Black Spirituality Religion : Some Tools of the Witch or Magickal Practitioner

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by soulosophy, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. soulosophy

    soulosophy Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Just as most religions use tools for services, rituals, etc, tools are used in witchcraft to aid and enhance ritual worship. Tools have no power in themselves, though they do have powerful symbolic significances. Some tools like the Wand and Athame (pronounced ath-ay-me) for instance are used to invoke and direct whatever power we generate or pass through them.

    While tools are not absolutely necessary to the practice of the craft, some tools are nice to have if only to focus our will and concentration. The basic tools to start with are the elemental tools or those tools which represent the four elements of life:

    - The Pentacle for the Earth element representing fertility, promotes peace, money, stability;
    - The Wand for Air element representing intellect, wisdom, communication, travel;
    - The Athame for the Fire element representing will power, strength, courage, purification;
    - The Chalice for the Water element representing healing, dreams, psychic occurrence, love.

    (The 5th element of Ether represents the amplification of the spiritual realm.)

    The Tools:

    Athame - The athame is the traditional ritual dagger of the witch or magickian. Commonly it has a black handle and steel double-edged blade. The handle or blade can be engraved with magickal symbols indicative of deities, spirits or the elements as sources of power. The athame is a tool of command, it is used to direct what power we pass through it and used to cast circles by tracing the circumference, to charge and consecrate objects and banish negative energies. In most traditions, it is never used as a mundane knife for cutting purposes, and is used strictly for magickal purposes only. As an elemental tools of the craft, in most traditions it is associated with the elements of Fire, in others it is associated with Air. The phallic symbolism of the knife links it with the Divine Absolute. The athame is also used in many invocations, evocations, calling the watchtowers, LBRP (lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram), spellwork, ceremonies, initiation, and various rituals and rites.

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    Hecate Pentacle Athame (above) - Hecate symbol with triple moons (vesica pisces) Pentagram on hilt of blade.

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    Dark Magick Athame (above) - Call upon the dark forces and energies with this powerful piece.

    Pentacle - (There are many iterations of the mystery and significance of both the Pentacle as well as the Pentagram.) The Pentagram, while encircled, is a magickal "diagram" of the Universe; the circle symbolizes completeness, or the All, and the 5 points are the components of this. All are equal and in balance. "As above, so below" - as with the universe so with people. The whole person, made up (ideally) of all components in balance.

    The pentacle is a traditional tool of the craft. Originally it is thought to have been adopted from ceremonial magic. It is usually a round solid disc often made from stone, wood or cooper. On the disc is engraved or painted an up-right five pointed star enclosed inside a circle called the Pentagram. A disc decorated in this manner then becomes a Pentacle. In some traditions other symbols are added indicative of deities, spirits or the elements as sources of power. The pentacle is normally the centerpiece of the alter on which objects are placed to be consecrated or charged, such things as amulets, charms and tools are placed on it, as is the salt and water for blessing.

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    INVOKING - To call the spirits one starts at Spirit tracing to Fire (1), tracing to Water (2), tracing to Air (3), tracing to Earth (4), tracing to Spirit (5), and finishing the pentagram with Fire (6); This is invoking power to begin a meditation. The Fire attracts the Sprits.

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    BANISHING -To dismiss the spirits one starts at Spirit tracing to Earth (1), tracing to Air (2), tracing to Water (3), tracing to Fire (4), tracing to Spirit (5), and finishing the pentagram with Earth (6). (This is called "grounding" - Letting the energy created by invocation be dissipated back into the Earth.


    Wand - The wand is one of the prime magical tools of the witch. It is the instrument of invocation of spirits. Traditionally the wand is made from the wood of a sacred tree. These include the Willow, Elder, Oak, Apple, Peach, Hazel and Cherry, to mention just a few. Its length should approximate the crook of the elbow to the middle of the index finger. These days many modern materials are used instead, and even tipped with crystals and gems. The wand is a tool of invocation, it is used to evoke the Gods, Goddesses and Spirits. It is also used to bestow blessings, charge objects and draw down the moon during ritual. In most traditions the wand represents the elements of Air, in others it represents the elements of Fire and symbolizes the life-force within the Witch. The wand dates back to prehistoric times. The Kemetic Tehuti is represented with a caduceus, a wand entwined with snake and winged top, a symbol of power, wisdom and healing.

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    Bast Energy Wand (above) - Bast, taken from the word Bastet. The Egytian cat headed goddess. She is stated to be the mother of the lion headed god Mihos. She is depicted most commonly as a woman with the head of a wild cat or lion, or as a cat itself. Beautiful in every aspect, on top sits Bast, with her tail wrapping around the shaft to a great pyramid.

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    Amethyst Crystal Wand (above) - Handcrafted wand of polished amethyst adorned with silver. One end of the wand contains a polished clear quartz point, & the other end a polished clear quartz ball.

    Censer - The censer is an incense burner used to contain burning incense during ritual. The censer is also used for burning incense, herbs, wood and other substances, to cleanse and purify the air before rituals. Any type of censer can be used, even a simple bowl filled with sand will do. Censing, which represents the element of air, exorcises and keeps unwanted energies away from the magic site; offers sweet air to the God and Goddess; raises vibrational rates and summons energies; relaxes the senses; and contains and concentrates power. The act of burning incense or other substances is also known as carrying our wishes up to the God and Goddess.

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    Lakshmi Honor Burner (above) - Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of fortune, love, beauty, fertility and also the Lotus.

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    Altar Kettle Censer (above)

    Chalice - The Chalice (also cup, goblet) is associated with the female forces in the universe: fertility, beauty, the womb, earth, emotion, love, compassion, receptivity, instinct, intuition and the subconscious mind. It is the receptacle of spiritual forces and is associated with the element of water. It is a symbol of containment and often represents the womb of the Goddess. The base is symbolic of the material world, the stem symbolises the connection between man and spirit and the rim or opening symbolically receives spiritual energy. Held upright, the cup is the open womb, ready to receive. Held inverted, it symbolizes birth and realization. The chief purpose for the cup is to assist in consecrating the circle, toast the gods, spell-casting, scrying, and ritual work.

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    Pentagram Chalice of Light or Darkness (above) - A chalice with the most important symbol of Witchcraft, the pentacle. One chalice represents the light and the other darkness, which could symbolize the God and Goddess, a balance of the altar, or simply the light and dark (duality of masculine feminine principles)

    Broom - The broom is a ritual tool of the witch, sacred to both Goddess and the God. The God - through its symbolic phallic shape, The Goddess - through its three-piece make up, the stick, brush and binding cord being symbolic of the triformis aspect of the Goddess.

    Traditionally the broom was made from three different woods. Ash for the handle, Birch twigs for the brush and Willow for the binding cord. Ash is protective and has command over the four elements. Birch is purifying and draws spirits to one’s service. Willow is sacred to the Goddess.

    The broom is used for a variety of purposes but most generally are used to sweep away negative energies, influences and astral build-up from the working space to purify and protect, and ritually clean the area for your energy before performing any rite. Of old it was used to guard the home and persons within against psychic attack or evil curses, this by placing it across the threshold, windowsills or doorways. It was also placed under the bed or a pillow to protect the sleeper.

    Traditionally and perhaps the use which most people identify it with, are the old wedding ceremonies of the Gypsies and the early Afrikan enslaved peoples of the Americas, where a couple leapt over the broom to ensure fertility, domestic harmony and longevity. Today pagan hand-fasting rituals often include a broom jump.

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    Crescent Ritual Broom (above) - This sacred broom used for purification, cleaning the altar and circle, conjuring and spell-work.

    Bolline - The Bolline or White-Handled knife as it is now known, is the practical knife of the craft. Traditionally it was used to harvest herbs and had a blade in the form of a small sickle. Today it is normally a mundane knife used for cutting and carving. It has a white handle to differentiate it from the Athame, which has a black handle and is used only for magickal purposes. The bolline is used to cut wands and herbs, to mark and carve candles with symbols and to cut cords for use in magick. Any other ritual function requiring the use of a knife, such as cutting flowers for the altar, can be performed with the bolline.

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    Cauldron - The cauldron is probably the tool most associated with witchcraft and is steeped in magickal tradition and mystery. The cauldron is the container in which transmutation, germination, and transformations may occur. It is symbolic of the womb of the Goddess, and is the manifested essence of femininity and fertility. Everything is born from the cauldron of the Goddess and afterwards everything returns back to it. It is also symbolic of the element of water, as well as reincarnation, immortality and inspiration.

    In ritual the cauldron is used as a container for making brews and potions, or to contain a small fire for use with spells. It can also be used for scrying (divination) by filling it with water and gazing into its depths.

