Wednesday, March 31, 2010

12 Steps Of Circle Casting

set ambiance, self purification , easy lighting( if unable to take prior ritual bath, wash your hands and face under flowing water, then annoint the 3rd eye and wrists with Full Moon Blessed Water)
* full moon blessed water is rain /spring water that you collect and put in a clean tighly closeabe jar, you take the water outside -on the night of a full moon- and look thru the clear jar at the moon and ask Goddess if she will bless it. May or may not contain 3 pinches of salt that were added during ritual,with the tip of the athame scooping salt (3x) into the water ( rain/spring) in the chalice and stirring desoil ( clockwise)*

2) SET UP:
For a solitarty witch - 6 feet in diameter is/of the circle ( if that much space is avail, if not ( like me) work with what you have and try to make a circle around your altar and work /ritual area) ( I personally, don't have 6 ft in my living room because of furniture and such - so I do the best I can and my "circle" is more of an "oval" lol )
You can use a cord/ribbon ,stones,shells, flower petals- to define the circle on the groud in this pysical space.

-Select elemental representations

-Gather supplies for ritual and altar setup

3) Cleanse Sacred/Ritual  Space:
-Sweep with broom
-Smudge with smudge stick or smudge spray
-flick salt charged water - asperger salt charged water ( aspburgering is taking a small herb bundle, with a sitck handle and dipping it into the salt charged water and flicking the water clockwise around a space)
Say Blessing or chant as you cleanse
This is my favorite:
"With this sacred smoke (or whatever method -your choice- is), I cleanse and purify this space making it ready for magick and ritual'
With this sacred smoke, all negative energies are scattered and dismissed and this space is made sacred and holy for my rites."

-in the circle,stand in the center ( in front of your alter, then turn and) face North.
-hold your hands at your sides or straight upward (in a V)
-hold up your athame/wand in your power hand ( the hand you use (ie: lefty or rightie). Some folks find/teach that the opposite hand of what you are, is actually the power hand. Its up to you- I am a righty and use my right hand for my power hand.
-breathe, clear your mind , ground ( feel your feet attatched to the earth ( even if you are inside-) grow/imagine roots like a tree to the earth from your feet, feel it... and you can also bend for a moment and put your hands to the ground, as well,  feel the vibration of the Earth and you becoming one with it.
-Slowly still breathing in and out - (in thru the nose and out thru the mouth) - feel the old or negative energies released from your feet, up to your genitals, your diaphram, your chest ( heart) and your throat and your third eye and finally,  out the top of your head , would have imagined the breath in was cleansing and the breath out would remove all and any negitivity from the area on your body you are at and working up from the feet- then one last cleansing breath to ensure its all cleansed. ( I like to envison the negativity coming out in a black  tiny particles cloud, but use what ever works for you) on each breath IN you want to breath in white light and when you get to the crown ( top of head area) imagine your whole body being filled/surrounded by white light and a cone (small at top of head and widening at area above you) of white light coming out of the top of your head - this is your openess to spirit. And you have removed all negative stuff that will enter your mind and mess you with - forgive and forget - you are about to do ritual to help with these things - know you're cleansed and ready- and don't stop this until you feel ready. White lite = positive energy!

5) CREATE/CAST YOUR CIRCLE ( of energy):
-Start @North, hold wand/athame visualize the energy you are sending out thru your arem to the  tool (wand/athame) onto the ground as light white/electric blue ( like the bottom of a candle flame).
-walk the circle delsol ( clockwise) 3x. As you walk you will speak an incantation of circel casting.
-when back at North (after third trip around circle) seal the circle, put your arms to your chest (crossing them and laying flat against you)
-speak incantion affirming creation of circle.(repeat the circel incantiation, one last time)
*here are two that I like:*
"Three times 'round I cast my blade, that this circle shall be made,
First, white crescent from the Maiden's brow, Her strength and independance, be here now.
Second, red blood from the Mother's womb,As I weave my life on her starlit loom.
Third, black shadow from the Chrone's abyss, Teaches me with her underworld kiss.
Sacred space, withing the circle now lies, protected from unwelcome eyes.
Let no one enter here within, who has not been made welcome.
So mote it Be"
"I conjure and create thee, O circle of power.
Be thout a boundry between the worl of men, and the realm of the mighty ones.
Be thout a sphere of protection to preserve and contain all powers raised withing.
Let now this circle be a place of peace, love and power.
So Mote it Be"
( you can cast the three times around with the firt incantation and then use the second as your afformation when youre back at N)

