Intro to Magick - Tools



By Athena



Tools. Apart from casting spells it seems to be one of the foremost concerns of the new practitioner – but why?  In a lot of cases you will see material or perhaps even one more “experienced” in the craft telling you that you MUST have this tool or that altar cloth, or your magick will be ineffective.  Simply put, that is complete baloney (I could use a stronger word, but I want to keep this as clean as possible).  You do not NEED tools to be effective, you need only one item – YOURSELF.  I am not pulling your leg, this is the honest truth.  Now this is not to say that tools do not help us focus or achieve our goals, but we can function without them. 


Allow me to explain a bit more in depth if you will.  Take the broom for instance.  It represents both the male/god and female/goddess aspects and can be used in various workings, fertility rites and cleansings to name two.  Would you be able to perform a fertility ritual or cleansing of ritual space without it? Of course!  You just have to focus on your objective with a little more resolve.  This broom is really just a symbol of what we wish to happen with the spell or ritual we are performing, and while it can be important, rest assured you CAN achieve your goal without it. 


So if we don’t need tools then why have them?   Well I would say it is a matter of personal preference.  If you lined up ten witches, you would find ten very different tool set ups.  We are unique individuals after all, and our strengths and talents may differ, hence the preference of one witch to have a wand over another who might favor a staff.  I am not against owning tools or utilizing them in my practice – to the contrary I own and use them, but not in every working.  Then there was a time when I was fairly new to the path and didn’t have a ton of money to spend on things like that.  At that time my finger was a wonderful substitute for an athame (ritual knife sometimes used to construct the dimension and barrier of the circle), and even to this day if I think its appropriate, my finger is used in place of it.  I even use it in place of a wand when directing the release of energy (also known as the “cone of power”).


What determines which tools you have and which you don’t?  Well there are as many reasons as there are stars in the sky, but here are a few that you might find more often than not:


  1. Preference

  2. Budget

  3. Path/Tradition dictates/requirements

  4. Space available

  5. Living arrangements/environment

  6. Common workings performed




That seems to be pretty straight forward – but is it really?  When you are newly on the pagan path, you are inundated with an amazing amount of information, and it takes some time to sort through it all. Along with that, comes the task of figuring out who you are - you as a pagan have the personal power to choose your own path and type of practice, and it might take some time to figure out exactly what you REALLY like, and what things were amusing to you for a short time. So my advice would be to read, study, research - whatever you need to do to decide who you are and how you wish to practice. This doesn't mean that you won't evolve and make some changes along the way - you will (we all do, its part of being human). So you are free to change, drop, acquire whatever tools you wish. I just would advise buying everything you see as part of a complete altar set up right off of the bat.


Oh yes I KNOW that this is a huge concern, and I was one who had it. Some times tools can be extremely expensive, other times they might not be. It depends on your preference for materials, and also if you have the inclination to make your tools yourself. What, you think that the first earth based practitioner has his or her local occult shop to visit? Right, and I have some swamp land here to sell to you for practically nothing. Tools were made from whatever was available, providing that the person didn't wish to use a finger as a wand or athame, or something along those lines. You can go outside and see what the deities would give to you to use as tools! Branches from trees make excellent wands and staffs, rocks from the ground can be used as decoration, etc.. One caution though. I would go for the branches and such that are already on the ground and not part of a living plant or tree. You CAN use a branch from a living tree, but you need to ask permission from the spirit that resides within that living thing. How would you feel if someone came along and decided that your left arm was the perfect wand and cut it off from your body? I know I wouldn't like it. 

However plants have an amazing ability to regenerate, and if you asked they might be inclined to give you a gift of themselves. It is only right though, that if you take from nature, whether it be directly from a living thing or the ground, that you provide a gift back to help restore balance.

