point in the middle create an arrow shape that represents the phallus of the God. The two points on either side of the star and the middle point connect to make an upside down triangle that represents the womb of the Goddess.
The pentacle can be used to ground out energy, and to consecrate and charge other magickal tools.
The wand is a long, slender piece of wood, metal, or other material that is used for directing energy. Some people like to put a crystal at the end of their wand to amplify and further direct the energy coming through the wand. It can be used to cast your circle and invoke the Quarters and Deities. The wand is symbolic of the God, or Masculine aspect of the Divine and is associated with the element of Air (Although some Traditions associate it with Fire).
Don’t feel you have to have every magickal tool under the Moon and Sun to be a Witch. If you wish to add to your physical magickal arsenal, choose only the tool(s) that feel right for you.
Love and Light, and Blessed be!
My name is Emma Strawdinger and I am a Pagan Witch who was born in 1996. For most of my life, I never truly felt connected to any of the common religious or spiritual paths. I had my own set of beliefs, but I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I believed in a God, but also a Goddess, Mother Nature. I researched many Native American religions to try to find one that fit my beliefs. It was not until my God and Goddess brought a very special person into my life that I discovered Paganism and the Craft. She introduced me to this amazing path by confiding in me that she was a Witch and answered every question I had. I dedicated myself at the age of 15 and it was the most amazing thing I ever did for myself.
In my mundane life, I work for Silver Lining Riding, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that gives therapeutic horseback riding lessons to children and adults of all ages with a wide variety of disabilities and special needs. I also take care of my furry four-legged babies, including a Cat, Dogs, and the family Horses.
You can connect with me on facebook, on my page Witchy Writings.