The Tools of Witchcraft: A Practical Approach by Sarah Hunter
Writing about the tools of witchcraft is an interesting topic for me, as I don’t often think about the tools anymore. When I first started out (20 years ago!) I was very interested in the tools and I wanted to find and buy one of everything; sadly money and availability wise it wasn’t feasible. Because of this tools became less of the focus of my practice and I learned how to get by without them or improvise with what I had on hand. I was interested in making my own tools as that made them feel more personal and more connected to my own energy and my intentions however I became lazy and I ended up not making many tools.
Tools are an exciting addition to ritual or spell work but not mandatory or even necessary, however there are many practitioners who would disagree with me. I am a practical practitioner, which is probably why I work best alone and not in a coven or another group. Tools can help focus or direct your energy and magick where and how you want but the intention behind your workings is the most important tool you will ever have and I cannot stress that enough. Tools are also a helpful physical representation of the different aspects and elements of magick and witchcraft.
There are many tools used in witchcraft that this could be a novella of information if I let it; so to save us all I am going to talk mostly about the ones I personally think are the main ones and mention briefly some of the other tools you will hear. After I will also give you some tips on how to DIY for the three I think will be most useful.
Athame - A ceremonial double edged dagger that represents the element of air. It is used to create sacred space and ceremonial circles, banishing and exorcism, and directing energy during ceremonies. Other uses are to cut wood for wands, etching/carving symbols into other tools, or harvesting herbs.
Besom - This is the typical “witches broom”. It is not used for flying but instead to clean a magick space of old, negative, or stale energy. It can also be used to create sacred space and ceremonial circles.
Chalice - Typically a goblet sharped glass that is used to represent air. Often it will hold the ceremonial wine, consecrated water or a liquid offering to the deities or elements. Some are simple while others are elaborate with symbols and other decorations surrounding it.
Cauldron - A fire proof bowl that represents the womb and the combination of all elements. It is where you can burn herbs, incense, or ritual items as needed and depending on the size you can use it to brew potions and other concoctions. It can also be used to hold any offerings or elemental associations such as salt or sand.
Some people are able to use their cauldrons for scrying in the water reflections.
Wand - Typically made from wood or metal (depending on the intention and purposes) that range in size and often has crystals, feathers, and other such items to enhance the energy. Associated with the element of fire it is used to direct energy in workings, cast ceremonial circles, draw symbols on the ground or in the air, stir potions, and connect the crystals of a grid.
Book of Shadows - Also called a BOS for short. This is a book or journal where you can write down spells, magickal workings, divination practices, and anything you want in association with your practice and spiritual journey. A BOS is a very private space for a group or a person and should be respected as such. At the time of the passing of a person, their book should be given to someone whom they appointed it to, buried with them, burned, or passed within the group as they have requested.
Pentacle - A flat disk with a five pointed star on it, each point represents a different element (air, earth, fire, water, and spirit). It can be used in the centre of the altar to have a representation of the elements and their directions or to hold sacred items such as crystals, herbs, and amulets that will be used during a ceremony.
Ceremonial Sword - Represents fire and works similar to that of a wand and the athame to create space, direct energy, and in banishing rituals.
Candle - Representing fire candles are a tool that is often overlooked due to how simple and commonplace they are, however they are one of the most useful tools you can have on hand. Each colour has a different meaning and allows for oils to be applied and symbols etched in to amplify the magick of the spells or rituals.
Incense - Like a candle this is often overlooked but is important as a representation of air and adding extra oomph to your workings. Incense can also be used as an offering during rituals.
There are many more tools to look into and often the tools you need with change depending on the workings you do or the practice that you create for yourself. I have made a list below for you to look at and see some of the other tools I didn’t mention.
Making your Own Tools
You don’t have to be a wildly crafty person to make your own tools, you can make them as simple or as elaborate as you want and for your skill level. For the purposes of this article I did a crafting afternoon with my children to make some tools, we sat down and made some Pentacles, Spoon Wands, and I made a Besoms and they will each make their own at a later date.
I took a trip to my nearest big box craft store and picked up some wooden spoons, wooden disks, and wooden dowels. These were all easy to find and inexpensive at the big box store and I am sure you could also pick these or similar at the hardware or the dollar stores. All these items were ready for me to start working with except the dowels which I had my husband cut in half, as I wanted a smaller besom that was more a decorative/ceremonial piece and not a full sized broom. The rest of the crafting things I had on hand already including: paint, decorative charms, ribbon, hot glue gun and glue.
Making the pentacles was quick, easy, and pretty fun to do with my young kids, so I know anyone can do it of they can. My kids really enjoyed making these and it kept their attention for a good amount of time.