There are other options also for those who are budget conscious. Don't have the green candle you need for that prosperity spell? Then draw one! I am not being silly, it DOES work! How about combing the local yard & garage sales to see what you find? The seller might not have thought that the pot was a cauldron, but your eye might catch that same piece and think just that! You will have to cleanse, empower, and consecrate any tool you intend to use, but there is nothing that says that it has to be store bought and brand new for you to have it as part of your magickal supplies.


Some traditions use different tools than others, and some use similar or same tools but in different ways. You would have to investigate any traditions you wished to participate in to see, because it might even differ from coven to coven, solitary to solitary. For instance, in some groups a wand is considered to correspond to the element of fire, in others air.


I put these two factors together because they seem to be intertwined. How can you have a ton of tools and such if you are limited to a small corner in your house or apartment? What if you are not able to practice openly because you know that your family and friends would severely disapprove? In that case you might not have that 10'X15' altar decked out with tons of tools, but you can have an altar! Use a small table top, dresser top, or even the back of your toilet with a tray on it. These are places that you can have your magickal tools out, but are also easily packed away when the need arises. If you think back to when it wasn't so "cool" to be a witch (yes that was stated with tongue firmly lodged in cheek), it was literally life threatening, not on to the witch themselves, but anyone who associated with them, if it was obvious that they had tools for a magickal purpose in their possession. They had three options (that I can think of):

  • Not possess any magickal tools of any sort
  • Hide their magickal articles from prying eyes
  • Use everyday items that could double as their magickal tools

Let's look at choice number 3 shall we? I think that if you stopped to look around your home you would find things that would double for magickal tools.  Case in point, the Kitchen Witch. The same pots, pans, utensils and such that they use to prepare meals for themselves and their loved ones can be the same things that they use when performing any magickal work. A wooden spoon would make a good wand, and a butter knife would make a perfect athame, and the list goes on. In times past, the cauldron was the same pot that food was prepared and the washing done in.


This might not be a huge concern to you, but I felt the need to bring it up anyway. If you are someone who has a healing practice, you might have more oils, herbs, stones, etc geared towards that end than someone who is more focused on general workings. You might find that you have an affinity for protection, and your tools will in time reflect that. Regardless of where you are in your practice, budget constraints, preferences, etc there are two things that I believe is a MUST - creativity and adaptability - in your workings.


Lions and tigers and bears - oh my! *G* O.K. so I am a wise guy, but I can't help it - I wrote the heading out and that was the first thing to come to my mind. Seriously though, cleansing, empowering and consecration of your magickal tools is an important step and I would be remiss if I didn't touch on it.

There are many methods of cleansing, and it sometimes depends on what the item is that you need to cleanse as to what method you use. For instance, if you were cleansing an opal, which is a relatively soft stone, you would not use a corrosive or abrasive method of cleansing, favoring instead leaving it out in moonlight and sunlight or perhaps running it under water. So why cleanse them anyway? I mean they look clean to me!

Sure they do, but as with everything, whatever the item is in question has energies that it's acquired over time, and you can't necessarily "see" them, but you probably can feel them. When you were young and you got a toy for your birthday, didn't it sometimes take awhile before it felt like it was "yours"? This can be what tips you off to other energies that your tools might have - it doesn't feel quite right, or feel like it's yours. That's what cleansing, empowering and consecration are all about - making the tool your own, for your determined purpose. The energies may not be positive, negative or otherwise, but in my opinion, I would rather start with a clean slate than find out later on that there was something still attached to the piece that might counter any working I use it in.

Here are some common methods of cleansing,

  • Water - no kidding! Putting your tool under running water is a great way to cleanse it.
  • Incense - passing your tool through the incense smoke
  • Candle flame - again passing your tool above or through the flame (be careful if what you have is flammable; you might want to consider an alternate method)
  • Earth - burying an item in the earth for a predetermined number of days will ground the existing energies and leave the tool ready for you to impart your own.
  • Salt - another "earthing" ingredient. You can sprinkle over, or bury the item in salt - but again consider the make up of your tool before doing this.
  • Moonlight/Sunlight - both will cleanse by leaving your tool in one or both types of light for a predetermined amount of time.

