There are so many points of view regarding the use of magickal tools in Witchcraft, some love to use tools to focus intent, others believe that tools aren’t a necessary part of spell craft and that one can cast by simply harnessing their intent and sending it out into the universe. I guess whichever way you sway depends heavily on:
- What you consider magick to be.
- How adept you are in your practice.
I for one am not a Jedi and as such don’t go around using “The Force” So, I personally love the use of tools in magick because to me magick doesn’t just exist in the realm of spirit or energy. To me, magick has two sides, the physical and the spiritual. Now physically speaking, food is to me a kind of magick, it nourishes the body, helps fight disease, is provided by nature and is life sustaining.
However in order to grow, cultivate, store and cook food, we need tools. Tools such as a spade to dig the hole to plant the seed, tools such as a blade to harvest the crop, cupboards to store, pots, and stove tops to prepare and cook, and finally plates and cutlery to eat.
That’s a lot of tools, yet we all have them, we all use them and we would all be lost without them because no matter how much you sat there and manifested your intent, you could not plant the seed, harvest the crop and cook the food with intent alone. Intent could drive you to plant; harvest and cook and intent would be there so you didn’t burn the food. To me, intent is the spiritual part of cooking and the tools and food itself the physical, both are needed.
Furthermore the functions that magickal tools play, especially to a newcomer is invaluable because it gives them something in which to grasp and a way to unlock their focus and propel their learning process by infusing it with excitement and a tactile quality in which to help engage the senses. In a way tools can help a practitioner connect with the past, to remember that centuries ago men and women gathered at night, hidden in their homes or secretly under the light of the full moon to unleash their magickal workings upon the world. To some more adept, that memory or that connection can be felt rather naturally but for others, holding such magickal objects can make the world of difference.
So why are the standards different when performing magick? Herbs, oils, mortar and pestle, crystals, blades and cauldrons etc. are all tools of magick, they are the tools of a Witch and have been used by Witches for centuries. So why now, is intent the be all and end all of magick? Witchcraft is at the end of the day a craft, and a practical one at that so how does one “craft” with intent alone?
Now I am not disputing the validity, necessity or power of pure intent. And I am not saying that magick can be done without it, because it cannot. Furthermore complete control over intent is totally possible but to me, that is an ability which belongs to the Crone or Elder, to persons whom have practiced their craft for a long time. Total control over intent cannot simply be achieved in 6 months, 5 or so years of practice; it is in my humble opinion, a reward (so to speak) for a lifetime of commitment to their craft. And while those whom are gifted are an exception to this rule, they are also not a dime a dozen.