- you can also invoke angels, dragons, elementals( creatures that reside in that element)
- East ( Air -Yellow), South ( Fire- Red), West (Water- Blue), North (Earth- Green)
- Draw and invoking pentagram  A pentagram that is made in the air ( viualize it in that same blue/white lite as the circle, used to invoke the element- and performed a specific way can't be shown in words so plz look it up) ) at eatch point and lite the candle, for each point, as well (before invoke. pent.) lite while you say the incantation and hold the candle up high .
*here are 2 versions that I like:
EAST: lite candle, hold it up and say:
"I light the East, home of the moonlite and consciousness, the realm of Spirit."
( invoking pentagram after you set candle back down)
SOUTH: lite candle, hold it up and say
"I lite the South, home of Fire and inspiration, the realm of awareness"
( set candle down , invoting pentagram)
WEST: lite the candle, hold it up and say:
"I lite the West, the home of the waves of completeness, the realm of our waters beginnings"
(set candle down and invokeing pentagram)
NORTH: lite candle and hold up high say:
"I lite the North , home of all hat is green and fruitful, the realm of rememberance"
( candle down and invoke. pent.)
 you will be doing the same actions, but saying something a bit different, still- hold up each candle after lighting it -while you say the incantation and set candle down and draw your invoking pentagram. Again, this will be done at each direction, every time!
EAST: " I call the ancient spirits of the East, powers of Air, where the Sun rises, powers of wonder and imagination, powers of a child's laughter, powers of music and dawn breaking, powers of breezes blowing and butterflies flying, I invite you to this sacred circle, Hail and Welcome!"
SOUTH: " I call the ancient spirits of  the South, powers of Fire, where the Sun is high in the mid-day sky, poweres of passion and determination, courage and devotion, powers of bonfires burning, powers of trial and transformation,powers of high sun and lizards leaping, powers of the desert lionand the phoenix rising,
I invite you to this sacred circle, Hail and welcome!"
WEST: " I call the ancient spirits of the West, powers of Water, where the sun sets powers of love and compassion, of feeling and dreaming, powers of waters flowing, powers of the Mother's womb, powers of deep oceans and gentle rains, powers of the whale and the dolphin swimming, I invite you to this sacred circle, Hail and welcome!
NORTH: " I call on the ancient spirits of the North, powers of the Earth, where mystery dwells, powers of fertility and creativity, of strength and groundedness, powers of the fertile field, powers ot the mighty mountains, powers of the verdant plaines and rich forests, power of the bear and the wolf, I invite you to this sacred circle, Hail and welcome!"
Return East : say " this circle is cast. I am between the worlds."

7) INVOKE GODDESS AND GOD: ( this can be youre chosen pantheon or what you choose corresponding to your ritual /spell work or just general)
*Here is a generalized fave of mine:
"Great Goddess, who dwells within and all around me, Goddess of the shining Moon and the fertile Earth, Goddess of the starry heavens and the infinate womb, Goddess from whom all blessings flow, Bless Your Child."
"Great God, who dwells within and all around me, God of the shining Sun and the fertile forest, God of the stars above and the seed of new life within, God from whom inspiration comes, empower me."


-Cakes and Wine( bless these items by setting them on the altar pentacle for a moment)  or
-Meditate (sit on the ground, breathe and visualize energy flowing thru the body into the hands and then into the ground. Cleanse yourself with a white light, peace and calm.