There are many other forms but these are the ones that I know are most common - feel free to come up with your own!

Empowering is just what it sounds like - imparting power into a certain object or person (for the purpose of this lesson, object). This is done after cleansing (or perhaps at the same time, but I do I after), and can simply be done by handling the object. You can do this over time, or spend a moment focused on infusing the tool with your magickal intent and energy. There are rituals also that can be used, but again YOU are the most important factor in this.


consecration n 1: a solemn dedication to a service or a goal; "his consecration to study"

It simply means to set aside or dedicate to a purpose, and that is precisely what you do when you consecrate your tools. You vow to use them only for the magickal purpose(s) that you decree and do whatever you can in your power to keep them for that purpose. Now this will not apply in the case of the person who's tools double for some other everyday item, but you can still consecrate it when you need to use it, or perhaps state that it is for this "mundane" purpose and this "magickal" purpose. Regardless of what the situation might be, it is a sign of respect and also organization on your part to set your tools for specific uses. It helps to ensure that the energies you will need to perform whatever your working is effectively is there when you want it to be. You can perform an intricate ritual to accomplish this or simply state to your chosen deities that this tool is dedicated for (certain purpose). It is entirely up to you.



This is always a sticky subject, and I can offer my own opinions on this but you have to decide for yourself what is good for you. Who handles your tools? That depends. Some say no one but yourself, others say it shouldn't matter. I say that it is up to you - if you feel that the person in question has energy that is congruent with your own, then by all means. I personally do not allow my tools to be handled by anyone else but myself, unless I plan on re-cleansing, empowering and consecrating them prior to use. I am not the tool police - I have a niece who is inherently curious about my altar and with her mother's permission has asked to hold my wand, and yes I allowed her to, because at the time I felt that to deny her might have made it so attractive, that she would have done so behind my back. Also, her energy is much like mine and she approaches my practice and my tools with a measure of respect that I have not seen in many adults, much less a child of six. My tarot cards are handled by whomever I read for, but those do get cleansed after every usage anyway, even if I am reading for myself. Rule of thumb, no one handles your tools unless you want them to. If they do, I guarantee that you will find out sooner or later.

Example of this. My first tarot deck that I owned was very much imbued with my energy - and I developed a close enough relationship with it, that when I came home from work one day I KNEW it had been handled the moment I opened the drawer where it was kept. Now there was nothing to indicate physically that it had been moved, but I knew - it didn't "feel" solely like "me" anymore. At the time one of my sister's was living with me and despite my request that no one handle the deck, she thought she's put one over on me...well was she surprised when I held the deck up in front of her and reiterated my wishes. She never touched it again.

Storage is also a concern for some, and there are options there also. You may wish to buy a cabinet or chest that you can lock, or perhaps leave most of your tools out. It depends on your comfort level, your living environment, and what sort of items you have. If you have potentially dangerous or toxic herbs or oils, you will want to keep them out of the reach of any pets or children that might get into them. If you live in a place where there are those not comfortable with paganism, then you will want to most likely have them out only when you are actively using them.

Then again, you can utilize the "double usage" option and no one will know you have your magickal tools out!  Here is a listing of some tools and items you might find in a witch's set up. This is by no means a complete listing, nor am I suggesting that you need have all of these things in your possession to be a "real" witch - nothing could be further from the truth. I am simply showing you some possible options that may enhance your workings.

Here is a listing from "the Wicca Handbook" by Eileen Holland

A Witch's Tools

Tools are the implements we use to work magic. Some traditions make a great fetish of tools. This can be daunting for new witches, who sometimes think they cannot begin to cast spells until they have acquired everything on the list. Unlike many witches, I take a minimalist approach to tools. For years, I used a sword, an athame, and a pentacle. That's it. Occasionally I used a marble mortar that served as a chalice and for grinding herbs. A mortar is also a great place to burn things.

