Articles/Essays From Pagans
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
Hearing The Music And Dancing The Dance
A Tale of the Wood
June 9th. 2013 ...
The Nature of Sacrifice
The Magick of Buildings
Start your own Pagan Church in Canada - A Detailed Guide
June 2nd. 2013 ...
Maiden, Mother, Who?! (A Discussion of the Triple Goddess)
Gods Who Live In My House
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Among the Greenwod - An Interview with Raven Grimassi
May 26th. 2013 ...
So You Think You've Found a Teacher...
Learning To Live Your Own Life
Raising Personal Magickal Energy for Spellwork
Casting The Wiccan Circle
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Recycling Ritual Tools
Article Specs |
Article ID: 14927
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 501
Times Read: 2,330
RSS Views: 19,849
Author: Lupa [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: February 5th. 2012
Times Viewed: 2,330
While neopaganism is relatively young, there are a variety of traditions that have arisen among some pagans surrounding ritual tools. Some have to do with their procurement, such as never haggle with the maker or seller of a tool you want. Others deal with their handling and care, such as periodic purification, not letting others handle them, and energetically insulating then when not in use.
But what about when you no longer have a need to use them? What if you’ve moved past a particular tradition and don’t have a use for tools specific to that tradition? Or what about tools that you used a few times but never really connected to? Maybe there are things that no longer fit you for other reasons, or that you feel need to move on to someone else.
Some people have absolutely no problem with passing their old tools on to someone else. Others are less comfortable with it, often citing the idea that a lot of their personal energy has gone into those tools and they don’t want that mis-used. Or they dislike the idea of some random person at Goodwill buying something that used to be sacred, and using it as an ashtray or letter opener. And some people dislike buying or otherwise receiving secondhand ritual tools, again often because of the “energy issue”.
In this day and age, though, there are a lot of resources going to waste. Countless amounts of perfectly good household objects, clothing, and otherwise usable things end up in landfills and garbage incinerators because nobody wanted them any more—at least no one who had access to them. And to replace these destroyed resources, there are more minerals being strip-mined, more forests being cut down for cash crop agriculture like cotton, more chemicals going into synthetics like plastic, and so on.
Pagan tools and other sacred objects are no exception. Most crystals are strip-mined, and even those that are from smaller operations still require the ecosystem to be disturbed in some way, even if only by human presences. The same goes for metals used in athames, chalices, pewter pentacle necklaces, and the like. Teak and other woods used in altars and boxes and other trinkets are often unsustainably grown and harvested with a negative effect on the local ecosystem. Many altar cloths, as well as a lot of flowing, brightly-colored clothing favored at festivals is made by slave labor in Asia and elsewhere, using harsh chemical dyes that can be horrible for the health of the laborers, as well as the environment that suffers the wastes from these processes. Most commercially available leather, feathers and other animal parts used in drums and other shamanic tools came from animals that suffered bad deaths, and often bad lives in captivity, and are often treated with more polluting chemicals.
On top of all this, pagans as a group are notorious for “magpie syndrome”. I have known entirely too many pagans—and been one myself—with huge collections of random magical tchotchkes, most of which just sit there and “look pretty”, or clutter up small spaces designated as altars. Granted, my tastes tended toward neat secondhand things I found at flea markets, and handmade pieces of art, but it still remains that pagans have a tendency toward packratting, and that includes all sort of mass-produced cheap statuary, pewter jewelry, and other things made cheap by cheap—and cheated—labor.
So with all that in mind, does it not make sense to reduce the demand for new resources? Isn’t it better for those who profess to follow nature-based paths in particular to get over the “icky energy” hangup and find green ways to deal with ritual tools that no longer suit us? Here are some suggestions:
--Anything can be purified, and I do mean anything. If you feel something is “dirty” even after scrubbing it with salt, washing it with running water, or censing it with sage, it’s most likely that you’ve got a personal bias about it on some level that makes you still see it as “bad” or “tainted” or even just “mine”. If you don’t feel you can effectively purify it yourself, find someone who can. In my experience, most cases of “cursed” items tend to be a matter of confirmation bias—if you receive an item being told that it’s “cursed”, or if the physical appearance of it hits enough “creepy” vibes on a subconscious level, then you’re more likely to continue the story of “it’s cursed!” Yet if you handed it off to someone who had no idea and no belief in any of this sort of thing, chances are they could just set it up on their mantle with no harm or foul. So when doing purifications, don’t just purify the object—purify your own mind as well.
--Have a swapping party with some friends or other folks in the local pagan community. Make sure especially that people who are relatively new, or who may not have a lot of extra funds to buy tools, know about it. Have everyone who has tools to rehome bring them to the party, put them in the middle of the room, and let folks take whatever they will regardless of how much or how little they brought. At the end of the swap, if there are leftovers, let the people who brought them initially decide whether they’re okay with them being donated to Goodwill or another thrift store, or given away as a raffle prize at an upcoming pagan event/fundraiser, etc., or whether they’d rather take them back home and try again later.
--If you have something very special to you, just wait for the right person to come along. I ended up giving my very first set of ritual tools away to a relatively new pagan who didn’t have any, and I didn’t feel at all bad about it. She appreciated the tools, and I felt better knowing she had some that had been very near and dear to me.
--If the tool is simply too physically damaged, see if there’s a way to repurpose or otherwise recycle it. Can a cracked cauldron be used as a flowerpot, or an old wand help to prop up a young plant in the garden? Would an old, worn altar cloth still be usable to wrap a set of tarot cards, made into part of a quilt, or even be torn up into cleaning rags so as to save trees that would otherwise be made into paper towels? If you have an old broken rawhide drum head, can it be cut into smaller pieces, painted with seasonal decorations, and made into a bunch of Sabbat ornaments?
--Reduce your consumption as well, particularly of brand-new resources. Do you really need that cheap black metal candle holder from Wal-Mart made with strip-mined metal and shaped by slave laborers whose health may have been affected by metal fumes and anodizing chemicals? In my experience, thrift stores tend to have shelves upon shelves of similar candleholders secondhand that may just need a quick smudging and maybe a little dusting. If you must buy new, give your money to individual artisans, especially those who make use of secondhand materials and give them a new life. And, of course, there’s always the option of making your own if you’re so inclined!
There’s really no excuse to do things like bury old ritual tools in the ground or toss old crystals in a lake where they’ll never get used again. No matter what you have, someone, somewhere will make use of them and give them a cherished place. It may take a little effort to make the right connection, but in the end, everybody wins!
Copyright: Copyright Lupa, 2012. Please link, don't copy and paste!
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