The scrying bowl, like the tarot, is a divination tool. It involves physically seeing things in a medium, usually a bowl, a crystal sphere, fire, smoke or another luminescent or transparent surface. Also like the cards, it’s been used to interpret the past, present and future, divine messages from the gods and transport the mind to other dimensions. It is an ancient tool that can still be found in Pagan-style fiction novels today.
Altar cloths aren’t new, even to non-practitioners. Christianity and Judaism are a couple of the world religions that use them. Judeo-Christian cloths are used mainly to make a plain wooden altar prettier. In Wicca however, the cloth is often decorated with power-embodied symbols like the triple goddess or pentagram. Its color, too, factors into its uses. Dark colored cloths are used during to dispel negativity, whereas a blue cloth could be used during a healing spell. The cloth’s main purpose is to help the practitioner focus on whatever ritual s/he is preforming.
Anyone who has worked with candles can tell you that there’s a hidden art (and a hidden power) to the right candle at the right time. Purple, lavender infused candles are perfect for calming spells, whereas orange candles are good for anything linked to creativity. Candles can be used in and out of rituals as well. One of my most time-honored practices is to light a simple tea light candle, say a prayer/pour out my worries and concerns, and let the candle burn out, reflecting on taking a step back from those problems.
Icons or images of the gods
Wicca allows its practitioners the ability to choose how they envision the All. Some are comfortable with an abstract idea of the Mother Goddess, while others find it easier to relate to one of the more established ancient gods or goddesses. Greek, Roman and Irish deities are the most popular, exemplified by Dianic Wicca, a tradition that draws its name and its strength from the Roman goddess of the hunt and moon, Diana. An icon of your chosen patron deity can help you connect on a deeper level. This icon at right is an image of the Irish goddess Danu, the mother goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
Wiccan jewelry is a common way to express one’s faith, and one’s skills in other things. Someone who has a love and appreciation of stones will wear authentic stones in their necklaces and bracelets. Broom-makers might wear designs that incorporate besoms. Sometimes, positive energies are channeled into pendants or bracelets to be used later when needed, and sometimes they’re used to help focus your mind. I’ve heard advice about not getting too attached to certain pieces of jewelry lest you lose it, but I think it’s difficult to not get attached to certain pieces.
Herbs and oils
Herbs have a number of uses in cooking, healing and spiritual matters. Some herbs can be made into pills that are swallowed or creams or lotions that are rubbed onto the skin. Certain herbs can also be burned or scattered during a ritual to release their spiritual energy. Essential oils are used in the same way, just in a different form. It depends on your preferences and your needs as to which you use. Regardless though, herbs are a good resource and there are many books on herb lore.
The altar itself is a tool. It is a way to reach the Divine, but it, like the rest of the tools in Wicca, are not a requirement for communing with your god. The altar is where we conduct rituals, cast spells, say chants and prayer, and make offerings to the Goddess and God. It is the focal point of positive energies, a place devoted to healing and spiritual well-being. It is the space that you dedicate to your faith, a place of sanctuary.
Lastly, I want to look at any and all parts of the natural world. Everything in Wicca is nature-based. Nature is one of the many mediums through which the Mother communicates to us. Everything within it is sacred. Let the still pond waters be your scrying bowl; the birds and wind your ritual music; the sunlight and starlight your direct energy. Don’t underestimate the importance of any part of nature as a tool, and as a connection to the Mother.