Your Magickal Tools


Contents:
I. The Athame
II. The Wand
III. The Chalice
IV. The Pentacle
V. The Mortar and Pestle
VI. The Wards
VII. The Cord


Consecrations, I: The Athame

Ritual ingredients necessary: a knife (preferably black-handled and double-edged, but this isn't essential); incense (to represent fire and air); salt water (to represent water and earth); a chalice of wine; magnet or lodestone; earth (a bowl full or potted plant will do, but if you do this ritual outside just use the earth where you are standing); point candles and a center candle.

Procedure: Cast the circle. Invoke the Goddess and god. Take the bowl of salt water, and plunge the athame into it, saying something to the effect of:

"Blessed be thou, blade of iron. By art made, by art consecrated. By water and earth I purify thee."

Pass the athame through the smoke of the incense, saying:

"Blessed be thou, blade of iron. By art made, by art consecrated. By fire and air I charge thee."

Hold the blade in the flame of your center candle until it is heated, then plunge it into the wine, saying:

"Blessed be thou, blade of iron. By art made, by art consecrated. Banish what I would have thee banish. So mote it be. " (do this three times.)

Rub the magnet along the blade of the athame, away from yourself, saying:

"Blessed be thou, blade of iron. By art made, by art consecrated. Attract what I would have thee attract. So mote it be." (do this three times.)

Plunge the blade into the earth, saying:

"Blessed be thou, blade of iron. By art made, by art consecrated. Be used in the service of our Mother the Earth. So mote it be." (do this three times.)

If you are outside, you may choose to leave the knife in the earth for three days, as is traditional; but this is not essential. When you take it out of the earth the third time, kiss the blade, and say:

"Blessed be thou, blade of iron. By art made, by art consecrated. I consecrate thee with a kiss. Serve me well. As I do will, so mote it be."

You can paint your Magickal name in runes on the handle or scribe them into the blade, if you wish. If you haven't yet decided on a Magickal name, wait until your initiation to do it.

This is the Magickal working for this circle, and can be followed by a pathworking if desired, or you may go directly to the cakes and wine, to be followed by the formal Leave to Depart to the directions and the Gods.

It isn't necessary to use the exact words given; they are traditional in many Circles, but your own words, spoken in sincerity from your heart, are the best Magick you can use. Just remembe that your athame is the keen blade of your mind, which is used to delineate the difference between the worlds, between one state of awareness and another. Keep that in mind when you cast a circle.


Consecrations, II: The Wand

Ritual ingredients necessary: a wand (must be at least the length from your elbow to longest fingertip, but may be as long as you like over that--see Robert Graves' The White Goddess for tree symbolism); incense; a bowl of salt water; candles; almond oil (symbolizing the Sun); your athame.

Procedure: Cast the Circle. Invoke the Goddess and God. Take the bowl of salt water and sprinkle over the length of the wand, saying:

"Blessed be thou, wand of art. By art made, by art consecrated. By water and earth I purify thee."

Pass the wand through the smoke of the incense, saying:

"Blessed be thou, wand of art. By art made, by art consecrated. By fire and air I charge thee."

Take your athame and carve your Magickal name in runes on the wand, saying:

"Blessed be thou, wand of art. By art made, by art consecrated. Be thou an expression of my will. So mote it be."

(If you have not yet picked a Magickal name, just carve your initials on the wand, and carve your Magickal name when you choose one.)

Take a few drops of almond oil and rub them between your hands. Anoint the wand, top to bottom and bottom to top, saying:

"Blessed be thou, wand of art. By art made, by art consecrated. With oil I charge thee. Be thou the instrument of my desire. So mote it be."

Everyone present in unison pounds wands on the floor, chanting:

"Dancing wand, with earth I charge thee. Blessed be."

Follow up with trancework, cakes and wine, and end with Leave to Depart.

This may seem to contain some sexual symbolism. Clever of you to notice. The wand is, in fact, the symbol of the powers of Fire, of Will, of outgoing energy (thought of in this society as being the exclusive province of males, but, as we all realize, belonging to everyone regardless of plumbing). It is, in short, a symbol of the penis; so it may quite appropriately be covered with phallic carvings if you wish. it represents the second side of the witches' pyramid; just as the athame represents Imagination, the wand represents Will.

