A Witch's Tools
What tools do you need to be a Witch? My personal answer is "none." You can perform rituals and cast spells using nothing more than visualizations and the right mind set. The typical tools people buy or make are useful for creating that mind set, but it is not something you have to spend a lot of money on to get started. When you decide you are ready to perform your first ritual, don't wait until you have all the tools mentioned in a book, start with the ritual and see what you think would make it more meaningful to you. With that in mind, here is a list of the most common tools used in witchcraft.
I would imagine that most people not involved with pagan beliefs believe this to be a spell book. That is not wrong so much as incomplete. The book of shadows contains rituals, spells, recipies, contact lists, failed experiments, areas that need investigation, and anything else that seems worth recording. It is the written record of that person's or coven's search for God and Goddess.
If you haven't seem a Broomhilda cartoon or some other similar representation in the media of the evil witch flying in chase on her trusty broom, you are certainly in the minority. The broom is an important tool, but it's purpose is protective. It is used to "Sweep" away negativity, or to obstruct such forces from entry to your home, ritual, or life.
This tool, too, is often misunderstood. It may seem to some people that this a hold-over from human or animal sacrifice, or worse yet is still used for that purpose. The athame, a knife, usually double-sided, is used to direct power. It is not usually used to cut anything physical. It represents the masculine, and the power of the mind. My athame was a gift from my husband. Some believe that you should never give an athame as a gift, but I feel it to be a thoughtful and beautiful gesture.
The Bolline, or "White Handled knife," is used to cut things used in magickal practice. This would include such things as harvesting herbs, cutting strings used to make mackical talismans, or any other magickal need you may have. My bolline does not have a white handle, and it wasn't bought in a magickal store. It does, however, feel right to me. In the end, your feelings are the best judge of the appropriateness of a tool.
The wand, like the athame, is used to direct energy. It can be made out of many materials: wood, copper, or crystal. There are many beautiful crystal and gem wands available in stores, but don't forget that a branch from a tree in your yard will be just as effective, if not more so. The different woods have meanings based on the properties of the trees they come from. A good idea might be to think about what you most want to achieve, and choose a wood that helps in that area.
A witch stands over a large cauldren bubbling with a foul smelling green liquid, filled with lizard innards and parts of small children. The cauldren is in fact a symbol of the feminine. It is used to add the Goddess' energy to a ritual, to hold or brew ritual fluids, or to see into the future.
The chalice represents the female. It is used on the altar to hold the ceremonial wine or "water," to represent the Goddess, to simulate "the great rite," or to offer a gift of wine to the dieties. There are many styles and materials available, but, as in all things, you should use what you feel comfortable with.
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