- extinguish diety candles and make an offering (small item that the diety your working with would love and put you in that diety's favor - research comes into play here!)
*Thank Dieties, this is one of my fave thank you/release incantations:
"Lord and Lady , I thank you for participating in my rites tonight. As I open the circle and go about my daily life, remain in my heart, watch over me and guide my heart along the paths that are best for me. Blessed Be"*

- draw a devoking pentagram at each point (again look up the process of making invoking and devoking pentagrams)
-begin NORTH - proceed widdershins ( counterclockwise) around the circle: point athame/wand up and say:
*"Hear me, O mighty one, ruler of forest and field, guardian of the Northern portal. I thank Thee for Thy blessings and protection, I bid Thee Hail and Farewell" ( put out N candle and draw devoke. pent)
-move WEST- "hear me, O mighty one, ruler of the mysterious depths, guardian of the Western portal . I thank Thee for Thy belssings and protection. I bid Thee hail and Farewell" ( put out W candle, draw devoke. pent.)
-move SOUTH-say: "Hear me, O mighty one, ruler of the Solar orb, guardian of the Southern portal. I thank Thee for Thy blessing and protection and bid Thee Hail and Farewell" ( put out S candle and draw devoke. pent.) *
move EAST- "hear me o mighty one, ruler of the whirl-winds, guardian of the Eastern portal , I thank Thee for Thy blessing and protection, I bid Thee Hail and Farewell". (put out E candle and draw devoke. pent.)
Starting East and working your way widdershins ( counter clockwise) around the circle say:
"Thank you for your presence and your blessings, and 'ere you depart for your fair and lovely realms, I bid thee hail and farewell" ( repeat this at each direction: North, West, South, East- stooping at eash to say the incantation and to blow out the candle and draw the devoke. pent at eash spot ) *

- reverse step 5, stand at center, holding athame/wand to sky, move widdershins ( counterclockwise) and visualize the circles energy ( blue-white lite) being take up into your tool , or send the circle back down into Earth.
* (Carry and illumination candle along with you to seal up circle)Say: " Fire seal the circle 'round, let it fade beneath the ground, let all things be as they were, since the beginning of time"
"The circle is open, but not unbroken, Merry Meet and  Merry Part, until we Merry Meet again"
drawing energy up into your chosen too:
Say: " O circle of power that has been a boundry between the world of men and the realm of the Mighty Ones, that has served to protect and preserve, I now release all powers raised within and banish thee, O circle of power, So Mote It Be." *

TIP: if you find yourself in the circle and working ritual and you have to - for some reason-step out of the circle to go and get an item , you take your athame and cut a doorway (top to bottom) in the side of the circle ( make a rectangle that you can fit thru) step out go do what you need to do and once back inside the circle, take your athame and seal up the area you cut (from ground up) and continure your work inside the circle- try not to do this - it takes away focus to what youre doing and isnt reallyoptimal - but we all make mistakes and things happen so if you need to get out go ahead !

Just your basic ritual with some help from several sources that I cant even recall anymore - so you know and it is stated here- I did not make up any of the information - it is all from books and other authors.
This is your basic circle casting and procedure for ritual with a circle. Sme say you never do any type of magick without a circle , others feel that some magick is fine done without tall the ceremony. Its your call, if you arent' feeling well - dont work any magick at all. Your health and a foul mood will  bring those vibes to your work. Good luck and enjoy this step of The Path!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yemaya Bath Ritual

Taken From : The Witches Spell A Day Almanac - Llewellyn (2010)

Yemaya Bath Ritual ;

Yemaya is the supreme mother goddess of the Yoruba traditions and presides over all waters.
Call upon her deep powers of love and healing, this night, in a bath ritual.

7 blue candles
A lunar stone ( moonstone)
7 white rose petals
7 pinches of sea salt
7 drops of lavender,peppermint,or passionflower essential oil

begin by lighting the candles around the tub and drawing a bath.  Take a few deep breaths and meditate on what needs to be healed.  Allow yourself to call out to Yemaya with your heart, as you add the essential oil(s) and salt to your bath. Breathe once more and when you are ready, immerse yourself in her waters. Feel her soft caress against your skin, as she heals your deepest wounds.  Take your time and allow the process to unfold. When you are ready, step out of the bath and leave the rose petals as an offering to Yemaya.

