As well as being the personal tool of the Witch, the Athame equates with the element of Spirit. It is pronounced Ath-Ay-Mee and is used within the circle for the casting, invoking and banishing rituals and for Charging spells, talismans etc. It is never used for cutting outside of a magickal situation. The Boline is a white handled knife that is sometimes used for cutting or carving as in candle Magick or gathering herbs etc.
The Pentacle equates with the symbol of Earth and is placed upon the alter. It is also a protector, due to the inscribed Pentagram upon its face. It is used in Craft circles as a diffusing element when something is being charged i.e. other tools, talismans etc. It is also used as a banishing agent to remove other peoples influences from any magickal object. I does not matter what the pentacle is made of, as long as it is made of natural material such as wood, slate, copper or silver etc. The inscription upon the Pentacle must be pictorial and not contain any words.
The wand corresponds to the element of Air and should be made of wood. Various woods have differing purposes. The correct length of a Wand is from the crook of your elbow up to the tip of your middle finger, and can be decorated to suit the person who owns it.
The most feminine of all the tools and equates with the element of water. It is the grail of the Arthurian legends, the cup of inspiration. It is shared with all participants in the ritual. At the ceremony of the Cakes and Ale, the cup is passed among all celebrants, each taking of the wine, mead, cider or beer it contains.
Used in the same way as the athame, to cast and banish circles and also as a tool to direct raised energy towards any particular purpose. The sword equates to the element of fire. Created under the influence of Mars and forged in steel. In a coven only the leader uses the sword. However solitarys may also use it.
The traditional cauldron was a large 3 legged pot (3 being the number of the Moon Goddess) and made of iron. It is a symbol of feminine wisdom and the giver of knowledge. In Welsh folklore it was kept by Cerridwen. The notion of inspiring knowledge is something that is kept alive today and cauldrons are still used for meditational purposes and scrying as with a crystal.
Along with the cauldron probably the most widely recognised symbol of the Old Religion. It is used to sweep away negativity before casting the circle.
Robes may be worn in ritual, but are not essential, only if modesty forbids the Skyclad state. If robes are chosen to be worn, it is better they are loose and free flowing so as not to inhibit movement. The material used should be natural such as cotton, wool or silk. The colours of your robe should correspond with your own personal equating with that colour.
THE BOOK OF SHADOWS
This is the book of the craft that contains instructions, spells, information etc. It should be looked upon as not being complete and can be added to and personalised by the Wiccan whose book it is. The book is traditionally kept in the personal handwriting of the owner, however today a Book of Shadows may be kept electronically (there are even software programs that can be obtained for this purpose).
The use of jewellery within ritual is ancient indeed, it stems from the belief that the wearing of precious metal and stones invokes a power over the wearer. A necklace in the shape of a pentagram is the most well known piece of jewellery. A headdress of the crescent moon may also be worn.
A NOTE ON MAGICKAL TOOLS
All tools used for ritual must be kept for magickal purposes only and not used in everyday situations. All magickal tools must be consecrated to their particular owner and not used by anyone else. Any second hand tools that are acquired must be cleansed and consecrated before use.