Thrifty Pagans: Making Your Own Tools

For those who are new to the craft and are interested in obtaining your own tools, here are some suggestions on making your own. This can sometimes be cheaper than buying them. Remember, tools are not a necessity on the path of Wicca and witchcraft. They are used to focus your intent and concentration, they are not the main goal of the craft.

Athame

Traditionally an athame is used only to direct energy, it is not used to cut anything physical. There are some traditions that will use the athame for cutting all things, both physical and non-physical. Athames are mostly made of metal with a wooden handle, but are also known to be made of wood and bone. You can use a simple butter/kitchen knife if you choose, but if you want to make your own, here's how.

You can make your own Athame using wood. You can find a piece of wood out in the woods somewhere (I would find one on the ground as it's probably already dry and easier to carve); go to hardware stores who carry pieces of wood in which ever size athame you want, or even go to woodworking shops and ask for scrap wood. You can carve your athame to suit your needs or make it as authentic as you wish. You can also use a dermal and grind away the wood (this would make the task easier and go faster). After you carve or grind away the excess wood and your athame is in the shape you want, all that's left to do is decorate it in any way you want. You can paint it, stain it or varnish it to bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Whatever you feel comfortable with. Your athame is finished and ready to be consecrated for use in circles. Enjoy.

Wand

Another tool used to direct energy. This can be made of various things. More likely it will be made of wood, but some make them out of copper tubing. For a wooden wand, you can either find a piece of wood in the forest during a walk, or (if you live in a city, or do not have access to a forested area) use a dowel rod found in any hardware store, in a thickness you desire. Cut it (traditionally) about the length from the end of your middle finger to your elbow. All you need to do is decorate it, consecrate it, and direct your energy for your circle. Enjoy.

Book of Shadows

This is basically a Witches journal in which a Witch places any information he or she deems important. This can be made of anything from a simple spiral bound notebook found in any number of dollar stores throughout the world, to scrapbooks found in any craft store, and even Wal-Mart, to elaborate leather bound, metal-clasped books found in specialty stores on the internet. I, myself, recommend the use of zippered binders, for the simple fact that (because they are a binder) they make it easier to rearrange your pages, (because they are zippered) can hold loose-leaf papers, like when a spell sparks in your mind and all you have is a napkin to write it on, and they provide privacy from prying eyes.

Decorating this book is limited only by your imagination. You can sew or glue on ribbons and/or jewels, stick stickers on, draw runes, symbols, lettering in different styles etc. anything to make your Book of Shadows, yours.

As for what goes in it, anything from obvious spells and rituals, to your personal journals, records of your spellworkings, and rituals, stories and poems, information on herbs, stones, moon phases, sabbats, etc. — once again limited only by your imagination. All that's left is to begin your witchy workings.

Altar Tiles

Altar Tiles are used on the altar to represent the Element of Earth, and is used during consecrations to consecrate your tools for use. You can basically use anything flat for an altar tile and decorate it. Traditionally, an altar tile has a Pentagram on it. You can make one out of a rounded piece of glass (such as a candle plate for pillar candles). Drip wax on it in the shape of a Pentagram, and there you go. You can also use a round wooden plate.

Just paint the edge and in the center paint a Pentagram. You can even still use a piece of cardboard and paint that (just be sure not to place anything hot on it, if you do use cardboard).

Censer

A censer is a device used to cense the circle or area with incense. You can make a censer using a tin can. Simply cut holes in the tin can (please be very, very careful). All you need do is place charcoal in the bottom, if you use powdered incense, or sand if you use stick or cone incense in it and light it.

Pendulum

While this is a divinatory tool, this is often used while in circles for communication with the spirit world. It can be made of simple things or elaborate things. Simply made, a pendulum consists of nothing more than a string and a heavy weight. This weight can be metal, stone or crystal. This weight is then attached to one end of the pendulum. You then hold the other end as steady as you can and allow the pendulum to swing on it's own.

Cauldron

The cauldron is what the Witch uses to make potions, and cast spells in. Traditionally it was made of cast iron. While you can't really "make" a cauldron, you can use substitutes. I myself have no access to any establishments that carry traditional cauldrons, I have to improvise and make sure that when I do use my makeshift cauldron, I am careful. If you, like me, have no traditional cauldron, you can use a metallic mixing bowl (making sure it is heatproof, and to place a heatproof dish underneath if you plan to burn thing in it), or use a pot or deep pan (wok), once again, placing a heatproof dish underneath to protect your working surface from the heat.

Besom

The besom is the broom a witch uses to cleanse sacred space. It is used to literally sweep away negative energies.

Traditionally a besom is made with an ash staff and birch twigs for the bristles. It's probably easier to find these items during a walk through the woods. But for those who live in cities and do not have access to natural areas, you can purchase beautiful natural (looking) staffs and twigs in the craft section at various department stores, including Wal-Mart for fairly cheap. Once you obtain the items to make the besom, just bind them together tightly with twine and there you go. All that's left is to cleanse it and start sweeping away.

Images or Statuary

Images or statuary are used to represent a Witches chosen deities (if one chooses to honor any) on the altar. These can be made with simple clay mixtures or even Play-Dough and allow to dry. Imagination is everything. See the images in your mind and let your fingers do the rest.

Candles

Candles are a fairly important component of a Witches workings. Not only do they provide lighting for the area, they also create the right atmosphere to place the practitioner in the right state of mind to practice.

Candle making is a fairly easy process, but can be dangerous, so please use caution (we don't want you to get hurt). First you should decide on what kind of mold you wish to use. Molds can be made from anything from a coffee can to a milk carton, ore even a juice glass, so long as it is heat resistant. To make it easier to remove the candle when finished (if you desire to do so), simply spray the inside of the mold with a release agent or even cooking spray. If you choose to use glass, warm it to above room temperature to avoid the glass breaking when you pour the hot wax in.

As for the candle itself, obtain wax from a supplier such as a craft store and follow the instructions on the label. Melt the wax in a double-boiler (which should be used for candle making only and not for cooking food in), to the temperature suggested on the label. Once the wax is melted, begin to pour the wax into the mold you chose (This is where you need to be very careful). Allow to cool. You will notice that the wax has shrunk in the mold. That happens. All you have to do is continue to fill the mold with melted wax until the mold is full. Allow to cool, then remove from mold (if desired).

To color the candle, add either a wax coloring dye, or colored wax crayons during the melting process. You can also add oils to the wax to make scented candles, but be sure to add them last to ensure a strong scent that will last.

Incense

Incense, like candles, are used to place the practitioner in the right state of mind for craft work. They are also burned just to make the area smell nice.

Incense is probably the easiest thing to make. Basically it's putting together certain herbs, and burning them in a censer (see Censer).

Essential Oils

Witches use these to anoint items, themselves or even their pets. They also use them during spells

To make oils, you can place oils into a jar, filled half full of oil (a base such as Jojoba, Olive or Almond) then fill with the herb of your choice, and allowed to infuse over a period of time. Approximately a week or so after placing the items in jars, shake, strain and add more herbs. Continue until the oil has reached the desired scent. This is just one of the many ways you can make oils.

I hope this list has inspired you to create your own magical tools. It is in the creating of your own tools that you infuse your own personal energies and thus making your tools stronger for you.

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