Start making or acquiring tools as you need them. Covens of ten give sets of tools to new members. I have found that, whenever I had need of a tool, I suddenly acquired it by one means or another. These are some of the (often-conflicting) superstitions about tools:

  • They must be formally consecrated before use;
  • Tools should only be used inside the circle;
  • Using tools in the kitchen consecrates the food they are used to prepare;
  • Tools must be made by yourself or received as gifts, not purchased;
  • It is bad luck to haggle over the price of a tool;
  • You should never allow anyone else to handle your tools; The finest tools are those you make yourself, from natural substances;
  • Any sword, knife, or dagger that has ever drawn blood must be purified before consecration;
  • Athames and swords should be symbolic, not actual weapons.

Accept or reject these beliefs as seems right to you. I have never consecrated my tools, because I have never felt the need to do so. Magical use seems self-consecrating to me. I dislike having the vibrations with which I imbue objects disturbed. I, therefore, never let someone touch my tools or my grimoire. I agree that actual weapons are unsuitable tools for a witch. With the exception of the sword, my tools "hid in plain sight" while I lived in Egypt. I expect the notion of 'kitchen witch' came from the fact that most of the things we use - like herbs, cauldrons, and candles - can be left about the kitchen without attracting attention. This probably helped some witches survive the Burning Times.


Branch into wand, goblet into chance, knife into athame, pot into cauldron.Consecration is a short ceremony that dedicates an object for sacred use. Lay your tools on the altar, cast a circle, and consecrate them. You can devise any sort of ceremony you like for this. Keep it simple, cast the circle, mix salt into water, and sprinkle the tool, saying something like:

"Knife, you are brought within this circle of transformation to be forever after my athame." Handle the object with reverence, steeping it in your vibrations, then put it in its appointed place on the altar before closing the circle.


An athame is a ceremonial knife that corresponds to the element of fire in some traditions, to air in others, and to the direction East. Like all the phallic tools, it has male energy and symbolizes animus. It a witch's weapon and most important tool. In some traditions, it must be black-handled (white-handled knives are used only as cutting tools). The hilt of your athame can be plain, or inscribed with magical markings. It can be a new knife acquired for this purpose, or it can be something you have had for a long time and now dedicate for ritual use. Antique stores and flea markets are good places to find daggers and interesting knives, but you must purify (with water, salt, sunlight, crystals, or any combination thereof) any object with unknown provenance in case it has black vibrations. My athame is a bronze letter opener with an enameled handle that was given to me by a business mentor many years ago. The athame is used for:

  • * Mixing salt and water, or potions;
  • * Inscribing the circle;
  • * Charging, consecrating, or empowering amulets, talismans, or Poppets;
  • * Drawing lines;
  • * Discrimination and setting limits;
  • * Making choices and carrying them out'.


"'With this in my hands, I am the ruler of the circle." A sword is used like an athame, but is more formal and authoritative. It corresponds to the planet Mars. Some traditions link to the element of air, others to fire. It has male energy.

Your sword could be an actual weapon or ceremonial object. I use a ceremonial sword that could not easily inflict damage on anyone. I bought it at Magickal Childe years ago, and chose it because I dislike the martial connotations of the real weapon. Use your sword for:

  • * Invoking the Lords of the Watchtowers;
  • * Ruling the circle;
  • * Making salutations.

A woman who straps on a sword becomes male in the context of a ritual. You can keep yours on your altar, mount it on the wall above your altar, or keep it hidden away. Swords are irresistible to small boys so are best kept out of sight if you have young children in your house.


