Wiccan ritual tools are used in order to direct energy according to the witch’s wishes. Ritual tools can be very powerful, however the power they carry is the power that the witch has charged them with – this is why we consecrate and charge our tools before using them.
Tools aren’t mandatory for magick, and not all witches use them, but they can add strength to a spell or ritual – and creating your own collection of special magickal tools can be a lot of fun! Here is a brief overview of the tools used by Wiccans:
The athame is a knife that is not used for cutting, but rather to direct energy in ritual. The athame is often dull, usually double-edged with a black or dark handle. Your athame may be engraved with magickal symbols but this is not really necessary. A sword has the same function as an athame. It is linked to the element of fire, and due to its phallic nature, it is also often used as a representation of the God.
The besom is more commonly known as the Witch’s broomstick. Witches never used brooms for flying – this is a myth. Witches “flying” was a basic attempt to explain astral projection. The real purpose of the besom is to symbolically cleanse an area by sweeping away its negative energies.
Besoms of old were made of willow binding, birch twigs, and ash staff, though any natural material can be used today.
The boline is a white handled knife used for practical purposes rather than ritual ones. It is used for cutting herbs, cords and wands, or for inscribing symbols. It can be used both inside and outside the circle.
The Book of Shadows is the Witch’s personal workbook which contains invocations, spells, notes, runes and more. It can be a physical notebook or stored on a computer. Your Book of Shadows is highly personal and you can get creative with the look and design of it. For more information, read my article How to Create a Book of Shadows.
The cauldron is a traditional vessel of cooking and brewing. It symbolises transformation, as well as (being a symbol of the Goddess) fertility and femininity. It corresponds to the element of water. The cauldron is often used as the focal point of the ritual, due to its multipurpose nature. Traditionally, cauldrons are made of cast-iron and have three legs.
The censer is a ceremonial incense burner. It holds the incense during ritual. Any bowl or cup can be used for this purpose. The act of burning incense and breathing it, can sometimes bring forth an altered state of consciousness.
It is often placed before the images of deity on an altar and corresponds to the element of air.
The chalice serves a similar purpose to the cauldron, except in a smaller capacity. It can be used for mixing potions, for holding salt water to cleanse objects with, or to hold ritual wine or other liquids. It symbolises the Goddess and fertility, and corresponds with the element of water.
Crystals can be powerful magickal tools since they hold and emanate healing energy. You can use dedicated crystals for spells, or you can simply place crystals around your home or carry them on your person in order to absorb some of their healing energies. The most versatile crystal is crystal quartz, since it is a powerful amplifier of energy and can hold any vibration that you charge it with. Other crystals can be used for more specific purposes – for example, rose quartz for love, citrine for abundance, onyx for protection, and so on.
The pentacle is a flat disc which is inscribed with a symbol, most commonly the pentagram which is a five pointed star which has been used in magick for thousands of years. The pentagram represents the five elements: air, water, earth, fire and spirit. The pentacle itself can be made of any material, including brass, gold, silver, wood, wax and clay. It is an instrument of protection and a tool used for invocation. It is sometimes considered to be a portal between this world and the spirit world. Sometimes, it is hung above windows and doors due to its protective qualities.
The wand has been used for thousands of years as a primary magic tool. It is an instrument used to direct energies, draw circles and to create magical symbols. It is linked to the symbol of Air, a sacred element of the Gods.
Wands are traditionally made from willow, elder or oak, though almost any material can be used to create a wand. Sometimes crystals are added to the tips of wands, since crystals amplify the energy sent through the wand.
All tools should be ritually cleansed before it becomes a part of ritual. To do this mix a small amount of sea salt in water during a waxing moon and wash the tools.