Witchcraft Journal Blog

A resource for information and opinions on the beliefs, practices, customs, and magic of Traditional Witchcraft of the British Isles.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ritual Tool ~ Candles

Pictured is an alter with candles. Candles are used in: Trad Witchcraft, Traditional Wicca, Progressive Wicca, and Neo-Paganism.

One of the most beautiful magical tools, candles have been used in religious rituals since prehistoric times. The flame of a candle represents illumination from darkness, the brilliance of knowledge, and spiritual purity.

The candle inspires introspection and contemplation.

In Trad Witchcraft a single white candle is used during magical spellwork.

In Paganism and Wicca, two candles are placed on the alter to represent the God and the Goddess. A service or working candle is also lit. A single candle will also be used when doing spellwork outside of an Esbat or Sabbat. Although white candles can be used, Wiccans will often use colored candles, the color selected to correspond with the Sabbat or the purpose of the spell.

Fire Safety
Unfortunately, fire safety has become a serous problem in the Pagan, witchcraft, and Wiccan community. Candles must be used in a safe manner.

  • If you don't own a fire extinguisher, buy one and learn how to use it.

  • When candles are in use in the home, never leave lit candles unattended! Never! If you are a solitary practitioner and you must leave the room while in the middle of ritual, there is NO REASON to leave the candles lit. It is completely acceptable to snuff or pinch out the candles and to relight them when you return. Please do this.

  • Always follow common sense safety rules.

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Ritual Tools ~ Besom

The besom, or ritual broom, has a history in witchcraft and there seems to have always been myths about witches flying. The Greeks and Romans associated the broom with the goddess Hecate. In the days of the Roman Empire, Hecate's Priestesses would use a besom to sweep the threshold of a house after the birth of a child. It was believed this would remove evil spirits that might harm the newborn.

Hecate is popular in some Pagan and Wicca traditions as she is associated with magic and divination. Hecate can be invoked to boost spellwork. Her broom is therefore used in ritual and magic.

Since Mediaeval times, pagan wedding couples have "jumped the broom" as part of their handfasting ceremony. The besom protects the newlywed couple and promotes fertility. Often, the besom is decorated after the handfasting, and is placed on the living room wall or near the front door in many Pagan and Wiccan couples' homes.

Besoms should always be stored so as to keep good fortune from falling out and becoming lost. It is a Pagan tradition to keep a besom by the front door, to protect hearth and home from negative energy.

Magic & Ritual
Trad Witches have used a besom to sweep away negativity in a room, with the help of a little spell, probably since brooms were first used in Britain. We also use a besom to sweep out negativity in a compass.

When sweeping, the besom does not touch the floor but is held several inches above it. The area is not meant to be physically cleaned, that is done ahead of time. The ritual sweeping is to clean on the astral or spiritual plain, where negativity may be located.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ritual Tools ~ Bell

It is believed that bells have been used during religious ceremonies for thousands of years. The use of a bell during witchcraft rituals is appropriate because the sound vibrations ward off negativity and will attract beneficial energies. The use of a bell also has the added effect of helping concentration. Any size and shape of bell can be used.