The athame is a magic knife. It is not used for cutting, but to
direct energy raised during rites and spells.
It is usually a dull, double-edged knife with a black or dark colored
handle. Black absorbs power.
Athames are sometimes engraved with magical symbols, but this is up
The knife absorbs power from you and the area around you.
A sword is sometimes used, as it has all the qualities of a knife.
Because of its size, it is cumbersome to use indoors.
Stories about magical swords are common in mythic literature.
The symbolism of the knife is change. It is linked with the Element
Its straight phallic shape links it with the God.
Vibrations are released when a bell is rung. The effects differ,
depending on the tone, volume, and
material of the bell. Any type of bell may be used.
A bell may be rung to signal the beginning and ending of a ritual. It
also may ward off negativity or
evoke good energies. It is protector if hung on a door. The bell is a
feminine symbol. It is often used
to invoke the Goddess in ritual.
The Boline is a white-handled knife. It is an actual cutting knife.
It is used to cut herbs, wands,
to inscribe symbols on other magical items, or cutting cords. It is
not used just in circle.
The Broom (Besom) History and Lore
Brooms have long been associated with witches because they were used
in pagan rituals of marriage
and birth. In Rome the broom was a symbol of Hecate's priestess, who
swept the threshold of a house
after each birth to remove evil spirits that might harm the child.
The broom also used in weddings, signifying sexual union. Wedding
customs included jumping over a
broom. Medieval peasant weddings were churchless and came under the
area of common law. The
broom was so closely identified with nonecclesiastical marriages that
by the time of the Renaissance,
when the church began to take over wedding rites, marriages "by the
broom" were considered illegitimate.
Children ride a broomstick with a toy horse head at one end. This is
copied from Sufi mystics who
entered Spain in the early Middle Ages. They organized themselves
into groups of 13, like covens.
The Sufi sages rode horse-headed canes called zamalzain, "gala
limping horse." The dervish's stick
horse stood for the Pegasus-like fairy steed that carried him to
heaven and back. Customs like this
became prevalent among the Basques, and they were frequently accused
The stick is traditionally made of ash for protection. It represents
the male. The brush is traditionally
made from birch twigs for exorcism, purification, and also
protection. It represents the female principle.
A branch of willow is used to bind the stick and the brush together.
The willow represents protection,
healing, and love. Because of the sexual symbolism involved, the
word "besom" was used as slang to
describe a "loose" woman.
The broom is used in ritual and magic. This tool is sacred to both
the Goddess and God. Pre-Columbian
Mexico worshiped a goddess who rode naked on a broom, so this idea is
The broom became a powerful tool against curses. Even today many
people hang a broom on the
front door of their home, but most do not know the symbolism of it.
The area to be used for ritual is swept clean with the broom. The
sweeping is more than a physical
sweep of the area. Visualize the broom sweeping out all the
negativity in the area. This clears the
way for more effective magic.
The broom is a purifier that is linked the Element of Water, which is
also a purifier.
It is used in all types of water spells.
The censer holds the incense burned during ritual. It may be one made
of fancy metal, or a
beautiful shell from the sea. The censer represents the Element of
The word "cauldron" is from the Latin cauldus meaning hot and
Sanskrit cra to boil. the word "caudle"
also comes from the same Sanskrit root. It is a spiced gruel used for
healing. This was given to people
who were confined and to those who came to see a new baby at home.
The cauldron is an ancient vessel of cooking, full of magical
tradition and mystery. It is often the focal
point of rituals. During spring rites it may be filled with flowers.
During winter you may have a small fire
in it to represent the returning heat and light of the sun (the God)
from the cauldron (the Goddess).
The cauldron may be used for scrying (gazing) by filling it with
The cauldron should be of iron with three legs. The opening should be
smaller than the widest part.
The shape of the cauldron represent mother nature, and the three legs
the triple face of the moon
goddess. They come in many sizes. This is usually the hardest tool to
The cauldron is a symbol of the Goddess, the essence of femininity
It is a symbol of the Element of Water, reincarnation, immortality
The cup may be make of silver, brass, pottery, stone, or anything. It
is also a symbol of the
Goddess and fertility. It is used to hold water, or any beverage to
be drunk for ritual.
The pentacle is a flat piece of brass, gold, silver, wax, clay, wood,
or other material. It is
usually inscribed with the pentagram. Objects that are to be ritually
consecrated are placed
upon the pentacle. The pentacle represents the element of Earth.
The word "wand" is derived from the Gothic word windan,
meaning "wind" or "bind". The wand is
used to bind the energy of the spell together.
The wand has been used for thousands of years in religious and
magical rites. The Goddess and God
are invoked with the wand. The wand is also used to direct energy, to
draw magical symbols during ritual.
Wands may also be used to stir a magical brew in your cauldron.
The wand represents the Element of Air and evokes the energy of the
The energy is sent in the direction the wand is pointing.
Making a Wand
You may construct your wand using metal or wood.
Go to your local hardware or home improvement store.
Find a length of metal tubing with a diameter that is comfortable for
Attach a crystal at one end using leather to wrap the crystal and
secure it to the metal.
At the other end use fabric, leather or other material for a grip.
Engrave the wand with runes or symbols of your choice using an
Decorate your wand with what you feel is appropriate.
You may use things like stones, feathers, shells, beads, or anything
you feel belongs there.
Since the earliest times candles have been used in religious
They represent the power of light out of the darkness. It is
knowledge and spiritual illumination.
Ancient people used fire to symbolize the life force within each of
Wiccans use candles to represent the Elements in ritual.
They are also used to focus the thought during meditation and create
atmosphere. Some Wiccans carve special patterns or runic symbols on
although this is not necessary.
Use fresh candles that are not cracked for each spell. Let the
candles burn down.
Do not leave the candles unattended. Place the candles that are
burning in a safe place,
away from drafts, or where they will not fall.
Candles may be lit with matches or a lighter, though some Wiccans
will object to this.
Some object to the sulfur on the matches, some to the petroleum
product in the lighter.
Try to use hand dipped candles as they burn slower than factory
candles. Beeswax is
best as it comes straight from nature. Because of this, they are
considered more powerful.
Try to keep at least two candles of each color. Keep more of the
white and black.
White may be substituted for other colors, and black may be hard to
Some Witches like to wear ceremonial robes for their rituals.
They feel it adds an intensity that might not be there otherwise.
It helps change your mind set from the days normal happenings to the
special time of ritual.
Others believe that clothes hinder the energy that is built during
ritual and perform in circle "skyclad" (nude).
If you prefer being clothed, represent the earth elements and chose a
natural fiber cloth.