tools

Retha’s Crystal Reflections

October, 2018

Protection Stones

This month I think is an appropriate time to discuss protecting yourself, your aura & your space. You can use many tools to remove negative energy from your environment, such as salt, smudge, herbs etc, but my favorite way is with crystal allies of course!

There are tons of crystals we could discuss but for lengths sake we will talk about my top 10 protection stones. They are not in any order, I encourage you to work with or wear as many of these amazing stones as you can!

Smoky Quartz: Smoky quartz is one of my favorite stones for many reasons, but for wearing as a protection amulet it is my go to. I try to wear it every single day. It not only absorbs any negative energy around you, it also transmute that energy. So its such an important tool we have been given by mama Gaia. I recommend smoky quartz for wearing and for placing inside the front entrance to your home. It will absorb any negative energy ickys being brought inside your space from all who enter. It doesn’t need to be a huge specimen, a simple smoky quartz tumble is perfect. It’s also a master healer and when placed on the body will remove toxic energies, neutralize negativity and infuse the body with healing white light. It also relieves painful emotions. I have personally seen how powerful this crystal is and can’t recommend a stone any higher.

Black Tourmaline: Black tourmaline is kinda the big gun of protection stones. It’s very heavy and strong. It removes negative energy within a person or a space.  I prefer black tourmaline buried on the four corners of the property lines, or placed in the four corners of the home. It’s also the perfect stone for protection in your vehicle as it protects from theft. I keep a black tourmaline pendant hanging from my rear view mirror. It cleanses, purifies and transforms dense energy into a lighter vibration. It balances, harmonizes and protects all chakras.  It’s also another great one to wear on your body as jewelry. 

Black Tourmaline Rutile: This is simply black tourmaline bars within a quartz matrix. Quartz is the ultimate magnification stone, so this is black tourmaline magnified. Black rutile cleanses and energizes the aura. It draws off negative energies and disease and helps one let go of the past. It also gives protection from the ill thoughts of others. I also love the look of black tourmaline rutile, it’s so neat looking. So this is a favorite in jewelry pieces. 

Garnet: Garnet is to me gentle loving protection, and I keep a huge piece of it on my coffee table at all times. It’s to me protection of the emotions and mind. If I’m feeling stressed or on edge this is the stone I turn to for comfort & safety. It’s a talisman of protection and unyielding strength. It increases willpower and resistance to all things negative. It’s a spiritual stone of psychic protection. One of my favorite stones to wear as jewelry. 

Black Onyx: Black Onyx is stone that absorbs, transforms and prevents the drain of personal energy. It helps provide emotional and physical strength when support is needed during stressful, confusing or tumultuous times. It’s a good stone for grief. It also protects you from psychic attack and guards the wearer from the evil eye.

Black Kyanite: Black Kyanite is a stone that instantly upon contact clears anything of negative energy. It also never needs to be cleansed. It’s a great stone to keep on hand, if you get a new stone or piece of jewelry you can just touch the black kyanite to it and its clear & ready to go. So simple! I also keep a blade of black kyanite with my tarot & oracle cards. When i pull them out to use them I always place my black kyanite on top for a minute before I shuffle. Black Kyanite clears all energy blockages and imbalances within the chakras. It aligns, grounds and centers. It elevates the level of good vibrations within the energy field. It repairs tears or holes when placed upon the chakra points with its healing energy. Obviously wearing this stone will keep you clean and clear of any unwanted energies as well. Its a spectacular stone!

Aegirine: This is a rarer more expensive stone but well worth the trouble to find. Its claim to fame and what makes this stone unique is its ability to act as a shield that guards the aura, all while assisting the wearer to discover their courage and confidence in refining their power and strength. It’s known as a “guardian harmonizer”. It removes negative cords and energy attachments within the auric field. It also protects from electromagnetic smog. 

Obsidian: Obsidian is strongly protective and forms a shield against negativity. It blocks psychic attacks and absorbs negative energy from the environment. It draws out mental stress and tension. It’s a cleaner of psychic smog created in your aura. Obsidian is an auric cleanser. Specifically golden sheen or silver sheen obsidian can be used as a “bar of soap” and run along the entire body making back and forth motions like you are scrubbing away all negativity from your auric field. 