I started with blank wooden disks that are about 3.5” and with a pencil drew a star on it. My inner perfectionist was having a hard time with this step as I wanted it to be a perfectly spaced star, so I had to remind myself of the beauty in imperfections.
Next was the fun part of painting! I chose to paint my star black and each outer section a colour that corresponds with the each elements air (yellow), fire (red), earth (green), water (blue), and spirit (purple). I do this order from top going clockwise as that is the way that resonates with me, the order is less important than your intention just so long as you have them each represented and it feels right to you.
After the paint had dried I smoothed out the lines with a Sharpie pen and put a gloss over it to seal and protect the paint.
Options before adding the gloss you can make it more elaborate by painting on the symbols of the elements or any other representations of them, I have a larger pentacle that has the symbols on the elements on it, but I wanted to keep this one simple. After the gloss dries you could also glue stones or other objects to the pentacle.
The next craft we did took a little longer but had more room for our creativity to shine. I decided to not go for a traditional wand made from a tree branch, stick or metal and instead went with a wooden spoon to go with my Kitchen Witch vibe, which also influenced my colour choice and I went with my business colours.
First I painted the top part of the spoon up to the handle part. I went with a burnt orange and a crimson red and once it dried I went over it with sparkle paint in the same colour styles and sealed it with gloss.
Then I took a white ribbon and wrapped it down the handle making sure I covered all the wood and glued it with hot glue as I went. This is tricky and I suggest doing it in smaller sections to avoid over gluing, burning your fingers, and to reduce the sloppy look. Once I got to the end of the spoon I trimmed the ribbon and glued it in place. I wanted to add more colour to it, so I took two more ribbons and attached them at the bottom of the spoon going off to the side.
I first wrapped the orange ribbon up the handle using the same technique as the white ribbon until I reached the top and then I wrapped it around and back and glued into space.
Finally I did the same with the red ribbon all the way to the top and wrapped it the other way from the orange and tied them in a knot, added more hot glue, and finished it with a bow. Once that glue dried I added a small stone of tigers eye (for protection) over the centre of the bow with a dab more hot glue. To hide the ribbons crossing on the bottom I added a white bead and I noticed it had a hole for beading so I looped some wire through it and glued it in place to add a little hanger.
Out of the three crafts I have been working on, this is the one I am most excited about! I do have a Besom that is a full sized broom and gorgeously traditional, but I find it can be award to use because of it’s size. I had so many ideas going through my head and I tried a few different ways during my planning, but decided to do one in the style of a traditional one, instead of reinventing the wheel so to speak.
I started by staining the dowel that I had cut about 2’ in length in took a few coats to do it and I had to do it in stages to avoid getting it all over my hands.
I wanted to go for a more “natural” look for this project, so I kept it a medium reddish brown instead of going funky, like the spoon. Next I gathered up my raffia (a straw like fabric you can get at any craft store that is used in many crafts and comes in so many colours).
I bunched chunks of the raffia together in the different colours I had picked out, until I liked the blend of colours together without getting all crazy and separating each strand and threading it individually. Again I was going for the beauty of imperfections instead of perfectionist. Once I got to the point where I liked how it looked, I glued the end of the stick with hot glue and stuck it in the centre of the raffia, this will not hold all of it together, but will at least keep some of it in place so you can make it more secure.
Next I took some coloured twine and hot glued it on the raffia and tightly wrapped the twine around to secure it as much as possible, every few wraps I would add more hot glue and tighten up the wrapping until I had wrapped all the few inches (I think it was about 4” but I didn’t measure) of twine I cut and added more hot glue. I have a bunch of charms in a drawer that I have collected over the years, so I went through them, and found one that worked perfectly for this craft. I could have added more stones, feathers, or charms to it but I really liked how simple and elegant it looked; also, I can always add to it later if I choose - which is the coolest part of making your own tools!
After making your new tools it is best to sit and meditate with them to infuse your energy and intention with them, you can also cleanse and concentrate the tool in a little ritual if you are so called to.
I hope these witchcraft tool DIY’s have helped inspire you to create your own tools similar or completely different than mine and remember it is not about the tools you have or that you use, it is about your intention and expressing yourself on your own personal journey.
Get to Know Our Author
Sarah Hunter is the owner and creator of www.CauldronCare.com, where she creates bath and body products in her metaphorical cauldron using natural products. As a hereditary kitchen witch she likes to use her crafting abilities to make all kinds of useful objects and various products to help those around her through food, household tools, and even products like bath salts to heal what is hurting.
Sarah is also an intuitive card reader and reiki healer and likes to incorporate that into all her crafts.
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