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Ritual Tools – A to Z

Traditional tools used by most Wiccans and other magicians include the athame, pentacle, wand, and cup or chalice, all of which symbolize the elements. Most altars also include candles, an incense burner, bowls for salt and water, and of course a Book of Shadows. These basic tools, as well as some other fairly common ones, are described below:

Tools are really not a requirement, you can perform any magick without them. Their value is familiarity that empowers the user in magical workings. Handling your tools and using them helps develop consistency in rituals. Never allow others to touch your tools, including Tarot cards or other items used in divination. You want your energy to remain intact when handling personal tools. You impart spirit into them, handling and touching is a form of imprinting, meaning that in using your tools they will become powerful extensions of your will

Altar cloth: A linen or silk cloth can be used on your Altar or to designate your Altar space if you use a surface in your home that will return to its original purpose. Colors may be your choice, but typically correspond to the ritual intent. Sabbat colors correspond to seasons, darker and richer for the 2nd half of he year beginning with Samhain, bright clean pastela for Ostara as Spring colors come into play. Refer to color correspondences if needed.

Asperger (or aspergillum): A device used to sprinkle water for purification at the beginning of rituals. Some are constructed of brass or silver, but a spray of evergreen, a pine cone, or fingers will do as well.

Athame: A black-handled, double-edged, knife like tool used to channel energy, as in casting the circle, but not used to cut any material. It may be marked with the owner’s name in runes and or other symbols, including the Pentagram, and can symbolize either Fire or Air elements. Traditions may vary in symbolic purpose.

Bag or pouches: Tarot cards are usually kept in a silk bag to keep them uncontaminated, only the owner should ever handle them. Rune tiles or stones are also kept in consecrated bags to keep them fresh for each use. Other items kept in magical bags are Crystals, Stones, Talismans and Amulets, so their magic does not disperse when not in use.

Bell: A bell, chime, or gong can be used early in the ritual to “Call the quarters,” that is, to alert spiritual influences to participate in the modes of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

Besom or Broom: The Besom is often a hand crafted broom with a brush of Broom or other natural bristle thst is wrapped with leather or cord to a handle. The bristle is considered feminine. The handle may be made of another part of the Broom plant, or a wooden branch, and is considered masculine. It is used to “Sweep” an area you will work in, removing negativity to cleanse your space.

Boline: A white-handled, (bone is traditional) knife used for cutting herbs and carving or inscribing things in the course of a ritual—candles, talismans, cords, etc. It is usually single edged, Some Bolines have a sickle-shaped blade and are best for harvesting herbs.

Book of Shadows (BOS) or Grimoire: A magical journal kept for your ritual records, in which spells, invocations, ritual notes, herbal recipes, dreams, divination results, and material from any magical workings can be recorded. Some people write it in Theban Script or in other alphabets. It may be personal, or used by initiates in a coven.

Boxes or Chests: Magical boxes are meant to stow tools and Talismans, or can be used as a portable Altar. They are carved with a variety of symbols and may be inscribed with magical words or names. Any size or design is appropriate, although hand crafted is best suited to magical intent They should be lined with cotton felt or other natural fabric.

Calendars: you will want to keep a current calendar of the Sabbats, and take note of Moon and Astrological correspondences to prepare in advance for rituals when you want to create the most potent magick.

Candles: These are used frequently in spell work. The oils they are anointed with, their colors, as well as the shapes and inscriptions carved on them, all have symbolic purpose. When anointing or dedicating candles, spread the oils from the center out to the ends as you cite your blessing.

Cauldron: This is a metal pot made of cast iron, and can be small to quite large. Potions are mixed in the cauldron, sometimes over an open fire. It is used to burn loose incense on a charcoal disc, to make black salt (used in banishing rituals), for mixing herbs, or to burn petitions (paper with words of power or wishes written on them).

Chalice: A goblet or cup usually for wine or other liquids, which may be shared around a circle in a ritual. It is both female and a Water-symbol, and can be used for scrying or crystal gazing.

Charcoal or discs: Incense is usually burned on charcoal, placed in a Thurible or on a stone. Self-igniting charcoal discs are sold in occult supply stores and are very convenient to use. Handle these carefully by quickly placing on a bed of sand when lit. I don’t recommend briquettes in confined spaces because they typically contain chemicals that are unhealthy to breathe.

Cord: A “cord” can be either a heavy string used in binding and releasing magick, or it can refer to the piece of apparel circling the magickian’s waist (also called a “girdled or “cingulum”). In many covens and magical lodges, the color of the cord indicates the wearer’s degree of attainment.

Crystal Stones: Natural crystal points are exceptional Amulets to enhance spirituality and well being. They can be any unpolished form in a stone of Agate Quartz to Zircon. Do not worry about imperfections, they enhance a stone’s properties. Striations or inclusions are an indication of the stress a stone experienced, and make it stronger because it healed itself. Crystal types correspond to the elemental spirits and have a variety of protection and healing properties. You may find a crystal that correspond to your astrological sign, and in a color that matches your intellectual powers. Find one or more that resonate with you when handled, any size or clarity is appropriate. Use a Sage smudge to cleanse your crystal of impurities it had before it came to you. Carry or wear it, and use any crystal on your Altar to enhance your magick.

Crystal Ball: This is used for divination, and can be any size, color, or level of clarity. It is a magical item and you should take time to find the crystal that resonates with you when you touch it. Some prefer a quartz with great clarity and beauty in larger sizes of 100 to 200 centimeters, or 4″ to 7″ inches. There are very nice for gazing, but you may find you prefer a natural ball with inclusions of color or other imperfections. The ball will reflect your psychic visions, and does not require water clarity or enormous size to be effective.