Selenite: Selenite is a beautiful, easy to find and inexpensive crystal that u can use to clear other stones, clear a space, open ritual circle or sacred space and clear yourself. It has an angelic feeling to me. Pure white light. It looks like it’s literally glowing sometimes. Selenite resonates at higher frequencies. Used for undoing the effects of negative emotions on one’s mind and body. Placing on the body it removes unwanted or negative energies.  A great beginner stone as well. I love a flat piece of selenite or charging plate that you can place smaller stones or your jewelry on to clear. 

Shungite: Shungite is a detoxifier and a cleanser. It kills and devours anything that harms people and then restores what is good. Its been called “miracle stone” and “stone of life”. It has been used for water purification since ancient Rome. It’s also a good stone to protect yourself from harmful EMF’s. I keep a Shungite pyramid in front of my tv for this purpose. It’s also a perfect stone to wear, especially if you are around a lot of different energies in the workplace, such as hospitals and trauma centers. Shungite keeps you from picking up negative and unwanted energy from others and the environment. 

I hope this is a useful brief explanation of some helpful crystals to work with for whatever type of protection you are needing. These are all staples in my crystal collection and I can’t imagine doing without them! 

On another note, if you are looking to start gridding, or in the market for crystal grids, I encourage you to read my three grid reviews/interviews that are in this months content here on Pagan Pages. Grids for all price points and different materials. Check it out! Thanks for stopping by this month and I hope you will come back next month! 

Have a blessed Samhain!

Love & crystal blessings,      Xoxo Retha

Sources:

mycrystalpedia.WordPress.com

infinite-beings.com

healing_crystals_for_you.com

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About the Author:

Retha N. Lent has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry & specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her customers and those interested in learning more about crystals & all things magical called “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She is also an advisor in the Sage Goddess Affiliate Program. She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs, manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You can reach her at rethalent@hotmail.com or on her business page on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or in her FB group:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1960619300929876

Her Sage Goddess affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Athames

August, 2018

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Athames

Athame rhymes with “a plane” not “ath harm eh”.

The black-handled knife, the witch’s blade, the athame: a ritual knife for casting and cutting energy and power. I’ve never been uncomfortable with knives (blame She-ra) from my pen-knife I got around 9 years old to the kitchen knives I used all the time from about 11 years of age, yet there is this anxiety about blades, more now than when I was younger most especially with some women.

Much in the same way I think everyone should know how to use a saw, axe, drill and spade (shovels are from moving stuff, spades are for digging) and knife, I believe all magickal practitioners need to learn how to use a magickal knife.

The athame is different from a boline (or white-handled knife) in that it doesn’t cut physical things. A good knife is worth its weight and mine is an old pairing or pruning knife. As an avid forager it’s a handy tool out and about and in circle.

My athame is not actually black-handled. It is hand turned pear wood, and has a hand forged blade. Where I keep my boline in my handbag or on a shelf my athame is covered and hidden. It doesn’t leave my home unless I’m doing ritual somewhere else.

To some it represents air, thought and focus, while for others it represents fire. Both have merit, a blade is after all usually formed of metal which is forged or at least heated to high temperatures, yet it is cool and sharp like a cold wind when formed. I’m in general not usually a fan of crystal knives. Mainly because they are not knife like enough. Made of soft, porous and delicate crystal I find it as useful and ridiculous as a glass hammer. There are exceptions, a friend has a family athame which is a jaw bone (I forget which animal) and a sharp slate blade. Flit, obsidian and other knapped or worked sharp stones are can be rather cool but require a LOT of skill to make and use.

This anxiety of using a knife, a cutting knife as a tool often steams from the same place as women whom are afraid of other “masculine” tools. Unless it is operated with your genitals it is just a tool. Female surgeons don’t shun scalpels as “too scary”. Cutting things away, letting them go, removing the unhealthy isn’t cruel it is necessary. When you are creating anything you must also be able to destroy or dissolve. A witch blade is also a lightning rod for power.

While a wand can and does bring that kind of power in circle it is more insulated, muted or defused. That is to say what it channels feels distinctively different than that of a metal blade. If the staff is warm and nurturing the blade crackles with potential.