    In ancient times the cauldron was used as a cooking vessel and for brew making. Traditionally it was made from cast iron, it rests on three legs and has an opening smaller then its widest part.

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    Anubis Cauldron (above)

    Bell - The bell is a ritual tool of invocation and banishment. They are associated with the divine; their sound is symbolic of creative power. The sound vibrations created by the ringing of bells have been believed for centuries to possess a magical and/or spiritual power. The bell is a feminine symbol of the creative female force and the celestial vault force, that of the Goddess. It can be rung to indicate the start of a rite by banishing negative influences before the ritual begins and to open and close the circle, creating positive astral energy. Often it is used to invoke the Goddess during ritual, or sounded at the four quarters to call forth such spirits as the Watchers and Elementals.

    Bells can be used to guard the home by warding off evil spells and spirits, or evoking good energies when placed in cupboards or hung on doors. Hung from a cord the bell symbolises the human soul suspended between heaven and earth.

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    Cobra Bell (above)

    Book of Shadows
    - The Book of Shadows is the workbook of the witch/magickian. In it is recorded: Rituals guidelines, Invocations, Spells, Runes, Rules of a particular Coven or Tradition, Symbols, Poems, Chants, and anything else of use to the witch during ritual.

    Traditionally the Book of Shadows was always hand written by the individual. A common custom for new initiates into a Coven, is to hand copy his teacher’s Book of Shadows exactly as it appeared, then later to add his own material as he progressed in the craft.

    To make your own Book of Shadows, you can use any form of blank book, but perhaps the best type to use are those of a loose-leave nature, thus allowing pages to be shuffled around when preparing for rituals.

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    Isis Book of Shadow (above)

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    Moon Phase Book of Shadows (above)

    Love, Peace!
     
  2. Khasm13

    Khasm13 STAFF STAFF

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    is it true that the early wands were made out of the wood of a holly tree?

    one love
    khasm
     
  3. Alexandra

    Alexandra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Greetings Sister Soul,

    Cool thread.

    Do you by any chance possess any of these magickal tools? I am always looking to learn what other folks have and what they use them for.

    I would also add a Pendulum, and Robes, and Black Scrying Mirror to the list.

    A
     
  4. soulosophy

    soulosophy Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Greetings Bro K-13, as far as I know, anything relating to a witches broom and a holly tree is to do with a disease. This disease is called “witches broom” that attacks and kills certain holly tree species.

    While I'm on the subject of the broom, I'd would just like to add something more about its sacredness. The broom is a highly respected tool in the energy world and is said that the spirits that animate them with their powers can generate purification, good luck, domestic blessings, disease, destruction, death etc which is why it is a very powerful tool among witches/magickal practitioners.

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    Most times when we think of a witches broom we imagine one similar to the pic above. These brooms, consisting of broom corn, are often perceived as having to do with european witchcraft, flying on brooms, etc, but broom corn known as sorghum originated in central Afrika and brooms have quite a connection with Afrikan beliefs.

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    Sorghum (above)

    Sorghum is a stiff type grass (related to raffia and palms) which is used in the production of molasses. By the way, molasses is a major ingredient in Afrikan rituals and is often used as an offering to the orishas Oya and her consort Shango.

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    Anyway, broom corn is often used in West Afrikan rituals and ceremonies. It is said that such natural materials as broom corn, palms, raffia, and also the resins from them like Dragon’s Blood which come from palm trees, are filled with powerful intent and represent the wild, untamed energies of the forest. Such palms and grass are recognised by Afrikan priestesses, priests and shamans as being the denizens of power that embody and contain the living spirits of nature’s forests.

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    Broom corn (above)

    I found something very interesting in Afrikan spiritual tradition particularly that of Yoruba, it is said the orisha Obaluaiye possesses a magickal tool known as a shashara which he uses to disperse epidemics when wanting to raise the consciousness of humanity. Obaluaiye’s mother (the Great Mother) is called Nana Buku and is said that her symbolic image sits on a baobab tree and her appearance is that of a large benevolent whisk broom.

    The purifying broom (below) is known as já in Bahia Brazil and as ha in Dahomean language. The broom consists of dried palm shoot, canvas, burlap, string, beads, cowries, and vegetal ingredients.

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    Even today the broom is seen as a spiritual symbol in the Afrikan Diaspora wedding ceremonies where the bride & groom would jump the broom (and which europeans are even doing now).