"Yemaya. Mother, goddess of the sea,
Be in this place, come forth unto me,
Lady of the oceans, the lakes and the rivers,
Beautiful queen, ebb and flow bringer,
Heal my mind, my body , my soul
For with your sweet love, I become whole,
Ashe, Great Mother "

(Abel R. Gomez)

Seven Knot Love Spell

From Silver Ravenwolf's : The Ultimate Book Of Shadows For the New Generation Solitary Witch

The symbol of the knot relates to tying something together, or to keeping something stable. Stability in astrological magick would include the fixed signs of Aquarius (air), Leo (fire),Taurus (earth) and Scorpio(water). With this in mind, you could cast this spell when the moon is in any of the signs (check a magickal/planetary almanac) or you could fine tune your enchantment by considering the nature of the sign. Air speeds, fire encompasses, water cleanses, and earth roots. Call on the four elements to ensure success.

4 ribbons- 17 inches long-in red,(passion) white (purity) green (growth) and blue (wisdom)
2 small bells (to thread onto the ends of the ribbons)
perfume or aftershave
a lock of your own hair

Cleanse and consecrate and empower all items ( this means to hold them in or thru all elements (incense smoke, salt, water, and over a candle flame - state their purpose while doing this)

Take the ribbons and place one on top of the other ,ends matching. Recite the following as you tie each knot, beginning in the center of the ribbon bunch and working your way out on each side.
"With knot of one, this love's begun.( tie)
With knot of two, this love shines thru (tie)
With knot of three, love comes to me (tie)
With knot of four, my heart will soar (tie)
With knot of five, this spells alive (tie)
with knot of six, the love is fixed (tie)
With knot of seven, by blood and kin (tie)
This spell is cast and love somes in!
Force and form attend to me,
as I will so mote it be!"

Thread a bell on each end of the ribbon bunch, attatch your lock of hair. Spray ribbon with perfume or aftershave saying: " The breath of Goddess sparks the flame. True love lives and knows my name."
Tie ribbon bunch around ankle, wrist onto purse or place into pocket.
Each night for 7 nights repeat  "the breath of  Goddess" charm 7 times while swinging the ribbons in a clockwise direction. On the 8th night hang the ribbons over your bed and leave them there. Anytime you loose confidence ring the bells. Don't forget love magick requires patience!

Making Your own Broom: A Step By Step How To

Special Thanks To : Floss Parsons for this post!

How to Make Wicca Brooms

The broom, known to Wiccans as a besom, is one of the artifacts most commonly connected with witches. In Wicca, a broom is used for the ritual cleaning of the house or the sacred space in which a Wiccan practices rituals. A Wicca broom differs slightly from a regular broom you can find at a local supermarket or hardware store. A Wicca broom is usually handmade, with a short handle and a long sweeping end made of wigs or straw.


Things You'll Need:

Wood broom handle

Birch or willow twigs


Learn to Make Your Own Wicca Broom

Step 1

Get prepared to make your Wicca broom by gathering all necessary materials in one place. You'll need twigs, a wood handle, willow and decorative materials. Alternatively, you may substitute straw for twigs in making your broom.

Step 2

Bind a large bunch of twigs around the wood handle with willow or another type of natural element. Be sure to bind them securely and add more twigs if it looks skimpy.

Step 3

Remember that the broom will look circular rather than flat, like the ones you would find at a regular store.

Step 4

Decorate the broom with carvings, paintings or feathers as a final touch, or draw a pentagram on the handle for protection.

Step 5

Make a small loop with willow to add to the handle so you can hang the broom rather than letting it rest flat on the floor.

Step 6

Make sure you bless the broom when you're finished. Use salt mixed with water or repeat an incantation to consecrate the broom.

Step 7

Keep in mind that making your own broom is more about the ritual aspect of the task than about the look of the final product. For Wiccans, rustic brooms are considered assets, no matter how simple they look.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Phase 1 - Creating your Altar: Basic Ritual Items

Taken from the book:  Secrets Of Modern Witchcraft Revealed~Lady Sabrina
With excerpts from : Wicca For One -The Path of Solitary Witchcraft~Raymond Buckland