I like to use my blade when casting and calling. It is empowering and when I salute after drawing my evocations it feels respectful and powerful. When used in the symbolic Great Rite it channels that powerful masculine presence into the cup or chalice. (You can’t do that with a selenite “blade”). When I release the circle I can cut away anything that shouldn’t be there. If I need to banish something I take my athame. Apparently there isn’t much scary than an irate ginger with a knife, even for dead and icky things. A witch’s blade is an extension of their power and connection to the Gods. To touch it of defile it is an act of spiritual desecration and great dishonour. This is why having a simple blade when you begin is not only acceptable but necessary. Better a cheap or simple athame that reflects where you are with your power and connection to the Gods than one that is fancy and unconnected. While precious it is a tool and we become better at handling tools with practice. Likewise you might want something small if you are in a smaller space on a regular basis or if that feel more comfortable in the hand. There is a tradition where you don’t haggling the price of an athame. I like this idea. You can buy vintage or exotic blades but some of these can have dark histories and I would never recommend military weapons, like WW2 daggers, however nice they look. These have most likely seen blood and even reproductions can have violent vibration. If you are going to buy second hand cleanse the fuck out of them (a full ritual is best) laying the blade within in a circle of salt and cleansing herbs and even clean with metal safe oils.

Another cool tradition I like about athames is naming them. It should represent itself (the essence of the thing) as well as what you hope it will become. Don’t use unknown languages to you, rather keep it crisp and simple. Fin, (some blades have fish scale patterns) Brink, Storm, Courage. Steel, Wolf’s Tooth, or whatever you and your Gods find appropriate. It is important to maintain your blade and its name secretly. Privately might be a better way of putting it. This is between you and the Divine.

An athame should never be used to draw blood and ones that have are considered “cursed” and most often destroyed rather than reused. (I worked in the largest pagan store in Manchester for a while and you would not believe the crazy shit I saw, including a husband who cut himself deliberately with his wife’s athame as she was leaving him).

My point about athames is this: since before we had fabric, we had blades. We are a tool making species. Drawing a shining blade from heating rocks was as magickal then as it is now. Knives first made from sharp stone, cooper, then bronze, then iron and then steel. Every adult used to own and carry their own knife. While they definitely have a “masculine” energy they are not evil, or inherently violent. They do require some skill and patience to use correctly. Athames are no different in this respect. They, like thoughts can be cutting or healing, kind or cruel. An athame can liberate and empower. It is a double edge one more witch’s should feel comfortable wielding.

Cords and censer, scourge and knife:

Power of the Witch’s blade;

Waken ye unto life,

Come ye as the charm is made!”

 

Book Review – Wicca, Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need by Leanna Greenaway

April, 2018

The cover states that the book is plain and simple and, also, the only book you’ll ever need. The forward of the book was written by Judika Illes, who is, also, an author and I quite liked it. The first chapter informs the reader about Witches and magic. She touches on the different types of Witches like Hedge, Traditional, Gardnerian, etc. It’s nice because she just does a quick little description of each, but it’s enough to give the reader a good idea of the differences between them. After that, she mentions Covens and how they were formed when Wiccans were persecuted so they had to worship in secret. Then she gets into Angelic Wicca right at the end and how she has personally chosen to follow the Angelic Wiccan path. It’s a great first chapter considering all that she mentions, but it doesn’t seem overwhelming at any point.

Chapter two breaks down Wicca and positive thoughts. “Life is like a big classroom. With each day, we learn and encounter new experience, and although at times the problems we face are hard, by going through the processes, we climb that spiritual ladder and evolve to a higher plane.” Has got to be my favourite quote from the book. It resonated to me as someone who has survived a lot of abuse and it made me feel like maybe my next life may be better due to the struggles I’ve already endured. She ends the chapter after going over some “Wiccan Ground Rules”

As with almost all Wiccan books, there is a chapter about Tools. That’s chapter 3 here. She gives a good list of typical items, touches on colour significance in the candle section and briefly talks about all the things you should have on your altar. This book lives up to its claim of being plain and simple, but in a good way. The way she just touches the tip of everything would make it a great book for a beginner.

Lunar magic is next. I think lunar magic should also be a pretty standard topic in Wicca, as a lot of what we do is based on the moon cycle. “The gravitational field of a full moon changes energy particles that reach the earth, influencing the way that we think and feel by changing the functions of our brain”. She informs the reader about the various cycles and the importance of each.

Chapter 5 is a very short chapter about initiation, specifically self-dedication and initiation, with just a few steps. The following chapter is about growing your own garden, the benefits of that and some ideas on which plants to grow and why. It’s one of the longer chapters of the book, and for good reason. She writes about what would be good for teas, tonics and superstitions, but again, in a user-friendly way with nothing being too complicated.

