Spellcrafte Encyclopedia

Altar

A table, that is used in rituals to hold all tools and ingredients needed for the ritual or spell.


Athame

Double edged dagger/knife that is strictly a ritual tool used to work with energies. It is a symbolic representative of the element of fire. It can be used as a tool for laying down a circle and also as a symbol representing male energy. Athames can be used to invoke the quarters, release the quarters, and are customarily used to assist with blessing waters of life inside of the chalice.


Bell

Bells are representative of the Voice of the Goddess. When one is rung, it attracts the attention of the Divine, and your attention to the Divine! A bell with a lovely tone will call beautiful, healing energy to you. Bells can also be used to clear energy. The end of a ritual is a good time for this. If unwanted energy crops up during a ritual, you can also use the bell to disperse it.


Boline

Known as the white-handled knife or Goddess knife. The witches working knife. Generally used for cutting herbs, cords, carving candles, sacred cakes, etc. Used for physical cutting, where the Athame is used in energy working.


Book of Shadows

Traditionally a hand copied book of rituals, recipes, training techniques, guidelines, and other materials you've learned as a witch. Each tradition has it's own standard, and each Witch's book will be different as it's added to over time from many different sources.


Broom

The Witches broom is used for sweeping harmful energies from the area that the broom is cleansing I.E. House, room, circle, sacred space etc. Of course on the practical side you can also use it too to sweep your floors.


Candles

Candles are used to invoke and hold the Powers of each direction. One candle for each of the directions, color-coded, are often used on a Wiccan altar. For North: black, green, or brown, For East: yellow or white, For South: red or orange, For West: blue or aqua, For Centre, where you aren't using God and Goddess candles: white, silver, or gold. Large candles, such as pillars, are often used to represent the God and the Goddess. These are usually set on either side of the Pentacle, or somewhere in the center of the altar. These candles invoke the Energies of the Divine. Other options are having just one large candle for the Great Goddess, or three - white, red, and black - for the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.


Cauldron

The cauldron represents the gift of birth, death and rebirth, also knowledge and inspiration. The cauldron is a female aspect and is a symbolic representative of  water, and it may also be used as a representation of fire. It is often referred  to in connection with Cerridwen. It is used for containing ritual fires or  holding items to be ?charged?. It can be used to hold water for cleansing or  scying.


Censer 

The censer is a container in which incense is burned. The censer sits on the Altar, but is walked around the circle, for this reason, many prefer Hanging Censers. The burning of the incense purifies the air and helps to bring on the correct mental state for circle casting.


Chalice 

The chalice or cup is representative of the female aspect and represent the element of Water. It is used to hold the waters of life, and is used again in the symbolic ritual of the Great Rite. Once the waters of life have been blessed  during ritual, the chalice is often passed around the circle so that all may  share in it by symbolically ingesting the Goddess and the bringing of the  Goddess within.


Cords 

Mainly used in spells or for handfastings. Most cord ceremonies are Magickal, and non-religious in nature, although some of these magickal rites are added to rituals.


Oils 

Anointing oils are usually vegetable based, and are charged with energy and used to convey that energy to something else. In one rite, for instance, Clary Sage is used to anoint the head of a Priest that he may think his way through a difficult scenario. Oils for clear thought are commonly used on the forehead of members of a circle. Sage, Jasmine and Pine are common.


Pentacle

A disc shaped talisman; in particular a piece of clay, wood or metal used on the altar as a decoration and a place to put items to be "Charged" with power or purified. It also represents the earth element among the witch's working tools.


Priapic Wand 

Is used in the fertility festivals and Handfastings of some traditions. Its use seems to have greatly declined in the past ten years or so, but it still is the standby at Handfastings. Its use is included in the rituals of many eclectic groups across the country. Named for Priapus, the Roman God of Procreation, the wand is "The length of a man's arm with the last bit the size and shape of a male member (phallus)"1 for this reason it is sometimes referred to as the Phallic Wand. Other forms of the Priapic wand end with an acorn or pine cone, and are used as symbolic phalluses. Feminist Wicca seems to prefer these alternate forms. Also called the Maypole Wand or God Wand.


Salt 

White and black salt have been used for hundreds of years by Pagans of all walks of life to protect their sacred circles and the entrances and exits to their homes from negative entities. A small bowl of water with salt dissolved in it, for cleansing on an altar. Water and salt are both purifying agents, not only in the physical realm but the energetic as well. Salt water also represents the energies of earth and water united, the ocean womb which gave birth to all life on the planet.


Smudge 

In European practices, herbs were thrown on the fire to produce clouds of scented smoke. Smudge, which is either a bundle of herbs for burning or the ash of sacred herbs used for anointing, is borrowed from Native American Practices and can usually be held in the hand instead of thrown on a fire. For a nice change, burn rosemary instead of the traditional sage or sweet grass. Stick incense can be used as burning smudge.


Staff 

Like the Sword, the Staff is essentially a larger version of another tool, the wand. It is sometimes used to draw the circle in the earth, but it seems more important as a walking stick than anything else. In at least one bardic tradition, the staff is a mark of level, with the larger staff a mark of a high rank. In some Native American-flavoured traditions, the staff is the Speaking Stick, passed around the circle so each member may speak without interruption, coupled with eagle, falcon, or seagull feathers (depends on area), the staff is a Prayer Stick, and the animal spirits deliver the messages to the sky. . Like the wand the staff may be decorated with crystals, symbols, feathers, or just about anything that makes it your own.


Stones or Crystals 

For the Earth element, in the North, stones and sometimes crystals are used. These bring in Earth energy, which helps with grounding (except perhaps for quartz crystals). Gem stones also carry certain energies which can be invoked by having them on your altar.


Sword 

The Sword is a larger version of the Athame, and it used for many of the same purposes. There are two types of Swords, the Coven Sword, which is used in group  rituals by a leader or priest(ess), and a personal sword, which is usually used  instead of an Athame for drawing solitary circles. It is never used as a weapon,  although in older times a person's own battle sword was their sacred weapon, and  since they were ALREADY killing with it. Evidence of sword rituals range from  the way a Marine polishes a sabre to a Knighting, and the sword has always  symbolized more than metal...it is the sword of justice, or peace, or vengeance.  It is used to draw a circle in the earth to protect those within and to break  the handfasting cord, and the "giving" of the coven sword to a leader or  priestess is a profound act of love and trust. Your personal sword should  represent yourself.


Wand 

The wand has been known as a tool that is gentle in nature and has the male aspect, it is the symbolic representative of air. It is another tool that can be  used for casting circle, invoking and releasing the quarters, and casting of spells, and some have used this in place of the Athame or sword in the performance of the symbolic ritual of the Great Rite. Traditionally a length of wood, either 13 inches long (the number of full moons in a year) or the length from the user's elbow to the tip of his/her longest finger. A wand is usually made of wood, although whether that wood is stripped of its bark or shaped in any way in up to its crafter. Ash, Yew, Oak, White Pine, Apple, Hawthorne, Blackthorn, Birch, Willow and Rowan are the most common woods used in wand creation, and a wand of lightning struck wood is supposed to be exceptional.