(Rampant feminists have patience: next we consecrate the Chalice, and we all know what THAT stands for...)

Blessed Be!


Consecrations, III: The Chalice

Ritual ingredients needed: salt, water, incense, oil (some lunar type of oil such as jasmine, lemon, or eucalyptus); red wine; your athame; a chalice and a bowl (the bowl can be of earthenware or metal, as can the chalice; however if you use a chalice of copper or brass, be sure to coat the inside with Varathane or some other non-reactive coating, as the alcohol in wine reacts with these two metals and you can poison yourself. Silver is nice but probably beyond the means of most of us; pewter is excellent, being moon-colored; and, if you are the careful type, a glass goblet would be very pretty. Suit yourself).

Procedure: The initial purification ritual with salt water used to cast the circle will serve to purify your bowl. When doing this consecration in a group, each person should fill his/her own bowl with water and individually add the salt and do a purification rather than passing one bowl around the circle. This bowl will then serve as your container for salt water to purify the chalice.

Cast the Circle as usual, and invoke Goddess and God. Take salt water from the bowl and sprinkle over your chalice, saying:

"Blessed be thou, cup of art. By art made, by art consecrated. By water and earth I purify thee."

Pass the chalice through the smoke of the incense, saying:

"Blessed be thou, cup of art. By art made, by art consecrated. By fire and air I charge thee."

Take your athame and carve your Magickal name or initials in runes on the chalice, saying:

"Blessed be thou, cup of art. By art made, by art consecrated. Be thou the gateway of my dreams. So mote it be."

Take a few drops of oil and rub between your hands. Anoint the outside ( NOT the inside) of the chalice , saying:

"Blessed be thou, cup of art. By art made, by art consecrated. With oil I charge thee. Be thou the cradle of pleasure. So mote it be."

Fill the chalice with wine. Pour a libation to the Lady into the bowl of salt water if you are indoors, on the ground if outdoors, saying:

"Blessed be thou, cup of art. By art made, by art consecrated. Be thou ever filled with the wine of life. So mote it be."

Drink the wine in one draught, and when the cup is empty, turn it upside down and shout "Blessed Be!"

Follow up with trancework, cakes and wine, and end with the Leave to Depart.

The chalice and bowl are the symbols of Water, the great purifying Ocean; they also stand for the womb and the receptive energy in all of us which makes us capable of giving birth (to other human being in the case of some of us, to other kinds of creation in the case of all of us). The West is also the region of the Gates of Death, and the Chalice may also be the bitter cup which we would avoid if we could but may not. The Chalice represents Faith, the third side of the Witches' Pyramid; the Faith that lets us face whatever life and death bring us, be receptive to it, and make creative results come from it. It is our female strength, and our direct connection with the Lady.

Blessed Be.


Consecrations, IV: The Pentacle

The Pentacle symbolizes the element of Earth. Earth is the fourth side of the Witches' Pyramid, the direction of Strength. The Pentacle can be either:

1. a flat round plate of wood or ceramic, used to serve the cakes during Cakes & Wine. This Pentacle will be flat, circular, and fairly large;

2. a container for salt, which stands on the altar and is used at the beginning of the ritual (see Casting the Circle). This may be a covered dish or jar;

3. a separate symbol with no material function. This may be as small or large as you wish, but should be circular and flat.

In all cases it should have a pentacle on its upper surface, either painted, enscribed, sculpted, inlaid, appliqued, embroidered, or whatever appeals to you.

It is a good thing to connect the way you make your living to the materials of your pentacle; for instance, a baker might want to make one of bread-dough; someone who works in wood or clay might make one in their own medium. If you do not work with your hands for a living, the simplest thing to do is to buy a round wooden disk (a cutting board perhaps) and carve a five-pointed star on it. If you don't make any of your other tools yourself, you should make this one: the element of Earth is the one with which we should be most in touch, literally.

Consecrating the Pentacle:

You will need the usual salt water and incense, plus some wine and a little oil of the North (see the Table of Correspondences on Four), and your athame.

Purify as usual with salt water.

Charge as usual with incense.

Anoint with oil, saying:

"Blessed be thou, creature of Earth. Be thou consecrated to the service of Earth. Be the embodiment of my work, of my efforts, of my harvest, of my feasting. In the joy of the body, serve me well. As I do will, so mote it be."

