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Author Topic: Your Ritual Tools  (Read 2203 times)
Jenett
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Religion: Priestess in initiatory religious witchcraft tradition
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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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