TSO Class: Witches on a Budget
Here at the Spiral Oak Grove, we hold classes every Wednesday night on our FB page at 8 PM (www.facebook.com/thespiraloakgrove) and I figured I would start blogging about them if I get the chance just as an aside.
Tomorrow’s class is on Budget Witchcraft and thriftiness in the craft. I am sure that a lot of you don’t have buckets of money to afford all the pretty tools on Etsy or order herbs in bulk, or buy expensive oils and incense from mass producers, so I am going to go over a few ways to practice your craft with little to no money.
First off, you don’t necessarily need ANYTHING to perform Magick other than yourself. The energy and intent resides in you and you deem how you use it But if you are like me, you like having things (I love things, all things lol) but you may not necessarily have the extra cash to spend on a brand new cast iron cauldron or a shiny athame, but there are ways to get around that and make things simple, or produce your own.
Basic Tools of Witchcraft and Mundane Items to Replace Them:
Athame: You can use a butter knife! Or an old pocket knife, or a some sort of knife that means something to you (could be an antique passed down from generations or just something you picked up at the flea market, remember to cleance it before using it)
Cauldron: A bowl, any bowl! It could be one pulled from the kitchen cabinet or a pretty crystal candy dish, or something you picked up at the thrift.
Wand: It doesn’t have to be fancy! You can wander through the woods and find a pretty stick that calls to you. Wrap it in ribbon, affix a crystal point to the top, paint symbols on it, woodburn it. Make it your own.
Chalice: You can use a basic cup or you can find a wine glass at the dollar store. Paper cups obviously work too in a pinch.
Besom: Everyone should have a broom…nuff said :P
Bell: You can get bells just about anywhere. Even if it is the little tinkly kind you use for crafts or, like I said, the thrift store may have something.
Incense Burner: You can get these at Walmart for about 98 cents. It may not be what you want, but you can always repaint things.
Altar Pentacle: This can be as simple as drawing one on a piece of paper or cardboard, or make one out of clay or wood.
Altar: This could be ANYTHING! I shelf in your bookcase, a window sill, an end table, any place that you can create sacred space in that won’t be disturbed.
The Magickal Grocery List of Basic Supplies:
Herbs: You can get your basic herbs at the grocery store. Things like Basil, Rosemary, Bay Leaves, Oregano, Thyme, Clove, Garlic, Anise, even Lavender can be purchased here. Though this is a good route to go if you don’t have a local metaphysical store or can’t order online, in the long run this can be more expensive. Granted, they are culinary grade and great for making tinctures, teas, and drinkable potions, but they tend to be a bit pricier for a smaller amount. (There is a brand called Badia that I know they sell at Publix, however. They sell some of their spices in little packets for about a $1 a piece)
If you have a green thumb, or know someone that does, you can also grow your own and dry them out for your herb cabinet OR forage for plants and herbs in nature. Just make sure you know what you are looking for so that you don’t mistake something poisonous for something edible.
Oils: I make a lot of oils from dried herbs, essential blends, and even crystal infusions. Any carrier oil will essentially work, but I use Olive Oil for EVERYTHING. It is easy to obtain at grocery stores, even though it can get expensive, but places like Aldi’s and even Trader Joes (if you have one), can have pretty cheap olive oil. I also watch the sales at Kroger and buy it there too. Olive oil was traditionally used in the Jewish Temple as a way to anoint one’s self before prayer or entering the Holy of Holies. It does have a scent to it, especially if you don’t purchase EVOO, but it still retains the smell of whatever you steep in it… the longer the better. This oil is also good for the skin and generally doesn’t cause any sort of reaction (unless you are allergic to Olives, of course). Another route for oil is coconut oil, which is everywhere now a days. The only issue with that is that this oil is a solid under 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so you either have to keep it in a warm place or turn your oil in to more of an anointing salve, which I have done. This is also another great one for the skin all around and is great for cosmetic magick or just natural remedies.
If you have the money you can also buy jojoba, grapeseed, almond, and others that are just a bit fancier, but also cost more.
Powders: I love to make magickal powders and really fell in love with them while researching the Voodoo tradition. I tend to use corn starch for this as it is super fine and easily mixes with herbs, natural powdered pigments, and even oils. Make sure to mix it thoroughly if you are adding oil as anything liquid makes it clump up quick. You can also use rice flour, arrowroot powder, or even flour if that is what you have. Remember that all of these powders have different properties too.
