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Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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Tools In Traditional Witchcraft
Article ID: 12298
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Author: Pagan Sanctuary
Posted: June 22nd. 2008
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What is left on the altar or used by the practitioner are tools. These can be anything such as candles, incense, oils, poppets, an athame, cords, herbs, chalice, bowls water salt, crystals, glyph, runes -- indeed anything that the practitioner can use to aid in focusing on his/her purpose -- along with the items that are needed to complete the spell. Remember that part of the ability to create a desired manifestation is that you need to be able to visualize the completion of the spell.
When one uses the tools they are creating not only a visual and psychological link of the caster to the energy, but a tool also acts as a means of directing more energy into the spell, without draining the caster. This energy, along with the ritual that binds the energy into a spell, is what is known as Magick and this is what creates the desired manifestation.
The very essence of magick is difficult to explain in one single article, essay or even book. We, the practitioners of magick, may have problems explaining it in simple terms but we not only know that there is such a thing as magick but we know we can control and use that energy that makes up what magick is.
Casters do this through various means: mental control, use of oral recitation and music to create vibrations and resonances that mirror or mimic the energy that makes up Magick, the use of various artifacts, to the use of hand gestures, and finally, tools.
These use of tools along with other means as stated earlier, all act upon the Subconscious Mind to aid the practitioner in achieving the Alpha State and forcing our will upon the energy that we are tapping into.
Some people, especially the ‘Playgans’, will try and tell people that the bigger and more expensive the tool is the more power that tool has. Thus a wand that you buy from their shop for fifty dollars is more powerful than any that you make. This is not only wrong but is actually a means of defrauding you, the buyer.
In Traditional Witchcraft the practitioner should make as many of his/her tools as possible. Your wand, staff, incense and other tools are better and more powerful if you make them since it is your energy that you are putting into them as you transform them from a generic item to a mystical tool. Your tools will become a part of you, so if you can make them, do so.
The more you work at creating the tool, the more that tool becomes an extension of your will and spirit.
As stated earlier, it is not a sign of success for you to have the most expensive and exquisite of tools for a spell to work. The true means of insuring success is belief, the emotion you put into the spell and the discipline that you show. You cannot play at being a witch. If you feel that you cannot dedicate your life to the religion then you should look elsewhere. This religion is not for the faint of heart.
Knowing that your tools are a representation of and an extension of your will you now need to know what tools are as a means of storing energy.
All tools, regardless of what they are, have been created as a means of not only storing energy but many are also used for a set purpose and as such may be a one time thing, such as a candle, poppet or even incense.
So you should know that tools are either constantly used or for one use. Some are used over and over again, not for just healing or baneful acts, but more as a storehouse of the energy that you put into the tool. Other tools will be used once per spell and then will be destroyed in the process of the spell casting, i.e. candles, incense, parchment, or as part of the spell, bottle, poppet, foo powder and coffins.
All tools act as set reminder of your ability to cast spells and as a means of massing energy into the spell.
The tools have inherent powers -- such as certain potions, herbs and oils, which have the energy of the herb -- and the combining of two or more tools together may create a third. But tools also act as a storehouse for the energy that you are generating and as a means of projecting the energy outwards to create the desired manifestation.
Tools act on the mental preparation of the caster, as through the use of the tools, you are then forcing the Subconscious mind forward to reach and maintain the Alpha State that is required to cast a spell effectively.
The energy pf the tool and the frequency of that energy combine with that of the caster to increase the power of the spell. Thus a simple spell that has only a few simple tools does not have as much energy generated and maintained than say when the High Priest and High Priestess cast the Cone Of Power. All others pale by comparison.
You have a simple spell being like a bullet whereas a spell that is done with Power Words and as High Magick is likened to a missile. Both will hit a target but what one is more powerful then the other?
Tools are both a visual and auditory aid along with a manual aid that all act to help in achieve the Alpha State. Tools are the Magickal implements that are the extension and the expression of the will of the caster.
Anytime that a spell is done it is best to gather as many symbols, tools, artifacts, and any other items that will act as a physical links to the spell and thus will enhance energy.
These items and symbols of your desire can take the form of physical items: various colors, statues or artifacts, incense, pictures, herbs, crystals and stones, or items linked to a person.
Here are some of the basic tools used in witchcraft:
Representation of the Void; used for workplace and as a link to the God/dess becomes the focal point of the energy.
These are tools that are a one-time use. They can be used for all types of spell work and represent the Fire Elemental.
Cords can be used as a single or repetitive use. Single use such as binding and curses where they are destroyed in a means according to the spell. Also they can be reused such as for healing, marriage, and as a means of measuring.
MEASURING- or taking ones measure is used in Traditional Witchcraft covens. This is a way of ensuring the oath that one attests to. The Measure is meant as a physical representation of the severity of the Oath to the Five Laws of the Magi. The reason for this as a symbol is the fact that during the Spanish Inquisition those who were practitioners of the Craft and those that were Cowens would be tied or chained and dragged to their deaths.
In the Neo-pagan groups, these Measures are returned as a sign of trust and many do not even do the Measures Ritual.
