Magickal stuff is all around us, and some of it doesn’t cost a thing. The thrifty Witch knows that successful magick doesn’t need to be expensive. Here are nine easy ways to stock your altar without even touching your wallet:
1. Scrap paper
Paper has endless magickal uses. Filling a Book of Shadows, recording affirmations, automatic writing, and drafting sigils are just a few examples. Every time you mark an empty page, you are performing a magickal act—the creation of something from nothing.
Store-bought paper is inexpensive, but re-purposed paper is free! Try saving scrap paper at home or collecting paper waste from local businesses. When you use it in your magick, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping the Earth at the same time. If regular printer paper doesn't seem magickal enough, you could try tea-staining it for a rustic parchment effect.
Salt is an age-old ingredient for rituals of blessing and protection. Salt’s exemplary reputation reaches back into prehistory, when people first noticed that it keeps food from spoiling. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for early humans to ascribe magickal properties to the stuff.
A pinch of salt is an ingredient in many traditional charms against evil. Salt and water make a cleansing wash for ritual tools and sacred space. Salt is excellent for grounding yourself quickly. And the list goes on and on.
Sure, there’s ritual black salt, Himalayan pink salt, and exotic sea salts gussied up with herbs and essential oils. But even regular old table salt will do the job if you’re in a tight spot.
Water is a sacred resource that most of us are fortunate enough to take for granted. But don’t underestimate its magickal power. If you have a running tap, you have access to a tool for scrying, cleansing, healing, devotional practices, and more. One popular folk magick remedy for “freezing” an enemy involves water, an ice cube tray, and a photo or personal effect...I’m sure you can guess the rest.
When people mention magickal stones, they’re usually thinking of gemstones and crystals with their various energetic properties. But even garden-variety stones can be helpful magickal partners. They embody the energy of Earth—patient, protective, and steadfast.
Try using blessed stones for circle-casting or setting up wards around your property. Flat rocks can be painted and charged as talismans. Ordinary rocks are also an empath's best friend. They're happy to absorb excess energy when you’re feeling jittery or ungrounded. Hold the stone between your hands while visualizing the unwanted energy flowing outward. Then put the stone back on the ground to mellow out.
One of the best steps you can take to increase your magickal knowledge is to read. Independent bookstores and public libraries sometimes have a discard box where they offer damaged and out-of-date books for free. If you have friends who are also interested in witchcraft or Wicca, you might consider organizing a book swap to make the most of your book collections.
No book exchange near you? Many ancient texts (and older books on witchcraft) are available online for free. Signing up for free trials with an e-book service is another way to score witchy reads at no cost.
Few things stir a Witch’s heart as much as a dancing flame. Thanks to the generosity of trees, you needn’t spend a lot of a money to keep the hearth fire burning. Learn to identify different woods and their unique energies to add another layer of correspondence to your spellwork.
Gathering fallen twigs and branches outdoors is a moving meditation—one that will also feed your cauldron or brazier. If you’re so inclined, leave a token of gratitude for tree spirits and forest fae. City-dwelling Witches can often pick up wood curbside, especially after storms.
Believe it or not (heh), string is one of the oldest magickal tools in the world. Magick using tied string was first recorded in Babylon and Assyria over 4000 years ago. Knot magick is simple, discreet, and very powerful. You probably have all the supplies you need for knot magick in your kitchen, garage, or junk drawer.
String is especially useful for binding spells and love spells. Tying the knots seals the spell, while cutting or untying them releases it. The number of knots and color of the string can be chosen according to the need. A chant or visualization helps to weave the spell while the knots are put in place.
Some Witches use special ritual cords for knot magick. However, if you’re truly broke, any string or ribbon from around the house will do.
Mirrors make an appearance in lots of fairy tales and horror stories. And with good reason—a mirror is one of the most magickal items in any household.
Mirrors may be used for reversal spells, to reflect negative magick back to its sender. A mirror in a darkened room—perhaps illuminated by candles—makes a cheap and easy scrying mirror. Mirrors also have a place in the magick of glamour, beauty, and illusion.
Mirrors can be gateways into the past, future, or Otherworlds. There are plenty of unsettling anecdotes about mirror magick—so make sure you’re in good mental and spiritual space before venturing through the looking glass.
Scissors symbolize fate, endings, and the Goddess in her aspect of Crone. In Greek mythology, the Fates ended each person’s life by cutting a thread with a pair of shears. Scissors are domestic cousins of a flashier witchy tool, the blade or scythe.
Use a pair of silver-bladed scissors to harvest herbs and plants. (Preferably under the waning moon, of course.) Keep scissors in your altar for trimming candle wicks, paper, and string. They’re also good for energetic cord-cutting and separation spells.
There are many superstitions surrounding scissors: You can break any spell, it is said, by dropping an open pair of scissors behind your back. Sleeping with scissors under your pillow (or hung on the wall) is supposed to prevent nightmares and psychic attacks while sleeping.
Everything is magick!
While there's nothing wrong with buying witchcraft supplies from a magickal shop (in fact, we hope that you do!), store-bought tools are never necessary to walk the patch of a Witch. With a little ingenuity, you will begin to see the hidden power and secret lore in everyday objects.
Enjoy this article? Check out the archive here.