Compiled & Edited by

Dragonfly

Asperger

Bundles of herbs, sticks, brush or any object used to sprinkle sacred water or substance in rituals like house blessings.

Athame

Usually a double-edged, dull knife used in ritual. It is used to direct energy rather than cutting. Athames also usually have a black handle to absorb energy. They are often made from steel, copper and bronze. Symbols are often inscribed into the blade or handle of the knife to suit the owner. It is most important to tailor your athame to suit yourself. They are often associated with the element of fire and seen as a phallic symbol.

Bells

In Pagan and Wiccan traditions this item is Sacred to the Goddess. It may also be rung to ward off evil spells and spirits, to halt storms, or to evoke good energies. Placed in cupboards or hung on the door, it guards the home. They can be struck by a clapper or rung or they can "sing" by having the rim rubbed. The bell is sometimes used to signal the beginning and end of the ritual and to invite the elements or deities to join the ritual. The bell is an integral part of Buddhist ritual.

Besome

A broomstick usually used for ritually cleansing the working area.

Boline

A bolline is usually a white handled knife that it used for cutting. It can be used for cutting herbs, waxes and resins, carving wands, inscribing symbols and cutting cords. Quite similar to the athame yet sharp and not used in ritual but for practical ritual related purposes.

Bones

In ancient times people used bones to foretell their future. A bag of bones are shaken and then scattered on a surface. The way that the bones fall and their positioning in comparison to the other bones gives an answer to the question at hand.

Book of Shadows

A Book of Shadows is a book of the philosophy of ritual, and perhaps rituals themselves. Used for magical writings, secret thoughts, your dreams, spells, symbols & memories. Some are historically handed down through generations. They record magical recipes, rituals and seasonal information.

Broomstick

The broomstick was traditionally used in fertility rituals. Witches would “ride” them around the field, leaping as high as they could. The higher the leap, the higher the crop would grow. It is this use that has perhaps lead to the popular supposition that witches fly on broomsticks. Its modern uses are chiefly for jumping over in the Wiccan handfasting (wedding) and symbolically sweeping the circle clean of negative energy. The broom is associated with purification, protection and the element of water. A broomstick is usually made up of a staff and twigs, bound with various twine.

Candles

Often used in ritual in many ways such as outlining a ritual circle or casting candle magic. Candles in ritual also provide a soft glow that enhances spiritual awareness and a relaxed state. Candles are also associated with the element of fire.

Cauldron

A black cast iron pot that comes with a lid. They are made in a range of sizes and can be used for many purposes. It is a container where magical transformations can occur. It is also often the focal point of a ritual. Some uses include cooking special foods over a fire or burning a fire within the cauldron during ritual. In some cases it is filled with water in spring instead of burning a fire in it. A cauldron with water can also be used for scrying. In Wiccan tradition is it said to be associated with the womb of the goddess. Also associated with the element of water, reincarnation, immortality, inspiration and can be dedicated to the goddess.

Censer

A censer is a small fireproof bowl with a lid that can be made from various substances such as brass or various metals. Used in ritual to burn incense and purify a space for ritual. You can walk around a circle’s edge swinging it or fan the incense over a person to purify them.

Chalice

A chalice is a large cup that is made of many substances such as silver, brass, gold, earthenware, soapstone, crystal or glass. It is used to either hold wine or water. It has associations much like the cauldron as it is related to the goddess, fertility and the element of water.

Cords

Usually a nine-foot long piece of cord about as thick as a pencil with the ends either knotted or sealed to stop fraying. In some traditions they are kept in sets of three with varying colours. The colour used is varied depending on the work being done. Used in initiation of some traditions and for casting spells.

Crystals

Crystals have a variety of uses, though they are mostly associated with the directing, focusing and projecting of energy. Different crystals are supposed to be good for specific purposes, for example, hematite for healing. They may be placed on a body part or meditated upon or used in any number of other ways.

Crystal Ball

Crystal Balls are used as a Divination Tool and can be used in Ritual as part of a meditation or trance.

Drum

These are used to make music during certain cermonies and rituals. Often used to induce a trance state.

Feathers

Often used to create or perform a Spell. They help to focus concentration. Feathers have different properties depending on the Source and the colour of the feather and the bird from which they originally came. They can be used to symbolise the element of Air. Feathers are thought to bring Good luck and ward of bad energy..


 

Herbs

Herbs are often used in Ritual for their magical and healing properties. Many herbs have additional properties such as therapeutic uses in alternative healing and aromatherapy. Many herbs also have unique characteristics when used in combination with other substances. In ritual they can also be used in Floral arrangements, as an asperger or as ornamentation. Mixtures that are put together for a very specific purpose: protection, purification, love, calming, energising, healing, etc. These Mixtures can be burnt or mixed with oils and applied.

I-Ching

The I Ching is an ancient Chinese oracle that provides an Oriental philosophical perspective to give insight on situations and problems. "I" means change. "Ching" means book. Therefore I Ching means 'The Book Of Changes'. It describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy which is at the heart of Chinese cultural beliefs. The I Ching symbolism is embodied in a set of 64 abstract line arrangements called hexagrams. These are each comprised of six horizontal lines each line is either Yang (unbroken, a solid line), or Yin (broken, an open line with a gap in the centre).

