"I was born of the brilliant and magnificent egg, and my substance is of the same nature as that which composes light."
"I was born of the brilliant and magnificent egg, and my substance is of the same nature as that which composes light."

The Witch & Their Tools


“Witch”. A word that to many is frightening, to others is offensive, and yet still to a few, empowering. What is a witch? In the most broadest sense, a witch is a practitioner of magick or witchcraft, though what actually constitutes being “witchcraft” can vary depending on context and cultural/societal views. Some other names that can be used are Alchemy and Alchemist, Shamanism and Shaman, Healers, and High Priest/Priestess. In all, these titles describe a person who practices “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will” as Crowley so eloquently defines magick. Looking at witchcraft and magick from this perspective gives a more positive and realistic point of view of the Craft rather than the stereotypical stories and images that are often seen in society and pop culture.

Being a witch is a lifestyle, not a trend. I want to avoid sounding dogmatic, but in the same way doing yoga and being vegan doesn’t make you spiritual, burning a sage stick while holding a crystal in your hand doesn’t make you a witch. There’s a true mentality to living this lifestyle. The witch sees themselves as being the sole Master and Controller of their reality. Because of this, you’ll rarely see them being self-victims or having a victim mentality, blaming scenarios in their life on some external factor or stroke of chance. The witch doesn’t believe in coincidences. Divination whether it is in the form of astrology, tarot, ifa, or some other system makes up a large part of the witch’s daily life and doesn’t allow for coincidences. The Sixth Hermetic Principle of Cause & Effect says “Chance is but a name for Law not recognized.”

The witch may help and heal others with their spellwork, though this is not their obligation to do so. The witch may indeed hex and curse others as well, though myself and none of the witches I know would go out of their way to inflict harm on undeserving people. Not every witch holds the same morals and ethics. Many witches are solitary practitioners while at the same time there are many who choose to join covens. There are also many different magical traditions and religions as well. Wicca is a modern magical religion, but not everyone who claims to be a witch practices Wicca. Thelema is another magical religion created by Aleister Crowley. It is from Thelema the saying “Do what thou wilt” originates, and it’s philosophy in part inspired Wicca and the many different modern Paganism and New Age religions that exist today.

Vodun in it’s original West African form as well as in the Haitian and New Orleans branches is a magical religion, yet its practitioners are rarely if ever referred to as witches, the appropriate names being Houngans (Male Vodou Priest) and Mambos (Female Vodou Priest). In Louisiana specifically, practitioners were historically referred to as Voodoo Queens and Kings. Hoodoo is often confused with Voodoo, but it is also its own magical tradition though without the religious aspects of the former. Other names for Hoodoo are Rootworking, Conjure, and Juju. Santería, also known as Regla de Ocha is a religion that venerates the Orisha in ritual. Though the worship of the Orisha has its origins stemming back to the Yoruba of West Africa, Santería is heavily practiced in Cuba and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Other similar religions include Candomblé, Kélé, and Obeah. Brujería is the Spanish word for witchcraft, its practitioners being referred to as brujas or brujos respectively, and they may take practices and rituals from multiple traditions and religions to incorporate into their Craft. Other popular magick traditions that aren’t necessarily religions are Chaos Magic, Candle Magic, Goetia, Tantra, and Sex Magic.

The workings and the rituals the witch chooses to incorporate into their Craft will be based on the individual’s chosen school of thought, religion, and personal taste, but there are tools the witch uses that are near universal in all magical traditions.


The Mind & Body


The most important tool the witch has at their disposal is their own Mind. Every other tool is but an extension. Spellwork requires intense meditation, concentration, libido, and Willpower. Therefore the witch should have a healthy and sharp mentality which can be maintained through study, introspection, mental exercises, and most importantly being aware of the things that they allow to influence their thoughts, consciously and subconsciously. The Body itself is the ultimate talisman and altar. It must be remembered that magick doesn’t originate from any object or some external source, rather magick flows from within the practitioner. It is very possible to do magick and see results using the Mind and Body alone if the witch’s Mind is well developed. Even still the witch may desire and choose to use other tools as extensions for any particular working.


The Wand


The Wand has been one of the witch’s main tools since prehistoric times. The priesthood of the ancient Zoroastrian religion used what is called a barsom. This is a bundle of slender twigs which they believed established a link between the material world and the spiritual realm and acted as the conduit through which the archetypal principles and powers manifest their presence and receive the offerings. The Wand is also seen to have been used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans and is described as being used in many of the grimoires of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Wand is a Masculine tool in function representing the Phallus and is used for directing the practitioner’s Will, desire, and energy during ritual. Of the elements, it represents Fire (though in Wicca it represents Air). The Wand is traditionally made from either laurel or hazel (mine above is hazel), however wands can be made from all types of different wood and even formed out of crystals, all having their own specific traits and different uses.


