Articles/Essays From Pagans
December 1st. 2013 ...
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
The Celtic Tree Calendar
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
September 8th. 2013 ...
Introduction to the Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage
The Druidic Concept of Nwyfre
The Holocaust Survivor (Part 1)
Giving and Helping
September 1st. 2013 ...
Use a Flyswatter for a Fly: More on the Dark Arts
How Spells Work
Is It Really 'Energy'?
August 25th. 2013 ...
Mother Nature’s Way: Forging a Distinctly American Path
Healing Moon Ritual
Unconditional Love: The Paradox of Perfect Love
Earth to Soul/Sole
August 18th. 2013 ...
How Not to Fall in the Bunny Trap
Why Are You Like That? Thoughts on Hoodoo and Appropriation
Finding the Right Coven
The Knowledge Found in Silence
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances, Hazelnuts and Magick Wands
August 11th. 2013 ...
“I Survived a Weekend with Galina Krasskova”
The Charges of the Goddess and God with Commentary
August 4th. 2013 ...
Fair Weather Witches
Pagan Studies II: Modern Paganism in the Americas
Pagan Abbeys - A Practical Heritage for Spiritual Lay and Professional Cloistered Communities
July 28th. 2013 ...
Crystals 101: A Helpful Guide For Beginners
The More the Merrier? It’s not Only an Inaccuracy; it’s an All Out Farce!
My Pagan Manifesto
July 21st. 2013 ...
I'm a Witch, Not a Wiccan: A Brief Summary of Broad Pagan Designations
Rethinking Community for Solitaries
13 Keys: The Beauty of Tiphareth
July 14th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés We Use (Part II)
Pagan Humanism: A Tradition of Rational Religion
Moon/Planetary Musings: The Holly King and John Barleycorn
July 7th. 2013 ...
Coping With Depression: Learning to Dance with the Sacred Twins
Shamanic Healing of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Humility and Community Service
H is for Hubris
June 30th. 2013 ...
How To Feel The Energy Around You
Planning A Ritual
Why Pagans Might Benefit from Counseling Techniques
The Weight of Contemplation: When the Silent Self Grows Louder
June 23rd. 2013 ...
Magick and Play
Tarot Spell for Protection
Moon Musings and Planetary Preponderances: RE-fuse, RE-duce, RE-use, RE-pair and RE-cycle
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
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: 671
Times Read: 2,549
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Author: Lupa [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: February 5th. 2012
Times Viewed: 2,549
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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