One of the most common dilemmas my ritual crafting clients run into when starting a ritual practice is:
What tools do I use?
Luckily, I could nerd out on talking about tools all. day. My response is usually
The ones that are in front of you.
We get caught up in the stuff. I love to shop, so I know all about it. Shoes, jewelry, make up–let me at it! And when I first began my own ritual practice, I let my lack of stuff, and lack of knowledge around it, keep me from practicing.
What color candle do I use?
I need an amethyst.
Is this the right incense?
The moon isn’t full, though.
I haven’t written a prayer for this yet.
Where’s my rattle?
Here’s the thing about tools: Technically, you don’t need them. When you are called to do your medicine, Creator/Universe/Spirit doesn’t care that you’re in line at the grocery store in your pajamas with unbrushed teeth. Or on the bus with a laptop cradled in your arms. Or at a show with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in another. When you are called to do your medicine, you answer.
Tools are metaphors. They are symbols for the energies that lie within us already. When we light green candles for prosperity, shake our rattles over a client, smell burning sage, we are transported to a place that already exists in us–it hasn’t gone anywhere. The tools help us remember who we are.
I learned this from my own teacher when she gave me a cinta, a piece of cloth that goes around your head to protect yourself when you do energetic work. When you forget it, she said, and you will, just make the medicine wheel sign over your third eye and go. Not having our tools is no excuse not to work.
That being said, tools are magical and wonderful and so, so sweet to explore. So how do you choose which ones to use?
Like I said, you use the ones in front of you.
If you are called to a deck of oracle cards, use them.
If you are given a rattle or love the sounds of them, use it.
If you love burning cedar, use it.
If candle magick lights your fire, get on it.
Whatever it is that’s calling your attention, follow it down. There are no shoulds in ritual–because it is so personal, because we have been doing it for lifetimes, cultivating trust in your own intuition about how you craft your ritual is paramount for powerful ceremony that resonates with you.
I’ve tried tools that don’t work for me. Candles are fun, but I can’t bring myself to get serious with working with colors, etching sigils, etc–it’s just not my thing right now. Same with stones: Crystals are hot right now. I have 3 of them that sit on my altar and are very special to me–I use them as a space-setting element when I’m seeing clients. That’s it though, I know the very basics, and when I do walk into a crystal shop (who doesn’t love to wander around crystal shops?) it’s usually with the intent to buy something to give away.
My tools, though I tend to keep things fairly straightforward, are precious to me. I love my rattle and my drum. My copal and my popoxcomitl. Cedar, palo santo, the sacred fire. I have little affairs and dabble with others as they present themselves–I’m not strictly monogamous with my tools. But I always come back to the ones that resonate deeply with me.
Be compassionate with your practice. Be open, be curious, be playful. Be unafraid to make a mistake and use something “wrong” and try something and not like it.
Wanna learn more about ritual tools, crafting your own ceremony and getting in touch with your intuition around your practice? Join me for the online course Everyday Ritual: Crafting Sacred Ceremony. Learn more here.