Lesson 3 – Tools of the Craft
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 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
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.
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
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 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 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.
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
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 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
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.”
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.
Divination for Beginners by Scott Cunningham
Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A E Waite
Runes for Transformation by Kaedrich Olsen
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
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,
Goddess, may I recognize my truth
and center my life on it.
As time changes me,
may I remain timeless,
fluid, and honorable..”