When I first started practicing Witchcraft and had discovered Wicca, I didn’t really know how to use the standard Wiccan Ritual tools or any items often found in Witchcraft. As I learned about each tool from rattles and drums to my athame and cauldron and wand and stones and Tarot cards and Runes and more, I began to grow my collection of very special and mostly very expensive items.

Over a two year span, I had acquired quite the collection. One of the first things I acquired was my wand that I made from a branch off that giant oak tree in the front yard. No, not the cherry tree in the back yard but the oak tree branch was gifted to me from the tree itself in the most ritualistic way. I found drums and CDs from stores that were only around for a short time and stores that carried limited supplies of items. I found the perfect Athame at a cutlery shop and I paid dearly for it. My Chalice was the perfect chalice that I had prayed for. It was cobalt blue with images of the sun and moon and stars printed on it. At the time, I was short on cash and this chalice appeared for me. A discontinued item that was a remnant from a set and was on the clearance shelf for a measly $2.00 which was a very good price.

I even found an antique cauldron at an antique shop that I didn’t have access to on a regular basis. I had only that one opportunity to visit that shop and it had the perfect cauldron. I paid $30.00 for it. Most of my tools came in fantastic ways or at a high price. I cherished each one of them and got to know them well with the exception of my very expensive 30 something dollar tarot cards. Those were taken almost right away and not by a fellow Witch.

I had been single for a couple of years and was now healed enough from my last lost love to be open to a new relationship. I met this guy. He was charismatic and charming. His personality was charged with energy and he was flamboyant. He told me he was a druid and all the stuff I wanted to hear. As the weeks went by I realized we were not really matched but I put it off by telling myself I was just expecting too much. (my judgment of character was flawed).

I soon found my living situation was not so livable and needed a roommate. I looked for a few months for a suitable roommate but was unsuccessful and the time came when I was desperate to find another living situation. Of course, this guy came to the rescue. I moved in with him on the understanding that we would get to know each other for a while before deciding where it was going to take us. That was fine for the first two weeks then he began to pressure me full force about how he can’t live with a woman and not be married and a bunch of nonsense that was unreasonable.

I couldn’t think clearly with all the drama he was creating and he wore me down quickly. I finally agreed and convinced him that my friend (a pagan clergy) would be a perfect candidate to perform the ceremony. I had a lot of respect for her and I trusted her ethics and her judgment (a little too much). She agreed to discuss the topic and when she asked me if I wanted to get married, I firmly told her “NO” with an expectation that she would not perform the wedding on the grounds that it would not be ethical to perform a marriage where one party doesn’t really want to get married.

Much to my disappointment, she agreed to do it anyway with a cynical retort that I just can’t make a commitment. Umm yeah. Anyway. The ceremony was going to be at a park and I invited two people I didn’t think would come. This guy either didn’t invite anyone or they didn’t show. In the end, as the time came to perform the ceremony, Only one witness showed up. I thought to myself, thank the goddess she is working in my favor. That State required two witnesses to make it legal and I had the perfect solution to end this ridiculous ceremony.

This not so much of a friend also had her wife sign the document as a second witness and had submitted the form making the marriage legal. No matter how much I protested the marriage to this guy and was quite clear I did not know him well enough to marry him as well as telling my friend that I didn’t want to marry him, I was pressured into the marriage anyway only 4 months after meeting him.

Okay, I decided it can’t be that bad, I will just make the best of it. It isn’t like I can’t keep my half of the oath of marriage it just isn’t what I wanted. He told me he was on probation for something minor. Okay, I could live with that since it was only probation (turned out that he was a parolee and is a predator). He told me he used to use drugs but he went through rehab and is clean (he didn’t quit and was a frequent meth user). Okay, everyone deserves a second chance. He told me he was really a good guy but made some bad choices which was a reflection of my own story (not his real story at all) and I believed him.