Protection, luck, divination.
WHEAT: Fertility, money spells, divination.
Money, sex, fertility, protection
Good Fortune, Shows Opportunity, Purification, cleansing, healing
Incense: I mostly make loose blends with herbs and resins, but occasionally I get creative. There are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest and Youtube for how to make your own cones and even sticks, but this usually calls for added supplies that you may not have the funds to purchase at the moment. If you don’t, either go the loose route, or get some cheap scents from your local gas station, Dollar Store, or Walmart. Before making ANYTHING that is burnable, PLEASE make sure that it is safe for you to do so. Some things are only good in well ventilated areas (Like Wormwood) and some can severely harm or kill you if inhaled. DO YOUR RESEARCH!
Salt: This is self explanatory. If you cook AT ALL, you probably have salt around the house. Salt is one of those necessary staples for spells and rituals and is used to protect, cleanse, and consecrate. You don’t have to have fancy pink Himalayan salt or salt from the Dead Sea; I just purchase the Kroger brand canisters for 59 cents and stock up when I can. If you want, or need, Black Salt, you can always easily make this with scrapings from your cauldron or by adding burnt powdered Rue to your salt (though this usually results in a gray salt unless you use a TON of Rue) Here at TSO, we make our own with ash from the ritual fire.
Moon Water or Lustral Water: I see this being sold ALL the time on places like Etsy and other New Age stores, but I feel like it is silly to buy something that you can make for FREE! Bottle your water, put it in a mason jar, even fill up a cup and place it under the Full Moon…BAM! MOON WATER!. You can get fancy with it and boil salt and/or crystals in the water before placing it out in the moon for an added punch.
Food: Sometimes food is all you need to perform a spell or to use in a ritual. All foods have magickal connotation from bread to fruits and veggies, even meat. You can also buy fresh herbs at your grocery store too.Here is a good site that gives you magickal correspondences in the kitchen.
Other Magickal Tools/Items That You Don’t Need to Spend an Arm and a Leg to Buy:
These sorts of things cost more than what is detailed above, but being frugal with other tools and items may afford you the money to splurge a little with other things.
Crystals: Everyone loves crystals, but let’s face it…they can get SUPER expensive. I like to spend my money on things like this since they are harder to obtain for free or on a budget, but it can be done! Sites like eBay and crystal wholesalers can be a good place to pick up some quart points and other small chunks of mineral goodness. There are also gems shows and flea markets, as well as some metaphysical stores that sell these for a reasonable price. There is one Metaphysical store near us that has a “Treasure Chest” of small crystal chips that you can scoop in to a bag for a varied mix, or sift through them one by one like I do. I use these in crafting, elixirs, spells, and charm bags too. If you know what you are looking for, you can also forage for these sorts of things…quartz is EVERYWHERE.
Divinatory Tools: These can also be on the pricey side. A new Tarot or Oracle deck can run as low as $20 and sometimes as high as almost $50 depending on what you are looking at. This is another thing that I spend my money on instead of other things, but you don’t always have to. You can trade with others for a deck, have it gifted to you for a birthday or Sabbat, or you can make your own! Making a deck will take some time, but think of the power that it will hold since it was handcrafted BY YOU.
Pendulums are another thing that I just love, but can also be really expensive depending on what it is made of. But you can make a pendulum out of just about anything that can swing: a ring, a wire wrapped crustal, clay, Sculpey, anything that has weight and a nice shape that isn’t too bulky. You can hang it from a chain, ribbon, yarn, etc.
Scrying is another good tool that doesn’t require much depending on the type of scrying you are doing. You can stare in to the fire, use a dark colored bowl filled with water, read the tea leaves after a nice cuppa,or even paint the glass black in an old photo frame and make your own scrying mirror!
Runes, Ohgam, and other casting type divination can also be easily made. I have made runes on wood and salt dough, painted ogham on fancy Popsicle sticks, and some people even use bones and other lots to divine. ,
Ouija boards and Witch boards are also another divinatory tool, but a lot of people don’t like to consider them and don’t condone their use either. This is up to your discretion, but I use them and have made several on my own too. Sometimes that personal touch can aid you in your work.
