Witch Tools are essential. Whether you are a Solitary Witch, practicing alone with your curtains drawn or a member of a Coven, celebrating your wildness around a blazing bonfire in an open field, you’ll need to have the right tools for the job. As with all articles on the Craft, I like to remind everyone that there are a lot of opinions and a lot of different ways to practice. This logic holds the same for tools of the trade; some Witches might place higher value on one tool versus another and some might discount that tool altogether. This list contains a general description of the basic tools necessary to practice Witchcraft. They are in no particular order.
Witch Tools – More Than Just Wands and Brooms
The Witch’s wand is a sacred object and not to be shared, used, or even handled by anyone other than the owner. The wand itself is not magickal but serves as an extension of the Witch that concentrates and directs both energy and intention. Because they are so personal, wands are diverse in what material they are made of, what decorations they have, length, thickness, coloration and more. A wand can be purchased or crafted and made of wood, metal, bone, or anything else that the Witch can dream up. Once a wand is consecrated and charged with your personal energy, it must be treated with reverence. If you are interested in making you own wand, this link can offer some guidance to get you started.
A besom is a type of broom which is essentially a bundle of twigs tied to a stout handle, which have been associated with Witches for hundreds of years. It was an item found in every household and utilized often by the women who lived there. Since most of the women accused of being a Witch had a broom, it became forever tied to the story as the primary tool of Witches. When combined with the story of them concocting flying ointment and then taking flight on those same brooms, it became permanent. Modern day Witches use the broom primarily for cleansing by sweeping away the negativity.
A Witches altar is easily described as a workspace for practicing the craft. Even though some older beliefs have a specific layout of how it should look, most modern Witches let their own energy guide them in what goes on it. With that being said, no two are alike. Some of the items which could adorn an Altar are a cup, bowl, salt, flowers, herbs, ceremonial tools, spell ingredients, and many more. Although it isn’t necessary to have an altar to practice Witchcraft, it is recommended. By the act of picking out a dedicated sacred space and stocking it with the necessary tools, the Witch will be able to focus on the task at hand in a comfortable and safe space. This will create familiarity and confidence as the Witch progresses through their development.
A bell is used in rituals to drive away negativity and it is believed that evil spirits are unable to stand the high-pitched sound and dissipate upon hearing the tone. A bell is also used in invocations and for sound cleansing. Ringing a bell is also common in the opening or closing of certain ceremonies or rituals. Bells can be constructed of many different materials; however, silver and iron are considered the most favored choice.
This is a ceremonial knife with a double-sided blade, about 7 to 10 inches in length, usually with a black handle. It is often used to cut things as part of a ritual, or to carve symbols into candles or other items that are part of a spell. They are also used to direct energy and sometimes to cut an opening in a sacred circle. Modern practitioners often interchange this magickal tool with a wand. There is some debate about how sacred this tool should be treated, with some practitioners using it for only specific ceremonial functions and others using it for mundane things and regular cutting tasks.
The Boline is also a knife, but usually smaller than the Athame and has a curved blade and most often a white handle (but not always). Depending on your school of thought and practice, you may or may not have this item in your magickal toolkit. If you believe the Athame is mundane, then you likely won’t have a Boline, since your cutting needs will be attended to with the one tool. But if you think differently, then you’ll use the Boline to cut herbs, do carving, and other magickal work such as the cutting of cords or doing inscriptions.
A cauldron is a large metal pot (most often cast iron) with a lid and handle, which was originally used by our ancestors for cooking over an open fire. The cauldron symbolized life, as it was used for preparing food, and sometimes never emptied completely. As more became available, women found cooking and brewing much easier. Since it was difficult to tell what was in the pot, an air of mystery developed as well. Over time it came to be associated with women’s magic which eventually evolved in Witchcraft. Today modern Witches see the cauldron as the Divine Feminine or the womb, from which life, magic, and transformation can occur.
There are no restrictions or rules on what kind of chalice or cup you choose to make part of your practice. Many traditionalists use a goblet or a drinking horn. Some are very plain, while others are ornate and grandiose. It only needs to hold liquid to be effective. A silver chalice is a wonderful choice in my opinion. One thing to be cautious of when choosing a cup is to avoid brass or unlined copper as they can react with some liquids and drinking from them may be harmful to your health.
Candles come in all shapes, sizes and colors and are a key element in spellcraft, ceremonies, and invocations. At the minimum, a practitioner should have four quarter candles; usually sturdy ones that stay lit in the wind. These should be red (south), green (north), blue (west), and yellow (east). If your practice is focused on a specific deity, then you should have a corresponding candle to represent them. I use a three-wick large white candle in all my ceremonies as a symbol of the Goddess. Other smaller candles are used in many other workings, so feel free to stock up on them in assorted colors. If you’d like more information, please read Candle Colors and Their Magickal Meanings
Having a supply of basic herbs is a must, as well as some knowledge on how and when to use them. Herbs have been used for centuries in both a medicinal capacity and for spellwork. Some of the basic ones that every Witch should have in their cabinet are Basil, Sage, Chamomile, Mugwort, Nettle, Damiana, Rose (petals), Yarrow, Bay Leaf, Rosemary, Mint and Lavendar. Many Witches grow their own herbs to ensure a steady supply and consistent quality. An experienced Witch may have several hundred herbs, roots, or other dried plant matter at their disposal.
