Friday, February 22, 2013

Basic Tools of Wicca

Here's a little Wicca 101 for everyone. It's important that before casting your first Circle or performing your first spell to know about the common tools of the trade, what they're used for, and what they represent. Here's a list of some of those tools. Take note that you don't have to have all these tools present in order to cast a spell or perform a ritual but it's highly recommended.

Let's start out with Primary Tools:

Pentacle -- the pentacle is a disk that sits upon the altar table which is typically engraved with a pentagram within a circle. However, your pentacle can also be engraved with other magickal symbols and sigils of your choice which correspond to the ritual or spell taking place. The pentacle represents the element of Earth and is associated with feminine energies. It is used to bless, consecrate, and energize ritual items or other ritual tools.

Wand -- the wand is usually made of a slender piece of wood obtained from a preferred tree source although it can be made of any material including metal and rock. It is about the length of the tip of one's middle finger to their elbow. It may or may not contain symbols of runes or other magickal symbols on the wand. It may or may not contain feathers, a crystal positioned on the tip, color, ribbon, etc. In Gardnerian Wicca, it represents the element of Air. However, in other traditions, such as Alexandrian Wicca, it represents the element of Fire. Either way, it represents the masculine energies.  Wands can be used to direct and project energy. It is said that it is used to summon elementals. It is also used as a way to communicate intentions to produce a material action, especially when used for spell work.

Athame -- an athame is usually a black handled, double edged, dagger of about 6-8 inches long. The handle may be inscribed and the edges can be dulled. An athame is never used for cutting and is only used for ritual purposes. In Gardnerian Wicca, it represents the element of Fire but in other traditions, such as Alexandrian, represents the element of Air. The athame represents masculine energies. Like the Wand, it is used to direct energy when casting a Circle and is used when calling upon the Quarters. It can also be used to control spirits. It is, in my opinion, the most important magickal tool.

Chalice -- the chalice, or goblet, is normally made of silver but can be made of other various metals, and is sometimes inscribed with symbols. It represents the element of Water and is associated with feminine energies. It is often said to represent the Goddess and her womb. It is used to hold wine, water, milk, juice, and other drinks that are used during rituals.

Now let's look at Other Tools:

Censor and Incense -- the censor is used to hold the incense that you are using for your ritual. Incense is typically used to symbolize the element of Air.

Besom -- the besom, or broom, is used to "sweep" away negativity from a sacred space when casting a Circle. It's also used in handfasting rites when couples jump over the broom to symbolize entering into a new phase of life.

Cauldron -- the cauldron is a small cast iron pot that can be inscribed with symbols. It represents the womb, sensuality, and fertility. It is used to burn incense, to hold candles, for making brews, and can be used for scrying.

Now, here are a few items that you may find of use to you:

Smudge Stick -- smudge sticks are normally made out of sage. They are burned and their smoke is wafted throughout the space with a feather as in Native American Culture. The smoke will cleanse and purify the area from any negativity that may be present.

Candles -- when performing rituals, candles are essential. Specific colored candles can be used to represent many different elements and are used to represent the Quarters, to represent characteristics in a spell, and to provide light to the darkness.

Altar Cloth -- this is a cloth that can be inscribed with symbols that is placed upon the altar. It can be used for decoration or the color and/or symbols can correspond with the ritual or spell being performed.

God/Goddess Statue -- these are statues that sit upon the altar. The Goddess is placed to the left and the God is placed to right. These placements represent polarity. The right is active and electrical while the left is receptive and magnetic.

Crystals & Herbs -- when performing rituals or spells, crystals and herbs with the corresponding healing or spiritual properties can be used to enhance effects. They can also be used as offerings.

Mortar & Pestle -- this consists of a bowl normally made of stone and a pestle which is used to crush herbs.

Sea Salt & Water -- these are used to cleanse, purify and consecrate the sacred area and are used to represent Earth and Water.

These tools will help you on your spiritual journey through Wicca. Knowing how to use them and what they represent will help you immensely when constructing your rituals and spells.

Crafting Wiccan Traditions by Raven Grimassi

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