Incense

This comes in the form of sticks, cones, or powder and when burned released a strong odor. It is used to purify objects, places and people.

Mead

Mead is a form of ale or wine that is brewed from honey instead of grain or fruit. In many European Areas ritual libation would have, traditionally, consisted of mead. Mead is historically referred to as nectar of the gods and referred to in many mythological stories.

Mirror

Used for scrying and in personal dedication rituals especially Women's Mysteries.

Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and Pestle sets can be used mundanely in your Kitchen, or added to your Altar. Used to Grind up all your herbs and spices for cooking, incense, medicinal and magickal purposes. The Mortar can also double ritually as a Cauldron.

Offerings

These are usually offerings of food and wine and flowers that are placed on the Altar for the deities during ritual. The Offerings are thanks for their support and also offered in worship of the chosen deity. Offerings are a culturally accepted way in many traditions to acquire merit with the Gods.

Pantacle

A flat piece of either brass, gold, silver, wood, wax or clay with symbols inscribed onto it. In most cases a pentagram is in the centre with personalized symbols surrounding the pentagram. The pantacle is associated with protection and the element of earth.

Paten

The paten is a small shallow plate or disc of precious metal upon which the element of bread. The word paten comes from a Latin form patina or patena, evidently imitated from the Greek patane. It is basically a plate used to hold the ritual bread. It is most commonly small and metal. In Catholic Masses it is usually placed over the top of the Chalice.

 

Pendulums

A pendulum is usually a pointed weight on the end of a piece of string, chain or similar materials. The weight is usually made from crystals, brass or solid materials. The pendulum is held over a surface and asked a question. The pendulum will swing in a certain direction to give an answer such as “YES”, “NO” or “UNSURE”. The direction in which the pendulum will swing for these answers is reliant on the individual. The answer of “YES” for one may be different for another.

Rocks

Rocks are used in Ritual for their grounding properties and also for their individual properties. Rocks canbe the common garden variety or collected from a creek or beach. they can be as small as pebbles or large centrepieces on the altar. They can be used to mark the quarters. They are often obviously used to represent the element of earth. Rocks can be Gemstones with particular magical properties.


Runes

Much like the Tarot, each rune has it’s own meaning. These symbols are inscribed onto small disks of wood, stone, bone or other substances. These, drawn from a bag, can tell the future or answer a specific question. They are Nordic in origin, as the runes were the written language of the Norse.

Salt

Salt is used in ritual for cleansing purposes. Either sprinkled around the circle or mixed with water and anointing objects or people. It is also associated with the element of earth.

Scourge

It is a type of whip with eight tails and five knots in each tail. There are two uses for the scourge. The first is for symbolic cleansing and the second is for gentle application to increase blood circulation in aid of entering an altered state of awareness.

Scrying

Scrying is the use of water in a dark bowl or cup to see images for divination when gazing into it. You can also scry using a crystal ball.

Shells

Shells can be used for decorative or mundane purposes but can also be used in Rituals. They can hold substances or be used for scrying.The fact that they are found in prehistoric burial places indicates that people believed their symbolic power continued into the afterlife.

Smudges

Made from a variety of herbs these are burnt in Ritual in place of incense. Good for cleansing ritual space.

Staff

A long stick or branch off a tree, it is usually about the height of the owner. It is created in a way similar to the wand. During ritual a staff can be used to help ground an individual. The staff is also associated with the element of air.

Statues/ Figurines

These are often placed on the Altar as representations of the Deities or used as symbols of the elements. As representations of deities they can be offered gifts. They can also be used in gardens as temples or shrines.

Sword

The sword is a bigger version of the athame. It is used in ritual in place of the athame for some acts such as casting a circle. It is also associated with the element of fire and seen as a phallic symbol.

Tarot

An old form of divination, each card bears a specific meaning. The meaning of the cards in conjunction with the order in which they are drawn can give the answer to a question, foretell the future or bring understanding to a situation. The modern deck of 52 playing cards is thought to have descended from the tarot.

Wand

A small to medium sized stick that is used in ritual to focus energy. Usually wands are found in the natural environment by the owner and decorated to suit the individual desire. Some traditional woods used are willow, elder, oak, apple, peach, hazel and cherry. Things that are sometimes done to create a wand are adding things such as crystals, feathers, leather or inscribing symbols into the wood. Some people prefer to carve away the bark and others prefer to leave the wand in its natural state. The wand is also associated to the element of air and can be used as an extension of the hand in casting circles or directing energy in ritual. It is also used as an instrument of invocation.

Wine

Wine is used in Ritual for a number of reasons. It is used to induce a relaxed trance-like state, used as part of the ritual offerings and often used as a symbol of the element earth. The wine can also be blessed and then used to cleanse tools or the ritual space. Wine is also historically linked to some of the best known of the gods.

References:

Spells, Charms, Talismans and Amulets. A complete guide to magical enchantments.
Pamela Ball
Published by Arcturus Publishing 2002. Pages 46 – 48

Wicca. A guide for the solitary Practitioner.
Scott Cunningham
Published by Llewellyn Publications 2000. Pages 25 – 35

A Witches’ Bible. The complete witches’ handbook.
Janet and Stewart Farrar
Published by Phoenix Publishing

 


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