Anyone who's ever been to the movies knows what a wand is. Some traditions correspond wands to the element of fire, others to air. South is their direction; their energy is male. Wands were traditionally cut from one-year-old trees, in a single stroke, at sunrise on a Wednesday. It is said that a wand's length should be the distance from your elbow to your fingertips. As with other tools, you can use any sort of wand you like, even a metal one. If you cut your wand from a tree, do ask the tree's permission first and leave it some small offering in return, like a feather or, a stone. Some witches prefer to use a fallen branch or a piece of driftwood rather than cut a tree. Witches who make their own wands often carve magical symbols into them, or affix small crystals or gemstones to them. Wands are used for many things, including:

  • * Casting circles;
  • * Channeling energy;
  • * Inviting and controlling entities;
  • * Manifestation (changing spirit into matter, concept into form, idea into reality, etc.).

The Egyptian wand was called ur bekau, the mighty one of enchantments. It consisted of a sinuous piece of wood adorned by a ram's head wearing a uraeus at one end. Ur hekau was used in the opening of the Mouth ceremony. Held before a mummy's entombment, this ritual allowed the deceased to speak and eat in the afterlife.

Aaron's rod, a biblical magic wand, was made from an almond tree. The Druid wand was made of ash, with a spiral decoration. Sometimes a curved yew branch hung with tinkling silver bens was used for lunar magic. Irish Druids made their wands of hazel, rowan, or yew. Gallic Druids used oak wands.

A wand with a pinecone on its tip is used to invoke Dionysus. Chinese wizards used peach branches for their wands. The Ainu people of Japan used long pieces of bamboo with leaves attached to make their sacred wands. They whittled the tops into spiral designs. Witch wands for divining metal are made of rowan wood.


A pentacle is a 5-pointed star, usually inside a circle (the circle symbolizes unity and infinity). It corresponds to the element of earth. North is a pentacle's direction; its energy is female. This is the star of the Goddess. It is pointed upward for protection, blessings, consecration, meditation, and positive energy; downward for banishing and binding. Some say you should never invert a pentacle, but rather draw it backward for banishing or binding. The five points (starting at the top) can represent any of the following sets of symbols:

  • * Birth, initiation, consummation, repose, death;
  • * Love, wisdom, knowledge, law, power.

In some traditions the points represent

  • * Spirit, Air, Water, Earth, Fire;

But in other traditions

  • * Spirit, Water, Fire, Earth, Air

A pentacle is also a tool used in magical workings. It is usually placed at the center of the altar and magic worked atop it. It can be simple or elaborate, handmade or purchased, fashioned of whatever you like. A pentacle that is drawn or written is called a pentagram. I use glass-a round sheet of glass with smooth edges. I draw the pentacle on one side of it with a metallic magic marker. I like glass because of its availability, transparency, and clean vibrations. I often put something related to the spell-photograph, documents, whatever-under the glass while I work the spell. You are supposed to break your pentacle when you move to a new home, so glass has another advantage. Pentacles are also meditation tools. They can be used to call spirits or invite entities. You make the sign of the pentacle by tracing the star in the air, or on some person or object. A silver pentacle offers the most protection.

Do pentacles really protect? I believe so. I kept bees at home for bee venom therapy. They escaped one day. More than fifty bees were loose in my bedroom. My little boy and I were home alone. I closed the bedroom door, trapping them in there, and opened the window. I managed to get out of the room without any of them escaping, shut the door tightly and sealed it with the sign of the pentacle. Then I remembered my son's diapers were in there, so I went back in and repeated the process. It is in the nature of bees to fly out of windows, but this was a cold, overcast day, so I wasn't sure that they would. By nightfall, the bees were gone, except for the ones who never left their box. No one got stung. I just had a lot of honey to clean up. Would the bees have left anyway, without the pentacle on the door? Probably. Did I worry a lot less because I had put it there? Definitely.

Satanists use a downward-pointing pentacle as a symbol of Satan or evil. Their perversion of our sacred symbol doesn't make our symbol evil any more than their inversion of the cross makes that Christian symbol evil. (**Note from Athena** I do not agree with me "evil" is a very individual and perceptual concept. In fact, in some traditions, an inverted pentacle is a sign of attaining the second degree within that path.**)


The chalice is the vessel of the Goddess, the Holy Grail. Water is its element; its energy is female. Made of glass, metal, or wood, it is used for:

  • * Mixing salt and water;
  • * Mixing potions;
  • * Invoking the power to be human, to be real, to be whole;
  • * Conjuring emotions;
  • * Nurturing;
  • * Presenting offerings and pouring out libations;
  • * Drinking ritual wine (in traditions that use wine).

