Tools for practice

After my few days back entry about Cunningham’s book and having to explain it to few people, I was asked to write little longer entry on the topic.

Shortly:

  • I don’t believe in need for full set of wichy inventory.
    There are many things you never use, but own. Why?
  • I believe preparing your rites over long time of period.
    It gives you another perspective if you still need the spell or if it might have harmful outcome you didn’t think about before.
  • I believe knowing how to prepare the things you need for your rite.
    Knowledge you can use everywhere, items only where you can carry them to.
  • I believe using things you have in your home.
    Nice glass, kitchen knife, salt, dirt from outside, rain water…

The lengthy explanation:

Why I don’t have big collection of magical inventory at my place?
Simple. I don’t think I need them. I’m not someone to follow certain rituals on daily bases, never have been. Having a small altar at home is fine by me, but I prefer a central full temple somewhere else. It’s my home and though I always have eyes watching me, I do not think I need to make an exhibition out of it.

I find it odd that people still have this stick idea that if you need something to be blessed, you have to have a ritual master bless it. In some cases it’s true, for example the Holy Water, but you can get blessed water also from a spring held holy since heaven knows when. You don’t have to go to a shop to buy it. Need to bless it with some specific power? There are rituals for this too.  It takes time to do that, but that’s why you have “planning ahead” for. I prefer collecting the water I need in different ways and I don’t think it’s necessary to have the water you use be blessed by anyone. In winter you can collect the freshly fallen snow about a bucket full and let it melt naturally in the corner of your kitchen. In spring I collect it from the local river, in summer the thunder rain or dew.
Just a side note. If your friends have the habit of collecting the water and you follow them, but you have no idea what to do with it – let it back to the circulation!

Have you noticed that today’s witchcraft is mostly the type of fast spells? Instead of learning why and how the process of sparking a fire or keeping the fire going for magical purpose, we buy candles and do the fast spell buy burning that for few hours. I like candles too, but I don’t think it was the way of our ancestors. A Spell Kit is… beyond words. Does it teach you something or do you just follow it without much thought? Modern opportunities are lovely, but not always the best way to handle it. Think of a good spell as slow food – it takes time, some effort and lots of patience to perform a spell. But it’s worth it.

I slightly resent the idea how much is sold under the nickname “way of our ancestors”. I consider it too one of the reasons I haven’t got basket full of magical items. Way of our ancestors means you didn’t have all by your hand “just in case”. They know how to make things, prepare things and power them when they need them. After the ceremony you looked around the house and perhaps noticed few “beautifications” on the broom or boline.

Dirt. The representative of earth. Seeing sand, does that represent you earth? I’ve seen several people use it on their altar for that purpose. I have sand in a box too. So I’d have a place to keep the candle up right should it be the type that won’t fit in my candle holder. If I need earth for the spell, I get the one from outside. As it tends to be rainy and wet, I collect it a week earlier and let it dry. Naturally. Don’t “warm” it in the oven or microwave. There’s no bigger tragic than ruined machinery or dead dirt.

Come to it, I don’t think I’ve done any spell that has taken me less than two weeks together with preparations and going through the ritual. Even with candle magic I think ahead, get through the candles, find the most suitable items I need, cleanse them and, then rest if needed and date it according to my needs.

By cleansing I mean, for example I need a knife for the ritual. I don’t own an athame for I haven’t found any that meets my eye and haven’t felt much interest in this tool. But we all need knives now and then. I choose the knife I need from table cutlery usually. I have tried keeping one separate from others, but they’ve always been found and “taken to wash”, so in the end I still had no special knife (except one that I use for painting). So I gave up on it.
As this didn’t work, I learned how to clean them. They can’t be made into athame because they’ve been used to cut food, but they work still well for ritual knife.

I take the knife and wash it thoroughly. Then place a drop of oil on a small cloth and go over the tool with that and let it rest packed into black cloth somewhere with some crystal if I need so. Why not charge it with moonlight? I have two dogs, who both find it utmost adoring to sleep on the windowsill (they are VERY wide). That’s it. After I’ve used it, I wash it thoroughly again, let salt water run over it and clear it from energies again. Same goes with goblets (lovely blue wine glass is excellent replacement), pentacles (which are easily drawn on the cloth with dusty salt or chalk on the board), cauldron, etc.

 The best burin I’ve seen so far was made of stone by an archeological friend of mine right before his ritual. He just flaked it out from the local stone! I was speechless and humbled to watch him do that. I think seeing that had a great effect on me how I see my tools.

The oils. I tend to own some syringe at home. I use them for other uses too – they are good for injecting salt water into stake, good for adding water to acrylic and some other trivia household daily life stuff.
Anyway, why I mentioned syringe… As I am the only person in my family, who has small interest in mixing oils, I keep the amounts small. We all like using them, but we tend to like fresh air from outside more. So when I need small amount of oil for one ritual, I just pull the few mg of essential oils and base oil straight from the bottle, shake it in syringe and put it straight to the cloth. Charging with crystals is another matter or infusing with herbs, but if I don’t need it, that’s what I do. Not perhaps the most gallant way, but it works.

Smudge sticks. I don’t like them. I don’t own them, I don’t make them and I don’t use them. Even though it’s good to smudge, I don’t like the smoke unless I’m outside and it comes from the fire. It’s why I’m not really using incense inside the house either. If I have a serious, good reason to cleanse the house, then yes, I’ll make an exception and use the smudging, but otherwise I’ll stick with aroma oil lamps and the lovely fog that rises from there.

I do own the Luain (BoS, influence of Practical Magic). I have hard time deciding what to do with it, but I like the idea of owning it. In a way, every witch is a collector. It’s why I have quite a collection of divination items. Most done by myself. No place to underestimate the self-making when it comes to divination.

My typical thinking, when flipping through the net catalogs with all the modern witchcraft stuff there is, do I need it? You don’t have to do magic with replacement tools if you want to have beautiful things for the ritual, but if you are just starting – you do not need this all. Old women’s tale speaks of practical magic, my dears, no fluffy pink statues or unreasonably prized goblet. It’s the knowledge behind it, the understanding of ways and do-s, not the pretty surface. It’s the power within us and being able to use it.

For few years I’ve tried to classify myself and failed. I’m probably a traditionalist, when it comes to classifying, but on from there I have no idea.

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