Witches Black Salt is one of the easiest items to obtain/craft. It is primarily used for protection. You can find detailed instructions for making it at this link. It is also used to cleanse and in banishment rituals. Some Witches use ritual Black Salt to form the perimeter of a sacred circle and to protect their property or homes by pouring a line of it across windows and other entranceways. There are numerous recipes for making this product, and to a large degree many are personalized. There is no ‘official’ recipe, just make certain your intent is focused when making a batch.
Of all the symbols found in the world, the five-pointed star inside of a circle is one of the most common. The Pentacle and Pentagram have often been considered the same object, but that’s not totally accurate. They are commonly the most famous symbols of Witchcraft but have differences. The Pentagram is a physical object, a five-pointed star with a single point on top inside a circle. In Witchcraft it is symbolic of the mysteries of creation and connected to the elements. An upside-down Pentagram is called an Inverted Pentagram. Pentagrams are used as a protective talisman most often.
A Pentacle is an image, often carved, drawn, etched, or inscribed onto a round disc. It can be made from a variety of materials and often is a focal point of an altar. There are numerous Pentacles that contain other magickal symbols and there is no requirement for a star in the final product. They are used in rites and rituals for consecration, evocation, transformation, and banishment.
A brazier is essentially a metal bowl or pan that is used to burn things in. They can be as large as portable fire pits, or small enough to hold in your hand. The name is derived from the material they were most-commonly made of long ago, brass. When you cannot build a bonfire or need to perform a spell that requires fire, in a hurry, this item will quickly show its value to your toolkit. There are also incense burners which are called braziers.
Smudging is a sacred rite in which herbs are burned to cleanse, clear, and protect the area or people being smudged. Although rooted in Native American culture, smudging has been adopted by modern practitioners of Witchcraft and other metaphysical practices. The most common item used is White Sage, which has been found to have positive effects on those who encounter it being burnt. Other common items used for smudging rituals are Palo Santo Wood, Mullein, Red Cedar, Rosemary, Sweetgrass, Lavender, or a multitude of others either alone or in combination. A guide to smudging can be found here.
Many spells and rituals require stones and crystals to perform. A crystal is an umbrella term for a variety of geologic formations. Geodes, metals, gems, minerals, and more. They have a direct connection with the earth itself. Many consider them a container for magickal energy. They can be charged and used appropriately as needed. A stone is a concretion of earthy or mineral matter. Stones can be a single material or combinations of materials compressed and formed over thousands of years, in nature. Precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds are used in spellwork as well as common items such as agate or obsidian. A Witch should always keep a supply of both on hand.
In many rituals, participants are asked to write things down and burn them. It’s often a symbolic representation on things which are burdensome or no longer serving the person and need to be banished forever. There is no specific type of paper that you need to have. Some Witches use parchment or other special paper, which have significance to them or their practice. The same goes for the stylus. A #2 pencil can be used just the same as an elaborate quill pen.
Mortar & Pestle
A mortar and pestle are an absolute must to have in your toolkit. It is an ancient implement usually made of stone or wood. The deep bowl is the mortar the club is the pestle. In spellwork, you will find this tool invaluable for crushing herbs and roots to combine with other ingredients. It can also be useful in your kitchen to use for crushing spices to bring out their flavor.
Book of Shadows
The Book of Shadows is a sacred object, and if taken care of properly, will continually grow is power. It is a book where the Witch keeps a record of their individual magickal journey through life. It can contain spells, rituals, incantations, pictures, symbols, sigils, information about herbs and roots, and much more. There is some debate about whether the book should be written by hand or have computer generated pages within its covers. Also some believe it should be made by hand, while others are comfortable purchasing one already bound and ready to use. Both of these debates are connected to energy; a handwritten and homemade book requires the Witch to transfer energy in the creation of the pages, a feat which many fee, give the book its power. Modern day beliefs are more about saving time and maximizing space. As with all debates concerning methods of practice, one can always fall back on the fact that there is no single ‘right’ way to do anything; trust your instincts and you’ll be fine.
This is a basic list but should get you going in the right direction. There are many other optional items you can look at in the future. Some of these might include a mirror, a pendulum, a staff, rope or cordage, different incense types, altar decorations, altar cloths that are event-specific (maybe a special Samhain cloth), or any of a number of different talismans. Also some Witches might include ritual clothing, capes, robes, head pieces, hats, and other eclectic adornments.
Regardless of how you customize your toolkit, remember that it must be safeguarded and treated with the utmost care and reverence; the tools become an integral part of your life and will begin to develop personalities all their own. Don’t share them and don’t take them for granted.
Blessed Be !