The stang is a straight branch with a fork or Y at one end, and is most used in ritual circle as a type of centerpiece representing the magick of the three –the trinity– in the following ways: Earth, Sea, and Sky; Body, Mind and Spirit; God, Goddess and Unity; the three faced of the God; the three faces of the Goddess; and the crossroads of life. Stangs used today are normally five to six feet in height and are often decorated with ribbons and flowers that match the seasonal ritual. The stang also relates to the legend of the World Tree, and in some ritual groups it is the pole of libation, where gifts of food and liquid are arranged or poured by the base in honor of the Gods. This is similar to the pole erected in the center of a Voodoo rite, dedicated to Damballah, called the Ponteau Mitan. The stang is normally place at the north (the seat of all power) or directly behind the altar. A few groups, often with Druidic leanings, place the stang in the center of the circle.




Today’s staff is either chosen in accordance with your height, or by how it feels when used as a walking stick. Where some Witches perfer a shorter staff, others like the extended length. Of all the wooden tools, the staff is often seen as a symbol of honor and authority, and is normally decorated with magical symbols, talismans, bells, amulets, and trinkets given as gifts to the bearer tied with leather strips or sturdy cord and other unusual magickal bits that relate to its owner. In a group environment the staff of the high priest or high priestess may have symbols that relate to how many covens they have under their direction and how many members they have initiated. Like the wand and the rod, the staff is used to direct magickal current, often out-of-doors, but also used indoors if space permits. In more shamanic groups, the staff has replaced the sword. A staff carved with knobs and topped with a wooden replica of a human skull is specifically used at Samhain to honor the dead, or in other rituals where ancestors play a pivotal role: a duo derivation from Canadian Indians tribes and Haitian Voudou traditions, through ancient Celts did put the heads of their enemies on poles to capture their power and honor their valor. Obviously the Witches of today don’t carry reconstructionism that far.


Egyptians, Babylonians, Sumerians, Greeks and Romans also carried rods and staffs as symbols of authority in daily life as well as in magickal practice. Some rods were made for specific purposes, such as protection for women during childbirth, and were consecrated to Bes. The rod is a particularly interesting magickal tool with symbolism linked to power, authority, and the World Tree (Tree of Life/Yggdrasil/Pole Star), and appears in stories of Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, and Islamic magick. If one carried a rod, he or she had the power to settle all disputes, especially if empowered during a storm that carries both thunder and lightening. In European lore, a rod empowered on the Halloween full moon carried great authority over the spirits of heaven and earth. Ancient civilization believed that the rod was thought to command all types of spirits and send messages to god/dess. In measurement is approximately three feet in length, or from shoulder to fingertips. Modern magickal rods are either painted in the color of a Wiccan tradition or group, or are carved or painted with magickal symbols and sigils or the magickal person’s choice. Long-handled wooden spoons (with a handle at least three feet long) can also be carved, painted, empowered, and used in the same manner as the magickal rod.

The Censer

The Censer

The censer is one of the basical elements in arranging the altar for ritual. Whether we use our incense in sticks, cones or grain, we must have a vessel to hold the ashes and isolates the altar from the heat of the burning incense.

If we’re using sticks, the best will be to have a shallow, wide mouth recipient (like a soup bowl), full of sand, where we’ll nail the sticks to consume. The same if we’re using cones. If we want to use grains, the censer must be heat-proof, for the burning coals will release extreme heat. This last type is the most advisable, since it gives us the freedom of making our own mixes from scratch, using a few basic elements and adding herbs or even flowers if wanting to.

In every case, it’s better if the recipient has some kind of handle, or chains like the old Church censers, to handle it without getting nasty burns. We must keep in mind that in some cases we’ll have to walk around with it, for instance, if we’re doing a house cleansing. The better materials are clay, ceramic or bronce, being the former the cheaper but more fragile, and the later the most expensive.

The censer and the coals slowly consuming, represent the elements of Fire and Air in the rituals, both masculine. Generally, the censer will be placed on the right of the altar, needing a case similar to the one we ought to have with lit candles.