This represents the Elemental of Air and as such is a single use tool. This can be used to heighten psi abilities, for purification, for protection. The incense can be used for baneful and beneficial spell work, depending on the desire of the caster and the herbs that are used.
You need to remember that some herbs must be cautiously used due to the fact that certain herbs act upon the human body in various ways. They can be hallucinogenic, a nervine, a sedative or even very vile smelling and/or lethal if inhaled.
Representation of the Water elemental and as such is used in a majority of rituals. The cauldron can be used for creation of herbal remedies, oils, potions and poisons, and can be used for the cooking of feasts dedicated to the God/dess.
If you are using one to create herbal remedies that one should be used only for that. These are made out of iron and can have a lid. Their size can vary.
If you desire one, you can go to a cooking section in a large store or warehouse and buy what they call a Dutch oven, which is nothing more then a cauldron with a lid.
Personally I have a total of four of these tools. One is used solely for lighting the Beltane Fire and the rest of them are used for cooking or brewing.
This is a representation of the God. It is in essence the phallus of the God. The wand, athame, sword and staff are all reminders and representations of the God. This is also the symbol of the Strength Within The Male Polarity.
This is a representation of the God. The wand, athame, sword and staff are all reminders and representation of the God.
This is a representation of the God. The wand, athame, sword and staff are all reminders and representation of the God. This is also the symbol of the Strength Within The Male Polarity.
This is a representation of the God.
This is a representation of the God.
This is the physical representation of The Goddess and the Womb held within. Through Her comes the Water of Life and we can honor Her through the use of this tool. The Cup/Chalice is the symbol of the Water Elemental.
This is the symbol of the Water Elemental and is used not only in the honoring The God/dess but also in various rites and rituals. The bowl is used to hold liquids, offerings, and ashes.
This is the physical representation of the Air Elemental. This is solely used to burn incense.
These are used in both rituals for spell work and for healing. Their powers and abilities come from the Earth and as such are the physical representations of the Earth Elemental.
These are the physical representation of the Earth Elemental and gain their powers through the frequency of the energy that they give off.
Crystals that are straight and have a dual point are the representation of the God whereas those that have a cluster are the aspect of the bounty and fertility of the Goddess.
The energy retained within the stones or crystals are excellent mediums for storing energy, as through their own physical property they are a natural generator of energy.
POWERS: Fixed and Special
The Pentagram is the physical representation of the Goddess, not so much like what the neopagans say, but due to the fact that this is the representation of Her Power on Earth. The Planet Sacred to the Goddess is the Planet that bears Her name, Venus. Venus once every 4 years will create a sign of Her Presence by forming a Perfect Pentagram in the heavens.
The Ancient Greeks saw this and understood this and had set up the Olympic Games so that they would fall upon the end of Her Cycle. This is known as the Cyclonic Movement.
Each of the Points represents the Five Elementals, The Five Laws of the Magi and the power of PHI.
Either worn or on a disk or drawn upon the ground, this is the Sacred Link to the Practitioner and the Goddess and a constant reminder that She is Ever Present.
POWER: Special and Fixed
The use of rings and other forms of talismans are used by the practitioner to store energy into and then through the use of an incantation or rite they can draw the energy out of the tool.
The talismans/rings can also be empowered to act as a means of physical protection. The talismans and rings can be made of any natural occurring material. (NO MAN MADE MATERIALS CAN BE USED)
The designs of these can be varied according to the maker’s desires and what they are being used for. They can be engraved with script, runes or symbols, again depending upon the makers’ desires and what the item will be used for. When the Witch makes his/her own tools he/she is enduing these items with his/her own spirit and these can be as plain or artistically designed as the person wants. The only limitation is that the maker of the tool and the witch focus upon the desire of what the tool will be used for.
The use of alcohol in Pagan Religions dates back to the earliest of religions. This is offered to the God and Goddess. Once empowered all members of the Coven drink of this.
The most famous of the Pagan Cults that used alcohol well before the Christians were the followers of Bacchus/Diansis. The Christians had taken this idea of the use of alcohol to convert those who followed the ancient religions.
The very word Sacrifice comes from the ancient Latin word meaning ‘to make sacred’. Since the God and Goddess would have to sacrifice of themselves to give aid to their followers, They had also demanded sacrifices from Their followers. Blood sacrifices were also demanded, but not as many of the neopagans and Christians think. Many of the ancient religions did not sacrifice humans but did spill the blood of the sacred animals. Later this animal would be cooked and consumed by the followers. The consumption of the meat brought the spirit of the God and Goddess closer to Their followers.
The above is an excerpt from my upcoming book Traditional Witchcraft. This book will be completed by Fall 2008.
This will be a comprehensive book dealing with the facts and falsies of what Traditional Witchcraft is and how to correctly perform rites, rituals and beliefs of Paganism from ancient times to current. Along with this I will offer concept on how to create and run a pagan sanctuary/church.
If you like the article please contact me through Pagansanctuary@aol.com .
Copyright: Ronald Boldt (pagansanctuary) 1990
Location: Minden, Texas
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