Scribe the pentacle with your athame, saying :

"Blessed be thou, Creature of Earth. By art made, by art consecrated. With my Magickal blade I charge thee. Be thou the embodiment of my work, of my efforts, of my harvest, of my feasting. As above, so below; as below, so above. Serve me well in both realms. As I do will, so mote it be."

While you consecrate your Pentacle, try to energize it with the power of your ambitions and aspirations for your life in the world: wishes for good crops, for freedom from poverty, for the ability to develop your talents, for meaningful work. Whether you use the pentacle as a symbol, or to carry your purifying salt or the cakes of your feasting, the energy you put into it will come through and radiate into your life, giving you a solid base on which you can build whatever you need to build. It will be your connection to the Mother. If you feel the need to ground at any time you can do it by holding the pentacle in your hands, touching it to your forehead, then lowering it to the ground, saying:

"Now let the power pass from me
To end where it was begun
As I do will, so mote it be,
Chant the spell, and be it done!"

This is a good all-purpose way of ending any Magickal work.

Blessed Be!


Consecrations, V: The Mortar and Pestle

Two of the symbols of the Center point are the Cauldron and the Mortar & Pestle. The difference between them is one of form rather than function; if you think about it, you will see that both objects are symbols of transformation. And the Center is the direction of Transformation; in the case of the cauldron, the transformation which happens in the womb of the Mother, in the cooking pot (because the cauldron IS a cooking pot), the kind of transformation which uses all four elements to produce a fifth, the quinta essentia of the alchemists. Earth produces the meat and vegetables, Water moistens them, Fire heats them, and the Air carries the savor to our noses, arousing hunger. We eat, and transform both the food and ourselves. The food travels through our bodies, to eventually fertilize the earth, and the cycle of transformation goes on.

In the case of the Mortar & Pestle, the imagery is more sexual. Quite overtly so, in fact; as the act of grinding herbs in a mortar with a pestle is a perfect type of the male-female sexual act and the production of something new from it, it stands as a symbol of the relationship between Above and Below, of Goddess and God, of that which gives and that which receives--in short, of the two aspects of our personalities. The Center is the spot at which each of us stands, to judge the Universe and be judged by it. It is all directions and none. It where all the elements meet, in each of us. It is well, therefore, to think of one's cauldron or mortar & pestle as a ritual object which can never really be cleaned, spiritually speaking. Any Magick we do, anything we cook up in the Cauldron of the soul, leaves its traces; and it behooves each to make sure that no poison corrupts it. If you do evil, you will keep evil with you, in the inmost center; and it will slowly poison whatever attempts you make at doing good or preserving yourself. This is the basis of Craften ethics: not so much that "whatever you do will come back to you three times", as the legend goes, but that if you want good soup you must use good ingredients. And you don't use the same pot for soup and for poison, in your own interests. Throwing curses is like pissing into the wind.

How to consecrate the Cauldron/Mortar & Pestle:

You will need: Salt water, incense, your athame, your chalice, wine, an edible oil such as olive, peanut or safflower, and herbs (one each for the seven planets according to the following list):

SUN: angelica, bay laurel, camomile, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, rue, saffron
MOON: bay laurel, ginseng, nutmeg, wintergreen
MARS: basil, cayenne, coriander, garlic, mustard
MERCURY: cinnamon, dill, fennel, fenugreek, mace, marjoram, parsley
JUPITER: anise seed, cloves, mace, mint, nutmeg, sage
VENUS: angelica, cardamom, marjoram, mint, pennyroyal, saffron, tarragon, thyme
SATURN: comfrey, hemp, rue, tarragon, thyme, wintergreen
(Note: these are all edible herbs, but by no means a complete list.)

Procedure: Cast the Circle and invoke as usual. Purify with salt water and charge with incense as usual. Pour a little wine into the Cauldron or Mortar and anoint, saying:

"Blessed be thou, creature of art. By art made, by art consecrated. With the wine of life I charge thee. Blessed Be."

Pour the wine from the Cauldron into the Chalice, to be used later. If you are using non-edible oils, anoint only the outside of the Cauldron/Mortar; if using cooking oil, anoint the inside as well, saying:

"Blessed be thou, creature of art. By art made, by art consecrated. With the oil of pleasure I charge thee. Blessed Be." (Make sure you don't forget the pestle as well as the mortar.)