I usually use my athame to pour a quantity of salt into a chalice of water, stir it with the athame, then proceed with the spell. I always use tap water, but you can use spring or distilled water if you like. The chalice I use now is just a glass goblet from a set in my kitchen. It sits on my attar, always full to remind me of all my blessings. It usually just contains water, but I use rosewater when I am giving special thanks to Isis. Water evaporates, so I wash and refill it periodically.


This is the womb of the Goddess, the cauldron of inspiration, a place of resurrection. Its element is water, its direction is center, and its energy is female. Cauldrons are sacred to the Welsh goddess Cerridwen, Keeper of the Cauldron of Inspiration. They are traditionally made of cast iron and have three legs. I don't have one because I'm a city witch, but I'd get one if I lived in a house with a hearth or a place where I could make fires in the yard. I'd make pumpkin soup in my cauldron for Halloween, if I did have one. The cauldron is used for:

  • * Brewing herbs and potions;
  • * Renewing (rebirth, regeneration, and transformation);
  • * Reflecting the Moon (for lunar magic);
  • * Jumping over (for fertility);
  • * Safely burning things.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a wonderful ancient cauldron in their Islamic Art collection. It's huge and oddly shaped, has a fancy rim, and it's made of black iron and has three legs. I always wonder if it was used for cooking or magic.


A censer is a vessel, usually brass, in which incense can be burned. It corresponds to the elements of air and fire, for obvious reasons. Its directions are East and South. A censer may be simple or elaborate, and is usually kept on the altar. Middle Eastern shops and Catholic religious stores sell covered censers that come with chains so they can be swung back and forth. These are dramatic when used in rituals. Put some sand or salt in the bottom of the censer. Heat lumps of charcoal until they are red hot, then use tongs to drop a few of them into the censer. Sprinkle solid incense-dried herbs, gum resins, or seeds-on them. Seeds tend to pop, so covered censers are safest. The bottom of the censer may get very hot, even with the sand or salt, so place it on a surface that is not likely to bum.  Censers are also good for burning incense cones. Joss sticks can be safely burned stuck into the earth of a planter, or in ceramic, metal, or wooden holders made for this purpose. Incense is used for:

  • * Fumigating and smudging;
  • * Purifying;
  • * Raising power;
  • * Achieving trance states;
  • * Banishing evil spirits;
  • * Encouraging and welcoming good spirits.


The witch's besom is a decorative broom used for:

  • * Symbolic cleansing;
  • * Sweeping away evil, negative influences, or bad vibes;
  • * Expelling evil spirits;
  • * Aspurging and purification (with water).

A broom symbolizes the union of male and female, the joining of phallic stick to feminine brush. Because of this, brooms have long been used in fertility rites such as jumping over at handfastings or "riding" through crops for the fertility of the land. A mistletoe besom is the broom of the thunder god.


Since water and salt are almost always used in casting spells, you may want to have two special bowls for this purpose. My grandmother's china set came with small footed bowls, so I just use some of these from the kitchen. Witches also often have a special bowl for making offerings to god/desses.


A bell or gong can be kept on the altar and rung to banish spirits, entities, negativity, or anything else. It can also be used ceremonially, to indicate that a ritual is beginning or ending. Whatever use you make of your bell, remember the old saying that you cannot 'unring" a bell.


Priestesses sometimes wear a special necklace inside the circle. This necklace is the circle of rebirth, a sign of the Goddess. It is traditionally made of alternating jet and amber beads, but you can select any sort of necklace that has meaning for you. I wear a gold ankh from Egypt that I never remove, and I have a string of blue and yellow Sumerian beads that are about 5000 years old. I don't see why priests can't also have special necklaces.


