Monday, 8 November 2010

The Tools of the Trade

When I was first starting on my pagan path, I was overwhelmed by the amount of tools the books told me I needed.  Some, I could see, were essential - candles, for example.  But what about the other bits and pieces?  Did I really need a cauldron, or was that a bit cliched?  What about a wand?  How many meters of white cord? Blimey!

I have been on this path for almost ten years now, and the one thing I have learnt is only you can know what tools you need, and often what tools you may already have.  For example, I do have a small lidded cauldron; my husband bought it for me, and my parents got a blacksmith to make a tripod stand for it.  However, much of my magic is done in the kitchen, on the hob and in the oven, so my cauldron isn't suitable.  What I do have is the modern equivalent, a large casserole pan.  Think about it; once upon a time the cauldron was the main piece of cooking equipment in the days before ovens.  They would boil meats in it, make a hearty stew, steam puddings, it was all they had.  Today, we have many pots and pans, but most homes have one large one that can be used for this purpose.  Now, many books tell you to keep your magical tools away from your domestic tools and never use one for the other.  However, as a bit of a kitchen witch, my cooking and my magic are often intertwined, so I see no real problem with using my pan for making a potion then rinsing it out to use for steaming vegetables - the same love and positivity goes into both!  On this point you may disagree, as is our way :)

So, over the last decade, what tools have I collected?  I do have a wand, though it started life as a silver hair chopstick with sparkly bits on the end - don't laugh, it works for me!  I have, as I mentioned, my cauldron, which is good for burning spells and ritual work.  I do have a chalice, which called out to me in the gift shop of the Roman baths in, er, Bath.  In fact my mum and I both turned around and reached out for it at the same time; she said she felt it call to her too because she was looking for something to give to me for Christmas.  I have a besom, and old-fashioned witches broom; it is good for ritually sweeping bad or stale energy out the house, and also for sweeping the leaves off the paths.  I have a small bell which belonged to my Gran, and plenty of incense and candles.  I also have my beloved tarot cards, in a gorgeous box, and my crystal ball which will work for me one day I'm sure.

Many of you will see some obvious missing pieces; I don't have an athame for example, because I haven't yet found one that speaks to me.  In the mean time I use a kitchen knife, or my finger, depending on how I feel or where I am.  For the record I choose not to go skyclad, so until I find a suitable outfit or robes I make an effort to dress nicely - I can't seem to find the right mental state in jeans, whereas a maxi dress, or even a tea dress, seems to work.

So as you can see, what tools I have often have to be multi-functional, with both ritual and mundane uses.  I don't worry about this affecting any magic I perform as I believe the wise women of the past would have done the same.  As for the tools I don't yet have, I firmly believe that when the right item comes along I'll recognise it, and in the mean time I can always find a day-to-day object to take its place. Besides, hunting these things out is part of the fun of growing with the Craft :)  Want to see some of my tools?  Head over to this blog post!

Blessed be )0(