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Making Magickal Tools
By Chris Lynner
When I first started practicing Keltrian ritual, I found that the list of tools for ritual seemed quite intimidating. After I started looking around, I found that making my own tools wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.
My biggest source of inspiration has been looking at the craft books for kids. Since I have kids, I was doing this already. Most libraries are full of these craft books. So they are easy to come by. They also cater to easy instructions that are simple to modify to allow for personal creativity. The materials are usually cheap and simple to get also (a major consideration if you live in a smaller community).
In this article and future articles, I would like to share some of the tools I have made, the Remembrances for ritual and some of the seasonal decorations that help to get one in the "mood" of the season. I would also like to invite you to share your own experiences and ideas.
You can find more information on what tools are used in ritual and how to bless and care for them in the Henge of Keltria Book of Ritual. The Book of Ritual is available from the Henge Office.
The Bell Branch is used in ritual to consecrate sacred space. This tool is based on those of the Druids and Bards of old who used a Bell Branch to symbolize a connection with the Otherworld. Celtic Myth tells us of this. Archeology has also uncovered "wands" that may have been the Bell Branches of Druids or Bards.
For my own Bell Branch, I found a simple branch in my yard. I added three bells tied on to the branch with ribbon (since three is an important number in Keltrian theology). As the Bell Branch is "planted" to symbolize the Otherworldly Tree, keep in mind that size counts and a large branch doesn't "plant" easy (as I soon found out). You could devise a planter such as a pot with sand in it or some molded clay to place in the center of the spiral for "planting". Or for outdoor ritual, you could dig a hole to fit the branch into. A smaller branch can be just placed on the ground.
You can also paint the branch with symbols or colors that are meaningful to you. You may even want to keep your eyes open at Yule time for the apple ornaments that have made a recent comeback (apples are a traditional symbol of the Otherworld in Celtic Myth).
Bells are easy to obtain from a mail order source like Azuregreen or Magus Books. You can also find them at craft stores or music stores. Yule time may also yield bells with the other ornaments of the season.
Another way to form a Bell Branch is to use rigid wire to bend into a branch shape. You can attach the bells to this as well. You could then wind florist's tape around the wire to give it a more branch like appearance. You could then paint it. Silver is the recommended traditional color.
Most important of all, have fun with it and just remember that there is no one "right" way to form a magickal tool. The most important aspect is what works for you.
The Altar Plate is a focal point for meditation and concentration in Keltrian Ritual. An appropriate symbol for the Altar Plate is the Keltrian Sigil:
The Keltrian Sigil symbolizes the triple nature of our cosmology in the tri-line symbol in the center of the sigil. The outer circle and staves are derived from archeological evidence of how the ancestors built their structures. We no longer know for certain the exact meaning of it to the ancestors, but to us it symbolizes a gateway.
I constructed my own Altar Plate by purchasing a large ceramic tile from the hardware store (about 1 x 1 foot) and then painting the sigil onto the tile. You might be able to enlarge the above picture and use tracing paper to get the design onto the tile for painting. I just drew a circle (using a bowl) lightly with pencil and use it to guide me. Mine is a work in progress as I am not that artistic.
Another way to construct an Altar Plate is to use clay (purchased or home made) and to mold it into the shape you want and let it dry (I will add some recipes for homemade clay when I get to the remembrance bowls). Next paint the sigil onto it and after that dries coat the plate with clear paint (polyurethane I think it is called).
You may also wish to use the cross section of a tree and paint or carve your sigil onto that. Or you could even use a piece of wood from the hardware store. There are many options.
This material is ©Copyright 1999 by The Henge of Keltria which posts this article on the Internet by direction of the President of The Henge of Keltria. It may not be republished or reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of The Henge of Keltria. Links to this page may be established.
This material was first published in Henge Happenings #42. Henge Happenings is the official "members only" publication of The Henge of Keltria, Inc. To join the Henge of Keltria, see our Order Form.