Tools of the Craft Part 2

Lesson 3 – Tools of the Craft

Part Two

This is an introduction to the symbolism of magical tools

and how they are used.
Please note that ideas may vary depending on tradition, this

article is intended as a guide only.

Bowls
Bowls are an essential witch’s tool; they may be used for

offerings, wishes, scrying and consecration.

Offering bowls are set upon the altar and presented to

the deities in the manner in which an honoured guest would

be welcomed into the home. Offerings typically include fresh

pure water, fruit, flowers, jewels, incense, scented oils,

flower water and shells.

Wishing bowls serve as a vessel to manifest your dreams

and desires. Write down your wish on a piece of paper, fold

the paper and place it inside your wishing bowl. Focus your

intention as you place your wish inside. You may want to add

some herbs or stones that share the properties of the wish

you desire. Use your bowl as a magickal vessel until

manifestation, then burn or bury the paper.

Scrying has been used in many cultures as a means of

divining the past, present, or future. Around 2,000 BC,

Greece, as well as “early” Britain and its subsequent Celtic

population, practised many forms of scrying. The media often

used were beryl, crystal, black glass, polished quartz,

water, and other transparent or light catching bodies. The

best kind of water to use is Moon water: spring, rain or sea

water which has been placed in the Moonlight every night for

a whole lunar cycle. The water can be blessed in whatever

way you feel is appropriate, possibly dedicated to one of

the Moon goddesses who rule such activities as these.

Scrying is a magical art with many possibilities. Exactly

what it is and how it works is for each individual

practitioner to decide for themselves, but it will certainly

enhance and focus both the psychic and creative abilities of

the magician.

Consecration purifies by means of salt, water and

incense. The salt, water, and incense stand for the four

elements of the Wise – earth, water, and fire, together with

air – symbolically constituting the basis for the material

universe. By consecrating an object you are using these four

basic constituents to “wash” the article of all extraneous

vibrations, prior to recharging it with your own will and

concentrated power. Bowls have an important role to play in

consecration as they are used to safely store the salt,

water and incense needed.

Crystal Ball

A crystal ball is a crystal or glass ball believed by to

aid clairvoyance. Celtic tribes, known to exist in Britain

as early as 2,000 B.C., were unified by a priesthood known

as Druids. Druids are one of the earliest known peoples to

have used crystals in divination. Later, during central

Europe’s Medieval Period (500 – 1500 AD), seers, wizards,

sorcerers, psychics, gypsies, fortune tellers, and all other

types of diviners also used crystals to “see” into the past,

present, or future.

The art or process of “seeing” is known as “scrying,”

whereby images are seen in crystals (or other mediums such

as water) and are interpreted. The information gleaned then

is used to make important decisions in one’s life, for

example – love, marriage, finances, travel, business, etc.

When the technique of scrying is used with crystals, or any

transparent body, it is known as crystallomancy or crystal

gazing.

As with all forms of divination, images often appear as

archetypes, whose interpretation is left for the reader or

the person having the reading. Images my appear stationary,

or move about. They may appear two dimensional or

holographic. If you cannot ‘see’ anything in the crystal

ball at first, be patient and keep trying. At the very least

a crystal ball will bring energies to the room in which it

is placed. Dowsing, sometimes called divining or water

witching, is the practice which dowsers detect hidden or

buried water, metals, gemstones, or other objects with the

aid of simple hand held tools or instruments.

Dowsing can be also used for searching for underground

features such as archaeological remains, cavities and

tunnels, oil, veins of mineral ore, underground building

services, missing items and occasionally missing persons.

Pendulums
Pendulums such as a crystal or a metal weight suspended on a

chain are sometimes used in divination and dowsing,

particularly in remote or “map dowsing”. In one approach,

the user first determines which direction (left-right, up-

down) will indicate “yes” and which “no,” before proceeding

to ask the pendulum specific questions. In the practice of

radiesthesia, a pendulum is used for medical diagnosis.

