Tools of a Witch
Written and Compiled by George Knowles
As with most other religions, tools are used in witchcraft to
aid and enhance ritual worship. Tools
have no power in themselves, though they do have powerful symbolic
significances. Some like the Wand
and Athame (pronounced ath-ay-me) are
used to invoke and direct whatever power we generate or pass through them.
While tools are not absolutely necessary to the practice of the
craft, some tools are nice to have if only to focus our will and concentration.
The basic tools to start with are the elemental tools or those tools
which represent the four elements of life: The Pentacle for Earth, The Wand for
Air, The Athame for Fire, and The Chalice for Water.
Tools needn’t be purposely bought or excessively expensive.
Take a look around the household, many ordinary implements can be used or
improvised as tools. You could even
make your own and by doing so, a certain amount of personal power will be
infused into the item, thus increasing its effectiveness.
Other sources of tools are Car Boot Sales, Junk Shops and Antique Shops.
With a little patience you may find tools cropping up in the most unusual
All tools as they are collected, should be cleansed of all
negative energies and past use influences.
Lets face it, you won’t know how or for what use they may have been
used before you acquired them. To
do this, clean the item physically and thoroughly while using visualisation.
Then bury the item in the ground for a few days, thus allowing past
associations to be dispersed and purified with earth’s energy.
Alternatively you could use the water method.
Immerse the item in water, preferably natural water like the Sea, a
River, or a Lake. If these are not available to you, used a bowl of water and
add a few pinches of Sea Salt. Leave
submerged for a couple of hours before removing and drying the item off.
Obviously common sense must prevail when using these methods, as you
wouldn’t want to ruin the item. Do whatever seems appropriate for each item.
After the cleansing process, each tool needs to be consecrated, ready to
use for magickal purposes. (More
about this later).
Below is a list of the standard tools used in witchcraft together with their uses and significances. For other correspondences see:
- The athame is the traditional ritual dagger of the witch. Commonly it has a black handle and steel double-edged
blade. Many Wiccans engrave the
handle or blade with magickal symbols indicative of deities, spirits or the
elements as sources of power. The athame is a tool of command, it is used to direct what power we
pass through it. It is used to cast
circles by tracing the circumference, to charge and consecrate objects and
banish negative energies. In most
traditions, it is never used as a mundane knife for cutting purposes, and is used strictly
for magickal purposes only. As an elemental tools of the craft, in
most traditions it is associated with the elements of Fire, in others it is
associated with Air. The phallic
symbolism of the knife links it with the God.
- The pentacle is a traditional tool of the craft. Originally it is thought to have been adopted from ceremonial
magic. It is usually a round solid disc often made from stone, wood or cooper.
On the disc is engraved or painted an up-right five pointed star enclosed
inside a circle called the
Pentagram. A disc decorated in this manner then becomes called a Pentacle. In some traditions
other symbols are added indicative of deities, spirits or the elements as
sources of power. The pentacle is normally the centerpiece of the alter on
which objects are placed to be consecrated or charged, such things as amulets, charms and tools are placed on it, as is the salt
and water for blessing.
The pentacle represents the elements of Earth and is sometimes used to summon the Gods and Goddesses.
For a more detailed description of the pentacle - pentagram see (
The pentacle represents the elements of Earth and is sometimes used to summon the Gods and Goddesses.
For a more detailed description of the pentacle - pentagram see (
- The wand is one of the prime magical tools of the witch. Traditionally the wand is made from the wood of a sacred
tree. These include the Willow,
Elder, Oak, Apple, Peach, Hazel and Cherry, to mention just a few.
Its length should approximate the crook of the elbow to the middle of the
index finger. These days many
modern materials are used instead, and even tipped with crystals and gems.
The wand is a tool of invocation, it is used to evoke the Gods, Goddesses
and Spirits. It is also used to
bestow blessings, charge objects and draw down the moon during ritual. In most
traditions the wand represents the elements of Air, in others it represents
the elements of Fire.
- The censer is an incense burner used to contain burning incense during
ritual. Any type of censer can be
used, even a simple bowl filled with sand will do.
The censer represents the elements of Air and is normally placed before
the images of the Goddess and God on the altar.
- The Chalice is one of the four elemental tools of witchcraft and
represents the elements of Water. It
is a symbol of containment and often represents the womb of the Goddess.
