Hello There

My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Keeping It Simple

I'm still iced in, so I've got the writing bug and feel like discussing another topic that's been on my mind a lot here recently: keeping it simple in Witchcraft. Too often, I think, people get carried away with overly elaborate rituals, or bogged down in the use of too many tools. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my tools (I'm kind of a wand junkie, and I've got a big collection of all kinds of things) but most of them aren't strictly necessary. As long as you have the basics, I think you can maintain a perfectly successful practice.

I view the magical side of Witchcraft as being rather like baking. Having a lot of fancy, specialized equiptment might be nice, but you can still do a great job without it, and of course we've all got our favourite items we like to use. For me, I use a wand, a pentacle, two candles, and my cauldron/incense burner in almost all of my workings, and these would be the items I would consider essential for me. Closely following that would be my magical knife (I need a new one, I hate the one I have) and my broom. My wands I had custom made, but even these usually cost no more than 20-40 dollars. My broom I got online from a craftstman for not too much, but you could just as easily find one at a craft store or even use one from the hardware store (I would find one with natural bristles; they've got some eco-friendly ones now that would be perfect) and candles can be found for very little, though I prefer beeswax which is more costly. My pentacle is made of wood, and anybody handy with a woodburning pen could make one for very little.

Herbs are also commonly used, and these can be had for very little. For these, I try to buy all organic, sustainably harvested plants and from reliable sources. In general, I try to avoid "magical supply" shops for these, preferring to order from companies that sell herbs to be used for cooking and medical purposes. I just find that the quality is better, and this is really important if the herbs are to be used internally. Mason jars make a great way to store herbs, they're inexpensive and keep the herbs fresh as well.

For the most part, I think of what we do as "low magic," meaning folk magic, the magic of the people. It's important to keep things practical, and not get too carried away with elaborate rituals. Above all, magic should be HELPFUL: to help heal the sick, bring love, drive away evil, and the like. Obviously, one needs to be ready at a moment's notice because you never know when you'll be called on to use your skills. If you need to spend days of preparation, use 72 different ritual tools, and wear elaborate gowns, well, you're not going to be very useful. All the more reason to find what works, to focus on the basics, and to remember that most of the power comes from WITHIN, with the aid of external sources, and not entirely from those sources themselves.


  1. I completely agree! If you like keeping it simple try reading Chaos and Sorcery by Nick Hall. It is rather hard to get a hold of, and mostly has to do with Chaos Magic, but it is a great way to really get to the bare bones of magical practice!

    I am personally a lover of my tools (I've slept with most of them, haha! Such a slut) and I am really trying to work on performing rites with minimal tools.

  2. Eric,

    I've just recently started getting in to Chaos Magic, and it's fascinating. On the one hand, I love the idea that you can use whatever works, whatever creates the emotional state you need. On the other hand, I'm fairly traditional in that I DO believe that stones, trees, etc do have powers, independent of us, that can aid us in our work.

    I have a few things I work with a great deal (I'm very big on candle magic) and I'll probably always use some of the tools I have now. I think I need to focus more on finding a few things I will use all the time, and not on getting a lot of things I'll use once. Long before I ever read my first book on modern magic, or knew there were other "real witches" out there, I used to make up my own rituals and spells, and they worked quite well and with a minimum of objects. I sort of want to get back to those days; it felt freer and more organic. I sometimes wonder if I've educated myself TOO much on magic, since I can tend to get bogged down in "tradition."

  3. Oh my goodness, I can totally connect with you there. But at the same time I am glad that I am not calling myself a Wiccan anymore XD I just wish I started with the books I'm reading NOW rather than Silver Ravenwolf of back-in-the-day!