The Pagan Path and Witchcraft – Part 3
This is part 3 of a 3-part article if you are looking for another part click one of the links below:
The Witch’s Cauldron
Cauldrons, not initially associated with witches, were in most early European of households, where folks used them for cooking. Set over a fire, it made the perfect pot for soups and stews. But there is a genuine connection between witches and the magical concoctions conjured in their cauldrons.
Modern witches and neo-pagans use cauldrons for many purposes. In the purest form, the container is used as an incense burner, or to burn herbs for medicinal and magical properties. Some pagans write wishes or incantations on paper and then burn that paper in the cauldron to send the energy out to the universe with the hopes that their dreams come true. More massive vats serve for bonfires lit in celebration of certain holidays in the pagan Wheel of the Year.
The Magic Wand
There’s not much fallacy when it comes to the magic wand. As depicted throughout history and Hollywood, the magic wand is a conduit for energy, and for some, a way of invoking the gods and goddesses into a sacred space for ritual.
However, the use of the wand isn’t exclusive to pagans, witches, or wizards. Before the third century AD, although there’s no biblical reference of Jesus using a wand, early art depictions portray the believed Messiah using one to do miracles. There’s also speculation that the staff of Moses in the Bible could have been a wand.
Wands also appear in Greek and Egyptian legend and lore as well as in other cultures and religions. Of course, through evolution, it found its way into illusionary magic in which entertainers use magic wands to perform tricks such as pulling a rabbit out of their hat.
Do witches use wands to cast spells? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean an “abracadabra” and wave of the wand is going to turn an ex-lover into a toad. It does mean a witch uses a wand to conduct energy. Witches also use wands to “cast circles,” which means to consecrate a sacred area enclosed in a circular shape protected by magic.
Many modern Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, coincide with pagan holidays that pre-date Christianity
Additional Tools of Witchcraft
Although the most common devices associated with pagan ritual and witchcraft are the Book of Shadows, cauldron, broom, and wand, there are a plethora of tools practitioners of magic use. Other tools of the craft include the athame (sword), chalice, and many earth-based tools such as crystals and gemstones, herbs, and an array of divination tools such as tarot cards, runes, tea leaves, scrying crystals, magic mirrors, and more.
Grouping all pagans under one description is impossible. The pagan path has surpassed the test of time, keeping old rituals alive in the modern day. Although pagans and witches do believe in magic, most of it involves self-awareness, accountability, and attunement to the seasons, moon phases, planetary influences, and nature.
There are religions such as Wicca and the Faerie faith tucked under the umbrella of paganism, but not all pagans choose to belong to organized religion.
Many modern Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, coincide with pagan holidays that pre-date Christianity. Whether in Christian tradition or the pagan path, the holidays share much in common celebrating birth, death, and rebirth on a spiritual level.
Stereotypes and superstitions of the past have clouded the way many people perceive paganism. There’s a fear-based reaction to words like witch or pagan, causing many practitioners to stay in the broom closet.
The bases of fact and fiction intermingle, revolving around the tools that pagans and witches use to practice magic. If you must reduce the realm of paganism into one description, it is an earth- and energy-based practice.
The word pagan still conjures negative imagery in the United States today, but most of those reactions stem from lack of understanding.
Melyria is a professional writer, a mother and has a huge passion for anything science related.