The base is symbolic of the material world, the stem symbolises the
connection between man and spirit and the rim or opening symbolically receives
The chalice can be made of any material, in times of old -
Horns, Shells and Gourds were used to hold sacred liquids during ritual, and
then in later times - Silver became the preferred material, having long been
associated with the moon and the Goddess. The
chalice is used to hold the blessed water and wine during ritual.
It is traditional in many covens to pass the chalice around all members,
who then take a drink as a token of unity.
Broom - The broom is
a ritual tool of the witch, sacred to both Goddess and the God.
The God - through its symbolic phallic shape, The Goddess - through its
three-piece make up, the stick, brush and binding cord being symbolic of the
triformis aspect of the Goddess.
Traditionally the broom was made from three different woods.
Ash for the handle, Birch twigs for the brush and Willow for the binding
cord. Ash is protective and has
command over the four elements. Birch
is purifying and draws spirits to one’s service.
Willow is sacred to the Goddess.
The broom is used for a variety of purposes but most
generally to purify and protect.
It is used to ritually cleanse an area before magick is performed by
symbolically sweeping away negative energies and astral build up.
Of old it was used to guard the home and persons within against psychic attack or
evil curses, this by placing it across the threshold, windowsills or doorways. It was also placed under the
bed or a pillow to protect the sleeper.
Traditionally and perhaps the use which most people identify it
with, are the old wedding ceremonies of the Gypsies and the early American
slaves, where a couple leapt over the broom to ensure fertility, domestic
harmony and longevity. Today pagan
hand-fasting rituals often include a broom jump.
- The Bolline or White-Handled knife as it is now known, is the
practical knife of the craft. Traditionally
it was used to harvest herbs and had a blade in the form of a small sickle.
Today it is normally a mundane knife used for cutting and carving.
It has a white handle to differentiate it from the Athame, which has a
black handle and is used only for magickal purposes.
The bolline is used to cut wands and herbs, to mark and carve candles
with symbols and to cut cords for use in magick.
Any other ritual function requiring the use of a knife, such as cutting
flowers for the altar, can be performed with the bolline.
- The cauldron is probably the tool most associated with witchcraft and
is steeped in magickal tradition and mystery.
The cauldron is the container in which transmutation, germination, and
transformations may occur. It is
symbolic of the womb of the Goddess, and is the manifested essence of femininity
and fertility. Everything is born
from the cauldron of the Goddess and afterwards everything returns back to it.
It is also symbolic of the element of water, as well as reincarnation,
In ritual the cauldron is used as a container for making brews
and potions, or to contain a small fire for use with spells.
It can also be used for scrying (divination) by filling it with water and
gazing into its depths.
In ancient times the cauldron was used as a cooking vessel and
for brew making. Traditionally it
was made from cast iron, it rests on three legs and has an opening smaller then
its widest part. Cauldrons are made in many sizes but can be difficult to find, so you will need to persevere if
you want one.
- The bell is a ritual tool of invocation and banishment. The bell is a feminine symbol of the creative force, that of
the Goddess. The bell can be rung
to indicate the start of a rite by banishing negative influences before the
ritual begins. Often it is used to
invoke the Goddess during ritual, or sounded at the four quarters to call forth
such spirits as the Watchers and Elementals.
Bells can be used to guard the home by warding off evil spells
and spirits, or evoking good energies when placed in cupboards or hung on doors.
Hung from a cord the bell symbolises the human soul suspended between
heaven and earth.
Book of Shadows
- The Book of Shadows is the
workbook of the witch. In it is
recorded: Rituals guidelines, Invocations, Spells, Runes, Rules of a particular
Coven or Tradition, Symbols, Poems, Chants, and anything else of use to the
witch during ritual.
Traditionally the Book of Shadows was always hand written by
the individual. A common custom for new initiates into a Coven, is to hand copy his teacher’s Book of Shadows
exactly as it appeared, then later to add his own material as he progressed in
the craft. Today with the
advantages of technology they are often typed and photocopied, or even
computerised onto Floppy Disc’s.
To make your own Book of Shadows, you can use any form of blank book, but perhaps the best type to use are those of a loose-leave nature, thus allowing pages to be shuffled around when preparing for rituals. My personal Book of Shadows is made from recycled paper, bound up in natural tree bark covers, these are available in some art shops and bookstores.
Wicca, A guide for the Solitary Practitioner - By Scott Cunningham
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - By Raven Grimassi
A Witches' Bible - By Janet and Stewart Farrar
Witchcraft for tomorrow - By Doreen Valiente
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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