Catching up on “Ask A Witch” questions (thank you everyone for your great questions…replies are coming), we have one today from Zoe, a teen solitary practitioner, looking for some help.
Hello, my name is Zoe and I’ve been Wiccan for about 8 months now. I’m a solitary practitioner, and my life has been so busy that I’ve kind of shoved it to the wayside and haven’t really been involved. My New Year’s resolution was to get more involved in my religion and become more connected to it. So I’ve been looking around for altar supplies and candles and things, but they’re all so expensive!
Do you have any advice for a teenage witch looking to practice the Craft without breaking her budget?
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
Merry Meet Zoe,
I can understand exactly where you’re coming from with regards to trying to get together supplies and altar items when you’re a teen. I was 12 when I started working with magick and I not only didn’t have the money for any expensive altar items but I didn’t have the means to get them either. At least not how most people go for them today. I didn’t have the internet to shop off of and there weren’t any Pagan shops around where I lived until I was 16. Even if you can find the items today they can be really expensive. There are two things that I would recommend for you.
1. You don’t need to buy everything you’ll ever need for your altar or for spellwork/ritual right away.
2. Remember that the object itself is not magickal.
Let acquiring your magickal items be part of the journey of discovering who you are as a Wiccan. You don’t have to have a wand, or even an athame, you can use your hands and fingers. Wands and athames are an extension of yourself, the energy that flows through them and that ultimately is directed either toward your goal within the Universe or to cast your circle, flows from you and out into the Universe. Using the wand or athame just helps as a tool and triggers for your magickal mindset. You don’t have to run out and get them right away and you certainly don’t need to get the fanciest thing you can find. A twig that you find on a meditation walk can work perfectly for your wand and a pretty letter opener that you find in a second hand store, once it’s cleansed and charged, can work as your athame. You do not have to purchase an “official” athame from a Pagan shop or website for an item to serve as an athame.
Also, your tools will change over time. A wand you use today you might use for the next handful of years and then you might find that a plain wooden wand doesn’t suit you anymore and now you want one with an amethyst tip that’s engraved with magickal symbols. Your tastes will change, your magickal goals will change and your use of tools will change, so personally I think that when it comes to your first set of tools getting crazy with buying expensive items isn’t best. Instead find tools and items that are meaningful and if you know that you want that amethyst tipped wand at some point, just know that when the time is right you’ll find a means to have it on your altar and in the meantime a fallen oak branch you can strip the bark off of, mark and decorate yourself will be just as magickal if not more so.
The reason that I point out that the objects themselves are not magickal is because that will help you to put some more perspective on the idea of purchasing ritual items and deciding how much money to spend. They are tools and triggers and obviously things that you feel drawn to are going to call to you will be best, but if you find that you can’t afford to get those things, you can always use something else. The energy and the magick always from from within, it comes from you. You fill the candles and herbs and tools with the energy for your magickal intention.
You mention candles, and that’s one area that always makes me scratch my head. A red candle purchased at the dollar store to do a love spell with will work just as well as a candle that is sold as being “Witch crafted and magickally charged for your intent” and costs $10. Yes, those kinds of candles can be really nice to work with (I am especially a fan of candles from Coventry Creations, White Magick Alchemy, and Zena Moon) but they can be expensive so sometimes they are just a little something special to have. If you look at the grocery store in the isle where they have ethnic foods, you’re find an area with the Kosher food which will also have boxes of white Shabbos candles (these are candles used in the Jewish tradition for candlelighting ceremonies). They’re about 4 inches tall and a box of (about) 75 is usually somewhere around $10. And white candles can be used for anything! But just with candles, you certainly don’t have to go and spend $10 per candle to have “the right candles”.
Herbs you can get at the grocery store (herbs from the supermarket are no less an herb than the ones sold in Witch shops). When it comes to things like statues of Gods and Goddesses, you can use images printed off the internet and either hung on the wall around your altar or placed in frames and put on your altar. A chalice can be a pretty wine glass that you find at Target. You can get a cauldron at Target too! Look in the camping or outdoor section and look for a small cast iron cauldron or pot (the cauldron that I use the most for ritual work is one that is meant for cooking in a campfire but it’s still a cauldron…this is specifically the one I use and when I originally bought it, it was at a department store like a Target). My cauldron collection has grown over the years and I have a few really large ones that have pentacles or triple moons on them but I always go back to the old faithful one the most and it is by far the cheapest one I’ve ever bought and it was meant for outdoor cooking.
Don’t feel that because you don’t have a specific physical object on your altar that you can’t work magick and live your path. Wicca is a spiritual path first and foremost and connecting to the God and Goddess should be your ultimate goal. Working magick and needing all those tools and trinkets is something else entirely.
One other suggestion would be to check the book “Instant Magick” by Christopher Penczak. This book specifically deals with working magick instantly and effectively without tools.
Hope this helps!