Dowsing is reported to date back approximately 7000 years

but origins are still unknown. It is accepted, however, that

the Egyptians used images of forked rods in some of their

artwork as did the Ancient Chinese kings.

Some believe that when dowsing, you are engaged in a

dialog with your Higher Self and other spirit guides who are

trying to assist you in obtaining the information you seek

and/or accessing a repository of unlimited knowledge,

referred to by Carl Jung as the “collective unconscious”.

Various other theories have been given including

electromagnetic, subtle geological forces and ESP.
Incense

Incense not only smells wonderful; it can be wonderful

for you if used in the right manner. Used for thousands of

years to promote well-being and balance moods, incense is

still a valuable sensory tool today. Many religious

ceremonies and spiritual purificatory rites employ incense;

it is also used in medicine and for its aesthetic value.

Incense can be, like art for the eyes, music for the

ears, or fine cuisine for the palate, an indulgence for the

sense of smell. Many people burn incense to appreciate its

smell, without assigning any other specific significance to

it, in the same way that the forgoing items can be produced

or consumed solely for the contemplation or enjoyment of the

refined sensory experience.

Use of incense in religion is prevalent in many cultures

and may have their roots in the practical and aesthetic uses

considering that many religions with not much else in common

all use incense. In magic incense is used to raise energy,

purify an area, cleanse an area of negative energy, create

an atmosphere, focus the mind, alter consciousness and used

as an offering to the chosen deity or used to invoke the

powers of air. The use of “perfumed”, “dipped”, or synthetic

incense is generally avoided during magical workings, since

such artificial materials are believed to not contain the

energies useful for magic.

Runes

The Runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using

letters known as runes to write various Germanic languages

prior to the adoption of the Latin alphabet. The

Scandinavian variants are also known as Futhark (or fuþark,

derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U,

Þ, A, R, and K.

The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder

Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon runes, and the Younger Futhark. The

origins of the runic alphabet are uncertain. Many characters

of the Elder Futhark bear a close resemblance to characters

from the Latin alphabet. In Norse mythology, the runic

alphabet is attested to a divine origin. The Noleby

Runestone from around 600 CE reads ‘I prepare the suitable

divine rune’.

Early runes were not so much used as a simple writing

system, but rather as magical signs to be used for charms.

The name rune itself, taken to mean “secret, something

hidden”, seems to indicate that knowledge of the runes was

originally considered esoteric. A recent study of runic

magic suggests that runes were used to create magical

objects such as amulets (MacLeod and Mees 2006).

Nowadays Runes are mainly used in divination; they work

best if you detail your current circumstances and then ask a

specific question. Rune readings are sometimes obscure. They

hint toward answers – this is when the rune casters

intuition becomes paramount.

Tarot

Tarot was not widely adopted by mystics, occultists and

secret societies until the 18th and 19th centuries. Antoine

Court de Gébelin, a Swiss clergyman and Freemason, published

Le Monde Primitif, a speculative study which included

religious symbolism and its survivals in the modern world.

Gébelin further claimed that the name “tarot” came from the

Egyptian words tar, meaning “royal”, and ro, meaning “road”,

and that the Tarot therefore represented a “royal road” to

wisdom.

The idea of the cards as a mystical key was further

developed by Eliphas Lévi and passed to the English-speaking

world by The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. His book

‘Transcendental Magic’ introduced an interpretation of the

cards which related them to Hermetic Qabalah. He devised a

system which related the Tarot to the Kabala and the four

elements of alchemy. Tarot divination became increasingly

popular from 1910, with the publication of the Rider-Waite-

Smith Tarot (designed and executed by two members of the

Golden Dawn), which replaced the traditionally simple pip

cards with images of symbolic scenes.

Each card has a variety of symbolic meanings that have

evolved over the years. Custom or themed tarot decks exist

which have even more specific symbolism, although these are

more prevalent in the English-speaking world. The minor

arcana cards have astrological attributions that can be used

as general indicators of timing in the year, based on the

Octavian calendar, and the court cards may signify different

people in a tarot reading, with each suit’s “nature”

providing hints about that person’s physical and emotional

characteristics. In many systems, the four suits are

associated with the four elements: Swords with air, Wands

with fire, and Cups with water and Pentacles with earth. The

numerology of the cards is also considered significant. The

tarot is considered to correspond to various systems such as

astrology, Pythagorean numerology, and the Kabala.

