**BEFORE we begin looking at tools, I’d like to draw your attention to the right, where I’ve added a new page—Books to Read. The list is small right now, but I’d greatly appreciate suggestions!
As in any other religion, Wicca uses tools for ritual purposes, to focus the mind and energy, to invoke deities, and banish negativity. Most people have a general knowledge of many of the tools—thanks to Harry Potter, everyone knows what you do with a wand. But the deeper, more personal meanings behind these objects and their uses are still hidden from the public.
Depending on whom you ask, some Wiccans will tell you that having tools is a must, or at least highly recommended. But I am of the opinion that while tools are a wonderful embellishment to the practice, you can do just as well without them. Substitute your finger for that wand. Having tools, or even an altar, isn’t always possible. But Wicca is an internal practice, so even without tools, you can still connect to the Goddess and God.
But, let’s take a closer look at common tools. This will be a three or four part series.
The broom is perhaps one of the most important symbols of Wicca, and the most underestimated by both new and non-practitioners. Used in ritual practices and everyday life, the broom literally sweeps away negativity and the energy buildup from humans living in a space—whether the bristles actually touch the ground or not. In general, it is linked with protection and purification, and many Wiccans collect broom made with different materials.
Wands are one of the most ancient magical tools around. They’ve been used for thousands of years to invoke deities, powers and inner strength. It has many purposes, including focusing energy, drawing symbols on the ground, and stirring brews in cauldrons. Nowadays, you can find all kind of wands, many highly stylized or with crystals at the tips. The traditional wand is generally cut from a tree (that has been thanked for its sacrifice.)
The cauldron is both mystical and mundane—a place of simple cooking and magical transformation. This symbol of the Goddess is manifested in the essence of femininity and fertility, reincarnation and immortality and linked directly with the element of Water. It can be used for many things, all the way from holding water and flowers in the summer, to a small fire in the winter, to scrying or potion making.
The incense burner is another important part of the Wiccan altar. Incense sticks, cones or sand are placed within as they smolder, casting herbs into the air (and therefore into your body as you breathe) to either aid in a ritual or help produce some effect, like calm with lavender.
The magic knife is not used to cut things in Wicca, but to direct energy being raised during rites and spells. It’s not used to invoke the Goddess or God like a wand is. During rites, small amounts of energy are stored in the handle, which can be called upon later. This is where the legends of magical swords come from.
The bolline is different from an athame. While an athame is a black handled, magic-absorbing knife, the bolline is the knife used for practical cutting purposes that include cutting wants or sacred herbs, inscribing symbols, etc. ,etc.
Stay linked in, as this will be followed up in a few days by another look at more common tools of the trade.