Ten Magickal Metals and Their Uses in Witchcraft
Hey everyone, it’s been a while. I’m in a better place now, and though my mini-sabbatical was necessary, I hated not updating you all! I can’t wait any longer, so I’m back!
Most people know that certain crystals or stones have associations in Witchcraft, but people seem to forget that this is a relatively new area of Craft. Prior to that, for thousands and thousands of years, Witches and smiths used metals to work their magick and skill, and this shouldn’t be forgotten today!
Alloys have different associations to pure metals, so I’ll do them separately.
- Iron - Probably the most common metal in Witchcraft, it’s associated with repelling of spirits, demons, Fae, and magick generally. It’s a dousing metal, one that channels magick exceptionally well, and as such will “pull” magick out of the user. Enchantments don’t stick to iron objects, and any spells placed on them will fade almost immediately or simply not stick in the first place.
- Copper - An ancient and useful technology, copper is said to be the second metal ever worked by human hands, and the first to be made into tools. It’s primary associations are with craft and manufacture, especially workings done with one’s own hands or skill. Amulets made from copper are said to enhance skill at creative or inventive endeavours, and altar tools made from copper will work very well for constructive magick or rituals. It’s also strongly associated with harmony and balancing, making it an excellent metal to include in altars focused around balance.
- Steel - Whilst technically an alloy, it’s an alloy of iron and a non-metal (carbon) so I’m going to put it in this section. Steel is strongly associated with weapons and armour, and for this reason it works well for defensive magick, destructive magick, and for athames. It retains iron’s strong resistance to magickal enchantment, which for an athame is a good thing - you don’t want the magick “sticking” to your tools, so something like iron or steel is kind of like using a non-stick pan to cook your eggs.
- Tin - The working of iron is called “blacksmithing”, and conversely the working of tin is called “whitesmithing”, because whilst iron oxidises black under heat, tin remains quite pale. In the ancient world, this metal was highly sought-after, as it is the crucial ingredient in the manufacture of bronze, an alloy of tin, copper, and occasionally some other metals. As a result, it was highly priced and much haggled-over, and so it’s primary associations are with money, trading, prosperity and success. It’s also very strongly associated with British Witchcraft, because Britain had so much tin that the Romans and Greeks called Britain “the Tin Isles”.
- Gold - The first metal worked by humans, the purity, rarity and unparalleled lustre of gold have made it one of the most sought-after metals of all time. Regarded as one of the “noble metals” by alchemists, and one of the precious metals by almost everyone else, gold is of course strongly associated with money, fortune and trading. However, it’s also associated with intelligence, because of the alchemical pursuits followed to try to transmute things into it; and with purity, because it is biologically so inert that Victorian doctors used to coat pills for rich people in 24k gold leaf to mask the taste without harming the patients. It’s an excellent channelling substance, though I doubt anyone will have enough of it for a whole wand! Perhaps just a tip, then!
- Silver - Although less prized than gold, this highly lustrous and workable material is also regarded as a precious metal. Due to its unique atomic structure, silver is the most conductive element in the universe - this makes it an unparalleled channelling metal, and it’s much lower cost than gold makes this a theoretically possible metal to make wands for energy-workers and for ceremonial wands for covens. It’s also a very pure metal, and is strongly associated with healing, growth, and cleansing of disease and impurity from the body. Amulets suspended on a silver chain will be imbued with healing energies, strengthening any enchantments upon them, and assisting in the boosting of the wearer’s natural immune system.
- Lead - Contrary to popular belief, lead is not toxic to hold in your hands any more than nickel, antimony, or other metals that are often toxic by ingestion. Whilst it’s not advised to wear it as an amulet (because prolonged rubbing against the acidic oils in the skin will cause them to react with the metal over time and be absorbed into your body), holding a charm in your hands or wearing one for only a day or so is not dangerous to your health. This metal is associated strongly with travel, adventure, and safe voyages across both space and emotion. It’s also a metal associated with intelligence and academia, and with magick of all kinds. Pendulums made using lead weights or pendants will be unparalleled for divination. In fact, my own original divinatory pendant is made using a lead fishing weight and an old key, and whilst I now have a fancy new one made with rose quartz and pure silver, my old lead pendulum is still my absolute favourite!
- Bronze - An alloy made from the combining of approximately 85% copper and 15% tin. This alloy has many superior qualities compared to both individual metals, and this has made it a first choice metal for a great many people from artists to cooks to metallurgists throughout the ages. Stronger than both tin and copper, and with a higher melting temperature and toughness rating than either, this metal is associated strongly with grand endeavours, imaginative or ambitious projects, and with collaborative enterprises. Bronze would be an excellent component of any spell intended to enhance your performance at your job, in seeking employment, or in advancing your own social or career goals.
- Pewter - This alloy has become rarer in these more modern times, but in the Medieval and Renaissance periods pewter was one of the most commonly used metals available. It’s main component is tin, and whilst most pewter is about 92% tin you can get pewter with as little as 80% tin and as much as 99%! The remaining ~8% is usually copper, antimony, and in old alloys lead is often a component (lead is almost always absent in modern pewter for safety reasons). This alloy is the metal that’s most strongly connected to kitchen witchery, followed by cast iron and copper, because it has been used for over a thousand years to make everything from cutlery to plates to flagons. It’s also associated with “common” magick, the magick of everyday people (as opposed to what were traditionally called the “higher” magicks like alchemy and energy-working). So long as your pewter is free of lead, it’s safe to keep it near your skin, or to eat or drink from it. Potions are more powerful when brewed in cauldrons made of pewter, and your kitchen spells will work more effectively when you use pewter in the working somewhere.
- Electrum - One of my favourite metals of all time, electrum is a naturally-occurring alloy of gold and silver, often with trace quantities of copper, platinum and palladium in the alloy too. Natural electrum comes in two common varieties; 10-30% silver, which is found mostly in the regions of Western Anatolia; and 50%-60% silver, which is found in the regions around Ancient Lydia (a large empire stretching across much of Asia Minor). However, most modern electrum is alloyed artificially, allowing finer control over the quality of the alloy and making it easier to work with artistically. Electrum is very much a metal associated with commerce - many regions such as the Lydian empire used electrum as a basis for their coins, as opposed to pure gold or pure silver, and it has always been a highly valued commodity. It’s also a very strongly artistic metal, as electrum has been used to make everything from the capstone of the Great Pyramid of Giza (sadly, this has long since been stolen by looters over the centuries), to wedding bands for pagan marriages. Electrum is a metal of love and emotion, and in its alloying of two precious and beautiful metals to make a product greater than the sum of its parts, it represents the joining of two lives together into a single whole to produce a love that will last across all time. Personally, I’d like my wedding band to be made of electrum!
Metals are a much overlooked, but incredibly useful addition to any Witch’s arsenal of magick tools, and I hope most sincerely that this has been useful for all of you wonderful Witches out there looking to expand your collection of Witchery supplies beyond common items like crystals and tarot cards. Remember that Witchcraft isn’t about doing what everyone else does, but rather it’s about doing what only you’ve ever done! As always everyone, Witchcraft is not a thing you do, it’s a thing you ARE - Witchcraft is in the mind, and so be sure to practice your Craft exactly how YOU know it should be practiced.
– Juniper WildWalk