In her discussion on magical tools (Note 1), Heron Michelle writes, “a Witch’s tools function like a key that unlocks each gate to an elemental realm and then directs that power into Middleworld reality.” She continues to write that they “are consecrated to embody their elemental force, anchor their elemental mystery lesson in our consciousness.” Her logic is that the tools are important to the sacred purpose of a witch’s work. They are an extension of the witch and helps to focus their energy for working magic.
In her work, Michelle developed the “Witch’s Jewel of Power.” She assigned four grand tools (emphasis Michelle) (besom, staff, sword, cauldron) to anchor “the elemental gateways at the boundary between worlds, working magick of interconnection.” These tools also anchor the receptive energies of the Jewel – resonance, wonderment, surrender, and acceptance. Therefore, the four altar tools (pentacle, wand, athame, chalice) empower and focus the witch’s will. These particular tools anchor the projective mysteries – silence, knowledge, will, daring.
Applying Michelle’s ideas to my new perception of magical tools, I realized that they are not trifling. My first impressions of these tools were formed from the various Wiccan rituals that I had attended. I noticed that the participants were causal in working with them. Perhaps they themselves did not understand the true essence of the tools. As a Roman Polytheist, I did not see the tools that I used as being significant either. For me, I needed them to conduct a correct ritual to the Gods.
After working with the magical tools of “modern traditional witchcraft,” I now understand that all tools have power. Every tool needs to be selected with care, since they have a particular purpose. My approach now is to see the tools as embodying the elemental forces. Each allows the magic to happen through the witch. The tools used in my worship of the Gods are now understood for how they interact in the ritual.
As to working with the tools that I assembled for modern traditional witchcraft, I do not have a plan. As a rule, I do not do formal magic. For the time being, I keep them on my Ancestor altar. The pantacle acts as an anchor between the worlds, therefore the Ancestors can employ it during the times when They want to contact me. The athame is something that Mars and Minerva deem useful to Them. I already use the wand (my pencil) and the cauldron (tea kettle) for mundane magic. (They do help to fill my day with wonderment.)
Note 1. Her book “Elemental Witchcraft” discusses this in detail.
Greer, John Michael, “The New Encyclopedia of the Occult.” Woodbury (MN): Llewellyn. 2003.
Michelle, Heron, “Elemental Witchcraft.” Woodbury (MN): Llewellyn. 2021.
Zakroff, Laura Tempest, “The Witch’s Cauldron.” Woodbury (MN): Llewellyn. 2021.
Zell-Ravenheart, Oberon, “Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard.” Franklin Lakes (NJ): New Page Books. 2004.