Witchcraft on a Budget
One of the questions that comes up time and time again both on my site and others is the suggestion that in order to practise the craft you need to have access to specialised (usually expensive) tools and equipment. As any seasoned witch will tell you, this simply isn't true. Witchcraft is about using the art of improvisation and using what comes to hand quite naturally to manipulate the world and work magic.
As witchcraft has become more popular and more widely practised in modern times a lot of dogma has started to spring up around the subject. There sadly seems to be much more of an emphasis on what you own rather than what you do. Tools have been given a respect far greater than they actually deserve. After all who does the magic - the wand or the witch? Mandatories and must dos have started to creep into the witchy lexicon and many websites and books will now stress that you need to have x and y in order to practise any kind of magic successfully. This of course is absolute balderdash. Any witch who feels she cannot practise without first maxing her credit card out at the local occult shop has no business being a witch in the first place. If you lack the imagination and the drive to make the world work for your own purposes then witchcraft really, truly, isn't for you.
Cost certainly is an issue in the current economic climate and tight purse strings affect witches as much as they do everybody else. It would be a real shame to see people either give up practising or never start practising in the first place through a misguided belief that witchcraft must be a costly and expensive venture. Yes there is a place for witch shops and yes sometimes it is nice to buy a special tool to practise with. But there is a good deal of difference between a nice to have and a must have and there is no single item that any witch must own before she can practise her craft. Some of the best witches I know do their workings with nothing but their own hands and achieve better results trusting their own powers than any optimist waving an expensive wand around in the vague hope that the tool might work the magic for them.
We need to move away from this prescriptive rigid definition of what it is to perform magic and adopt a more flexible approach utilising every day items rather than specialist equipment. There were after all no witch shops in the olden days… I'd like to see the craft back to being about the witch and not the paraphernalia that surrounds her and I'd like to get rid of this idea that if you don't have a cupboard full to the brim with potions and lotions then you're not doing it right.
So in order to demystify the craft and to make the practise of magic more accessible to the man or woman in the street who may not have cast iron cauldrons and the like to hand there are four sections here relating to cheap and easy ways to source magical elements for your practise.
Items you can find in nature
Items you can buy cheaply
Items you already own
Items you can make yourself.
Try to see your witch cupboard as something that will grow in time. It will evolve and expand alongside your personal knowledge and experience. Buying everything in one go can be overwhelming and you will find it a lot harder to develop a working knowledge of the individual oils, herbs and incenses that you've cluttered up your shelves with. Buy what you know as you grow to know it. And equally don't put off starting your path until you have absolutely everything you think you might ever need. If you wait until the have ingredients for every possible contingency you deny yourself the chance to develop and practise.
The essence of magic is learning how to use the things you do have to achieve the results you want. It’s putting the thought in to design spells you can perform now rather than spells you can do in three weeks when the bumper Ebay order has arrived. This gives you a greater flexibility for your magic and it allows you to react quickly to the circumstances you encounter. And don't forget that the creativity of the thinking in designing the spell will add to the impact of the overall effect.
It is important to remember that witches all practise differently and there is no one "right" way to practise witchcraft. The practise of using tools will vary between individuals and there are many ways to substitute cheaper and just as effective items for the tools and ingredients commonly associated with witchcraft. The power of the craft lies in the witch and not the tools or the ingredients she uses.
In Witchcraft it isn’t what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts.