Even though its purely
will power and sheer emotional intent that the witch uses in casting
spells, certain equipment are traditionally utilized by the
practitioner in the performance of spell work, the purpose of these
items being to subconsciously "program" the mind with symbolism, making
the spell that much more effective. Just remember that it is the
practitioner that empowers the object, not the other way around. These
are the basic items you will need to practice Witchcraft:
- Altar...Just about any piece of furniture
large enough to hold all your candles and other accoutrements will do.
It should preferably be made of wood, or you can purchase a large
marble block with rubber legs to place over the wood (stone, especially
marble, is also a good resonator of mystical energy). It is symbolic of
the element of Spirit.
- Athame...This is a name for a ritual
dagger. A sword can be used instead or in addition, though swords are
usually far more expensive. Daggers aren't too hard to find, and you
don't need to purchase one of the many fancy and expensive ones on
sale. A simple hunting knife or steak knife will do, as long as its
blade is double-edged. The athame is utilized by the witch for
summoning, directing and banishing mystical energy. It is never
intended to be used as a stabbing weapon; instead, it's a sacred weapon
used for strictly magickal purposes. It is symbolic of the element of
Fire, though some traditions consider it symbolic of Air. I prefer the
- Cauldron...These three legged iron bowls
are a powerful feminine symbol, used to hold candles, or brew and burn
herbs and scrolls of paper. Cauldrons can be expensive, particularly
bigger ones, but a simple metal mixing bowl can do the trick if your
strapped for cash.
- Censer...The censer, used for burning
incense, can be any shape you choose, is generally inexpensive (unless
you want to get a fancy one) and is usually made of flame resistant
- Chalice...This item is used for holding
water, and is symbolic of the element of Water. You can get a chalice
of any substance, including somewhat expensive metallic ones, but a
simple glass normally used for wine will do the job perfectly. You will
sometimes need an additional one for holding wine.
- Pentacle...As all practitioners of magick
know, the pentacle is a five-pointed star set within a disc. It is a
powerful protective symbol, and is very good at consecrating your
chalice and censer just by placing them on top of the pentacle. It is
representative of the Mother Goddess, and is also symbolic of the
element of Earth. You can get a small one normally used as a necklace,
or a large one made of wood. You can also use a plack of wood with the
star etched in it.
- Bowl of Salt...Also representative of the
element of Earth, you should have a bowl of sodium on your altar.
Sodium is a powerful substance for purification, and it can expel
negative vibes from your ritual area.
- Candles...You will need to stock some
candles. Usually a white one is used on the altar simply for light, but
I prefer to use one of a color corresponding to a particular deity or
effect that I am calling upon. Refer to the section on candle magick to
see which color candles are appropriate for which type of spell work,
and you should have a variety of candles. You will need four candles
specifically to line the four corners of your magick circle, which will
represent one of the four elements. You will need a yellow one in the
east for Air, a red one in the south for Fire, a blue one in the west
for Water and a green (or brown) one in the north for Earth. The
candle(s) on your altar represent Spirit. There will be a separate
section here dealing with the elements of antiquity. It is best to use
taper candles for spell work, as they are the easiest and least
expensive to acquire, though any shape or type will do (votive candles
are sometimes scented, for those interested in using scents for
spell work, or aromatherapy).
- Candle Holders...These are readily
available, and you will need several of them, for the obvious purpose
of holding your candles. They are most often available in glass, brass
or iron. Try to avoid those made of wood.
- Wand...Yes, witches really do use a
magick wand. You can use a simple stick for this, or if you prefer,
purchase one of the fancy and expensive ones available. It is used for
directing mystical energy, and is really a modern addition to the
witch's equipment, taken from the Ceremonial Magicians. Oak wood is
perfect for your wand, though others types of wood can be used. It is
symbolic of the element of Air, though some traditions use it as a
symbol of Fire. I've been taught the former.
- Altar Bell...You will sometimes use a
bell during the rituals. Any little bell will do, and they are readily
available and very inexpensive.
Other items are also
employed by the modern witch for spell work. Examples include a cloak
worn strictly for ritual purposes (these can be purchased, but are
usually quite expensive; it would be much cheaper if you can make your
own, though not everyone has this talent) and an additional dagger
called a boline used for utility purposes, such as carving symbols on
the candles or cutting herbs. It is also good to purchase a candle
snuffer, as this is preferable and more respectful to the elements than
blowing a candle out.
Wiccans also traditionally compose what they refer to as their Book of
Shadows, which is a tome including original spells that they have
written, but often includes other things such as personal observations
about all aspects of magick and Witchcraft, as well as all personal
discoveries and insights obtained while walking the path of the
The Book of Shadows is
intended to be used as a personal reference
source for spell work, a journal of one's magickal experience and the
accumulated sum total of all of the Wiccan's insights to be left to
those who may read it in the future. The Book of Shadows was obviously
handwritten in the past and left in notebook form, though today it can
be typed on a computer and printed out and stored in binder form, or
even completely stored on a computer floppy disk. The Book of Shadows
may be kept personal while you are alive, or freely shared with others;
a few Wiccans have even published their Book of Shadows.
