The tools of Wicca
The purpose of this section of the course is to understand the tools of Wicca. One of the common ideas of those new to Wicca is to purchase tools with signs on them, however this is not necessarily the most appropriate choice according to the rules of Wicca.
The idea of the tools within traditional Wicca is that they are everyday items that can be found around the house. One of the beautiful aspects of Wiccan practice is that when the ritual is over all the items revert to being for normal use so although they can be seen and their presence as Wiccan tools is felt they are not seen by non Wiccans. For this reason the concept of using specially created tools does not seem to accord with the orginal Gardnerian Book of Shadows. In particular the idea that the tools should not be engraved (bigraved) is critical in this regard. The Book of Shadows states,
“To void discovery, let the working tools be as ordinary things that any may have in their houses. Let the Pentacles be of wax, so they may be broken at once. Have no sword unless your rank allows you one. Have no names or signs on anything. Write the names and signs on them in ink before consecrating them and wash it off immediately after. Do not Bigrave them, lest they cause discovery. Let the colour of the hilts tell which is which.”
This means that it is important to not purchase tools with symbols on them to use in rituals.
In the core circle casting the following tools are used. These are the essential tools
1. Salt (with pot)
2. Water (with bottle)
3. Mixing tray
6. A chalice
7. A broom
The following are optional
9. A wand (not essential as a finger can be used) alternatively a stick of ash is a possible option.
10. A platter with a pentacle on it
When the circle is being cast indoors the following are also used. These are not used outside in order to avoid breaching bye-laws
11. The athame
12. A candle
13. The censer
There are five other tools which are give to the first degree initiate
16. The scourge
17. The pentacles
18. The white handled knife
19. The sword
There is one other item used on occasions
21. The Book of Shadows
There are other items witch witches use but are not absolutely necessary with the exception of the Book of Shadows.
22. Cauldron (not an item that can be easily disguised but a saucepan may suffice)
23. The garter
24. The witches ring
25. The witches hat
26. An altar
There are two other books that we use
27. The Mabinogion
28. The coven training guide
29. Gail Duff’s “Wheel of the Wiccan Year”
30. A Witches’ Bible
The following instructions come from the Book of Shadows
There are no magical supply shops, so unless you are lucky enough to be given or sold tools, a poor witch must extemporize. But when made you should be able to borrow or obtain an Athame. So having made your circle, erect an altar. Any small table or chest will do. There must be fire on it (a candle will suffice) and your book. For good results incense is best if you can get it, but coals in a chafing dish burning sweet-smelling herbs will do. A cup if you would have cakes and wine, and a platter with the signs drawn into the same in ink, showing a pentacle. A scourge is easily made (note, the scourge has eight tails and five knots in each tail). Get a white-hilted knife and a wand (a sword is not necessary). Cut the marks with Athame. Purify everything, then consecrate your tools in proper form and ever be properly prepared. But ever remember, magical operations are useless unless the mind can be brought to the proper attitude, keyed to the utmost pitch. Affirmations must be made clearly, and the mind should be inflamed with desire. With this frenzy of will, you may do as much with simple tools as with the most complete set. But good and especially ancient tools have their own aura. They do help to bring about that reverential spirit, the desire to learn and develop your powers. For this reason witches ever try to obtain tools from sorcerers, who, being skilled men, make good tools and consecrate them well, giving them mighty power. But a great witch’s tools also gain much power; and you should ever strive to make any tools you manufacture of the finest materials you can obtain, to the end that they may absorb your power the more easily. And of course if you may inherit or obtain another witch’s tools, power will flow from them. It is an old belief that the best substances for making tools are those that have once had life in them, as opposed to artificial substances. Thus wood or ivory is better for a wand than metal, which is more appropriate for knives or swords. Virgin parchment is better than manufactured paper for talismans, etc. And things which have been made by hand are good, because there is life in them.