Written by Algoth’s Grove
“First, the Magic Sword. With this, as with the Athame, thou canst form all Magic Circles, dominate, subdue and even punish all rebellious spirits and demons, and even persuade angels and good spirits. With this in thy hand, thou art ruler of the Circle.”
– Janet & Stewart Farrar
Magickal tools in Wicca and Witchcraft have certain specific properties which cannot be interlaced. They have there purposes in rituals, some of which are almost never used, whilst others are used in almost every magickal working. Magickal tools are used, above all, to exercise the imagination to strengthen the working of the witch in question. It is not always necessary to use them, and a witch who is adept in their magical workings may almost never use their tools and only use the energies contained in themselves.
Magickal tools house certain energies and intentions once imbued, consecrated and blessed. It is for this reason that they are used. Once a magickal item is imbued with energies, then that intention does not have to be called to mind again, but simply utilized within a magickal working. It does, for arguments sake make ritual a lot easier to focus on the main working without concentrating on the energies required for example, basic elemental conjuring or circle casting.
The tools and their properties and genders
Athame – Masculine
Known as the black handled double edged iron blade, the athame is associated with Fire and with the direction of South. The athame was said to have to be given as a gift to the witch, but today many witches buy their own, make their own or use letter openers or normal knives as the athame. The athame is used in the ritual Drawing Down the Moon, it is also used by some to cast the circle.
Besom / Broom – Masculine/Feminine
The Besom is the biggest fertility sign out of all the tools. Hung outside your house with the bristles showing upward, the besom protects the home from unwanted energies. ‘Jumping the Broom’ at handfastings or rituals will ensure that the couple who do it together will fall pregnant. For everyday use, the besom is used to sweep away negative energy. It is used to cleanse circle space before a ritual.
Bell – Feminine
The bell is used by less witches than it should be. It is a wonderful tool to open and close ritual by ringing it three times. It is also a wonderful tool to welcome energies in, or mark a certain milestone in a coven ritual. Another tool to use is the singing bowl. Some people prefer it, however if you are going to stick with conventional witchcraft ways then the bell is the tool to use.
Boline – Masculine
The Boline is the cutter. It has a white handle and is used to cut herbs or carve candles. The athame is never used to physically cut anything, whereas the boline is used for this purpose.
Cauldron – Feminine
The cauldron is perhaps one of the most well known ritualistic tools in witchcraft. It can be used for scrying, but is more generally used to concoct magical bits and bobs. The cauldron represents myriad things, such as the otherworld, the womb, the cycles death, life and rebirth.
Chalice – Feminine
The chalice is one of the main ritual tools. Used as a representation of the Goddess as well as the element of water, the chalice is also used for ale, during ‘cakes and ale’. Where practitioners pass around the grounding morsels from member to member of the coven.
Pentacle – Feminine
Usually made from wood, the pentacle which is a large 20cm in diameter pentagram with a circle around it is the representation for the element of Earth. Long ago, the pentacles were hung on the door as a symbol of ones belief, but only made of flammable materials so that the pentacle could be burned as fast as needed to be.
Sword – Masculine
In some rites it is customary that only the High Priestess wield the power of the Sword to cast circle. Today, the sword is used for roleplaying in festivals and it is an honor to learn to make your very own sword. Most witches simply use their athame in ritual, but there are some rites which require the use of the Sword. Wielding one has a completely different effect on the mind of the practitioner.
Wand – Masculine
The wand is made from anything these days. It was always made from specific types of wood, and some witches had more than three to ensure certain wands were used for certain rituals. The wand can be used in place of the athame and vice versa, but it is nice to learn to use both in various different ways.