Each of the previous items are completely up to the individual
These items are for sale online from our commercial sister-site at A-rainbow-of-spirituality.com
as well as many other quality retailers, both online and in traditional
Before beginning any
sort of Wiccan ritual, either for purposes of devotion or for working
any sort of magick, spell work, or healing, it is important to purify
onesself. The reason for this is not because Pagans view themselves as impure
but rather to leave the mundane world, along with its worries and
limitations behind. Traditionally, purification begins with a ritual
bath before the ritual, both soaking away worries, and solidifying the
purpose for the ritual in one's mind. During the ritual, various items
are used for purification, including salt, water, oil, or smoke.
Smoke is also used in Native American traditions, and is often called a
smudge. It is a means of
purification used in circles and rituals of many Pagan traditions.
How to make a smudge
Shamans often used smudge sticks in their own rituals, and these ever
popular tools are a wonderful addition to any from of cleansing ritual
or general cleansing you may wish to perform.
Many Pagan Paths, including Wicca, include a practice of smudging for
may reasons and occasions.
What you will need
- You will need natural twine or cotton ( I
usually choose colors symbolic to the type of ritual I am to perform.
For example when completing a house cleansing ritual where there have
been negative relationship issues, I would wrap the smudge in a pink
colour for emotions and feeling of the heart or perhaps yellow for
- You will also need a selection of herbs
and plant material appropriate for your particular focus. (three
examples are included at the bottom of this section)
- Collect a selection of herbs around 12 to
15 inches in length. Snip them neatly from the plant, sending a note of
thanks as you do.
- Lay your plants flat out on a newspaper
and assemble them into roughly a straight line of about 2 inches in
- Starting at the bottom, secure the end
tightly and begin wrapping the cotton or twine around the plant.
- Do this randomly, so that plenty of the
leaves show through, whilst encasing the plant securely.
- Working from the bottom to the top and
then securing tightly at the opposite end will hold everything
- Trim any particularly wayward pieces.
- Lay the smudge on a fresh piece of
newspaper and wrap it tightly within the paper. This ensures the stick
will dry more quickly and remain held together.
- Store in a cool dry place, change the
newspapers every other day and allow to dry for at least a week. After
this time your smudge stick will be ready to use.
- If you have any feathers available to
disperse the smoke then these are also a useful tool.
- Alternatively, you may purchase smudge
sticks already made. Smudge sticks are available from our sister site
Notes on Smudgeing
When lighting your
smudge stick please ensure you do not leave it to burn. Blow out the
flame quickly. Using natural twine prevents the release of noxious
fumes into the environment, but please be aware that inhalation of
smoke should still be avoided.
Make sure you dispose of your used smudge stick in the most safe and
environmentally friendly way possible.
Love, Protection, Sleep,
Pine Healing, Fertility, Protection,
Wisdom, Protection, Wishes
Protection, Love, Lust, Mental Powers,
Healing, Sleep, Youth
Here is a sample
ritual of spell work utilizing your equipment. I wish to thank Pagan
author D.J. Conway for this part of the section, as this is a slightly
modified version of the ritual she wrote in her books Celtic Magic and
Norse Magic. I'm simply switching a few sentences around to make it
Sit in front of your altar and take a few deep breaths. Smudge or otherwise purify yourself as you
choose. Have soft music playing in the background. Try to pick
instrumental music only, as vocals tend to be too distracting.
Concentrate on your spell work at hand, and get yourself in a relaxed
state. Face the north. Take your athame in your power hand, and
beginning in the east, project a line of silver-blue personal energy
from the tip of the athame. Only gifted psychics or longtime
practitioners can actually see this energy, and they describe it as
silvery-blue in color. Walk in a circular clockwise motion (called
deosil) until the circle overlaps the point in which it began. The
circle will automatically form itself into a protective sphere around
your ritual area. Everything you use will be inside the circle...this
magick circle will both contain your built up energy until the moment
you release it, as well as keeping negativity and astral entities out.
Remember, your spell work will attract such entities to your ritual
area, so the casting of the circle is important. Try not to break the
circle until the end of the ritual (see below).
As you cast the circle, say:
"I consecrate this circle of power to the Goddess and God; here may
they manifest and bless their child."
Stand in front of the altar, hold up your arms in greeting to the
Goddess and God, and say:
"This is a time that is not a time, in a place that is not a place, on
a day that is not a day. I stand at the threshold between the worlds
before the gates of Infinity [or Avalon, Asgard, Heliopolis, Olympus,
or any other realm of the gods your tradition may worship]. May the
Ancient Ones guide and protect me on my magickal journey."