The Broom

The Broom

The broom might be, along with the cauldron, the most famous tool connected popularly with witches. Traditionally an element symbolising the union of the masculine and feminin principles, was used not for flying, but for the ritual cleaning of the working space, and protection and fertility rites. Some authors suggest the broom was the perfect place to hide the wand during the Witch Hunt, disguising it as an element of daily use.

Sir James Frazer in “The Golden Bough” gathers multiple examples of rituals that involved the use of a broom, generally as a symbol of fertility or fecunding energy. According to one of those, to assest the fertility of the fields a young woman had to circle them once they were sown, naked and riding a broomstick. In these rituals might be seen the remains of the primal fertility rituals, where the High Priest and the High Priestess symbolised the marriage of Earth and Sky, the Goddess and the God, renewing the fertility of the land.

Another version suggests that if we want a cleansing broom, it should be made of willow wands, which was believed of old to cast off evil spirits. This was believed to the point of considering the whipping with willow wands a sure method of exorcism.

The truth is, our ritual broom must be of the old style, made of wigs or straw, and it must be reserved to a symbolic pass to cleanse the place of any type of energies before starting any ritual, and as every tool named so far, must be kept for this purpose only. The best results will be achieved if we make it ourselves, but due to the difficulty of this task, we can safely leave it in someone else’s hands, if we’re careful enough to do the energetical cleansing before using it.

It’s use is not strictly necesary, so let us not despair if we can’t find a broom maker where we are: we can easily go on with our celebrations without the broom, as long as we replace the cleansing action with a similar one.

The Chalice

The Chalice

The chalice is a smaller version of the cauldron as a representation of the eternal feminin and the element of water. We’re talking about a goblet, usually of the round type, in which we’ll have water represented during rituals, even though on ocassions it might contain some other liquid, for example wine during the simple feast.

The selection of the apropriate chalice is a delicate task. We could use a glass one, even though the traditional is made of metal: gold, brass, silver or the like. We must be very careful when choosing, preffering the ones with their inside covered in glass, silver or stainless steel, because metals like copper and brass can be poisonous when in contact with alcohol. We must also consider the size, preffering the middle-sized, to make it easier to handle. It’s not necesary to get a very ornated one; it’s perfectly valid to use, if wanting to, one of grannie’s crystal glasses, if we perform the appropriate ritual cleansing.

Shops specialising in wedding gifts are bound to have sets of two metal gobblets perfectly capable of handling alcoholic beverages (the ones that have problems when reacting chemically with the metal), and so can be a good place to find our chalice. Having an extra one can be useful if we want to perform rituals where we need both water and wine (or similar), and we won’t have the cauldron available or we’ll be using it for other purposes. Personally, I’d rather have two chalices: a brass one for solar celebrations, and a silver one for the lunar ones.

The ritual uses of the chalice centre mainly in being the holder of the chosen liquid, whether it’s water to purify the circle, or the chosen drink for the simple feast or ritual libation. Usually it’s use will be the first, and even if we can replace it with any glass, due to the ease of getting hold of one, I think it’s better to chose once and for all, and use the chalice regularly, not ocassionally.

The Cauldron

The Cauldron

The Cauldron has a mythological based on the Celtic traditions, and another on popular beliefs. It has been associated with witches from the begining, as the place where the infamous potions were boiled. The symbology takes it both as a tool of transformation (elements enter it in one state and leave it in another) and as an image of the mother’s womb.

Celtic mythology tells us about the Goddess Cerridwen, who cooked in her cauldron the potion for wisdom for a year and a day, curiosly the same time one needs to serve as an acolite before being formally initiated. There are many mentions to the witches’ cauldron, and among the most famour we can name the one featured in a scene in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, when they make a potion as Macbeth decides his future as a traitor. Another legend taken from the Mabinogion tells us of a cauldron that has the virtue of bringing dead warriors back to life.

The cauldron we’re talking about here doesn’t need to be enourmous like we see in the movies. It’s still somewhat easy to find cooking pots very much like we need, even though they’re not the average nowadays. During rituals, depending on the size, we can either put it on the altar, or on the floor, to our left.

