• Jess

Everything But the Kitchen Sink: Ritual Tools in Witchcraft

So, you've heard me say that you don't need a lot of tools for effective magick, and I stand by that. But surely, there must be a reason people have used all those tools in their witchcraft? It wasn't just for fun, buying a chalice and an athame and an incense censer and altar cloths and bells and candles and resins and...

It's called sympathetic magick. if you've picked up any 101 books on witchcraft, you've likely seen at least one "Table of Correspondences". I think of these like little magickal recipe cards.

If you haven't seen one, they'll usually list colours, crystals, herbs, incense/essential oils, elemental and planetary associations related to a type of magickal working such as attracting prosperity or overcoming illness. What we're doing when we work sympathetic magick is rehearsing or imitating the outcome that we're working the spell for.

In a nutshell, the idea is that with each layer of these correspondences we add to our spell, the more it helps us to focus our intent, helping to make our spell more effective. So, if you're working prosperity magick, most books would advise that you need a green candle, some coins, herbs like basil, marjoram and mint, a piece of pyrite or citrine, and some prosperity drawing incense to burn and prosperity drawing oils to dress your candle, with the witches runes for prosperity carved in, just to be sure. This is based in large part on the Doctrine of Signatures.

Part of what we do before we've cast our spell is alter our consciousness and signal to our unconscious that something...extraordinary...is about to happen. The ritual of gathering your tools, cleansing yourself and your space before you work, lighting the candles, creating sacred space...all of it is to help your brain understand that we're engaging with a different state of consciousness. This is why we often meditate beforehand. It helps us shift from the everyday nonstop mental chatter to a deeper sense of connection to our Powers and to the work we're about to do.

So, what are my altar essentials? Well, they're pretty simple. Beeswax candles to represent the element of fire, a bowl of water, a cauldron I burn my loose incense in to symbolize air, and some treasured stones to symbolize earth. I also keep a deck of Tarot cards or my rune set on my altar.

If I'm charging an object like an amulet or elixir, that will stay on my altar for a few evenings.For full moons and holydays, I add altar cloths or candles in the colours associated with the holyday. To bring beauty and focus to my space, I've added artwork representing the deities I work with and I create tea and incense blends based on correspondences.

What's on your altar?

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