Chapter seven delves into animal magic. It’s another very short chapter that doesn’t get into much. I would have liked this section to be a bit better as half of the chapter is a personal story that is nice, but considering how much space if takes up, there isn’t a lot on animal magic itself. The tarot magic chapter is next, and that one is much better, with a lot of good information in a short amount of space and she writes about how “all tarot cards hold a magic of their own, and they can all help to bring about a positive result to your spells.”

I really liked chapters nine and ten. Chapter nine is about magnetic magic and chapter 10 is about the power of the pendulum. I, personally, use a pendulum all the time to help me with tough decisions and she suggested a great way to use a dictionary to help with divination, and the way she talks about the healing powers of magnets, I think a lot of readers would like it. She touches on some basic spells as well, which they are plain and simple again, so beginners can feel like these are spells they can do easily.

The rest of the book is spells specifically. There are spells for love, health, wealth, prosperity, happy families, career and willpower. All of the spells are user-friendly, and don’t need much for supplies. I am a fan of casting a circle before doing certain types of magic, but the author suggests just sitting and asking for protection. I personally wouldn’t feel safe enough to perform some of these spells without a proper circle, but I’m sure a lot of people would be fine with it. I think once a person has had experience with darkness, they are a bit more cautious.

The book overall is only 127 pages, and so it really is “plain and simple”, but she touches on a lot of different topics in those few pages. I would recommend this book to anyone starting out, but not really to anyone that has been practicing Wicca for a while. I still took some information out of it, as I do every book and I was really happy with it. The book is a quick and easy read, and I know if I meet anyone who is interested in Wicca I would for sure tell them about this book. I, also, think I will be looking into more of Greenaways’ books as it seems like she knows what she is talking about, and I love that she doesn’t over-complicate anything. I am happy I had the opportunity to read this book and write a review for it.

Click Image for Amazon Information

Book Review: Spirit Relations by Bill Duvendak

September, 2017

Spirit Relations by Bill Duvendak

 

 

 

I found this book to be a refreshing change from the many books I’ve read on the topic of psychic and mediumship development. The author Bill Duvendak has the unique perspective of being someone experienced with energy work which gives the reader an entirely different view into the process and tools we can use to develop the tools we need to connect with spirit. He starts with a basic overview of the Clairs as most books on development do, but then goes far beyond and into the aura and chakra system. He discusses the pineal gland and its part in accessing and opening the psychic portals. With each step along the way he shares practical exercises to increase abilities and deepen awareness.

The author also is of the opinion as are many psychics and mediums that while some come into the world with better aptitude anyone with the desire can develop their abilities. This may help those who are hanging on the fear or belief that some are “gifted” and others are unable to connect at the same level. I don’t think I have ever read a more thorough book on development written from a pagan perspective. Mr. Duvendek takes into account and discusses things we don’t normally find in development books such as astrological factors, working with gatekeeper guides, our bodies as vessels and caring for them. He also treads where most will not dare to in that he discusses not only interacting with the highest vibrational beings but lowering vibration to interact with the lower forms of energetic beings. Something he reserves for only the most practiced and experienced workers.

I found his perspective, exercises and obvious knowledge to be an enlightening surprise from the same old, same old books; and as someone who is an energy worker and psychic medium very thoughtfully written. For those coming from a background of energy work, craft and psychic development this book is one worth taking a look at if you are considering deepening your work in mediumship or any psychic work.

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author:

 

 

Marcy LaBella is an eclectic witch, energy worker and intuitive.  In addition to providing readings, reiki healings, healing attunements and cranial temple attunements she is a professional teaching artist. Marcy creates works in mixed media painting, ceramics and handcrafted jewelry in copper and sterling.  “My work draws upon influences of nature, the Goddess and the magic of feminine wisdom”.

If you are interested in having an energy, reading, or healing session you can contact Marcy at Mjbella62@gmail

To view Marcy’s artwork, you can visit her on her Instagram, Facebook, or Main Web Page at: www.bellamarcella.net

 

 

 

 

Review: WitchEmoji by Pam Grossman

May, 2017

Hunt for Witches No More: WitchEmojis by Pam Grossman

Emoji2

Witches now have their own charmed emoji to use with iMessenger, thanks to Pam Grossman, a Brooklyn-based writer and curator who focuses on witches, magic and esoteric art.

I created WitchEmoji because I couldn’t find any great witchy, magical emoji to use in my texts,” she states on the witchemoji.com website, adding, “Necessity (or obsessive desire in this case) is the mother of invention.”

Working with an emoji designer who created the icons based on her designs and direction, she then built the app herself. Costing $1.99, it launched early April 2017. The iMessage sticker pack is compatible with iPhones and iPads with iOS 10.1 or newer.

