Magickal Implements

Athame: A double edged knife used most exclusively for ritual. The size varies, but generally an athame's blade is 4-6 inches. The athame is used to represent the masculine principle and according to tradition, either fire or air. It is sometimes used in conjunction with the chalice in a symbolic recreation of the Great Rite (union of feminine and masculine principles).

Bell: Used to summon deities to your circle. Is also chimed to signal the beginning and end of a ritual.

Besom/Broom: A wooden and straw tool used for sweeping the ritual circle. The broom's magickal sweeping "cleans" the circle by removing negative energies. Usually the broom does not touch the ground. The circle should be thoroughly cleaned physically prior to using your besom to cleanse ritually. The traditional besom is round and hand made.

Bolline: A knife with a curved blade which resembles a half moon. The bolline is used primarily for cutting herbs.

Cauldron: A round vessel usually made of cast iron. The cauldron can be used as a censer or used for scrying. Usually when using a cauldron for scrying, the cauldron is filled with water or another liquid. Sometimes a crystal, stone or ink is placed in the water as a focal pint. A black cauldron is ideal for scrying. Cauldrons come in many sizes. Some are small enough to fit on an altar. Larger cauldrons are of ten used with bonfires (lighting a fire underneath the cauldron in an outdoor ritual) as well as for scrying while small one are more appropriate for altar use and scrying. The cauldron is used for the elements of air, fire and water, depending on how the cauldron is being used.

Censer: A container in which incense is burned. Censers can be numerous sizes and shapes. A Bowl or dish may be used. Some people use large shells for censers. Most censers are made of metal or earthenware and are filled with sand to keep the bottom from getting hot. Incense burning charcoal is placed on top of the sand and lit. Once the charcoal is hot, dried herbs, herb blends or resins are placed on top of the hot coals. The censer is used to represent the element of air and is often carried around the circle. The sand insulates the bottom of the censer so it can be carried. Some censers have handles as well. Standard incense cones or sticks can be used as well. When they are, the censer would be the cone or stick holder. These types of censers are wooden, metal or earthenware. Smudge sticks made out of straw or many different types of straw-like herb stems bound together, are often used to ban the incense.

Chalice: A goblet with a long stem used for holding water on the altar or for wine, juice or water during the wine and cakes portion of the ritual. Chalices can be made of virtually any material as long as it can contain liquids. Most are silver, silver plated, glass, pewter, earthenware or any combination thereof. Often, chalices have symbols or images etched, engraved or attached to them.

Candles: Candles of various sizes, shapes and colors are part of the pagan altar. Candles represent the element of fire generally, but they can also be used to represent all four elements, depending on their colors. They are frequently placed on the circumference of the circle at the four cardinal points, north, south, east and west. The colors and the elements that each of these directions represent vary by tradition. Candles can also be used to represent the Goddesses. Gold and yellow can be used for the God. White, blue, silver and gray for the Goddess. Candles can also be used to represent the thing you are trying to manifest in a spell. For instance, pink and red for emotions and love, and green for health or wealth. Candles are an enormous part of most witches' spellwork. They can also be anointed with essential oils to increase their association with something.

Essential Oils: These are natural oils extracted from various plant parts. Sometime the leaves, sometimes the flowers, sometime the stem or roots, and occasionally the whole plant. Each plant has a particular vibration, therefore, each oil's uses are unique. Essential oils are potent in their natural form and are usually cut or added to another vegetable oil base. There are numerous base oils that you can use, but jojoba is one of the best. The ratio of essential oil to base oil varies from type to type.

Grimore: Also called the "Book of Shadows". The book a Witch uses to record his/her spells, rituals and more. Can be used as a journal, a workbook, or a notebook and may contain information ranging from candles, herbs, planetary, moon associations, to Sabbats, personal deities, spells, etc. Should be written in the Witch's own handwriting using a consecrated pen and may be anything from a plain spiral notebook to an intricate leather bound book that can be ordered from many pagan catalogs.

Herbs: Usually dried and burned as incense, but altar uses include teas and brews as well. Herbs can be used medicinally too and are powerful to use with healing magick.

Images: These are pictures, statues or other representations of the magickal world. Images are very personal. Goddesses, gods, angels, faeries, dragons, elves, gargoyles and other mystical figures are among those you may find on altars. The images help us tap into archetypal energies by helping us associate with the figures we want to manifest.

Pentacle: A very popular altar symbol, a five pointed star within a circle. Each point represents an element — earth, air, fire, water and spirit. The pentacle itself is usually symbolic of the element of earth.

Sword: Represents strength and the phallus of the God. May be used in place of the athame.

Wand: A stick or rod the length of the forearm, made of wood or copper usually. The wand is used as a tool of fire or air. It can be simple or ornate. It is commonly decorated with crystals, gemstones, feathers, ribbons and paint. The wand is often used in casting the circle and in directing energy.

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