Carl Jung was the first psychologist to attach importance

to tarot symbolism. He regarded the tarot cards as

representing archetypes: fundamental types of person or

situation embedded in the subconscious of all human beings.

The theory of archetypes gives rise to several psychological

uses. Since the cards represent these different archetypes

within each individual, ideas of the subject’s self-

perception can be gained by asking them to select a card

that they ‘identify with’. Equally, the subject can try and

clarify the situation by imagining it in terms of the

archetypal ideas associated with each card. Some schools of

occult thought or symbolic study, such as the Hermetic Order

of the Golden Dawn, consider the tarot to function as a

textbook and mnemonic device for their teachings. This may

be one cause of the word arcana being used to describe the

two sections of the tarot deck: arcana is the plural form of

the Latin word arcanum, meaning “closed” or “secret.”

Wands

There are a lot of variations on magick wands, depending

on the purpose and the Witchcraft tradition. In many

European based Witchcraft traditions, the magick wand is a

simple unadorned stick of natural wood, often with the bark

still intact. In high ceremonial magick the wands are very

elaborate, typically constructed of metal or fine wood, and

encrusted with valuable gems. Magick runes or symbols are

carved on the length of the wand and typically there is a

valuable gemstone at the tip. Many Witches craft a much less

expensive ceremonial wand by wrapping a piece of wood with

cloth, leather, twine, and other materials. Magick runes or

symbols can be burned or carved into the wood or drawn on

cloth or leather strips and wrapped onto the wand.

Seashells, feathers, crystals, and other items from nature

can be tied or glued to the wand.

When you finish choosing or making a wand, you will want

to dedicate it to magickal work. The ritual should be short

and simple: place the tool on the altar, cast a circle, and

perform a short ritual to consecrate the tool. If you belong

to a specific Witchcraft tradition, use the ritual specified

by your tradition. If you are an eclectic Witch or still

undecided on tradition, make up your own short ceremony,

possibly based around a poem you write. If you have a

permanent altar, you might leave your wand on your altar for

24 hours after your ceremony before making use of your new

wand. Any of the Sabbats or New Moon or Full Moon are

particularly appropriate times to dedicate a new wand.

Some traditions correspond wands with the element air.

Some traditions correspond wands with the element fire. In

some traditions, the element is determined by the materials

and decorations, including runes and other magick writing.

The wand is considered to be a phallic tool and therefore of

masculine element and male energy. The wand corresponds with

the planet Mars. Wands are most commonly used to channel

energy. Match the wand’s materials and decorations and

magick writings to the kind of energy being channelled.

Wands may be used to cast a circle. Some Witches use an

athame for most circles, reserving wands for casting circles

of special significance. Wands may be used to invite and

control entities and for manifestation.

Recommended Reading

Divination for Beginners by Scott Cunningham

 

Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A E Waite
Runes for Transformation by Kaedrich Olsen

 

Art

of the Pendulum by Cassandra Eason
Everyday Magic by Dorothy Morrison

Spell for Lesson 3

Center yourself with this simple and powerful spell.

 

Find a quiet space and gather a white or silver candle, a glass bowl of

spring water, a smooth stone, and a spoonful of

salt.
Light the candle, and concentrate on the flame.
Hold the stone in your palm.
Feel its weight, and its solidity.
This stone represents your core truth-the unchangeable,

timeless, and solid aspect of your core being. Identify this

aspect and name it. Place the stone into the water. Breathe.
Hold the salt in your hand, and let it slip through your

fingers into the water, saying:

“This life and time,
ever changing.

Goddess, may I recognize my truth
and center my life on it.

As time changes me,
may I remain timeless,
fluid, and honorable..”

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