Monday, June 13, 2016

Tools of the Craft: The Gods don't shop at Hobby Lobby

What tools should I use in my witchcraft? How should I acquire them? What should they be made of? How should they look? These are important things we all need to ask ourselves before beginning to collect our tools of arte. Modern pagans are bombarded with hundreds of ready made tools, trinkets, and other supplies which come straight off the boat from China, right into the warehouses of Azure Green and Hobby Lobby, all for your buying pleasures.

I myself am guilty of spending a fortune through the years on resin statues and cheaply made ritual tools. It wasn't until I really began to delve into the world of Traditional Witchcraft that I realized that I strayed from what I was trying to achieve. Well, how can we determine what is needed and what it not? What is a good buy and what should I hold off on and make myself? First we must understand what we are trying to achieve with our tools.

First and foremost, ANY and ALL tools of witchcraft are unnecessary to perform a rite of magick. We have to remember that before the 1950s, witchcraft was mostly illegal. It is still illegal in some places of the world today. One could not freely use tools that would  make others suspicious of their use in "the workings of the Devil". This would mean incarceration for the witch, and in many cases death. So tools had to be simple rods of wood, brooms, pots, and stone markers. Nothing with symbols, and certainly nothing that would have been out of the ordinary in any home.

Now that we have covered that tools are unnecessary, let me say that they do help. In fact they help tremendously. They are used by creating a certain mental environment for the witch to do his or her works with. They, in a sense, put the witch mentally where they need to be to strengthen their magickal practices. So, we need to buy, fashion, and acquire tools and other religious items that create an environment that connects us to the "feel" of traditional craft. Its like using specific herbs at a certain time for a certain spell work that coincide on what your are trying to achieve. Would you use herbs that are suitable for a love spell to do a binding? Of coarse not, it would be counter-productive.

The "feel" of Traditional Witchcraft is primitive, simple, and powerful. Its spiritual connection comes from otherwordly spiritual beings. Its the same feeling you get from imagery of the deep dark forest where man rarely treads.  It exudes colors that are neutral, deep, and dark. Shiny bright colors seem to hinder the environment one tries to create for their workings. Where these bright and sparkling colors may work well in Wicca, its a big hindrance in Traditional Craft. It's actually better to not use anything, than throw in a bunch of tackiness into your magickal world. Keep things simple, earthly, and as natural as possible. Use real stone, bone, bronze, and copper. Don't use polyester blend yarn for your chords; get some linen yarn instead. Sure it's easier to go down to your local Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby and pick up some cheap run of the mill yarn. Hell, it's even easier to braid than linen yard. But we have to keep its properties in mind. Robert Cochrane even says that when using linen yarn; the act of braiding linen (flax) yard without any extra intent, creates a powerful tool in itself. We should strive for the very best in our craft, and if we can't get what we need immediately, we should wait till we can. This shows patience. It's shows the Gods that we take pride in everything we do, and present to them. It shows them that we know our path, and we will never settle for "That's good enough".

There are times when we do find things that will fit in our world of magick that are worth purchasing. For instance, most of us are not blacksmiths and have no experience building an athame (knife). But we have to remember; let's pass on that fancy plastic handle, and settle for that simple wooden or bone handled athame. Let's etch that handle ourselves with images the Gods will adore.

Also remember, your altar and tools are an expression of you and your craft. If you walk around wearing a clown suit, people will only see you as a clown!!!

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