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    When I was about 9 years old, I remember my Mum left to go to Jamaica and one of the things she brought back upon her return home was what my siblings and I referred to as a witch broom. She was kinda protective over it as we were never allowed to play with it. She wouldn’t stand it on the floor when she had finished sweeping but would light incense and hold the broom over the smoke then hang the broom on the wall in the kitchen facing upwards. In those days children were to be seen and not heard so we couldn't ask why she was doing a thing. We would get the reply of "child nuh bodda aks mi nuh questyan & guh read yu book". Perhaps she knew of the spirits posed within the broom.

    The secrets of nature’s spirits were kept from us by the enslavers and our parents kept what little they possessed from us too. Many of us have forgotten the ways of our Ancestors and no longer honour or respect the sacredness of the mystical elements of nature - Earth, Water, Fire, Air. Everything we seek lies within.

    Love, Peace!

    Sources:
    - "Broom Jumping: A Celebration of Love" (1992) Danita Rountree Green
    - “Sticks, Stones, Roots & Bones” (2004) Stephanie Rose Bird
    - “Hoodoo Mysteries: Folk Magic, Mysticism & Rituals" (2003) Ray Malbrough
     
  5. soulosophy

    soulosophy Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Greetings Sis A. Thanks!

    I am still very much learning - trial and error type thing. But without saying too much, apart form the obvious tools like censer and bell, let me just say yes I do possess some of the tools above which I use specifically to raise mind energy, invoke certain archetypes, awakening certain gods/esses hormones, tapping into DNA &/or RNA, meridian system etc as well as to manifest certain conditions in my life, not that I’ve been extremely successful in that area lol. Guess I definitely need to work a lot more on my astro-mental centres that influence the chakras. When performing candle-magick I use a bolline (purchased online) to engrave sigils. I don't possess an athame but will consider it when I feel a little more adept in the craft. I wear an inverted pentacle to go into the dark side of the self in order to illuminate the light within. As someone put it quite aptly, "bringing down heaven, raising hell"! Scrying, I'm still trying to pluck up the confidence with that as my imagination can run wilder than a gazelle. I tried it a few times using a mirror I blacked out myself using enamel paint but some very strong negative feelings were coming through for me so I put it down. And now for the life of me don't know where disappeared to. I think my daughter may have taken it and broke it by accident and she don't wanna' say...bless! I have glass wand I bought about 8 months ago but I hardly use it to be honest. I'll have to make use of it. Out of all the tools I posses, the one that I use the most is my pentacle Book of Shadows.

    I fell in love with the Anubis cauldron when I first saw it a few weeks back. And funny enough, I had sought the advice just a few days ago from a practitioner as I was worried about certain aspects of my life and needed some kind of balance and unity and was advised to invoke Anubis/Anpu who leads and protects. Now if that wasn’t synchronicity…

    Not sure I even understand the archetype of Anubis. I did some research and as far as I can tell Anubis physically corresponds to the stomach and spiritually corresponds to the solar plexus. Compassion, in the form of self love/worth/respect resides in the solar plexus. I also read that Anubis is like the protector for when you ask for something and he will not leave you until you are safe and happy in the state he leaves you in [Source: Invoke the Gods by Kala Trobe] I’ll meditate on it and see what comes up for me. In the interim, if anyone can also share some information or guidance regarding this it would be very much appreciated.

    Yes, I’ll definitely include other tools later also… thanks for the tip! :toast:

    Love, Peace!
     
  6. Alexandra

    Alexandra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank you Queen Soul for that wonderful response!

    Do you use the Pentacle Book of Shadows to record your own rituals, or rituals that you come across, or both?

    Ps - I was told that the Jackal God detests being called Anubis, because that is his Greek name. He apparently prefers Anpu. This is from someone who has indepth Kemet knowledge and is also heavy into the rituals. Thought I would give you a heads up incase you do approach him. Oh and then apparently, his energy is out of this world. This poor white witch needed three of her guides to absorb/act as a buffer or she would have been overpowered by it. Heh.

    Pps - I was going to suggest a Rosary, but re-thunk it lol. Seriously though, look up the reference in the Gnostic Voudon workbook, and maybe you'll incorporate it into your tool kit.

    Blessings hun,

    A
     
  7. rasembi aunk

    rasembi aunk Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Alexandra, go to http://www.azzaziel.com and ask Bro. Azzaraiya for the book that you were asking for. He sells it. Voodoo Sorcery Grimoire
     
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