Incenses: These come in sticks, cones, powders, resinous chunks and herbal or floral mixtures, or oils for simmering. Incense can be purchased or made. The incense burned depends on the purpose of the ritual and on the energies being invoked, but frankincense and sandalwood are two all-purpose favorites which can be used for almost any ritual. You should try make your own and create it specifically for your rituals or magical workings. It is fun and interesting to create a magical incense. You may find it rewarding to try it yourself.

Lamps of Art: These are the two candles on the altar which provide illumination, made preferably of beeswax, although paraffin will do. Choose white, or use colors based on the season or on the nature of the magick being done. Carve symbols or names into your candles for greater magick. When you anoint them with fragrant oils, start from the middle and work to oil to the ends, this is traditional in spell work.

Music and Instruments: Any drum or Djembe, stringed instrument like a Karimba, flute, rain sticks or rattles can be used in ritual preparation. Music that sets a mood of magick is a wonderful tool for rituals. There are recordings that start with meditation sounds which will help to build a positive aura for performing magick. It should be soft and kept as a background to promote the psyche, although there is no reason not to raise the level of sound if it helps you expand on your ritual goal.

Pen or Quill: A special pen which is reserved only for entries into the Book of Shadows, or for other ritual use. This can be an old-fashioned dip pen or quill pen, but any writing implement may be used.

Pendulum: A natural crystal point, carved crystal or stone. It is attached to a chain or string so that it may dangle from the palm of your hand.  Used in divination, the direction the pendulum swings can decide a yes or no answer. It is used with talking boards for spirit communication and worn or carried as a talisman. It can be used to waft the smoke of your incense in a ritual.

Pentacle Patten: This is a disc of metal, ceramic, glass, or wood with a Pentagram or other symbols inscribed on it to symbolize the element of Earth. Salt & water, or cakes are placed upon it, though it can also be used in rituals of protection as a magical shield.

Robe or Cloak: This is a personal item and may be any design or color you like. You can adorn it in any manner to add symbols in the design, or a “cord” around the waist if you like. Robes can be colors that correspond to Sabbats or to  ritual magick you perform. As noted you should choose your preference in color and style.

Rune Set: Runes are an ancient Germanic alphabet, used for writing, divination, and magick. Rune sets of inscribed tiles, sticks, or stones are used as an Oracle to seek advice when tossed on any surface for a “Rune Casting”.

Salt Bowl: Rock salt symbolizes Earth, and is mixed with water and sprinkled over things to purify them. Salt is often sprinkled just outside a circle perimeter as it is cast, to repel negative influence or spirits.

Scrying Mirror: A reflective surface. Traditionally this is a black or concave mirror, a surface of water, or polished rock face, and is used for obtaining  spiritual visions in the practices of divination or fortune-telling.

Sceptre: Used as a rod or staff to represent authority. In magical societies or covens, elders may carry a highly ornamental sceptre of carved wood or metals as a symbol of their elevated status. Some sceptres are crowned with shrines,  orbs or stones to identify a sect or other affiliation.

Smudge: This is most often a bundle of dried Sage or other cleansing herbs that is lit and then the flame is extinguished to allow it to slowly smolder. Sometimes used in rituals as a clarifying agent, the smoldering bundle is wafted over the Altar and around the circle. It is also used extensively to clear spaces in homes or other buildings, and rid them of negative spirit activity. A blessing is spoken while smudging an area, with words to banish the unwonted spirits. Very effective in use.

Staff: Magical wooden rod, typically the length is the height of the wielder. A magick staff is used for pointing in ceremonies, and to signify status and strength. Some magical societies use metal shod staves in a variety of woods. Also known as a ceremonial mace when carved with various symbols that may signify the owners status among peers. In ancient times staves were used to ward off enemies, and pounded on the ground similarly to a drum in ceremonial use.

Stang: A staff with a fork at the top, typically planted in the ground, and used as a vertical altar. It is a common tool in traditional Hedge With practices, it represents the Horned God and is used at the northern gate.

Statues: A statue or altar figure for your ritual space. Any representation of your favored deities enhance magick. Hand crafted statuary is always significant as you infuse magic into the finished item with your  will.

Sword or Dirk: A sword can be used to cast the circle for a group, and is considered a symbol of either Air or Fire.

Tarot Cards: A complete deck contains 78 cards, each having a standard value (specific meaning). Twenty-two cards make up  the Major Arcana, each describe a significant circumstance or influence. The remaining fifty-six cards are the Minor Arcana, with individual descriptions of activities, attitudes, relationships, social or personal events, and environmental influence. Used as a tool for Fortune Telling by interpreting correspondences between cards that the reader draws in a specific succession.

Thurible: A metal censer, dish or burner to hold charcoal and incense. Its better to use a charcoal disk over an inch of sand in your burner to insulate it. The burner can either stand on the altar or swing from a chain, and is often considered to be an Air symbol.

Wand or Baculum: A wooden stick about 18″ long, or “from elbow to fingertip,” carved from any traditional sacred wood. It is used to channel power and represent Air or Fire, according to various traditions. Your wand may be carved and decorated, with a phallic shape (acorn or crystal) on one end and a yoni, (counterpart of the phallic) on the other.

Traditional Wand Wood:

Ash
Blackthorn
Cherry
Chesnut
Elder
Elm
Hawthorn
Oak
Willow
Yew

Water Bowl: Water mixed with salt may be used to purify, in a bowl (or large shell) kept on your altar.

Other tools or symbolic items include unique hand made tools, Sigils which are magical symbols with complicated meanings, and a variety of Talismans and Amulets.

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