Nowadays I see a lot of Witches buying their tools at Wiccan and New Age internet stores. There are certainly a lot of wonderful and fancy products available, and it is a temptation for both country and city Witches.
I wish that Witches would make their own instruments as best as they can, or buy magickal objects at local flea markets and yard sales to Craft into their working tools. In my tradition, one’s tools are gathered and dedicated over a year and a day. In addition to esoteric reasons, this allows an individual to take their time to shop around. Sure anyone could sit down to surf the internet and buy them all in an hour or so. I’ve bought lots of quality items on the internet myself, but what kind of Witchcraft is that? It is more credit card magick than real work. The Witch shouldn’t grab their tools, but call them. A Witch in training should put out the call to the Gods, to bring them what them need, and then patiently shop around locally and see what the Gods throw into their lap.
I found my athame on Halloween, in a friend’s barn, in his grandfather’s tool box. It has a hand forged blade which has never been sharpened. I have wondered many times what it was made for, and how could have lain unused for so many years—the Gods gave me that athame!
I found my bolline at a flea market in the form of an old butcher’s knife, which had been sharpened down very far with use, and all I had to do was engrave it and paint the handle white.
I found my cup at the local Catholic shop.
I braided my first cingulum out of red cotton yarn using an instrument you can get at a craft store. The other cingulums, I bought at a window dressing store in the form of drapery cords.
I bought the cloth at a fabric store, and sewed the sigils on it myself.
I was even forced by my Priestess/girlfriend, to buy a pattern for a robe and sew it on her machine!
I cut my own besom and wand from a branch of an oak tree in the back yard.
I didn’t buy some fancy BOS from an internet dealer for hundreds of dollars, but bought blank art books at an artist store and painted the covers myself.
I found my cauldron at a local antique mall for $20, instead of shopping online for cauldrons with pentagrams cast onto them, which were expensive, not to mention shipping costs.
Witches need to own the karma of what they buy. If they need a wood product, they should to be the one to cut that tree or branch and offer thanks. If they want a bone handled knife, then they need to own the karma of the killing of that animal, or at least the harvesting of its bone. A Witch can easily find stones out in the woods and streams to put on their altar, rather than buying expensive lapidary turned stones. Strain your back, skin your knuckles and break your nails— The gods will show you what you need to find!
Of course we can’t all make all that we need, but there is a Witch out there somewhere nearby who is a Kitchen Witch, Seamstress Witch, Blacksmith Witch, Wood-worker Witch, or Herbalist Witch. I remember a Probationer in my old Coven, who took a piece of steel and used a grinding wheel and made her own athame blade. Now that is Crafting!
Even though they aren’t Witches, there are crafts-people out there who can be outsourced to make what is needed, no questions asked. Support your local talented Witches and craft-persons! But if the Witch lives in a big city, then they may have to go to a local store, or shop on the internet, but in this it best to always choose the closest vendors. It is all about the local economy. It is the same with fresh food in the summer – don’t buy it in the grocery stores, but go to the local farm markets if possible.
Regarding oils and powders and incenses – figure out the ingredients of the formulas sold online, figure out what plants they use, then find substitutes in herbs grown here in America. Find a witch herbalist and get them to figure it out. We don’t need to buy cleansing herbs from Africa or the Middle East or Europe. Just find out what the AmerIndians used that grows here. Instead of frankincense, burn South American copal.
I have been a Witch in city, suburb, and now thankfully out in the woods. I can tell you that I have dragged along large rocks, pieces of wood, plants and such from the woods to ground myself when I was in the city; and I have brought my PC and internet connection out to the country to shop online when needed. However the longer I am in the country, the more I realize the resources out here for what I need to work Witchcraft. I can even buy my herbs from the local Amish!
- Gary Lee Hoke © 2012
Just a bit of background information. L. Shawnus is a Third Degree Initiated Witch with lineage tracing back to Sybil Leek, and he is the current High Priest for the Coven of the Catta. He also has a blog where he regularly posts about whatever is of interest to him at the time.
Thank you L. Shawnus for taking the time to put this together.
"Lost in a thicket bare-footed upon a thorned path."