The uses of the cauldron varies. As representing the Primal Womb, is obviously feminin, belonging to the element of water. But as it’s solidly built, and usually isolated from the floor by three legs, we can use it, for instance, for every ritual that requires a small fire, or the burning of an element (paper or candles), without worries about security risks. It’ll be usefull in every case we need to symbolise a transformation or rebirth. Also, when full of water it can symbolise the element, though we’ll generally use the chalice. Another of it’s ritual uses can be as a place to discard every material used along the ritual, for instance matches or ashes, to keep them off the altar.

As with all tools, but with this in particular due to it’s possible uses, we must remember to scrupulously clean it after it’s use.

If necesary, it can be replaced by a small metal bowl if we need to burn something, or with the chalice if we just need it to contain water.

The Athame

The Athame

The athame is the practitioner’s ritual knife, symbolising the masculine principle, asociated to the element of Air, and according to several authors also with Fire (for the fire used during the forging of the blade). Other tools closely asociated with it are the Sword and the Sickle (a small knife with a scythe-like blade, very popular in british traditions).

The Athame traditionally must have a black handle and a double-edged blade, even though we’re not really going to use the blade too often. The main function of the Athame (and the Sword) is to direct the user’s energy, whether when tracing the circle, or casting a spell. It’s also used, raised high as a greeting, when calling the four quarters when casting the circle. Some traditions also used a smaller, white handed knife for everything that implies cuting or carving.

The sickle is used in a similar manner, mainly to cut ritual herbs, thanks to it’s shape. We could say it’s a direct heir of the small gold sickle druids used to cut ritual herbs, mainly mistletoe. The only difference is that due to it’s curved shape, similar to the waxing moon, it symbolises the feminin principle, and can be used in some lunar rituals. For more practical uses, it can be replaced with the athame, the same as the white handled knife.

The Sword is not strictly a necesary element, even though it’s highly decorative. It has exactly the same ritual uses of the athame, directing the energy projected by the witch. The only problem it can pose is the uncomfortable size when working in smaller places, along with it’s weight. Unless we were lucky enough to get a short sword, they’re generally heavy items, difficult to handle, at least for a woman. And let us not get into the difficulties of taking it along to an open place to perform a ritual, which can be illega in several countries. Whatever the uses we’re planning, it can well be replaced by the Athame, and we’ll gain in comfortability and practicity.

Awakening the Tool

Awakening the Tool
Many magickal people believe that once the tool has been cleansed and consecrated (dedicated to Spirit) and blessed (asking Spirit to fill the object with positive energy), the tool should also be “awakened” before each use. The activation process is often governed by the group that the Witch belongs to, meaning one coven may have a special chant while another group may “alert” the tool by tappping it one to three times on the altar, or they may simple pass hands over the tools and say, “Waken ye unto life.” No matter how it is achieved, this process serves as a trigger to the mind that the time for magick has begun.
The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation, Solitary Witch
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Lady A’s Spell of the Day for April 26: Spell to Create A Psychic Electric Fence Around Yourself

A Spell To Create a Psychic Electric Fence Around Yourself

If you are a kind, sensitive person,, you may experience more than your fair share of spite and malice. In time, this can cause you to feel constantly anxious and exhausted because you are unable to relax. You may feel spooked at night (even though you are not), because nasty remarks, sarcasm and belittling words attach themselves to your aura (the invisible psychic energy field that surrounds each of us). By creating a protective psychic fence you can shed the negativity that others have imposed on you and prevent further attacks on your psyche.

You will need:
A fibre optic lamp or two torches
Just after dark

The Spell:

  • Holding a torch in each hand, shine light all over your body with whirling movements, or stand in the glow of the moving fibre optic light. Picture the light forming sparks around your outline.
  • Put down the torches (but leave them shining towards you), and shake yourself like a dog who has been in water to dislodge any lingering negativity from your aura.
  • Shake your hands and arch the over your head, picturing a gentle golden glow spreading around you like a gold sphere. Say: When I shake my hands I will activate the force field round me so none can harm me with word or malicious thought.
  • The imagined light will fade, but it will remain in the background for whenever you need protection.