The Altar:
Is of extreme importance, because it provides the foundation (or form) on which to build and execute magickal operations and spells. The Altar is an extension of your mind and creative process, it is where the substance of thought takes physical form, the altar allows you to express (symbolically) that which you wish to bring about. It allows you to stand back , look directly at your intentions and and view the whole picture from an objective point of view. The altar becomes the stage on which you arrange ideas in physical form, using tools and symbols. Each item you place on the altar, including the altar itself, embodies a segment of your extended ability, power and ambition- in symbolic form. The altar displays both your object of desire and anticipated results.
Now- for my interpretation. I have several "altars" around my home. I ensure that on every one, I represent each element of the craft. These elements are Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. The above definition is mainly for ritual/spell work and it IS important that you have your tools and supplies at hand, before you cast the circle. And a ritual altar is a bit different from the every day altar- that you leave out to bring spirit and comfort to your home. The ritual altar is for work. This is not saying that you can't use your everyday altars for work- but those are where you set your "work in progress" things, and leave them out in the open, you can take those same items and use them for ritual and spell work (as I do). But I love walking past or looking around and seeing many representations of my spirituality in my home. For example, on my every day- or decorative altar, I have candles ( fire) and an incense burner (air) and a bowl of salt (earth) and a chalice of water (water). I also have a representation of the God and Goddess. Now, depending on the season, I decorate with items that bring the feel of the time at hand- for Spring- I use flowers and a small crystal rabbit. For Yule or Christmas- I decorate with holly and ivy, pine cones and other festive items, for Fall I use pretty leaves I've found and acorns and pine cones also Halloween (Samhain) decorations - pumpkins and black cat figures and witches. Also, color plays an important part in your altar- from the cloth you use to cover it or the color of the candles and items you place on there to decorate. There is no one "proper" design for an altar - there are basics and the information herein is for the definition and  the placement of the basic items .
I place the Goddess items on the (when facing your altar) left hand side and the God items on the right hand side. I also place an open safety pin or a key, or anything that I have read and makes sense, to keep my home running in harmony and love or to create a mini spell. I also recharge stones or mojo bags on the every day altar, after I use them for awhile. I also burn a candle and a few sticks of incense on this altar every single day/ night. I change the salt and water regularly. The salt and water create a sense of harmony in the home, as they absorb negative vibes and "bad ju ju".
If I am feeling that some part of my life needs a kick in the rear, I add a few more items to the altar and say a prayer for my intentions and let them do their work. Also one thing, to remember-  if your very important ritual items are present and out in the open, dont make this so obvious that people who visit can't resist putting their hands on your stuff. Everyone has energy and once they touch something that you are working with - it leaves a vibration of their emotions to their intent ( this will show up wether its an obvious thing ( ie: your mother in law that isn't too fond of you, or your kids touching things because they can't resist its "so pretty" or "neat".) My main open altar is on a bookshelf and the shelf is high enough to keep little hands off of things - and its tucked in the hall at the bottom of my stairs- so its walked past by everyone at least once ( on their way to the bathroom) or several times a day - therefore, as the people in my home pass it- it is doing it's work. And in order to make it less obvious, each shelf of the book shelf has a "tchotchki " look, but I know that the items on each and every shelf have spiritual connotation to me.
A working altar ( in circle) must contain an altar cloth ( corresponding to the work or season or be just white or purple, or black or blue- or whatever color calls to you - look up color correspondances - we will touch on this later) The working altar should also contain 2 candles or a representation for goddess and god - I use a silver/white candle for goddess and a gold/green candle for god. Then, I represent Earth - a bowl of dirt and or salt. Air - incense, Fire- is your candle, Water- in a bowl/ chalice and you set each item on the side of its correspondence.
Air: feather, bell, wand,incense smoke, tarot suite: wands, (breath), the color yellow- to know.

Fire: sword, athame, candle, tarot suite: swords (blood), the color red- to will.

Water: chalice,cauldron, wine, tears, shells, tarot suite: cups (tears), the color blue- to dare.

Earth: pentacle, salt, dirt, stones, tarot suite: pentacles (nail/hair clippings), the color green- to be silent.

