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I absolutely love Charmed and this a Charmed based encyclopedia which is also full of witchy information. It is from the unofficial charmed companion.
Agate: One of the more common stones found in streams and on beaches, its colors vary widely and have given rise to a subset of magical use. The umbrella of connotations covering all agates includes bravery, longevity, healing, and protection.
For ensuring a deep, undisturbed-in fact, undisturbable -sleep, slip dried leaves of this plant inside the sleeper's pillow. Agrimony's ready availability along the eastern seaboard makes it a handy sleep aid for children. Keep in mind that co-opting a person's free will is always questionable; indiscriminate pillow-stuffing isn't encouraged.
A flat stone, a window ledge, a wall shelf, a cloth spread on the ground, a chalked outline on the floor-almost anything can be the focus of your ritual space as long as it is stable enough to let you work without worrying about candles tipping, and smooth enough not to catch or tangle fingers or sleeves. Beyond providing a flat, stable surface, your choice of altar will usually reflect some aspect of your philosophy and aesthetic. Wiccans with strong tendencies toward natural motifs in their magic may opt for an altar of a particular wood. Others may prefer stone slabs. Most, however, will use a table of some sort, usually one that can serve more than one purpose if space is tight. The usual working altar on Charmed , a low table around which the sisters can sit comfortably on the floor, is an excellent model if you have enough square footage. Small enough that everyone can reach the entire surface, but large enough to accommodate all the tools you might need, is the ideal. Naturally, solo practitioners who like to incorporate reflections of all four elements, a low table can serve as a connection to earth. Similarly, a tall table like Zoe's, seen in "From Fear to Eternity," represents air.
The very first thing acquired for most work areas is an altar cloth. Whether elaborate or plain, the cloth marks the space for ritual use. For those whose altars must also serve as desks or coffee tables, the cloth is a physical reminder that, during the working at least, this is a sacred place. It may revert to the same stretch of wood over which you and your kids argue the relative merits of homework, but while that cloth covers it, it is a holy ground. An altar cloth obviously isn't just a table dressing and deserves some thought on the practitioner's part. As color plays an important role in keying the witch's mind to her purpose, a collection of cloths in various shades isn't unusual. Embellishment of a single cloth can serve the same purpose. A ring of symbols meaningful to the practitioner can be embroidered, or over the working space to bring a single symbol to the front. While the material itself isn't particularly important, you'll only have to chase that pretty piece of slippery black satin a few times before realizing that whatever beauty it might bring to your ritual is more than countered by its inconvenience. And, while Scotchgard isn't something you'll want to add to your altar cloths, washable fabrics that easily release the odd spill of ash, wax, or oil will make your experience more pleasurable.
This geologically unusual stone-actually formed from plant resin-has been venerated among mystics for centuries. Transmutation is an obvious association, which likely explains its use in workings related to a change of luck, past life remembrances, and purification. Amethyst: Sort of a psychic cocoon, the amethyst has many esoteric connections that revolve around a central them of healing and protection. Heightened psychic awareness, deeper meditative states, and mental tranquillity-the precursors to spiritual rejuvenation-make this stone a common ingredient in spells aimed at reestablishing lost focus or regaining a balanced perception. As a reminder of the need for balance, an amethyst is often found in a witch's work space.
For casting a protective circle around a large area, an entire house or property-especially a circle intended to last longer than a single working-your components should be more stable and enduring than simple chalk. Gum arabic, burned in a portable censer, releases a sweet-scented smoke with which a whole structure can be censed. The same protective associations can be incorporated, on smaller scales, into myriad other types of spells by dropping small sprinkles over a brasier or into hot water.
Andy Trudeau knows his athames from his filleting knives and, while the Halliwell sisters have yet to make use of this traditional tool, their existence in the Charmed universe reflects broad usage in the real world of Wiccan practice. Though design varies from a short knife no longer than the hand to a short sword length, the blade is most often blunt and double-edged. The blind, or unsharpened, edges don't interfere with the tool's functionality; it was never meant to cut anything, merely to give direction to the energy raised by the witch. Perhaps its most common use is in casting a working circle, a protective first step in many rituals. One version of a casting that specifically requires an athame is the Triple Circle. The first circle is cast in chalk, the second in salt , the last traced through the first two with the athame. This symbolic definition, cleansing, and direction make any space suitable for further rituals or castings. Just as the cauldron is often linked with femininity, the athame provides elements of masculinity. It's also associated with air and is often used to trace symbols in that element. Because of its role as an energy conduit, some traditions prefer to connect it to fire.