It became the number one sticker pack in the App Store in its first week, beating the likes of Star Wars and Kim Kardashian,” Grossman said. “It’s currently still in the top 20 and getting stellar reviews, which has been very heartening. Just goes to show how much the archetype of the witch is currently resonating with people of all ages.”

WitchEmoji’s 80 images include a besom, cauldron, Book of Shadows, pentacles in all colors, a chalice, a candle, an owl and a love potion along with witches of all hair and skin tones in a variety of situations from flying on a broom to honoring the full moon.

There are so many more emoji I’d like to add to the pack,” she said of her towering list. “It will just depend on what I can afford to develop, so hopefully the pack will keep selling well so I can invest in making more.”

Explicit directions on how to download and load the emoji can be found at https://www.witchemoji.com/.

Emoji1

I’ve been a witch since I was very little – before I even knew to call myself one,” Grossman said. “Like lots of kids, I gravitated toward stories and artwork that deal with magical themes, and engaged in my own intuitive rituals and wild imaginings. Once I was a teenager, I began to read a lot and explore the path a bit more formally. But it was really discovering the surrealist artists and the writings of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell that opened things up for me, and made me realize that creativity is the surest path we have to the divine. My practice is very personal and syncretic, and draws as much on the art world as it does on spiritual systems.”

Last May her 36-page book “What Is A Witch,” was released. Illustrated by Canada’s occult sweethearts Tin Can Forest, and published by Tin Can Forest Press, it is described as “an illuminated incantation, a crystalline invocation, a lovingly-crafted celebration of the world’s most magical icon” and a “manifesto on witchcraft.”

Grossman’s blog, Phantasmaphile, can be found at Pamgrossman.com.

She is the associate editor of Abraxas International Journal of Esoteric Studies, co-organizer of the Occult Humanities Conference at New York University, and co-founder of the former Brooklyn arts and lecture space, Observatory, where her programming explored mysticism.

Grossman’s writing has appeared in “Sabat Sciences Occults,” “Huffington Post,” and MSN. Lectures include such topics as the occult in modern art and female magic in Western , and she also teaches classes on spellcraft, ritual and herbalism.

Tools of the Craft

August, 2014

Last week I was interviewed by a student in cultural anthropology who is doing her bachelor’s thesis on Wicca. Her focus is on the mind- and consciousness-altering aspect of ritual and the use of tools. She came well-prepared and informed, it was a wonderful conversation and I look forward to reading her thesis. She asked me about my use of tools and how they help (or not).

Tools can most certainly have a purpose to a witch (or other pagan). They have no power in themselves, though they do have powerful symbolic significances. They can be an extension of yourself and are literally ‘tools’. An athame can help direct energy. With a broom or besom you can ritually cleanse the circle by sweeping. Every tool has its own use.
In old times, when people couldn’t be open about their practices, they hid their special tools. That is, if they had any! In these days it was also common to use everyday stuff like a kitchen knife.
Ritual tools are as individual as the witch who uses them. They can belong to a whole coven, a working partnership or an individual witch. The only tool that is hardly ever shared is the athame. Never touch another witches’ tools without her or his permission!

If you ask me whether I need tools, the answer is a definite NO. My body and mind are all the tools I need and otherwise I can find anything I might want to use around me. Sometimes, when I’m walking in the dunes for example, I spontaneously want to do a ritual. All I need is there. I can just sit down, meditate and do a complete ritual in my mind. No tools needed at all.
If I want an altar, I look for a nice spot and stuff to put on it. A feather for air, dew drops on a leaf for water, some red berries for fire and a nice stone for earth for example. I can cast a circle with my finger or with a twig. If I want to do some divination, I just look around for signs or watch the clouds to see patterns or shapes to interpret. It’s called aeromancy (from Greek aero: ‘air’, and manteia: ‘divination’).

Still, I do have tools. Why? Because I like them, and sometimes they can have added value. For years I didn’t even have a permanent altar. I made one when I did a ritual and put my stuff away when I was done. Nowadays I use my altar as a focus point in my room. I like to sit in front of it to meditate, or light candles for whoever needs my support. I now have statues, but at first I simply used images or tarot cards to represent God and Goddess.
Over the years I have collected quite some stuff, including tools. Some bought, some gifts, some self-made. Some people say that you have to make your tools yourself. That way they have your energy in them. That’s true of course, but you can also add your own energy to a bought or given item. You can add something personal and/or work on it (inscription, carving, wood burning, etc.). You get a bond with something by using it. Whenever I have a new tool, whether it’s bought, made or given, I wear it with me, meditate with it and before ritual use I consecrate it in circle. That way the tool becomes mine and the bond gets deeper with every time I use it.
I don’t think you have to make your own tools, but it can be fun to do so. I made my own set of runes, a shaman drum, a lead pentacle, brooms (besoms), staves, wands, cords and more.

