The Witch’s Tool Kit
All fields of knowledge and all trades employ special tools. The tools of the Craft speak to the subconscious mind in forms that help support magickal work. A tool’s shape, material, and other features provide clues to its symbolism and thus its role in magick. Although some of the items in a witch’s tool kit may look familiar, their magickal purposes differ significantly from their roles in the mundane world. Some of the tools witches favor are used by magicians of other stripes as well.
The Role of Tools in Magick
Witches and Wiccans will tell you that tools are good helpmates to magick, but they are not necessary to the success of any spell or ritual. Even the most elegant tool is only a centering device, something to focus your mind on your magickal work. Without the witch’s will and directed energy, the potential in any tool will remain dormant. For example, a witch might talk about quartz crystals as having energy-enhancing power, but until a crystal is charged and activated, that ability “sleeps” within the stone. The magician is the enabler, the catalyst. A focused will is all that any effective witch needs to perform magick. Everything else just makes the job easier.
Symbolism and Significances
As you’ve already seen, witches often use symbols to embody ideas. The primary tools witches employ in rituals—the wand, chalice, athame, and pentagram—symbolize the four elements. The wand represents the element of fire, the chalice signifies the water element, the athame symbolizes air, and the pentagram represents earth.
Notice that the shapes of these tools correspond to the human body. The wand and the athame, which symbolize masculine power, look distinctly phallic. The chalice (and cauldron) depict feminine energy and the womb. The five points of the pentagram stand for the five “points” of the body: head, arms, and legs.
You can see the four main tools illustrated in the tarot, too. Each suit in the deck is named for one of these tools: wands (sometimes called rods or staves), swords (or daggers, meaning athames), cups (or chalices), and pentacles (or pentagrams, sometimes called coins or disks). As such, they describe fundamental life energies and ways of interacting with the world.
—The Everything Wicca and Witchcraft Book: Rituals, spells, and sacred objects for everyday magick (Everything®)