All the elements must be represented - not only upon your altar (working and decorative) but also to be represented at their actual place in your working circle. So- that means find out exactly where (as your home, yard- wherever your doing your ritual work) is set up in relation to the directions of North, South, East, and West. Each direction must be placed by a representation (colored candle) on the ground, in your circle.
There are other items you must have on a working ritual altar: Buckland says of the working altar - " this is not a catchall for anything and everything you want to have with you, but a sacred piece of furniture. It will hold a candle or two, the incense burner, your athame and /or wand, goblet/chalice and libation dish, salt and water and a small bell. Your representations of the God and Goddess will also be on the altar- if you use candles to represent the dieties, Buckland says you really don't need any other candles there", but I like to use a white candle or a color co-ordinated candle for what my spell/ritual is working for. Buckland also says that "if you have statues or representations of the god and goddess ( seashells or antlars or similar) to represent them then, you would use a main altar candle in the center of the altar, placed at the rear of the altar so you wont knock it over while working/ reaching for other items during ritual." (Wicca for One - the path of solitary witchcraft- Raymond Buckland)

Now we move on to other basic ritual items -
First, let me say that- some books/ practioners reccomend that you physically and with your own hands, make most of these items and have specific ways or materials that these items should look or be. I have made 2 wands and my broom. I have bought some items off the internet, at wicca supply stores , and I have bought things at flea markets and grabbed household items to use as well. Let me make clear- the fact that you do not - by any means- have to have every and all items and you don't have to obtain everything immediately - I love the hunt and the beauty of finding an item and not settling for any old thing, just so I can work. There are cheap household items that will substitute until you find what is really "your" items.

The Wand:
 In practice, the wand is the primary working tool of the Witch. It represents her/his rod of power and authority. During ritual, the wand becomes an extension of the witch's magickal jurisdiction. Personal power is forced thru the wand with laser-like intensity, toward a specific target. The wand is associated with the element of Air which is symbolic with the mind, intellect and communication. The wand is simply a tool for channeling energy from the spiritual plane to the material plane.

The Athame: ( pronounced a- tha- me)
Is a double edged knife which is used to inscribe or to cast the circle of power onto the Earth ( or floor) It's associated with the element of Fire and represents strength , power and the masculine force of nature. It also has the power to subdue or banish ( as in rebellious entities or spirits). Used like wand, they direct personal power and help to focus energy in a desired direction for a specific purpose. The athame also regulates, as well as conducts, the flow of personal expression toward the desired designation during magickal operations.
I have been fortunate to find my atheme's ( have a few) online for under $10.00 and a flea market is another great place. But it is not used for cutting, unlike your kitchen knives it doesnt have to be razor fact you touch the blade often in working so be careful with this powerful object! A double edged kitchen knife can substitute for awhile, but once you use an item for ritual/magick you can no longer use it for every day things. Athame's are usually have a wooden handle. A boline is an herb knife and has a sickle chaped blade- used for cutting and harvesting herbs, and is usually a white handled knife.

The Chalice:
Is feminine in nature and reperesents the element of water. In ancient times it was percieved as the cauldron of divine inspiration, rebirth and fertitlity. From a mystical point of view, it symbolizes the womb of the Great Mother Goddess, from which all things are born and to which all things return at death. Most witches believe that the chalice, like the holy grail, contains the great mystery of death and regeneration. It embodies hope and promise of that which is attained when all has been set to rest. The chalice is usually filled with water and placed at the left side of the altar. At some point, during the ritual, the athame is plunged into the chalice - blessing its contents. Once the liquid in the chalice has been consecrated, it's consumed by the individual doing the magick (or those who are participating in the ritual). It is also often filled with wine (for cakes and wine libation and for grounding in ritual)- if you cannot drink alchohol, you can use a red or white fruit juice (cranberry or grape) just a sip or two will do in ritual, and the rest can be poured out into the Earth, as a gift.
I have yet to find a chalice that I like anywhere, the one I use is a thick hand blown (complete with bubbles and imperfections) glass that's so thick its almost green in appearance- and it has colbalt blue around the rim and at the stem and base. I found it at a store I worked at years and years ago, and have yet to find another that feels like it could replace it.