With your athame, scribe your name on the outside, saying:

"Blessed be thou, creature of art. By art made, by art consecrated. With this Magickal blade I imbue thee with my power. Serve me well as the vehicle of my transformation. Blessed Be."

Now take the mixture of herbs (which you have already set aside) and pour a little into the cauldron of Mortar. In the cauldron, rub them around the inside; with the Mortar and Pestle, grind them up, saying:

"I mix the herbs to make the spell:
Serve me faithfully and well.
Cauldron of Cerridwen, Blessed Be."
(N.B.: make sure you do all your grinding CLOCKWISE.)

When the herbs are ground to a fine powder with the Mortar and Pestle or rubbed all over the interior of the Cauldron, take them and add them to the wine in the chalice. Stir this mixture with your athame, saying:

"May all my spells work to the nourishment of the body and the enlightenment of the mind, to the clarity of the will and the purity of the emotions, And may I drink true gold all my life. So mote it be."

If you have an iron cauldron, it is advisable to season it in the oven before use, thus:

Rub the Cauldron inside with cooking oil, enough to leave a light film on it. Place it in a 350 oven for an hour, then take it out and, after letting it cool down, repeat the process. Do this three times in all, and if you wish to do this as a ritual (why not? the more rituals the more fun), say:

"Blessed be thou, creature of iron.
By art made, by art consecrated.
Be thou seasoned in the fires of Transformation
to become the vessel of Transformation,
the Cauldron of Rebirth,
the Source of Nourishment,
and the Timbrel of Wisdom. Blessed Be."

The cauldron should be used as a cooking pot whenever possible, not merely relegated to symbolic status. The Mortar and Pestle, too, should be used for practical herbal work in the compounding of seasonings and healing herbs as well as for Magick. If you do a lot of work with non-edible herbs, e.g., incenses, it might be wise to get a second mortar and pestle for strictly culinary purposes. But there is no reason to neglect the ritual consecration of your food-preparing tools. Your kitchen should be just as much a sacred space as your altar.

In fact, anything that you use a lot should be consecrated: your running shoes, your computer (watch it with the salt water--a token sprinkle will do), your favorite pen...

Blessed be!


The Wards
(thanks to Judy D of COR for this idea)

Wards are small blocks of wood with gemstones set in the top surface, to correspond with the four directions, the God, and the Goddess. They are used in lieu of point candles if you wish to cast a circle and have no candles; or you can set out wards around your bed at night to protect yourself while you sleep, or when you feel the need for protection. If you place them in your home they will serve to mark out a permanent protective circle; and kept in a small bag, they are portable and make an excellent addition to your field kit.

MAKING WARDS: Cut and sand one-inch blocks of wood. Glue gemstones to the top. You may use other objects connected with the Gods and the Elements if you like, but here are some suggested materials for each:

DIRECTION: East (Air)
STONES: white opal, topaz
WOOD: ash, birch
OILS: sandalwood, lavender,cinnamon

DIRECTION: South (Fire)
STONES: carnelian, Mexican opal, bloodstone, ruby
WOOD: pine, cedar
OILS: bay, camomile, clove, patchouli

DIRECTION:West (Water)
STONES: emerald, triplet opal, sapphire, aquamarine
WOOD: willow, alder
OILS: rosemary, myrrh, wintergreen

DIRECTION: North (Earth)
STONES: moss agate, matrix opal
WOOD: rowan, elder
OILS: rose, orris, musk, mint, jasmine

DIRECTION: Center (God)
STONES: garnet, fire agate
WOOD; oak, redwood
OILS: patchouli, clove

DIRECTION: Center (Goddess)
STONES: moonstone, crystal
WOOD: willow, hazel, apple
OILS: eucalyptus, lemon, wintergreen

CHARGING THE WARDS: Purify as usual with salt water. Charge as usual with incense (fire & air). Anoint with the appropriate oil (see chart), mixed in your hand with a little of your saliva or blood, saying:

"Blessed be thou, guardian and protector. Be thou sacred to the service of the Watchtower of the (East, South, West, North). Be thou connected with me to guard me from dangers in the (direction named). Serve me well, as I serve thee. As I do will, so mote it be." Do this for the four directional wards. For the Goddess and God wards, say: "Blessed be thou, guardian and protector. Be thou sacred to the service of the (Lord, Lady). Be thou connected with me to guard me from dangers above and below, within and without. Serve me well, as I serve thee. As I do will, so mote it be."