Candles: Candles tend to be super important for the witch. We use them as a barrier in circle, to scry, in candle magick, and to give us light so we can see what we are doing! Candles are another one of those things that can cost a lot of money depending on how often you use them to practice. Walmart is always a cheap route to go when looking for candles and they usually have a variety of colors in taper AND votives for under a few dollars. Dollar Tree and stores like that have small bags containing 25 tealights which are always good to have on hand, and sometimes varied colors of tapers and votives as well. You can watch the sales at places like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s too, but I have found that my favorite is IKEA. You can get a bag of 100 tea lights for under $4 as well as an array of colored tea lights, pillars, and votives for really cheap considering the average cost of candles. If you don’t have the room to stock up ( I have an extensive collection that I have been amassing for years ) you can always buy chime candles which tend to run about 20 cents a piece at most places and get the cute little holders that go with them (I have small metal star ones that cost me 67 cents a piece wholesale) In a pinch, I have even used different colored birthday candles which is what I store in my altar boxes.
Essental/Fragrance Oils: This may be something that you choose to spend the money that you have saved on other supplies for. Essential oils are usually EXPENSIVE and you have to really hunt around and do your research to make sure that what you are getting is actually essential oil and not something labeled as EO with a shit ton of fillers ( like Young Living or doTerra) I have gotten good ones off sellers on eBay, but my favorite place to get them is Mountain Rose Herbs (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/). They use all wildcrafted herbs, all organic, and have a wonderful business. They can be on the cheaper side, but even then there are still going to be some oils that are just crazy expensive regardless. Fragrance oils can be a better route if you are just wanting the scent, but may not have the magickal properties that you are looking for. You can always make your own EO too, but this requires a lot of setup, supplies, time and money so it may not work for the true witch on a budget.
Bottles, Jars, & Bags:
These are essential if you are going to be keeping dried herbs on hand, making
your own oils and tinctures, or creating charm bags. My herb cabinet is not streamline
whatsoever; I buy jars from EVERYWHERE to make sure that I get the best price
for the quantity. Mason jars from the local grocery store are always a good go
to. You can get anywhere from 12 to 24 jars depending on size for about $8. I
also watch the sales at the craft stores and snatch up the cute little jars
with hinges and pretty shapes, or World Market has little spice jars from 99
cents to $2.99 depending on size.
Bottles are another thing that I use a lot of. I order mine in bulk from places like eBay, Azure Green, and wholesale bottle suppliers like www.sks-bottle.com and www.specialtybottle.com. You can also get pretty larger ones at the craft stores and cool novelty ones around Halloween just about everywhere during that season.
Bags can be purchased fairly cheap
at your local metaphysical store or ordered online, but I like to make my own
out of scrap fabric, collect them from party favors, and even find them in the
party section of a store (like for weddings or baby showers)
Art Supplies: If you are crafty, artsy, or just want to try your hand at crafting, get yourself some art supplies. Acrylic paint, paint brushes, Sculpey, a wood burner, whatever! You can use these things to paint up your altar, wood burn an altar pentacle, make talismans and pendants out of polymer clay, find little wooden craft supplies like blocks and disks to make divinatory tools…the options are endless when you align your creative mind with the magickal. I feel like hand crafted and hand made tools hold much more power than something that can be bought already made.
For Everything Else, The Thrift Store Is Your Friend
Seriously…the thrift store is a GODSEND when it comes to needing altar supplies, ritual garb, magickal knick-knacks, and what-nots. You can get used jewelry or cigar boxes to make a power box, find old pieces of cloth or sheets and table runners to use as an altar cloth (or you can go get a yard of cheap fabric at JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby), you can find statuary to decorate your sacred space (I have bought things and repainted them to suit my needs), you can find special clothing that can’t be bought new and turn it in to your ritual dress or even a jacket or cloak to wear during spell work, you can find fancy wine glasses to use as a chalice, bowls or pots for your cauldron (I actually found several brass cauldrons at one Goodwill AND a crystal ball stand), and I even purchased my nifty little altar from my local thrift! We just have to remember to cleanse these sorts of things before using them magickally (which I sometimes forget to do) but just because it isn’t brand new or initially made for your intended purpose, doesn’t mean that one man’s trash can’t be another witch’s treasure. You can find tons of things to repurpose, reclaim, and make your own at these places as well as your local flea market, yard sales, and sometimes even antique shops have reasonably priced goodies for you to use in your spiritual journey.
I think that just about covers everything! Now take your thrifty self out in to the world and build a magickal haven from every day resources and used items that other people thought were worthless. Just like with magick, make something beautiful out of seemingly nothing.
Feel free to ask questions or add your input if there is anything that I missed!