When most people think of magickal tools, they start visualizing the gleaming silver chalice, the jewel-hilted athame, the flawless crystal ball on a base of intertwined pewter dragons, then sigh and lament that they will never be a proper Witch because they cannot afford the tools. However, the tools don’t make the Witch; a crafty Witch makes her own tools.
There is no need to buy expensive tools from some overpriced New Age shop. Most Witches should be able to improvise tools from what they have lying around. As a Sea Witch, I prefer to use the tools that can be found or made from items at the seashore. In this way, I show my appreciation to the Ocean Mother for providing me with these gifts by making use of them. Besides, I think natural objects are inherently more magickal than any mass-produced item from the local New Age shop. Natural objects (and tools made from natural items) have a magickal charge to them that store-bought objects do not have (at least, without a lot of work to magickally charge them).
I try to keep the ’store-bought’ tools used to a minimum, restricting them to things I cannot make myself. I have a cauldron, a blue and green glass goblet, a large antique fishing float for scrying (a jumble sale find), and a bronze anchor-handled blade (another jumble sale find). I believe the blade used to be a letter opener, but I’ve been sharpening it up since I found it. I also like to keep a good supply of sea salt (available from any health food store) on hand for everything from banishing to making my own blessed water. I don’t use candles very much during rituals, but when I do I have a number of small blue glass candleholders for them.
The other altar items are things I found or made. Large clam, scallop, and oyster shells do an excellent job of holding salt, water, or herbs during spells and rituals. Clearly marked with a five-pointed star, a sand dollar makes a perfect pentacle for my altar. A larger clam or cowry shell and an auger shell can stand in for Goddess and God images in a pinch, particularly on a small altar. Since I switched to loose incense instead of preformed cones or sticks, I have been using a large shell with sand in the bottom as a censer. I also made my current wand out of stained glass.
Just walking along the shore, one can find many things that can be used in sea magick: seaweed, fishing net, shells, sea grass, driftwood, pieces of sea glass, and even sand. Draped over doorways and windows, fishing nets can act as a filter to capture harmful thoughts and intentions, and keep them from the living space. They are also a convenient place to tie charms for timed spells, which is far better and safer than leaving a candle burning for the required number of days. Seaweed can be used in place of many herbs in spells (there are many types of seaweed, each with their own uses), and driftwood can make an excellent wand if cut to size. Sea grass can be tied to a wooden handle to make a broom, perfect for purifying temple space. Different colours of sand can be assigned correspondences and used in nearly any spell.
Since I have started to practice some weather magick, I have found certain items are useful specifically for that. Anyone practicing weather magick needs to have a mop, bucket, and umbrella available. Accidents do happen, especially when one is first starting out, and a weather spell that backfires is not fun to be around! A weather vane would be helpful to tell which way the wind is blowing (necessary for many weather spells). It would save me a lot of hanging out the window to check the winds myself! Some wind chimes crafted from some of my smaller shells can protect my home from both negativity and intruders (anything that chimes is good for banishing negativity). I also like to keep around a variety of colours and lengths of cording for weather-related knot magick (the end bits of embroidery threads work well, I find).
Of course, many times I do not bother with physical tools. I cannot count the number of times I have been out in traffic concentrating on keeping the light green until I get through it (it works), and the other spells I’ve done on the fly due to similar practical need. It all depends on what is available at the time. If there is no other tool available, use your mind – the best tool of all!