You Are Not A Tool
Article ID: 13630
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,721
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Author: Fire Lyte
Posted: November 15th. 2009
Times Viewed: 6,837
‘The cloaked figure sits down at an aged table alight with dancing candle flames. Using a small knife, the figure cuts a cord into equal lengths, and then braids it up while muttering arcane words. The figure then opens the top of a black cauldron, with perfumed smoke smelling of jasmine and juniper, and tosses the braided cord into it. The cord catches fire, burns quickly, and the ashes float away on the smoke. The figure closes the lid on the cauldron. It is done.’
I think most of us had, at one point or another, this image about what spell crafting would be. It would involve tapping into arcane powers using earthen tools, colored stones, and bundles of dried herbs – that, of course, came from a witchy garden planted in a clear full moon night.
I think most of us now realize that idea was bunk.
We live in a world of cars that run on electricity, technology that is obsolete within 6 months, and the ability to know absolutely anything you could possibly spell semi-correctly into Google search. The Internet connects billions of people everyday to images, icons, documents, and ideas that were once limited to a small subset of a population on a different continent in a time nearly forgotten – until the advent of Wikipedia.
A person hearing about paganism and spellcraft in the morning can become an expert in the subject by dinnertime, or, at least, can know enough to believe he/she is an expert. It is in this age of exponential knowledge growth and expansion that we have forgotten a few of the simple things: tools.
Any good bookstore pagan can tell you that there are certain tools that are considered traditional craft tools. Among these would be items like a wand, an athame, a cauldron, a cup, and a pentacle. If you’ve got a bit more money, or just have a collector’s spirit, you might also add a boline, a bell, a besom, a crystal ball, a mirror, a cord, a censer, and whatever else happens to be on sale at your local McWiccan shop. The craft is full of a nearly endless supply of fun, interesting, bizarre items to perform magic with, and it’s fun to buy them and salivate over other tools not yet purchased.
However, are these tools really necessary? With the more we learn, at this exponential rate of learning, and the more we continue marrying more traditional craft with new age or world spirituality, aren’t we being taught that all of the power comes from us, anyways?
We don’t need the more traditional tools of the craft, and if you’d like them, just imagine that you have them. Don’t have an athame to direct energy? That’s ok, close your eyes and imagine that you have a gorgeous, jewel-encrusted blade that is directing bright blue flames around you in concentric circles to create your sacred space. You are your own endless source of energy and magic, and you don’t need those silly tools.
In this ideation, our personal power – that which each person naturally has – is so great that it can perform any magical feat you set your mind to. You don’t need a traditional altar set up, because you have the power of a “witch’s thought.”
You’ve heard this one. “A witch’s thoughts have power.” That’s very true, for the most part. I don’t think that it has anything to do with the fact that witch’s thoughts are more powerful, but I think all thoughts have power, whether that person realizes it or not.
But, back to tools… With your witchy thoughts you can imagine a sacred space, imagine an altar set up, and imagine that you’re using the tools on that altar to create your spells.
Hey, while you’re at it, can you imagine me a cheeseburger? Because, we could be here a while.
I can agree that we don’t need all of the tools listed in many pagan texts. Most tools can serve double duty, and there’s no reason – in this economy – to spend all of the ungodly amounts of money it would take to get absolutely every specialty item in a witchy shop. To digress a moment, I shall provide you some tips on making tools serve double duty.
Don’t have a censer? That’s ok, your cauldron will do, just wash it out afterwards. Don’t have a white-handled boline? That’s okay. Get a wood-handled athame. This knife can serve a dual purpose. You can draw your own pentacle if you need one. Your altar could be your nightstand. (Mine was all throughout high school.)
We need tools. If we didn’t, we could also go without the use of herbs, stones, candles, and everything else. While some witches say that you can still do this, I disagree.
If you go back, way back, to magic from eons past, you’ll find that people were trying to connect to something greater than themselves. They were petitioning their Gods, the Earth, the mysterious Flame that shot up when the heavens struck wood, to help their hunt or their harvest or their home (or whatever) . They recognized that they were so small in the grand scheme, and, if they wanted change to occur, they would have to tap in to energies beyond that which are provided by their body.
As witches, we say that we use the powers of the elements, of the Earth, to create magic. If this is true, then we need tools. No, we don’t need the jewel-encrusted dagger or the $350 crystal ball barely big enough to hold, but we do need a connection to the Earth.
It is important in this world of instantaneous knowledge that we not become disconnected from the basics in our craft as well. It goes without saying that not everyone can buy these tools nowadays, but that shouldn’t stop you from grabbing a small stick and using it as your wand. Grab a pot out of your cabinet and use it as an insta-cauldron. Incense can be places on a coaster or plate and burned. The point is that we are not autonomous beings, without need of tools or magical objects.
Begin a stone collection. They’re inexpensive and easy to store, and you can guarantee they come from the earth. Grow an herb garden. Get about 4-5 multipurpose herbs from your local greenhouse and grow them in pots indoors. Go on a hike or to the park and find a wand.
A pocketknife athame – Swiss Army, no less – served me during high school. The idea is to connect with the energies around us, to use what the Earth has given to petition the energies of the Divine to carry out our witchy wishes.
Your visualization can only take you so far. Remember we are children of the Earth, but we are not Her only children.
Connect with that magic deep within the earth, that energy that is found in trees, in metal, in herbs, in stones, in fire, and in all the elements. Connect so that your magic is not simply your imagination or your small energy, but connect so that when you perform your spell, you are doing so with the full weight of the children of the Divine.
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