Let’s take an example, the ritual knives. I have several. The athame has to be blunt (it isn’t used for cutting) and have a double-edged blade and black handle.
When I was in an Alexandrian coven I had to have proper knives. The ones I had/used were rejected because they had no wooden handles. Especially for the coven I bought two matching knives, cheap ones with wooden handles, black and white. That coven and I didn’t turn out to be a success together (to put it mildly) so I doubt I’ll ever use those knives again as they feel ‘tainted’ with bad vibes.
Years ago I bought a dime a dozen knife on a fair. I made it my own by wrapping the handle and protection cover in black leather, attaching it by lacing it with the same leather. I have been looking for a boline to accompany it for quite some time. I wanted a sickle, but couldn’t find the right one. The ones in pagan shops didn’t appeal to me though; they are all the same. Three years ago I met a blacksmith, that understood exactly what I was looking for. He forged a sickle from a 400 year old iron nail. I made a handle by wrapping white leather around it and lacing it to match my athame. I love this set and use these the most by far.
Another athame that I’m very fond of is the one, that my husband carved for me from wood he found when we were on a vacation in Belgium. He also gave me a pretty little Scandinavian knife that I used for years as a boline. This athame and boline may not meet the ‘official’ requirements, but they work fine for me. I especially like to use them when I perform a ritual and/or magic for my husband or for the two of us together.

Tools1Tools2Tools3

You can see some of my tools in my Facebook album “Pagan stuff” – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.492586602271.269890.677652271&type=1&l=e1f1c544ee

 

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

June, 2014

Rethinking Tools
Witches are typically pictured with a cauldron or a besom – or both. That’s because a cast iron cooking pot and a broom were ordinary household objects, safe to be seen with when it wasn’t safe to be a witch. The same goes pretty much for all tools used in witchcraft – which shows that you can use objects you have on hand in magical ways.

The cauldron is a symbol of transformation, wisdom and the womb. To my knowledge, a cauldron is always cast iron – the witch’s metal, having strong protective powers – but there is no requirement that it have three legs and rounded sides to successfully hold magic. It can have straight sides, a lid, handles and a flat bottom – or not. While cauldrons can be found in witch shops, they can also be found at camping stores, antique shops, tag sales and flea markets. When you are ready to own one, you can be sure it will appear. Who knows, you might have a friend who, like me, is a tag sale junkie and can never pass up a good deal, and ends up gifting them.

Besoms

A besom is simply a broom used in a magical way – to cleanse or purify a space. It can be any broom, from the corn brooms with wooden handles found at hardware stores to the lobby brooms with a steel pole and angled nylon bristles found at Ikea to handmade ones of scotch broom with carved handles and crystals.

I attracted several besoms of various shapes and sizes over the years. There is a hearth broom from a friend’s family, a broom found in the garage of a very special woman after she died, one purchased at a pagan festival and two decorated as coven crafts. The small ones with the beaded handles are from a fair trade craft sale, the cinnamon broom was a gift and others were found along the way. While I have a favorite, others have called to be used at different times.

For little or no cost, you can also make one using twigs, willow branches and other natural materials secured to a pole or stick with cording. I think there would be something quite powerful in a besom crafted from herbs I grew myself, and it’s something I hope to do one day.

An athame is essentially a knife. What makes it magical is the witch using it. It can be handcrafted or purchased, gifted or found. I have seen them made of bone, stone, crystals, metal and wood. While typically it is double edged and not sharp, that need not be the case. A butter knife works perfectly well, as does a letter opener and that knife used to cut your wedding cake. Someone I know uses a long antique crystal stopper from a decanter for her athame; another used her husband’s switchblade.

Wands

Wands are another tool that need not be purchased. A stick or an antler found in the woods, a bone, or a piece of felspar or selenite would all work wonderfully. These may be embellished or not, as you choose.

I know a witch who uses her mother’s wooden spoon for her wand. Another uses a skeleton key hung on a thong around his neck as a traveling wand.