SETTING THE WARDS: Use in place of point candles at rituals, or to guard you while you sleep. Place the four directional wards as far to the ends of the room or house as physically possible. Place the God and Goddess wards near you, or in the direction from which you feel danger. As you place each ward (clockwise from East, then Goddess, then God), say to each:

"Watch and ward, protect and guard, by the Lady and the Lord."

Place them in inconspicuous corners, by the baseboards or on shelves or moldings where they will not be observed but will pick up influences in the room. When you put them away, pick each up and thank it for guarding you, and say the Leave to Depart to each one exactly as at the end of a ritual. Keep them in a bag when not in use, and get in the habit of carrying the bag with you when you travel. Hang the bag over your bed at night if you are not setting them out to guard you: so that they will pick up your vibrations, you might want to carry them about with you for the first few weeks you have them.

Blessed Be!


The Cord

The Witch's Cord is the badge of initiation and rank in the Craft. While you are yet cordless, you are an apprentice. Your first cord is given to you to mark your entry into the coven, and your new status as Priest/ess and Witch. In our tradition, this first cord is white, a reminder of the Maiden Goddess. It signifies that you are yet young in the Craft, and that your studies are now really beginning, much like entry to medical school after successfully completing a pre-med program. It means that you know enough to conduct a ritual on your own, that you know the meaning of the various seasonal observances, and that you have absorbed enough general knowledge of the Craft to go on in your studies without having to ask basic questions. It also means that you have made some sort of commitment to the Goddess and Her ways, either working alone or in a coven.

When you receive your White Cord, your measure is taken, and knots are tied in the Cord to denote this fact. This means that you are known, height and breadth and depth, by the Goddess; there is no fooling Her or shucking or sliding away from the responsibilities She has laid upon you in this life. It also means that your co-coveners have taken your measure, and are willing to accept you into the fellowship in perfect love and perfect trust. This bond, which is also symbolized by the Cord, is in some ways closer than a marriage. It takes continual work and care and maintenance.

The Cord is also a tool of binding: you are bound by your oath of faithfulness to the Lady and to the coven; you are bound by the discipline which only you can set upon yourself to study hard and to practice assiduously; and you are bound to follow the leadings She gives you.

After a year and a day as White Cord, you become eligible for consideration as a candidate for Red Cord (second degree). The second cord is red to stand for the Mother aspect of the Goddess, and the attributes of a second-degree Witch are not unlike those of the Mother: nurturing, teaching, organizing, taking care of a coven as High Priest/ess. Some people never attain the Red Cord, but this is no shame: it is not for everyone.

While wearing the Red Cord, a Witch has many responsibilities outside her/himself. Teaching and healing, counseling and organizing, are all things which take a great deal of time and energy--sometimes it seems as though the Red Cord is colored so by the wearer's lifeblood. And after a time of wearing the Red Cord may come the time of moving onward to the next stage, the third degree.

In other traditions, third-degree Witches wear not a cord but a garter. However, in our tradition, the next step onward (not necessarily upward--on occasion this might be a lateral move) is the Black Cord, black to signify the Crone, the repository of Wisdom. Since there have been (up until now) no Black Cord Witches, there is nobody to grant the this cord to the aspirant. Thus it is necessary for the would-be Black Cord to ask the entire coven to call the Goddess into her/him. This completes the circle of energy and signifies that any hierarchical structure used in the coven is there for convenience' sake alone. Once you have been accepted as Priestess and Witch you need bow the knee to nobody. Hopefully, however, you will have the good sense to recognize talent and ability when you see it in another and not let yourself get ego involved in power politics. For a Black Cord Witch the path is away from self-aggrandizement and power and toward that portion of starry wisdom which the Goddess holds out as a gift and a prize at the end of each particular path.

Nobody is ever entitled to a Cord: a Cord is an indication of commitment to a path of work begun. Whether White, Red, or Black, it is a symbol of the unfinished, of the steps each has to take to reach perfect love and perfect trust.

Blessed Be!


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