Solitary witches don't need these unless they're for cord magic or knot magic. Usually made of silk and 9 feet in length, cords are used by some traditions in coven work for:

  • * Binding;
  • * Initiations;
  • * Control;
  • * Taking someone's measure.

There are initiation ceremonies in which novices are literally bound, sometimes naked, to the altar. This is supposed to be a solemn, symbolic, religious act and no doubt has ancient origins. It seems darkly sexual to me, however, and I see much potential for abuse in it. I think it's safest to follow the same rules for sex and Wicca: never, ever, allow anyone to tie you up.


Solitary witches don't need this either. A scourge is a many-tailed whip that is used by covens in some traditions. Like the flail of the pharaohs, it is an emblem of authority. (Having lived in Egypt, however, I suspect the pharaohs actually used them as fly whisks.) Scourges are used for:

  • * Severity;
  • * Enlightenment;
  • * Astral projection;
  • * Gaining the Sight;
  • * Domination/power over others;
  • * Initiation ceremonies.

They can even be used for punishment in hierarchal traditions in which coven members are under the authority of a high priestess. Forty (gentle) lashes is traditional. This seems more like 'S & M' than Wicca to me, but to each his own. Fasting is another way to achieve the first four objectives on this list.


The Celtic torc, a metal circlet worn around the neck, symbolizes power and divinity. The four Tools of Power in ancient Ireland were:

  • * The sword/arrow of Nuadha;
  • * The spear/rod of Lugh;
  • * The cauldron/cup of the Dagda;
  • * Stone/shield/mirror of Fal.


~Tools of the Trade ~

taken from the Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and witchcraft

* Altar cloths come in all shapes and sizes to fit your altar. You can make them as magickal as you like. They are both bought and made in different colors to rep- resent the Sabbats or to decorate the altar. If you have a very special one and don't want to worry about wax or oils dripping on it, you can either put a small topper over it or set your candle or work on a place mat.

* Amulets are nature made-objects used in protection or with magickal intent.

* An athame is a double-edged knife, approximately 6 inches in length, which is used in ritual to represent the male phallus. Athames are usually dull because they are never used to cut anything but energy. Traditionally, athames had black handles. Many witches own athames made from a variety of materials, including crystal, pewter, steel, bone, and copper. Some are plain, and some are very fancy. Because an athame is a ritual tool that you will use frequently, be sure to pick one that is special to you.

* Baskets are used for many things. Plain baskets are good to keep your magickal notions, potions, and powders organized. That way you can find everything you need, when you need it.

* Bath salts, both plain and magickal, are used in the ritual bath taken before doing ritual or magick. They help calm and relax you and make your bath a special treat. Bath oils are used alone or in conjunction with bath salts and have the same purpose as bath salts.

* Beads are used in decorating talismans, medicine bags, feathers, and many other objects.

* A bell is used in ritual when calling in the quarters and deity (asking the four directions and the God and Goddess to join you). At the end of ritual, the bell is rung to let the elements return to their realms.

* A bolline traditionally is a white-handled knife with a curved blade. This is your working knife. It is used to cut a variety of things-string, clay, herbs, candles, or what have you-while doing magick or ritual.

* A Book of Shadows is your personal magickal book. In it you record your spells, magickal information, dreams, chants, or any other material that has to do with your workings in the craft.

* Bowls are important for your altar. You will need at least two small ones. In one keep salt, in the other water.

* A broom-a magick one-is used to sweep out negativity from an area where you are going to do ritual or magick.

* Candles of various shapes, sizes, and colors are used in magick and on the altar. Candleholders of various shapes and sizes are needed to hold the type of candle you are working with.

* The cauldron represents the womb of the Goddess and is used to cook, burn, scry, or hold things that are used in ritual or magick.