While I have used a glitter-filled tube, primarily I reach for one of two plain wands I’ve always meant to decorate, but then when I take one out to start planning what objects to use, I always end up stroking the wood fondly and returning the wand to its place on the altar.

Chalice

Another tool is the chalice. It could be just about any wine glass or goblet – or any vessel that you find pleasing.

Many years ago, I began with a blue pottery goblet I found at a tag sale. Soon a heavy blue glass wine glass found its way into my life. A dear crone who’s become a mentor gifted me her beautiful pottery chalice with women dancing beneath a moon on the sides. I also have a silver-plated goblet that belonged to my mother. Recently, I found a set of large black wine glasses at a thrift store in a local senior center for less than $2 each I hope to be able to use for Samhain.

The pentacle is the last of the witch’s primary tools. Long ago, they were made of wax so that they could be thrown into the fire and melt before raising suspicion. There are many for sale in all price ranges, but you can also make your own simply by drawing on a piece of paper, paint it on a rock or using a sand dollar. Just let your crafty self play around. The results will be meaningful.
I suggest that when you have a need or a desire for a particular tool, make the request to the God and Goddess and then be ready to receive it with reverence because it will find its way to you.

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a Budget

March, 2014

Introduction

 

Merry Meet.

In this first column about witching on a budget, I wanted to explain my belief that you don’t need any thing to practice the Craft except yourself.

You don’t need ritual garb. In fact, you don’t need garb at all; it’s not uncommon to practice rites skyclad (“clad only with the sky” or nude). Some old texts insist this is the only way to do ritual, based on the belief that only in this way are you truly free. While this is my preferred method in solitary practice, it has never been appropriate for the public or group rituals I have attended, and it’s not something my coven chooses to do. In fact, I find that few people are comfortable skyclad, and I believe it’s important to be comfortable.

Some witches turn to robes, long skirts, Renaissance dresses, kilts and other costumes not worn any time other than ritual as a way to differentiate the mundane world from the magical realm. But magic is not less powerful because you are wearing the jeans and shirt you wore all day. In the next column, we’ll talk more about ritual garb, but for now, know that it is not necessary.

There are so many tools of the Craft, but the only one that matters is you. You are the most magical tool of all. It’s your intentions and the energy you put into them that determines the results. Some witches never use a tool other than their own bodies, thoughts and will.

You don’t need an athame or a wand to cast a circle. You can do it with your finger.

You don’t need a bell, broom, cauldron, chalice, staff or sword. Magic does not require you to burn incense, light candles or place offerings before a statue.

There is a smudge fan I fell in love with on Etsy last year – an artist’s personal one that was not for sale. My guess is that if it had been, it would cost at least $70. I still sigh when I see the picture of it that I saved, with its variety of feathers, white deer skin and gemstones. There was another one incorporating feathers and an antler I saw at a pow wow that cost double that. If money were no object, I probably would own them both. They’re nice, but by no means necessary. I use the turkey feathers bound with leather and horse hair a fire witch friend gave me and I am blessed with her energy each time I hold them, but even they are not necessary to move smoke; using a hand or simply moving the smoking sage or incense also works in most situations.

Another tool often seen is an altar pentacle, typically as a focal point of concentration or to consecrate other tools. Back to the theme we need only ourselves, our body forms a pentagram when legs are apart and arms are outstretched, so that when you connect those four points plus your head, you have a pentacle. Staying centered keeps you focused.

When it comes to the elements used in witchcraft, our breath is all we need for air; passion serves as fire; tears, spit or other bodily fluids are water, and our body itself is the earth. If you think of your body as a vessel, it can be equated to a a chalice, which is the tool connected to the element of water.

So, now that I’ve explained that nothing is needed to practice the Craft, let me say I am by no means adverse to working with tools. There are so many beautiful and meaningful objects that are a pleasure to own and use. Over the years, I have amassed my fair share of them.

In the coming months, we’ll talk about about tools, garb, supplies, altars, decorations, holidays, methods of divination, and anything else you’d like to suggest – all with a budget in mind.

You’ll come to see you, too, can have these things without spending a lot of money.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Crafting in Sandi’s Enchanted Garden

June, 2013

 

Making a Pendulum from a Crystal

 

                Hello crafty witches! My name is Sandi and I will be showing you how to create fun and magickal things right here in my enchanted garden. I want to thank everyone at Pagan Pages for inviting me to create with you! Today we are going to make a crystal pendulum and a question board.