Said to have been used by Delphic priestesses, bay, in all its parts, is a divinatory stimulant and a mild to moderate narcotic. Though, it's found in most spice racks, outright indigestion isn't recommended, as bay is a well-known abortifacient; far better to use it in an incense mixture, as the Delpic oracles did.
Bells aren't the private reserve of church steeples, though those are one example of this common arcane tool. Just as smoke is believed to carry messages, prayers, and hopes to a higher authority or level of self-awareness, certain sounds have traditionally been believed to cleanse the air through which their reverberations pass, carrying good wishes. Firecrackers in the east, cowbells to ward off the evil eye in European mountains, even shotgun blasts at midnight on New Year's Eve were all originally intended to purify and clear away evil thoughts or intentions. "By bell, book, and candle," begins one version of a Christian exorcism rite. Bells and chimes, a musical first cousin, can be thought of as auditory smoke. In an invocation where incense was inappropriate, the single peal of a ritual bell might provide the perfect alternative. A lovely outside meditation, The Wind Sculptor, requires that several sets of light chimes be hung among a grouping of trees to familiarize the magical practitioner with anticipate how a breeze will move through a particular tree by noting the order in which the chimes are stroked by the wind. Some claim that, with sufficient understanding, one can not only predict the wind's path but gently nudge it on this very localized scale.
While the amethyst might be considered mystical first aid for the battered witch soul, bloodstones are the emergency room. Along with deep healings, bloodstones carry a connotation of acceptance, even in the face of extreme adversity. Like deep polls, bloodstones act as reservoirs, holding pain aside until the practitioner can address it under less stressful circumstances. Fear, anger, and pain are lost in its depths, leaving enlightenment and peace in its wake.
While the blunt athame serves its function perfectly, a knife that actually cuts something is also a customary implement for an altar. Unlike the athame, the bolline is kept will sharpened-not that easy to do, as the sickle-shaped blade is often made of silver or copper, softer metals that aren't anxious to hold an edge. Still, the knife is practical: Used to gather herbs in season, trim wicks on lamps and candles, and etch symbols in candles, among other things, it's the one tool that is used as often away from the ritual space as inside it. Some Wiccans keep two bollines, one for use inside the space and another for outside formal ritual. The handles of both athames and bollines may give some hint to their usual usage. The athame, used solely within a sacred space, features a black handle. Bollines used inside the circle are also black-handles, while those used outside its confines are generally white. Either blade may be inscribed with runes, symbols, or the practitioner's name. Some ascribe the bolline to druidic tradition. Certainly its shape, reminiscent of the tiny scythes with which the druids were reputed to harvest mistletoe from oaks, is quite similar. The only sharp implement used in the work space in the Halliwell attic was used to prick the fingers of all three sisters in preparation for bringing Melinda Warren out of the past, but that knife was, in all probability, one of those filleting knives with which aspiring chefs, such as Piper, like to stock their kitchen.
Bottles and vials:
Obviously helpful in organizing and storing other spell components, bottles can also be ingredients in and themselves-though a spell bottle isn't always a bottle. Specially made spheres of glass or china, earthenware containers, or wooden bowls, anything that can contain your components for an extended period might qualify. Collect those that appear to reflect the properties of the components they'll be holding.
Though some practitioners will use their cauldrons or a chalice for divination, many others prefer to use a special bowl. Unlike the multipurpose cauldron, the scrying bowl is dedicated to this single task and, between uses, is often wrapped in silk to buffer it from random thoughts. In general, the bowl's interior surface will be either dark or highly polished and filled with some fluid medium just before use. Water is typical but by no means the only choice. Ink, oils, even teas find their way into scrying bowls. In keeping with the psychic isolation suggested by the silk wrappings, the water, ink, or oils are removed at the end of the session and will not be reused.
Hardly reserved for modern Wiccan usage, the broom's long association with magical ritual ha, rather unfortunately , been "mythconception." It is most often pictured as some magical conveyance by which witches might flit about the countryside at the full of the moon, instead of a tool used in ritual purification of a working space. Also known as the besom, this particular broomstick isn't intended to leave your ritual space. Whether full-sized or, as is more often the case, scaled down to the size of a typical whisk, it is meant to cleat the altar and its environs of unwanted or negative energy prior to a working; or to help close down the work space after a ritual, to leave no residuals that might interfere with later spellcasting. Ash or birth are the tradition woods for a broom; you may find others more appropriate to your desires. A hand-carved broom is difficult to find nowadays, but, with care and patience, you can make your own. On an elemental level, a broom is a tool of air. Possessing both a shaft which, like the wand, is often associated with phallic symbolism, and a brush-seen as feminine-a besom is often considered the joining of male and female aspects, therefore sexually neutral or sexually perfected, depending on your own viewpoint.