* Chalices represent the female. They are used to drink wine from during ritual. A chalice is also used in doing the great rite a symbolic unification of the male and female in which an athame is lowered into a chalice. Many witches own more that one. You always seem to find a great one that you just must have. Keep an extra inexpensive one on hand in case someone in ritual doesn't have one.

* Charcoal is used to burn powdered incense or herbs.

* Clay can be used in poppet magick. It comes in all colors and can be formed into many shapes.

* A censer is a special container used to bum incense. Censers often have feet so that the heat they contain will not scorch the surface upon which they rest. Some censers have chains attached on top so that you can lift them easily and spread the smoke from the incense around the room.

* A compass is used to determine where your directions are. It's a hard call in the north wind when you are facing south!

* Cords of different thicknesses and colors are used to do binding magick.

* Crystals and gems are used in magick, healing, ritual, and talismans among other things. Your collection of these pretty objects will continue to grow and grow.

* Crystal balls come in various sizes and colors. They are used for pulling in energy and scrying.

* A decanter is used to hold wine during ritual.

* Divination tools such as tarot cards, runes, pendulums, and the I-Ching are used in looking into the future, to aid you in decision making, and in doing magick. It's best to learn more than one type of divination.

* Feathers are used in magick to represent the element of Air.

* Felt is used in poppet magick, in making pouches and dream pillows, or to wrap items to cover or protect them.

* Fiber stuffing is used for filling pillows or poppets.

* Herbs are used in healing and in magick, and can include dried plants or spices, dried corn, and even tobacco.

* Holy water is used to cleanse and consecrate ritual tools and magickal items.

* Holy oil is used to consecrate ritual tools and magickal items.

* Incense comes in stick, cone, and powder form. In ritual, it is used to represent the element of Air. It is also used in Air magick-magick in which you call upon the element of Air-and to cleanse ritual or magickal tool.

* Lighters are great to have on hand to light your candles.

* Magickal inks: homemade, dragon's blood, or dove's blood. No, these inks are not really made from the blood of a dove or dragon. They are specialty made from herbs and resins to enhance your magickal spells. These inks come in a variety of colors, and some have essential oils added.

* A magick mirror is a mirror that has been cleansed, treated with herbs and magickally charged to help you see things as they really are or as they should be.

* Magick pens can be quills, hand-blown glass, or antique. These are very special pens that are used only for writing your magick spells or in your Book of Shadows.

* A mortar and pestle are used to grind your herbs to a fine powder.

* Tapes of special music are used in ritual and magick. The music helps you ground, center, and relax, or it helps you build a cone of power or celebrate in dance.

* Needle and thread are used to sew magickal bags and poppets and to attach talismans or amulets.

* Oils of various types-essential, fragrance, and herbal-are used to consecrate, anoint, or charge people and tools both in ritual and magick.

* Parchment paper is paper that is usually enhanced with cloth fiber. It is used when writing magickal spells or rituals.

* A pentagram can be used as jewelry. It is also placed on the altar for protection.

* A pocketknife is great for cutting or carving.

* Pouches are used for keeping crystals, tarot cards, herbs, jewelry, or anything else special.

* Powders come in various colors. Mixed with herbs, they are used in magick or to mark boundaries.

* Scissors are used for cutting cords for binding spells or cloth for poppets.

* A scrying mirror is usually made of black glass and is used in divination or magick.

* Sea salt is used on the altar to represent Earth. It is also used in making holy water and in magick.

* Seeds are used in magickal ritual. Various kinds are used to represent different intents in your magickal working.

* Smudge sticks are bound herbs and grasses used in cleansing an area or item.

* Statues, which represent the God or Goddess you are working with, are usually placed on the altar.

* String is used in beading, tying, or binding objects.

* Talismans are man-made objects or symbols that have magickal intent placed in them.

* A wand, which can be made from a variety of materials, is used to direct energy.

* Wooden spoons are used to stir notions-magickal mixtures, potions, and powders.