                Pendulums are used for many different things from finding lost items, to figuring out answers to problems, and even locating spirits. The pendulum is basically a chain with a pointy end. Copper and crystals are the best things to use for your pointer on your pendulum. If using a crystal you can choose one whose properties match the intentions of the question you are trying to answer.

                A question board can be something as simple as a piece of paper with yes and no written on it or as fancy as you could imagine making one. A question board isn’t necessary but can be a great help with focusing and for learning. If you are looking for a lost item a floor plan of the place you want to search is necessary. Hold your pendulum over the plan while seeing your lost item in your mind. The pendulum will move towards the spot your object is hiding! If you are searching for spirits focus on the desire to communicate with the other side and ask questions. The spirit may move your pendulum in the direction that indicates a yes or no answer to you. Sometimes a pendulum has been known to point to spirits in a room.

Before using you pendulum you must first calibrate it. To do this begin by establishing the direction you want it to seeing for a yes answer and which way for a no answer. Next, begin by asking questions you know the answers are true. After a few of these ask questions you know to be false and see how it answers. Once satisfied with the way the pendulum is answering you can begin using it for divination and searches!

                You will need:

A crystal with a definite point

A 6 ½” chain or rope

2 – 10” wires to wrap your crystal

3” wrap wire

A bead of your choosing

Flat nose pliers

Round Nose Pliers

Wire Cutters

 

The first thing we want to do is to wrap our crystal so it can be hung from a chain. 

Take your 2 wires and bed them into an L shape in the center. Hold them so that they face each other and make a small square in the center.

Place the bottom of the crystal through the square and twist the ends        

                                          with your pliers 6 times.

Then fold the twisted wire flat against the stone towards the top and

start twisting the new sides together.     

Bring the sides to the top of the crystal, hold together, and bend the wire back with the round nose pliers into a bail.  

 

Take your wrap wire and wrap it around the bail.    

 

Cut off the excess wires and flatten.

 

Cut a 2” – 3” length of wire and run through the bead. Use your flat nose pliers to hold the wire and the bead. While using the round nose pliers make a small loop and wrap the excess around the loop to hold it in place. Do the same with the other end but slip it through the chain before closing it off. This bead at the end will help you to hold onto the pendulum when using it. 

Use a jump ring (or make one with wire) to hold the pendulum to the chain, and you are done!

 

Moon Owl Observations

March, 2013

The Besom

            The besom is a traditionally constructed broom. They are an item some people choose to keep around for various reasons. Of course, the meaning has changed significantly over time.  Unlike a regular broom, a besom should have a rounded brush instead of flat. This is because the straw should be wrapped around the pole. You can buy them in a store, but they are relatively simple to make on your own.

 

They are best made with an ash staff, birch twigs for the brush and bound with willow. This option give you the best protection, healing and love. Straw is another common item for the brush. The three items are symbolic of the triple aspect of the Goddess. Ash represents one’s ability to work with the four elements. Birch draws spirit to one’s service, and the willow is connected to the dark Goddess’ energy. In some lore the besom would contain 6 different woods- willow, broom, hawthorn, birch, hazel and rowan.

 

I was once believed that if the witches went to sabbat and left their besoms behind, the besoms would fly to the sabbat on their own to be with the witches. Broom ends were thought to have their own life force and were capable of warding bad weather away from crops. Because of their uses, medieval witches were sometimes referred to as “broom amazons”

 

Midwives of ancient Rome used special brooms to sweep the threshold of the house after childbirth. This was to cut the ties between the world of the living and the realm of the dead. It was believed that the child had entered from the world of the dead and the pathway should not be made easy for a quick return. Since around 1336 B.C, Egyptian priests swept the ritual area then sprinkled it with blessed water. This ancient tradition is in a way still used since in modern practice, a large besom is used for cleaning the area before a circle is cast. Sometimes a besom is lain across the edge of the circle to serve as temporary closure.

 

Crossing brooms at quarters, and then symbolically uncrossing them, had been used to allow quarter energies into the cast circle area, while nailing crossed brooms to your front door or wall is said to guard the house and disperse negative energy.

Brooms are used to banish unwanted energies, send the dead back to slumber land and work weather magic. Besoms were used for Pagan weddings as couples would “jump the besom” to symbolize their union. This is literally jumped during a hand fasting to signify the leap from one “life” to the next.

Besoms might not have as much meaning now as they used to, but I think that they are still important in casting a circle as it is always better to have a cleansed area then not.

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