Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wiccan Tools of the Trade

     In Wicca, we use many tools in our rituals and spell casting.  They range from the very simple, to the more extravagant.  Some Wiccans use all of these tools, and some use only a few.  It's a personal choice.  If the tool has no meaning to you, it will not do you any good to use it.  And if you don't find meaning in it, neither will the Gods.

     The altar, or working space, if the first thing that you will need for any magickal working you desire.  It can be as simple as a coffee table, bedside table or a fancy table.  The altar is a place to put your ritual tools and other materials.  Some traditions state that you should face your altar in a certain direction, but it is really a personal decision.  Place it wherever it feels right to you.  The right side of the altar is usually dedicated to the God.  Here you will place the tools that pertain to Him, which are a red, yellow or gold candle, a censor, wand, athame, boline and a bowl of salt.  The left side of the altar is dedicated to the Goddess.  Tools that are sacred to her are the chalice, pentacle, bell, crystal, cauldron and a bowl of water.  You should also place a green, silver or white candle to represent Her. 

     The athame, or ritual knife, is one of the most important Wiccan tools.  Your athame should have a black handle, and be sharp on both sides.  You should purchase a new athame, as a used athame could possess negative vibrations.  If you do purchase a used athame, be sure to consecrate it before using it in any rituals.  An athame is not usually used to cut anything on the physical plane.  It is mainly used to direct energy, cast circles, recalling circles and to cut energetic ties.

     Bells are also used in Wiccan rituals.  The bell represents the voice of the Goddess.  When you ring a bell, it brings Her attention to you and your attention to Her.  It is also used to invoke the Goddess during a ritual and to ward off evil spells and spirits, to halt storms, and to bring good energy.  The bell can also be used to set the right mood for rituals or spell work, and can help you achieve the right vibrations.  It only takes one or two bell rings-don't overdo it.  When choosing your bell, don't just grab the first one that you find.  Search for the one with the right tone.  Preferably one that has a mellow or soothing sound to it.

     The next tool is the besom, or broom.  The besom is used to cleanse the ritual area.  Some people believe that it must be made of broom, but this is not necessarily the case.  A straw or grass broom will also work quite well.  You can purchase one from a craft store, or make your own.  In my own experience, I have found that anything you make yourself tends to have more power as it has your own personal energies in it. 

     The boline is the tool that is used for cutting physical things.  It should be a simple, practical, cutting knife.  Your boline usually has a white handle, and is used for cutting wands, inscribing candles, wood and clay, and cutting cords used in magick. 

     The Book of Shadows is by far one of the most important Wiccan tools.  It is in the Book of Shadows that you record everything associated with your Wiccan journey.  It can be a 3-ring binder with loose leaf paper, a fancy journal, a spiral notebook, or a computer file.  You should include rituals, spells, correspondences (herbs, oils, incense, stones, moon cycles, etc.), and anything else you find important. 

     Candles can be used for several purposes.  First, you have your direction candles.  They are color coded for each direction.  North: black, green or brown; East:  yellow or white; South:  red or orange; West:  blue or aqua; Center:  white, silver or gold.  Direction candles are used to invoke and hold the power associated with each direction.  Next, you have your God and Goddess candles.   For the God  and Goddess, large pillar candles are often used.  However, you may choose to use three candles to represent the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.  The colors should be:  white, red, and black.  These candles invoke the power of the Divine.  Candles are associated with fire and air and are used for lighting the altar and performing spells.  You will need different colors depending on what purpose you need them for.

     Another extremely important and essential tool is the cauldron.  The cauldron represents the element of water.  Black cast iron is the best material, although other materials can be employed here.  It should have three legs and any size that you desire will be fine.  You can find cauldrons in many sizes, from tiny to huge.  Again, it's a personal choice.  The cauldron is used for many purposes, such as scrying, burning papers or candles, and even as a crystal ball. 

     The chalice, which represents the element of water, can be any shape or size, although most Wiccans use a wine glass or goblet.  It will be used to hold water or wine, but sometimes is used empty.  A chalice is often placed on the altar as a representation of the element of water, and nothing more. 

     Herbs and oils are not Wiccan tools, per se, but they are commonly used in rituals and spell work.  Essential oils can be used to anoint candles, tools, the altar and your body.  Herbs can be used as offerings to the Goddess and God, or burned as an incense.  If you are burning incense or herbs, you should also have a censor or incense burner.  The censor can be a fancy one with legs under it, or you can use a cup or a bowl filled half-way with salt or sand.  The censor represents the element of fire, and can be used in spells that require the burning of paper. 

     The pentacle, which is essential to Wicca, is by far the most controversial tool.  Is is ususally a flat round object with a star inscribed in the middle of a circle.  Many people who are not Wiccan associate the pentacle with Satinism.  However, the meaning behind the pentacle is "universal wisdom".  In Wicca, the pentacle is used as a power point for consecrating tools and is associated with element of earth.  In ceremonial magick, it was used for protection and invoking spirits. 

     The wand is used to direct energy and to cast circles.  It should not be any longer than your forearm, and is more powerful if you make it yourself.  If you purchase one or have it made for you, make sure that you consecrate it before use.  The wand is associated with the element of air.  However, some traditions associate the wand with fire. 

     All of the tools that you employ should be consecrated before use.  You may decide that you need some tools, but not others. That is fine.  It all comes down to a personal choice.  Remember to give each tool the proper treatment and respect that it deserves.  It is also advised that you not let another person handle your sacred tools unless you are certain that they will not give it bad vibrations or negative energy.

Blessed Be!

Lady Ariel


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