We Wiccans like our tools a lot! Some tools are needed and some are not. We use all kinds of items as tools, everything from athames to candles.
Altar – The altar is a tool and is one of those necessary tools for us Wiccans. Altars can take a variety of shapes and forms. They may be rectangular, square or even circular. They might be a table, dresser, chest of drawers, a cloth laid on the ground or a box made for the purpose. It is a very good idea to purify the space before setting up the altar. Consecrating the altar before even putting an altar cloth on it is crucial. See one of my previous posts titled “Altars: Raising and Maintaining”.
Book of Shadows – One of the most important tools is your Book of Shadows. In it you will write not only collective knowledge that is important to you but personal knowledge. I suggest that you do something special to create the cover of your Book of Shadows. If you keep it online, take a picture and use it online to make your Book of Shadows special, or use some online art. See one of my previous posts titled “Book of Shadows”.
Athame and Wand – These are our tools used to channel energy to draw a circle and cut doors in the circle. These tools are nice but not necessary. You can learn to channel your energy and to draw a circle with intent and your finger. An athame is a black handled double edged knife. Many Wiccans keep the blade dull, because it is not intended to cut physical things. In fact it is energetically ruined if it is used to cut something physical. If someone close to you has access to it, educated this person before he/she decides to spear an apple with it! The right letter opener or even a fossilized megalodon shark’s tooth could make great athames. To make a wand find a branch from a tree. Think about the kind of wood you want to use, but be flexible. A branch might call to you. You may decide to strip the bark off the branch and sand it. Cut it to the appropriate length which is from the bend in your elbow to your fingertips. You may glue a crystal to the end. Allow the glue to dry. Wrap a copper wire clockwise around the wand and the point. Copper conducts energy well and is soft and easy to bend. Any further decoration is up to you. Maybe you will choose to add some ribbons or carve it. Maybe you have other ideas of your own.
Sword and Staff – The sword and staff are very much the same as the athame and wand only larger and used for drawing the circle. The staff can be used to create a sort of exclamation point with a thump of it. A coven often has a sword or maybe a staff in its possession to use.
The chalice is one of the tools that is needed. A silver chalice is very nice, but it could be ceramic or glass. The crucial thing is that it is reserved only for ritual purposes and not used as an everyday drinking vessel.
Plate – Save a special plate for the “cakes” of “cakes and ale”. This is not a plate for ordinary use. It could be silver, wood, ceramic or glass. I would not use plastic or paper.
Bowls – You may find that you need more than one bowl. Purposes for bowls are for holding offerings, earth, salt and water. Like the plate, these are special and may be made of silver, ceramic, glass or wood. Especially if it is to hold water, consider the material the bowl is made of carefully.
Incense Burner and Incense – Incense or smudge helps set the mood for ritual and magick. They also can be used for purification. Use a burner that will safely allow the incense or smudge to burn. There are many kinds of incense and smudge to burn. Pick one that you like and what will do the job.
Candles – I have burned lots of different kinds of candles: Large pillar candles, sand candles, jar candles, tapers, votives, tea lights and chime candles. I generally do not burn molded candles. They are special and hard to come by. Therefore I consider them to be wax sculptures not to burn. Many were manufactured, but some were homemade. Some types of soy candles are available. Suit the candle to the purpose for which it is being burned. Consider burn time for that candle. White is a basic color to have and can substitute for other colors, but you will make a decision about what colors you want for various purposes.
Besom – Otherwise known as a broom, this is another fantastic tool for clearing space. The bristles do not have to touch the floor to work, and an energetic sweeping motion is recommended. A handfasting includes the couple jumping over the besom. A besom is not to be used for physical cleaning. A besom is not hard to make. Deborah Blake gives instructions for making a besom. See Suggested Investigation.
These are some of the standard tools that you will want or need. There are more tools which I like to have in my toolbox. I will be going over them next week.
Enjoy learning more about tools and try making one!
As of the day of this post, the full moon is tomorrow. Enjoy reaping the abundance!
I will continue to post on Wednesdays. I will share more on tools next week.
Blake, Deborah. Witchcraft on a Shoestring: Practicing the Craft Without Breaking Your Budget, Llewellyn, 2010.
Buckland, Raymond. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, Llewellyn, 1986 & 2002. He gives instructions on how to create an altar and an athame.
Wigington, Patti. “Make an Athame.” Learn Religions, March 4, 2021, learnreligions.com/make-an-athame-2562331.
Wigington, Patti, “Make Your Own Besom.” Learn Religions, April 5, 2023, learnreligions.com/make-your-own-besom-2562738.