Shamanic Writings

March 27th, 2017 – So You Want to Build an Altar – Part 5

Published on March 27, 2017 under Shamanic Writings

Working Knife

A knife you use to cut things, draw lines in the Earth or runes on candles, and other functions. Traditionally the working knife is white-handled. This knife usually distinguished from the Athame which is a symbolic knife only and not used for other purposes by most practitioners.

Not all practitioners count the working knife as one of their altar tools, but just a functional implement.

Some people like to use a sword for casting in groups. Often awkward around an altar, swords may be kept near or under it to be held in the magical aura. Because of its ties to war or hostility many practitioners shy away from its use. It is however an excellent tool for shielding and guarding the sacred space.
Other useful or practical tools:

Not all tools you will want are necessarily magical in nature.

Candle Holders:
While we talk about candles, we often forget to talk about candle holders. There are a variety of holders out there. Some are designed to hold the small spell candles and others larger ones. You will want a variety of candle holders for your use. Some may have imagery on them some may be plain.

Cutting Board:
While this may not seem like something you would use at an altar, there will be many times where you will need to cut herbs for a spell, bread for an offering, or even carve a candle. You will not want to cut directly on your altar or altar cloth especially if it is decorative or delicate in nature.

Candle Extinguisher:
It was taught to me ages ago it is bad practice to blow out the flame of a candle used in ritual. It is considered ‘rude’ to the fire sign. A small extinguisher also keeps you from accidentally blowing melted wax over everything else.

Small Container of Water:
If you are out doors or are unable to keep incense attended too, a small cup or container of water is good for politely extinguishing the incense. A larger bucket can be used if you are using torches in an out of doors ceremony.

Heavy Duty Scissors:
Some spells call for removing the top and carving the bottom of the candle to burn upside down. (Especially candles used to reverse a negative situation.) While a working knife or athame can be used, a good set of heavy duty scissors works really well not only for this purpose, but for trimming incense sticks and other items used in rituals.

Storage Box:
Not everyone has the ability to leave an altar up all the time. A well selected box to contain all the basic ingredients and supplies for an altar makes it not only neat and tidy and easily located, but easily portable as well.


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