25 Tools of Witchcraft: A Comprehensive Glossary
May 21, 2018tetraktysadminGuides & Tutorials, Wicca, Witchcraft
Post Series: How to Become a Witch
1.How to Design a Beautiful Pagan Altar – The Ultimate Guide to Building your own Altar in 8 Steps
2.Book of Shadows 101 – All the Basics You Need to Know
3.Seven Spells to Cleanse Your Magickal Tools – Use the Power of Air, Earth, Fire & Water
4.Wiccan Spells : Learn How to Consecrate your Tools
5.Self-Dedication Ritual: All You Need to Know to Perform Your Own
6.Psychic Abilities 101 : How To Increase Your Psychic Senses
7.25 Tools of Witchcraft: A Comprehensive Glossary
8.Witchcraft for Beginners : 10 Tips on How to Start the Right Way
9.Spiritual Hygiene 101 : 10 Easy Ways to Cleanse Your Aura
10.Intention 101 : Manifest Your Desires in 5 Steps
11.Everyday Magick: 10 Rituals That Take Less Than 10 Minutes to Perform
12.Book of Shadows Part 2: How to Care for Your Grimoire
13.Witchcraft Troubleshooting: 5 Reasons Why Your Spell Failed
25 Tools of Witchcraft: A Comprehensive Glossary
Hello witches! Today I’m writing about the tools of witchcraft. I warn you: this is going to be a looong article. Don’t feel bad if you can’t read it all. It’s meant to be a glossary, listing all types of tools used in witchcraft. Just read what appeals to you and come back to this post when needed.
Why do we use tools?
First of all, tools are not necessary to perform witchcraft. It is totally possible to perform potent spells without any material. However, because we are dealing with mystic forces, unseen to the eye, using tools is very useful. Tools help us to focus our intentions, to concentrate and to raise energy, so that our spells can manifest more easily. They are the physical incarnation of what we can perceive in our six psychic senses. If you are a beginner witch, tools will be your greatest allies, because they will help directing your energy. On top of it, tools add decorum and visual impact to witchcraft. They help us get into an altered state of consciousness, which is necessary for any spiritual work.
That being said, don’t think that you should own every tool listed in this post. In fact, many of the tools listed here possess similar functions and owning everything can be redundant. When you choose your tools, look for what appeals the most to you, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. You don’t need to go to an expensive metaphysical store to find all you need. Most of the time, the best tools are the ones you made yourself, or that you have found by chance.
25 Tools of Witchcraft
Here’s a pic of my own altar tiles.
The altar is vital for any witch, pagan, or wiccan. It’s your sacred space, where you interact with your guides and perform your spells. It is the focus of your personal power. For a witch, not having an altar is the same as not having a home. You can’t go without it. However, your altar doesn’t have to be complicated, or beautiful, to be effective. Read my article about altars to learn more.
A cloth is an easy way to decorate your altar. You can choose various colors and materials according to the purpose of your ritual. I like to use scarves as altar cloths.
The altar tile is usually round or square in shape. It can be made of various, natural materials, like wood, stone, ceramic and metal. It is often engraved with power symbols such as the pentagram or the wheel of the year. It has a grounding power and helps the energy to stay focussed. When my ritual is done, and my circle is open, I have found that touching my altar tile helps me in sending back the energies to the earth.
The two athames that I own.
Blades are important tools in ritual magick. The blade represents masculine energy, movement, and the act of cutting something (metaphorically). Just like the Swords tarot suit, blades are associated with the element of air.
The athame is a double-edged blade used for casting the circle. Traditionally, the athame had a black handle. Your athame should not be sharpened, because it’s not made to cut physical things. However, I often use mine to carve runes and sigils on candles.
The boline is a small sickle with a blade in the shape of a half-moon. Traditionally, its handle is white. It is used to harvest herbs, flowers and branches. Nowadays a lot of witches use letter openers or more mundane knives instead.
The sword is a larger, more formal version of the athame. It is generally used for marking the limits of the sacred circle during large, public outdoor rituals. Unlike the athame, usually, only the High Priest and High Priestesses of a coven has the right to carry it.
The Besom or Broom
This picture was taken at my friend’s handfasting. She wrote about her wedding on the Offbeat Bride.
The broom symbolizes the union of the God and the Goddess. Its phallic shape is associated with masculinity while its three-parts design symbolizes the three cycles of feminity. Associated with the element of water, the broom is used to spirituality cleanse your space, before rituals and spellwork. To do so, simply swipe around the room in a clockwise direction. When you are done, open the nearest door and swipe everything outside, to ensure that the negativity doesn’t come back. Be sure to consecrate your broom before using it, and make sure that it’s not used for the mundane cleansing, but only in a ritual manner. Suspended on top of your front door, the broom acts as a guardian against negative influences. The broom also plays an important part in pagan weddings. In handfasting ceremonies, the newly wed couple jumps on top of the besom to attract fertility, prosperity and harmony in their household. If you want to craft your own, the traditional recipe includes :
A four-foot length of ash or oak for the handle
Thin branches of birch, mugwort or thyme for the bristle part
Lengths of willow or heavy cord to bind everything together
The Book of Shadows or Grimoire
My own BOS.
