Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Simple tools

We live in a world that is shaped by our society.  We are bombarded with messages all day, every day, about what we should be, feel, think and do.  We are shown images of things we should want, products we should buy....because money fuels the world we live in.

And, don't get me wrong, there are amazing, wonderful products out there, things that I love and things that I want...and things that I will buy.  I am a sucker for a beautiful deck of cards, for sparkly dice, for shiny tools and nice smelling stuff.

But, what we can sometimes forget is all those things are luxuries...they are great if you have access to them (and if you have the means to get them, then by all means, get the stuff that makes your heart sing!), but if we can't, that shouldn't stop us from honoring our spirituality and practicing our craft.

There is so much we can do with stuff that is everywhere, with things that we find or make, that cost us nothing (or at the very least are much less expensive).  The beauty of it is, the more you invest in your spiritual tools, the more you imbue even the simplest of objects with power and meaning.

I have been making simple tools pretty much since I started.  And often, as my money situation changed, I would upgrade tools, though I still use many of my simple ones.  My very first rune 'set' was simple flashcards.  I wrote the names and meanings of runes on bits of paper (ordinary printer paper that I tore into squares).  Later, I made another simple set by finding small rocks outside and using a bottle of old nail polish to mark the runes on them (you can also use permanent marker, I've done that for other symbols).  I made an ogham set with craft sticks (like the kind they use for popsicles...and you could totally clean and use popsicle sticks...or go find sticks outside)!

My very first wand, which I still have and use, is a stick that I found at my college, while they were trimming trees.  I let it dry, and stripped the bark off, sanded the ends, and there you go:  wand!  Driftwood also makes great wands, the water often does the sanding for you.  If you want to dress it up a little, I've wrapped sticks with yarn or thread, which gives a pop of color and a bit of grip.  You can add in feathers you have found or bits of fur.  I like to bind stones to the tips of my wands, and I tend to use leather strips...but you can totally glue them in place, adding other decorative elements where they join, if you like.

Letter openers make great athames, especially if you are somewhere that a blade might not be acceptable.  I used a pocket knife for ages as my ritual blade (because I wanted one that could cut things as needed), and those are really reasonable to find.  Old kitchen knives can be transformed into ritual blades, and can often be found really cheap at thrift stores or garage sales.  I actually made a 'blade' for one of my art classes with some poster board, cutting out the pieces and gluing them together (I finished it with clear packing didn't have an edge, but it was pretty neat looking).

For a pentacle, my first was a simple silver (looking) coaster.  I have made pentacles out of salt dough (which is a fantastic medium for crafting all kinds of things, especially statues!)  You could take wire and make a pentacle as well, weaving the circle outline first, then bending the wire to form the star inside.

You can go even more simple, and paint or draw symbols on rocks to represent your tools.  Think about what the purpose of the tools is:  what does it represent, how does it function for you, what do you need from it?  Search out rocks that feel right, and decorate (or don't!) them to suit you.  I have a crystal point that I use to direct energy, but I could easily use a similarly shaped found rock.  I also have a large, oval shaped river rock that I use as a healing focus, and representation of fire.

Another, really portable option, is to find images of the tools you need and print them out.  For durability, you can laminate or simply seal them with clear tape.  In college, I had images that I had printed for all four elements, as well as a God and Goddess image, so I could carry a full circle in my wallet!  I had a friend who simply used a tarot deck this way, using different cards to represent things he needed (he was military, and often couldn't have the tools he wanted at hand).

I have also made sacred tool images in an art journal.  I painted some, but I also used collage, so no matter what your personal artistic comfort level, you can create pages to represent different parts of your practice.  I made an altar page, a cauldron (which was painted with chalkboard paint so I could add things to it and erase them as needed), a grounding page (that was a really fun one...with outlines of my hands, so literally I can put my hands on the book and ground myself).  You could also make pages dedicated to deities you work with (like shrines!).  If you draw out runes or other divination symbols, you can grab a handful of pebbles and cast them on the page to see what runes the rocks land on.

The possibilities for tools are as endless as your imagination.  If you can make the connection in your mind, you can use something as a tool.  Never feel like you are limited because you can't afford all the fancy tools, because there are tools all around you!  And sometimes, the ones you find or make yourself become the ones that you use the most.

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