The Athame


The Athame is the witch’s ritual blade. Attested to within the grimoire The Key of Solomon, the Athame is also a Masculine tool that usually has a black handle and is used in banishing rituals. Those who practice Wicca use the Athame in place of the Wand as their main tool for directing Will and energy and to them it represents the element Fire. Wiccans usually use a double edged Athame with the edges dulled as their use of it is purely symbolic. Any cutting of herbs or cords are done with a different ritual knife referred to as a boline.

Outside of Wicca, the Athame represents the element Air and it is encouraged that it be used for cutting or carving. This is because the more it is used, the more powerful the tool becomes. For me personally it was important to find a single edged, sharpened Athame to use so that I can cut herbs, carve names or sigils into candles, and for bloodletting. When I couldn’t find one that was satisfactory, I decided to find someone to forge me an Athame out of a used railroad spike. In Hoodoo, railroad spikes are used for securing one’s home and property. Being that my personal use of the Athame is also for banishing rituals, slicing through hexes, and severing unwanted energetic ties, having my Athame forged from a railroad spike served a personal symbolic significance. Note also that while the witch may primarily use the Wand when divining, working with the elementals, or directing energy, they may choose to use the Athame when working with spirits and demons. Where the Wand is seen as more welcoming, the Athame is seen as more commanding.


The Chalice


The Chalice is the witch’s cup that holds the water, wine, or a different liquor that is used in ritual. The Chalice is a Feminine tool in function representing the Womb and the element of Water. When used in combination with the Wand in ritual by dipping the tip of the Wand into the Chalice, a symbolic act of sexual intercourse is performed, merging the Divine Masculine with the Divine Feminine to bring about Divine Creative Energy to manifest. This act is known as “hieros gamos” or the “holy marriage” and can be performed symbolically with the Wand and Chalice or literally between a man and a woman in a sex rite. Within Wicca, this is known as the Great Rite and the Athame is used in place of the Wand. At the end of certain rituals, the liquid inside the Chalice is drank by the practitioner so that they will embody the energy that was evoked during the ritual, and if it’s a group ritual the Chalice will be passed around so that everyone gets a sip. The most famous Chalice in history is none other than the Holy Grail, which is said to be the Chalice Christ used during the Last Supper and which according to legend, was used by Joseph of Arimathea to collect and store the blood of Christ at the Crucifixion.


The Pentacle


The Pentacle is the witch’s personal talisman which in function is also Feminine and represents the element Earth. Though a popular modern Pentacle design is the pentagram within a circle, traditionally a Pentacle can be a magical talisman inscribed with any symbol or character, the hexagram historically being used more often than the pentagram whenever the symbol used in the Pentacle was star shaped. When worn around the neck, the Pentacle is serving the witch as a form of protection. It is recommended that a Pentacle be worn during all spellwork and ritual as a spiritual shield. In ritual, Pentacles are used to summon and command different energies and spirits. Many of the Pentacles used are made out of silver or a different type of metal but Pentacles can also be made out of parchment and clay as well.


Some Honorable Mentions

Though not as universally used as much as the main tools I’ve already presented here, there are still a few more tools many witches use regularly. Crystals are one such tool. Crystal Quartz is the most popular and readily available crystal and you’ll see that most witches at least have one of these as they can be used in the place of any other crystal due to its universal energy. I’ll have a separate, in-depth post about crystals and my collection shortly. As I mentioned earlier, divination is a large part of the witch’s daily life and their divination tools will vary. Tarot and oracle cards are among the most popular divination tools a witch will have. Runes are another popular divination tool. A Book of Shadows is a common tool the witch will have which is their personal grimoire and record of spellwork, rituals, recipes, and information relevant to their Craft. Candles, cauldrons, incense burners, bells, and many other different altar items are useful tools for the witch, but these will all vary greatly as some magical traditions don’t use these items at all.



The witch is one who has come into realization of the Divine spark that lays within them and uses their power along with their tools to manifest their Will. Keep in mind that though I feel this is an accurate treatise on what a witch is and the tools they use, this is only MY PERSPECTIVE that I feel many will agree with me on, but some may disagree as well. That’s fine as every witch is different and there are so many different schools of thought and magical traditions. I can consider myself a Left-Hand Path following Gnostic Witch/Mage with Hermeticism being my preferred tradition, but really, I would just say Occultist for short, and I truly borrow from all different traditions. With this you can see that while there are key things all witches will have in common, witches are not a monolith. A final note – though I personally find it empowering, not all magick practitioners like to be called a witch, so be mindful before putting that title on someone. Also don’t call male witches warlocks. Warlock doesn’t mean male witch, rather it means “oathbreaker” and usually refers to one who has betrayed their coven.


Peace, Love, & Balance


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