Since I already wrote a whole article about the BOS, so I won’t spend a lot of time talking about it. Traditionally, a book of shadows was a document containing religious texts, rituals and spells from a specific wiccan tradition. Nowadays, a lot of witches also use it like a journal of their magickal and ritual practices. Magickal journaling in itself is a great tool for all witches. You’d be surprised to see how much magickal work can be done with just a pen, some paper, and your book of shadows. Simple affirmations written on paper can be very powerful. Add a sigil or a rune and believe me, you will attain results. But more on that in another post.
Candles & Candle Holders
Candles are another must have for any witch out there. Cheap and easy to use, they are the perfect tool of witchcraft. You can use them in a lot of different ways: to summon guardians, deities and various entities, to symbolize the element of fire, to manifest a goal (candle magick), to light your way during astral projection, and much more. On top of it they are very useful to set you in the appropriate mood before performing a spell.
Some witches believe that simply blowing out the candles is disrespectful to the fire spirits. For this reason, it is common to use a candle snuffer instead. Personnaly, I believe that if you say “thank you” to the fire spirits before blowing the candles, it is totally acceptable.
My own cauldron on my altar.
The cauldron symbolizes the sacred womb of the Goddess. In many celtic traditions it represents the goddess Cerridwen, who endlessly stirs an elixir of knowledge and inspiration in her giant pot. The traditional witches cauldron is made of cast iron and has three legs. Depending on its use, it can be associated with different elements. Fill it with water to create moon water and blessed water, or to do water scrying (a type of divination). If it’s made of cast iron, you can use it to burn incense, herbs, offerings, wishes, sigils, or to perform pyromancy (divination by reading the flames). You can also use it to cook ritual meals, brew potions and remedies. If you do so, keep a separate cauldron for food preparation, since any ritual use will make it unsuitable for cooking.
The chalice or cup also represents the sacred womb of the Goddess. Like the Cups tarot suit, the chalice is associated with the element of water. The chalice can be made of any natural material. Stainless steel is very common, but glass and ceramic are good options too. Fill your cup with water to represent this element in the sacred circle. The cup can also be used for libations, which consist in pouring small drops of a beverage into the ground to honor the Gods, then passing it around the circle so that everyone can take a sip.
Bottles, boxes, chests, jars and pouches are very useful for any practitioner of the Arts. Not only are they useful to harvest and store ingredients, but they can also be active tools for your spells. A lot of workings require the use of a container, be they witches bottles, manifestation boxes, honey jars, reiki boxes, spiritual baths, witchy brews, etc. For example, in my coven, we have a little “wishing chest” that we use on every Ostara. Each year, everybody writes a wish on a piece of paper and puts it into the chest. The following year, we open the chest together, and we reflect on our wish. Then we make another wish for the next Ostara. This is one of the many ways that you can use containers and boxes as tools for witchcraft.
There is a lot to say about crystals. Lately they’ve become a fundamental aspect of my spiritual practice. They are more than mere rocks. Take the time to know your crystals, and in each of them, you’ll find a friend. I love to meditate with my crystals. Each of them possesses a unique frequency. In aligning with your crystals, you will experience healing on a deep level. Crystals are like small batteries, infused with the power of the Earth. They can be found in all shapes, colors and sizes. You can use them as focuses for any spiritual work. I use them regularly to cleanse my aura, to meditate, and to help me manifest my intentions. If you own crystals, don’t forget to clean them on a regular basis.
Divination tools are organized systems that are used to receive information. They are an extension of your natural six psychic senses. The most popular divination systems are crystal balls, oracle cards, pendulums, runes, scrying mirrors or bowls and tarot decks. All divination systems have their strengths and weaknesses, and no tool is better than the others. Feel free to try different systems to find which one resonates the most with you.
In my opinion, divination is an important part of spellwork. Not only it gives you insight on the outcome of your spells, but you can also use it as a tool to communicate with your guides. I use my tarot cards before performing a spell, to figure out exactly what I need to do to succeed. Then, when the spell is done, I usually do another reading to know if my work is truly complete. This is a good way to confirm your intuitions and to clarify the messages that you may have received during your ritual. There are a lot of other magickal uses for divination tools, so I won’t list all of them here.
Dolls are useful in witchcraft. I’m talking about more than the stereotyped voodoo doll here. In witchcraft, dolls are 3D images that serve to focus your intentions. Dolls can represent any entity, may it be human or spiritual. Use a doll to represent someone as the target for your spell (don’t do it without their permission though). You can even use a doll to represent yourself. You can play with color meanings and physical parts associations (chakras, for example) to manifest specific things to your target. You can also use dolls to represent deities on your altar.
Herbs & Essential Oils
Just like crystals, herbs and oils possess their own magickal associations. Herbal magick is a whole branch in witchcraft. There is a lot of different ways to include herbs and oils in your spells. Usually, herbs are used in a dried state, and essential oils are diluted in vegetable oil. You can use herbs and oils for spiritual baths, magickal teas, kitchen witchcraft, incense (see below), talismans, and much more.
Incense, Censers & Smudge Sticks
My favorite incenses.