This helps shift your consciousness into a state conducive for ritual
Take the chalice, filled with spring water, and place it upon the
pentacle. Hold your athame over it and say:
"Great Goddess [insert your goddess name], I bless this creature of
water to your service. May we always remember the cauldron waters of
Place your athame over the bowl of salt, saying:
"Great Goddess, I bless this creature of earth to your service. May we
always honor the blessed earth, its many forms and beings."
Take a pinch of salt in your fingers and drop it in the chalice.
Lift the chalice in the air and say:
"Great Goddess, be you adored!"
Walk the chalice around the circle counterclockwise (called
widdershins, a direction used for banishing), sprinkling droplets of
salt-laden water around the perimeter of the circle to banish
negativity. Place the chalice back on the altar and place your athame
over the flames of the lit candle. Say:
"Great God [insert your God name here], bless this creature of fire to
your service. May we always remember the sacred flames which dance
within the form of every creation."
Take the censer with the lit incense and place it on the pentacle.
Place your athame over it and say:
"Great God, I bless this creature of air to your service. May we always
listen to the spirit winds which bring us the voices of the Ancient
Take the censer and walk the incense around the circle
counterclockwise, banishing more negativity. Next, it's time to summon
the elementals to witness the rite and to guard the corners of the
circle from unwelcome astral influences. Your four element candles
should be in the appropriate directions, and just inside the magick
Walk over to the yellow candle in the east and light it, saying:
"I call upon you, powers of Air, to witness this rite and to guard this
Imagine a spinning vortex of air suddenly whirling outside your circle.
Little diaphanous faerie-like elementals called Sylphs (and zephyrs)
can be seen dancing in the vortex.
Walk over to the red candle in the south and light it, saying:
"I call upon you, powers of Fire, to witness this rite and to guard
Imagine a large plume of flame blazing just outside your circle. Long,
snake-like and glowing elementals called salamanders can be seen
writhing about in the flames.
Walk over to the blue candle in the west and light it, saying:
"I call upon you, powers of Water, to witness this rite and to guard
Imagine a large fountain of water erupting just outside the circle.
Small mermaid-like elementals called undines can be seen swimming and
playing in the fountain.
Walk over to the green candle in the north and light it, saying:
"I call upon you, powers of Earth, to witness this rite and to guard
Imagine a large tree suddenly materializing outside your circle. Tiny
elf-like elementals called gnomes can be seen walking in and out of the
roots of the tree. Know that these four types of beings are here to
protect your circle.
Walk to the center of the altar and say:
"This circle is bound with power all around; within it I stand with
protection at hand."
Return to the center of the circle and begin your spell work. You can
use spells already written, and found in the numerous books on
Witchcraft available, or you can write your own. Walk around the circle
clockwise for positive spell work, and counterclockwise for negative.
Use your wand to direct the energy that you summon. When the energy is
built up to its maximum point, say:
"By the power of the God and Goddess, I bind all power within this
circle into this spell. So mote it be!"
Upon saying this, release the energy. The circle will automatically
open and release it into the biosphere and astral realms, where it will
eventually manifest on the physical plane. You may also want to ground
the extraneous mystical energy left over, so it does not remain in your
temple area. Use your wand to direct it into the bowels of the Earth,
where it can then be utilized by Mother Earth for her own purposes,
such as the healing of the planet.
When you are done, you will then dismiss the elementals you have
summoned. Do not forget this part! And do it before breaking the
circle. [Try never to break the circle during spell work except in an
emergency. Remember to keep all pets except for cats out of the room
during spell work. For some reason, cats can walk through the circle
without breaking it.]
Walk to the yellow candle in the east and snuff it, saying:
"Depart in peace, O powers of Air. My thanks and blessings."
Imagine the vortex of air collapsing in upon itself and vanishing.
Walk to the red candle
in the south and snuff it, saying:
"Depart in peace, O powers of Fire. My thanks and blessings."
Imagine the plume of flame extinguishing itself.
Walk to the blue
candle in the west and snuff it, saying:
"Depart in peace, O powers of Water. My thanks and blessings."
Imagine the fountain trickling out and disappearing into the ground.
Walk to the green
candle in the north and snuff it, saying:
"Depart in peace, O powers of Earth. My thanks and blessings."
Imagine the tree outside the circle dematerializing.
Walk to the candle(s) on your altar in the center of the circle to
dismiss the element of Spirit. Snuff the candle(s), saying:
"To all powers and beings of the visible and the invisible, depart in
peace. May there always be harmony between us. My thanks and
blessings."Imagine the God and Goddess, or any deity and beings you
your circle to conduct the spell work with, vanishing from this plane
Now, take your athame and walk to the edge of the circle. With a quick
swipe of your hand, break the circle. Say:
"Though the circle is broken, ever it remains a circle. Around and
through me always flows its magickal powers."
This will finalize the ritual in your subconscious. Be sure to place
any offerings, such as cookies and milk, outside to the little ones if
you called upon the faerie folk for assistance. Your ritual is done.
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