Then, he began to isolate me by putting a huge wedge between me and my few friends I had left. The first one, He hit on hardcore and made her feel like I stole her opportunity to have him. I wish she would have been with him instead of me because I didn’t want to be married to this guy, I just needed a roommate to pay half the bills. Not only did he not pay half the bills but he took what little money I had to also keep me stranded and broke as part of the isolation. I had one friend left and he hit on him (yes HIM) so bad that it offended him into never speaking to me again. People don’t want to associate with anyone who is surrounded by drama like that. I was now alone and isolated. No job (he got me fired from almost every job I got after that), no transportation, no friends, no support system.

He soon discovered through his stalkerish behavior that I had a good reputation in my community. He came home livid and threatened to destroy me for having a better reputation than him. I was blind-sided. It was unexpected and I was floored with disbelief without any understanding why he had a problem that I had a good reputation. The first tool to go was my chalice. I had it sitting in a china hutch that I thought would keep it safe from being broken or damaged.

It was time for an esbat and I reached into the hutch. As I touched the chalice, it fell apart in my hand. Inside the chalice was a Cue Ball. We didn’t own a pool table or any other ball used in billiards or even a cue stick or the rack or anything. There was no reason for this thing to be anywhere near my Chalice in the first place. I was heartbroken. It was devastating for me considering what I went through to get that chalice. He made excuses and I moved on.

Then, one day, I came home from yet another job and was going to show a new friend my cards. They were going to teach me a little about them. I couldn’t find them. They were on my altar and wrapped in a special cloth that took me forever to find and now they were gone. I asked him what happened to them and he told me he took them and gave them to a young girl (found out later she was his mistress).

What he didn’t destroy, he pawned. What he couldn’t pawn he traded for drugs.

By the end of the five years I was trapped with him, every single tool, every single item including my 10-year-old vacuum cleaner, my Athame, my “independence ring” I had for 10 years, my mother’s gold jewelry, all gone. Not only did he isolate me from any kind of support system but he stripped me of every possession I valued. I barely escaped (quite literally) with nothing but the clothes on my back.

I learned many valuable lessons in those five years. The biggest lesson I learned is that I don’t really need tools to work my magick. I didn’t need them before Wicca and I don’t need them now but they are nice to have. I decided that the tools I would gain would have less monetary value and more sentimental value. My Athame I have today looks like a very common and cheap blade but it has a HUGE significance for me. It was the first tool I purchased after I escaped and found myself living in New York City alone and on my own. The majority of the tools I have were either gifted to me which makes them special or have some significance other than monetary value. I have tarot cards, a homemade cloth, stuff I purchased from the dollar store which adds to the ambiance to help set my mood for the ritual or spell along with other things that I have acquired with very little monetary value.

A tool is merely a tool. The value is what it means to you and how well it works for you. I find it safer to have items that are not coveted by others. My silver pentacle ring was less than $60 but it represents 3 things to me. 1. my personal growth. 2. spiritual significance 3. Protection.  I am lucky enough to have a significant other who appreciates the significance of my tools. It can be frugal and cheap. It can be an uncooked elbow macaroni spray painted gold and it will freaken work.

Magick is created in the mind, powered by desire, and controlled by free will.

I will say this again, a tool is just a tool, magick isn’t stronger just because you paid a butt load of money for it. Sacrifice doesn’t have to be a financial sacrifice. There are other forms of sacrifice such as time and effort. Sacrifice is not taking another living being’s life. Sacrifice is the giving of something we personally value. I value my time and energy more than anything I can buy. I value every breath I take. Money is received in exchange for that time and energy, therefore anything obtained through my sacrifice of my time and energy has value. Even a spray painted macaroni.

It’s nice to have expensive things but all in all, expensive doesn’t give it a value for its use.

Handcrafted holds your energy. Who cares if it is the most skillfully created masterpiece? Today, I make what I can and buy what I can’t but I exchange only what I feel it is worth to me.

In Love and Light,

Summer Song