Incense plays an important part in all spiritual practices. This is not surprising since it is a very powerful tool. Incenses are made of dried herbs, resins, and essential oils, and their properties depend of their composition. They areavailable in a lot of different forms, and smudge sticks fall under the same category. Keep in mind that there is no real difference between herb bundles, incense sticks, cones, or powders. Just use what’s at your disposition and trust the process.
In the same vein, the censer is a fireproof container used to hold hot charcoal, for burning powders and incense cones. There is a lot of different models that you can use for this purpose. Personally, I use a small cast iron cauldron as a censer. In Wicca, the incense and censer are associated with the element of Air. Incense is burned to purify the practitioner and the space, before casting the circle. Then, incense is passed around the circle’s boundaries, to consecrate it.
In addition, you can also use incense to help you manifest your goals. If you frequent metaphysical shops and websites, you will notice that they sell an incense for every purpose (by example, love, career, etc.). Used in this way, incense becomes a form of magick by itself. For it to work, you simply need to focus on your intention. Light the incense, and meditate on it while you let it completely burn.
Instruments & Music
Music in all its forms is a great magickal tool. From recorded music to bells, drums, singing bowls, or your own voice, music holds magick. It’s just another kind of intention, expressed with musical sounds. The altar bell is associated with the element of water because it’s made of metal. It can be used in two ways: to summon or to banish spirits. Wiccans ring the bell after calling the elemental guardians. It is customary to ring the bell to delimitate the different parts of a ritual, like a punctuation mark. To banish negative spirits from a space, you can ring a bell, clap your hands or a drum, or emit a loud sound in each corner of the room.
Mortar & Pestle
The mortar and pestle are used to crush herbs and resins to make herbal powders. You can use it to fabricate incense and various brews and potions. While you are crushing your herbs, be mindful of the intent you are putting in it. With the right mindset, the act of crushing the herbs can reinforce your spell. On a side note, if you are cooking ritual food, be sure to use a different mortar and pestle, because some plants and resins used in herbal magick can be toxic if eaten.
The offering bowl is a must-have for any devotional shrine.Hopefully, you can use almost anything. An offering bowl is simply a container where you’ll place your offerings. You can use the same bowl for all your deities or choose a different one to each entity that you work with. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be a bowl at all. You can use anything that speaks to you: a flat rock, a trunk, a dish that you particularly like, a small chest, etc. My offering bowl to Venus is a clamshell, and I use it every day.
When performing a spell, some witches wear items that are specifically made for ritual purposes. It can be a ritual cloak, mask, robe, or hat, or a piece of jewelry including occult symbols or crystals. Other witches prefer to perform skyclad (ritual nudity), so that they appear in humility before the gods. Nothing is wrong in performing a spell in casual clothing, but ritual clothing helps to attain the appropriate mindset for spellwork. Furthermore, the color of your clothes can affect the way the energy behaves into the sacred circle. Usually, in public rituals, the custom is to wear plain black clothes, because it absorbs light and keep the practitioners away from distraction.
This is an old witches ladder.
Just like containers, ropes are very useful for witches. You can use it to tie herbal pouches and talismans, but also to perform spells. With a decent length of rope, you can make witches ladders and knot magick. Knot magick are spells that are performed while tying multiple knots on a rope. This type of magick originates from sailor’s superstitions, and nowadays its become a part of sea witchcraft. In a broader perspective, two popular rituals involving rope are the Beltane May pole and the handfasting ceremonies. In a handfasting ceremony, the hands of the bride and groom are clasped together using one or many ropes. The knot represents the unity of the couple, who is now bound together.
Statues & Visual Representations
Statues are a great addition to a witches altar. Most of the time, they’re not used as active witchcraft tools, but they can help you to visualise the entities that you are working with. If you can’t afford to buy a statue for your patron deity, you can easily craft your own. You can also use a tarot or oracle card or draw the entity as it appears to you in your mind’s eyes. Besides, statues and visual representations makes great offerings.
Wand & Staff
The wand is not only used in Harry Potter. In fact, it is an important tool in witchcraft, especially in Wicca. Traditionally, wands are made of wood, but they can also be made of any natural material like glass, metal, or stone. Wands and staffs are associated with fire and the wands tarot suit. In wicca, it represents masculinity, and it is used to direct the energy, just like the athame. I usually use my wand to summon the entities and to consecrate other tools. Just like the broom, you can easily craft your own wand. Choose its material for its properties, according to the type of work that you will perform with your wand.
The most important tool of all : The Witch
I created this photo challenge on Instagram. You can join whenever you want. Just use #ToolsOfWitchcraft
To conclude, let us remind ourselves that the most important tool of witchcraft is the witch. As I said earlier, ultimately, you don’t need specific tools to do magick. The key, as always, is your intention. If you want to perform a spell, but you don’t own the required tool, don’t worry. You can always substitute it by another similar tool, or, even better, replace it by visualization and intention. If you don’t have a wand, use your athame. If you don’t own a specific herb, use a correspondence chart. Be creative, and don’t forget to have fun! The best tools do not make the best witch. Her strength of will, confidence and creativity does.