This plant has recently come under scrutiny for its beneficial effects in smoking cessation programs, but its other more exotic, history includes nearly two thousand years of medicinal use as a stimulant and, more to the point, as an ingredient in the infamous flying ointments attributed to witches during the 1600s and 1700s. The visible plant is pretty enough, but its power lies in the rhizomes, which are ground into a greasy base to promote the vivid flying sensations that some practitioners still consider an excellent path to astral projection and remote viewing, as well as divination. Its aphrodisiac property makes it popular for spells to attract or renew a lover's interest.
The altar that doesn't include candles is a rarity indeed; a well-equipped space will include a variey of holders. Some reflect the witch's particular tradition. Some holders harken back to the druidic elements incorporated into modern Wiccan tradition. Other holders are chosen specifically for their metal or crystal properties. Silver, representative of the hidden, the metaphysical, and the unknown, remains popular, as does simple iron as a stand-in for the earth element. Wooden holders add a natural aspect to a working and, like altar woods, can hold several meanings.
Ask most witches what one item they wouldn't be caught dead without and, invariably, it'll be candles. Rife with esoteric associations, candles also satisfy more basic, primitive needs for comfort, light, and hope. Over the first two seasons of Charmed, hundreds of candles were used on the set. Fat ones, slender ones, dark ones, brilliant white tapers, and golden buttery beeswax candles have all adorned the attic altar. In this respect, are imitates life; all sorts of life. A conservative estimate of the number of candles dedicated to religious use worldwide in a single year is over eight billion. The custom of burning candles crosses all cultural boundaries and all spiritual affiliations. Like many other spell components, candles benefit from your personal touch. Making your own supply isn't a huge task and allows you to scent them with herbs and spices best suited to the rituals you regularly perform-or to create something truly special for a new rite. Candle making is best undertaken in winter. You'll have time to dry or distill all the herbals that reach peak fragrance in the fall and you can take on the hot chore when it's cool outside. Medieval candle makers quickly discovered that plying their trade in the winter allowed them to stay cool and take advantage of the numerous natural molds they could make at once by pressing a broomstick-or maybe a wand- into the snow. Drop in a wick, pour your wax, wait just a few minutes for the snow to cool the wax, and you've got dozens of uniquely textured candles ready to store. And, as most spells call for the candles to burn out naturally, you know you're going to need a lot of them!
Often the centerpiece of a ritual working, the cauldron evokes the element of water, though it is as often filled with sand! Generally an iron or earthen pot on three legs, the cauldron remains a working implement for holding spell components-although no longer for boiling, grinding, or cooking them. Other tools serve those purposes. In "Something Wicca This Way Comes," Piper's rose-pierced poppet gets tucked into the cauldron that sits in the Halliwells' work space. When Phoebe burns the spell components to draw Melinda Warren to the future in "The Witch Is Back," and in "Morality Bites," when paper containing the future year they visit is burned, everything goes into the cauldron. Filled with sand or snow, the cauldron is a safe repository for hot workings. In fact, the word "cauldron" comes from two words, one of which is "hot." The other, not surprisingly, is "boil." Filled with water, the cauldron accepts tokens and items that are ritually hidden during a working. Aromatic oils or perfumed waters gently warmed in the cauldron release their scents slowly and recall the element of air. Often associated with the female aspect of knowledge, a cauldron is visualized as a vessel from which life, spiritual or magical, flows.
Interestingly enough, the use of this plant spans several religious traditions and serves the same function in the all. The burning of small twigs, either dried or fresh, is universally associated with purification of people and their work spaces. Ritual implements also benefit from being passed through this smoke. Magical healings routinely include censing with the smoke from cedar shavings. Because cedar wood, oil, and incense have historic links to wealth and religious altars, buildings, and ceremonies, many witches choose this wood for the altars of their work spaces and other wooden objects. Ouija boards-or spirit boards, as they're called in Charmed -often feature cedar for either the board of planchette, the wooden pointer.
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