The Pentacle:
Is associated with the element of Earth and symbolizes the feminine ability to create. The pentacle represents the realm of birth, life, death and renewal. In its origional form, it was used on the shield of the ancient hunter and warrior and was viewed purely as a defensive weapon. Symbolically - it is not a weapon of war- but one of peace and because of its association with the shield, that the pentacle became a symbol of protection and a tool use to ward off psychic attack. During nearly all magickal rites - the pentacle is used as the point of convergence. The desire's syombolic representation is placed on the pentacle and then all raised energy is focused toward it. The pentacle acts like a magnet - drawing energy towards it, infusing whatever is on top of it with psychic power. Once the symbolic object has been charged/activated, it will begin to work on manifesting the desired outcome. You can purchase pentacle tiles or large medallions online or at any wiccan store, or like me you can make your own, I used a piece of tile that we used for our kitchen flooring and handpainted the pentacle and added some flowers and vines wrapped around it. I also have a small piece of wood that I used my athame to scratch and carve the pentacle into the wood. Again, not everything has to be store bought and it is true that when you make an item with your own hands and creativity - it ceartainly has more power than if you just bought a mass produced item. another tip- when purchasing a store bought ritual item of any kind, you must cleanse and consecrate it - to remove any and all negative vibrations and to let that item know it belongs to you and what its uses will be.

The Book Of Shadows (BOS):
Is simply a personal journal which contains all of the rituals, spells, and formulas you- as a practicing witch, gather and use during your magickal adventures. It is one of the most important tools you have. It will jog the memory during ritual, remind you of past mistakes and counsel you in times of need. Every ritual, recipe, incantaion, magickal spell or tidbit of wisdom should be recorded in your BOS. As with all your tools, simplicity is best.
I, personally- have several dollar store notebooks- that I record notes, recipes, spells and the like from books weather my own or borrowed from the local libraries -in these- dreams are recorded,  life is journaled and tarot readings are recorded, as well. I also take any poem, mantra, prayer or meditation that I am touched by and record it. I also have herbal ones and one on wicked witch magick, I make lists and plan my herb garden every year, wish lists of things I want to purchase and their website and prices. I create remedies and write them down (the ingredients and dates of them being made). Ido have a beautiful BOS that my husband bought as a gift to me, with a calligraphy set to write in it - I have yet to make one mark on the pages (  made of beautiful handcrafted parchment) because I don't want to "ruin" it lol. You can also obtain a 3 ring binder, with tabs to divide your sections and that makes it easy to insert and remove things.  To each her own I say.

The Censer: ( incense burner)
This pertains to stick or cone or best ( I think) for ritual work, the charcoal with hand blended herbs and oils burning on top.  The censer can be anything from a simple fire-proof dish to an elaborate, brass incense holder or even a dollar store, stick incense holder. I also use a medium cauldron, with sand in the bottom and stick the end of a stick incense into the sand, ( and ash)  lite it and let it burn, I've done it  for so long, there must be 8 inches of ash in that cauldron. The censer is sometimes used in conjunction with the wand to represent the element of air. It has long been believed that prayers and wishes are delivered to the gods by way of incense smoke. Because of this, herbal offerings and petitions ( things written on paper or the like) are often burnt in the censer to aid love, prosperity and success spells. I personally, never do not have incense burning in my home- it wouldn't be home without it. When I do ritual work or a special cleansing or to set a vibe/mood, I often blend ( with mortar and pestle) the herbs and resins that correspond with what I am going for, and burn in my small cauldron on a charcoal. For this- you can purchase small charcoal discs ( fairly inexpensive) and you hold it with fireproof tong, hold the flame to the charoal disc  until it sparks all over ( be careful- it may break into pieces or the sparks can catch something nearby) once the disc stops sparking, it will glow red/orange, then you lay it in the cauldron (with sand covering the bottom, to prevent the cauldron itself from becoming too hot) -make sure you set it on something that is heat proof- as cauldrons are iron and conduct heat!  Sprinkle your blended herbs and resin ( maybe with a few drops of an oil blend for extra oomph) onto the charcoal and they will smoulder away- its a wonderful thing!

The Element Bowls:
Are two small bowls set on the altar. One contains the element of salt and the other the element of water. The elements are combined and used to bless and consecrate sacred space, symbolic tools, and participants in the ritual. For this, you use the tip of the athame to scoop up some salt from the bowl and to drop that salt into the water bowl, you do this 3x and then use the athame to stir the salt-water blend and you have our version of "holy water". After ritual, you can set this on your every day altar, to absorb any negativity in the home or store it in a clean, tightly closed jar, for other ritual work- baths, aspbergering  etc.

