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Author Topic: Your Ritual Tools  (Read 2155 times)
Juni
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« Topic Start: February 05, 2010, 11:59:13 am »

I've been thinking on the subject of the use of tools in ritual and I thought I'd pick your brains for a bit. Smiley Some questions:

What tools do you use doing ritual or other religious work?
How do you use them?
What do they represent?
How did you decide on them? (IE, are they tradition specific, historically informed, UPG, something else?)
Are there any special rules involved with them? (IE, no one else can touch them, you have to make them yourself, etc?)
How necessary are they? If you couldn't use your tool, are can you substitute/adapt, or do you just go without?
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Darkhawk
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« Reply #1: February 06, 2010, 05:35:54 pm »

Please pardon the flippancy of my responses, I'm in a weird mood. :}

What tools do you use doing ritual or other religious work?

Honestly, the stuff I do seriously at most requires a cup, a source of fire, and incense.

Quote
How do you use them?

The cup holds water.  The source of fire provides light.  The incense smells nice. Wink

Quote
What do they represent?

A thing that holds water so it doesn't go all over everywhere.
Fire is probably solar, now I think of it.
Incense, depending on framework, is purification/cleansing/space definition, or a symbol of the presence of the divine.  Or, arguably, both.

Quote
How did you decide on them? (IE, are they tradition specific, historically informed, UPG, something else?)

The tools in general, or the specific ones I use?

For Kemetic ritual, the standard rites are based on one of the Pyramid Texts which explicitly refers to fire and incense offerings.  There are also wall pictures of water libation offerings.  I have a goblet with Aset on it and a candleholder that a friend gave me that is the same coloration as the sacred waterlily that I use as symbol reinforcement.

For Feri stuff, I ... need a cup to hold the water in.  Because otherwise it goes everywhere.  I have been known to use specific stuff for that, but I also use whatever is handy, because I need the water to not go everywhere.

Quote
Are there any special rules involved with them? (IE, no one else can touch them, you have to make them yourself, etc?)

I pay some attention to incense purity standards for Kemetic stuff.

Quote
How necessary are they? If you couldn't use your tool, are can you substitute/adapt, or do you just go without?

Something that fills those roles is necessary; the tools I have are the things that I have that fill that role.  There isn't anything particularly special about them beyond a) I like them and b) I have them.
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Dark Midnight
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« Reply #2: February 07, 2010, 02:25:35 am »

I've been thinking on the subject of the use of tools in ritual and I thought I'd pick your brains for a bit. Smiley Some questions:

What tools do you use doing ritual or other religious work?
How do you use them?
What do they represent?
How did you decide on them? (IE, are they tradition specific, historically informed, UPG, something else?)
Are there any special rules involved with them? (IE, no one else can touch them, you have to make them yourself, etc?)
How necessary are they? If you couldn't use your tool, are can you substitute/adapt, or do you just go without?

The only tools that I use are candles and crystals. Mainly crystals. Most importantly crystals. The crystals can represent anything that I need them too, be it animal vegetable or mineral. The candles are generally representative of the spark of life in the universe and, sometimes, the physical representation of an oath -light the candle, seal the oath. I have tried working with other things, but these 2 work the best for me by far. I can allow others to use them, but there is a lot involved in arranging it if they are to be used without my being there. If they are for a ritual with others and I am involved then it is not really a problem. I can work without them if I have to, but I then have to visualise my altar rather than physically using it.

 The best thing about most of my candle holders is that they are either made from, or contain in a setting, different types of crystal. Once a Crystal Witch, always a Crystal Witch!  Wink
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« Reply #3: February 07, 2010, 09:34:30 am »

What tools do you use doing ritual or other religious work?
How do you use them?
What do they represent?
How did you decide on them? (IE, are they tradition specific, historically informed, UPG, something else?)
Are there any special rules involved with them? (IE, no one else can touch them, you have to make them yourself, etc?)
How necessary are they? If you couldn't use your tool, are can you substitute/adapt, or do you just go without?

I am fond of tools, especially for group work, though in my personal work, I tend to be pretty pragmatic.

What I use: the basic Wicca set. In order of use in ritual:
candle
salt, water, something to mix them in, incense stick, candle flame
athame
incense stick, quarter candles, (wand)
candle, candle, candle
[whatever's needed for the specific working]
chalice, athame, pentacle

That said, other than 'thing to hold liquid' kinds of things, most of them have alternates that don't require a physical tool - when calling the quarters, I'm currently using my hand, rather than a wand, since I haven't worked out wands I'd prefer yet.

In terms of representation, I'm actually very much in the "a tool is a tool because it makes things easier: it is not directly a symbol". A fork isn't a symbol of something, it's a way to get food to your mouth more easily and less messily than your fingers. This doesn't mean that the physical object of a tool can't *also* be symbolic in some way, but those two uses are distinct from each other.

A fork is not a symbol, but the fork that you inherited from your great grandmother might be a symbol of your family history, in other words. Likewise, an athame has a purpose that's entirely non-symbolic, but its presence on the altar might also be a reminder of symbolic meaning, so that you don't need to have two objects, one for practical use, one for symbol. But if it doesn't have a practical use *too*, I don't consider it really a tool.

Deciding on them: they are part of my tradition's practice, and one of my commitments as a priestess in the tradition is a commitment to using them (maybe not all the time in my personal practice, but enough that I can continue to use them readily and reliably, and teach their use to others.) Why the tradition methods? They work for me, and they give me a framework to do other things with, and I find both of those valuable (and time and energy saving.)

I also believe that tools used similarly over time start holding energetic patterns that make some particular kinds of work easier - a reason in and of themselves to use them regularly. Using the athame regularly, instead of my fingers, helps 'program' the kind of energy focus and direction I want, and means that the next time I pick it up, that thing is easier.

I've actually been very grateful for that one the last few months: I've been fighting pretty major medical foo that's affected my concentration and ability to focus: using tools that are already programmed for a particular kind of energy flow has made it possible for me to continue doing ritual (and group ritual, albeit very gently) with a lot less drain and stress.
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