The Robe or Cloak:
This- for me, was the most difficult item to obtain, I can't sew more than a simple whip stitch and to purchase anything worth having and using for ritual, costs a mint. You don't want to buy a cheap Halloween one - they are tacky and don't feel nice against the skin, also the fit is crap, plus they are mass produced. At least those are my feelings. It is also an optional item, some witches like to perform ritual skyclad ( nude) - which is great- as long as you aren't going to be interrupted by family ( I'm sure your kids don't want to stroll thru and see you stark neekid raising power lol, talk about a buzzkill!) or if outdoors, the  neighbors calling the cops on you for indecent exposure lol.
All this is- is setting aside an item of clothing - a bath robe made of silk, a kimono, a shawl, a long scarf wrapped around your body, and knotted at the hips or center of the chest like the scarves they use as bathing suit cover ups- (witch stores online, have many of those and lots of colors and patterns - also, hippie shops have them and they are used as wall hangings or bed spreads). Just make sure its large enough to cover you -at least your torso.  You can obtain a length of fabric from the craft store and make it equally long on both sides, cut and sew a hole for the head and make a poncho out of it - whatever you decide upon, set something aside for only ritual, this puts you in the mode and represents to you- psychically that it's time to work and play- in the magickal realm.

The Cauldron:
Is one of the oldest tools of magick known to humankind. The cauldron has many uses- both symbolical and magickal. It can be used to cook and brew herbs, potions and spells, thus infusing them with symbolic feminine energy. From a practical standpoint, it makes a wonderful receptical for housing charged objects. The longer they are kept in the cauldron, the more they become charged with the intuitive qualities of the feminine mystiqe. I have 2 cauldrons. One is used for ritual work- and spell work -the larger one is used every day, for the incense I burn all the time. I will say that cauldrons can be very very expensive. Not only are the prices sometimes ridiculous- the shipping on them is crazy- because they are heavy iron. I bought my small working one, at a local store before it closed. Its plain and a little cutie . My medium sized one, I happend upon at a local flea market-  the man had 2- and my husband was going to buy me the big one that would be like the ones used in the olden days, to cook over the fire ( todays version would be your big stock pot) I chose the smaller one, it was rusty and very unloved looking. I have a friend who is a welder and he took it and cleaned it up and re- blacked it. Its gorgeous and I use it every day it sits right out in the open, for everyone to see. I do not use a cauldron for making herbal infusions and the like. I have an old small pan that I use only for that kind of stuff, and its never mixed in with the regular pots and pans - alot of the herbs and things we use, may be natural and harvested by you yourself, but they are also very dangerous and can be deadly. So- if you use a pan that matches your regular cooking ones, make sure you set it somewhere where it won't get mixed in and used to make your meals. I also use that pan for simmering herbs and oils, on the stove, to help the air in the home in the winter months to cleanse bacteria and viruses. Or- for steam treatments. Again, I cannot express enough- that you keep the working magick pan- away from the ones you use to make your meals! I hide mine in a small cupboard, with other supplies, and only take it out for its intended purpose and after I'm done using it, I wash it out ( not using the same sponge that I use on our every day dishes) dry it and put it away.

I have to say in closing, once you start to obtain your items, be it books or tools, you will find that you fall in love with them and have a connection to them. They become a part of you as a person, and you feel very protective and fond of them. I often find when someone asks to borrow a book - I get a funny feeling and don't want to share, they can look in my home at that book all they want- but I don't feel comfortable with it going out of my home. Call me selfish, but I have taken years, lots of time and heart- going into my obtaining my items and they have become and extension of myself. I cannot imagine that the feelings that I have for certain  items- pertaining to the Craft -that I have obtained - would feel the same to someone else. I think once you follow the path and these items speak to you and let you know they belong with you , that you will understand the reason I balk at letting someone "borrow" anything. These items become so personal and such a part of you , that its hard to let them go.
Feel free to comment and question ....
I will Update at least once a week, if not more frequently . If there's something you specifically want to know- let me know and I will do my best to provide as much info as I can find. There are wonderful websites and stores online, so look around and enjoy the path you're taking.
I'm starting with the basics, and by no means- am I providing here- in this blog, everything you can know - so keep doing research, know that there is room for error and that the Goddess is with you - She is also very loving and forgiving. Take time to stop and look around at Her beauty and to listen for Her voice - in your dreams and in your heart and soul.
Blessings.~ AngelHawk