When I say "spiritual tools" you might think of a crystal ball or magic wand. Luckily, spiritual tools are a little more than that—and chances are, you may already have some in your home.
What many people misunderstand most about spiritual tools is that anyone can use them—not just "witches" or "psychics". Most tools themselves are harmless, too. It's your belief that makes them work. Tools are technically non-denominational, though many religions have incorporated them into their rituals and practices.
What are Spiritual Tools?
Spiritual tools are tools that assist us in focusing our energies to accomplish a spiritual goal. The analogy I like to use with spiritual tools is that they're like a hammer. How effective they are depends on the amount of belief (force) you put into them. Spiritual tools are neither good nor bad—that all depends on you. Spiritual tools can be man-made or naturally found. They range from tarot decks to stones to salt. The tool itself isn't what's magical—it's the belief and importance that you put into them. Putting belief into an object gives it immense power.
Don't use spiritual tools as a substitute for medical treatment (just read about what happened to Steve Jobs). Metaphysical tools and alternative medicine should always be used in conjunction with allopathic medicine. What your doctor, lawyer, psychologist (or any other authority while we're at it) says should be your first priority. Spiritual tools are meant to enhance your life, much like adding salt to a dish enhances its flavor. Just eating salt doesn't provide much nutritional value, does it?
What do you use spiritual tools for?
Spiritual tools are used for a wide variety of intuitive, religious and esoteric practices. Their purposes include divination, meditation, purification, manifestation and invocation—to name a few. They help channel and focus energies in a way that assists a practitioner with accomplishing their goals. I've broken some of the more common spiritual tools up into 4 categories: man-made tools, natural tools, aromatic tools (incense and oils), and tools you should avoid. I will also go into detail on how to generally use them for purposes such as divination purification healing and manifestation.
Man-made tools are usually designed for a specific purpose. They are often times a combination of natural tools and man-made items. Wands, for example, are usually pointy and often times made of wood, stones, and metal. They usually have a stone or item at the tip to make a focal point. Man-made tools are neither good nor bad—the energy reflects the intent. Man-made tools can be designed for good, neutral or malicious intent, but are inherently neutral until put to use. Some tools come pre-"programmed" with energy for a specific intent. A good example of this is Coventry Creations brand of candles. They have been specifically created for certain intents, and are made of multiple elements (such as essential oils, energetic programming, and made at the right time of the moon cycle to emanate the energy needed for a ritual—not just wax).
Man-made tools are great if you're looking to do something specific energetically/magically. The best tools, however, are strongest if you make them yourself. I once made a stone bracelet with the intent for protection and it lasted for years against a lot of energetic batter and abuse. It was one of the strongest protection items I've ever owned, and lasted quite a long time. One day it busted (it just wore out) but I still kept the stones for use again in the future.
Here is a list of common tools you can use for certain metaphysical goals. I will provide additional links for each as the subcategories are extensive. You can get into a lot of detail with each tool and what they do/how they're made and their purposes.
Candles are great tools to use. I often use candles for protection and moon cycle rituals for release/indrawing. Candles, like many items you'll find in this blog, have certain colors for certain purposes. For example, I use white candles for protection/purification, and black candles to dispel negative energy. You can buy pre-dressed candles (candles that have been pre-imbued with magical intent) or you can dress them yourself. Candles are great for releasing things (such as bad habits, thoughts and emotions) and indrawing things (such as luck, love, and abundance). I recommend doing your research on the best lunar cycle to perform certain candle rituals. Some rituals are best done under a full moon, while others are best done under a new moon.
Bowls & Chalices
Bowls (such as singing bowls) are found in many religions as a form of blessing and bearers of blessed water. They're also great for sound purification. Chalices in Neopaganism represent the element of water and is used (depending on the type of Neopaganism) for blessings. I personally use singing bowls to help clean an area of negative energy. If you've ever noticed how some stores have bells on the front door to ward off evil spirits, the bowls serve a similar purpose. Negative energy dislikes the sound of bells/singing bowls—so they're a great way to purify an area.
I would love nothing more than for Harry Potter wands to be a real thing, but unfortunately, wands don't work quite like that. Their use is mainly for focusing unseen energies. There are different types of wands, and different purposes for each. Wands, like in tarot, are associated with the element of fire. They are most heavily associated with Neopaganism, but I've used a selenite wand as a focus for healing in reiki sessions, and a spirit arrow (shamanistic wand) for personal cord-cutting and purification rituals.
Swords, Athames and Bolines
Swords (athames) in rituals are most commonly found in Neopaganism. They represent the element of air, and are used in banishing rituals and some rite-of-passage rituals. They are also used to cut etheric cords and traditionally used as ceremonial symbols—but not for actual physical cutting. In some other beliefs, they are used instead of a wand. They're more commonly considered symbolic of energetically cutting things—more so than focusing energy.
Religious symbols are some of the most powerful of spiritual tools there are. This is because there is so much belief behind them. In Christianity, for example, the Christian cross has powerful meanings. It is the symbol of the crucifix of Jesus and is easily recognized across the world. The symbol itself has so much belief and recognition behind it, that there is a natural divine power in it alone. So if you are religious, the symbols of your religion can be a powerful tool as well. Many religious symbols are used for protection, blessing, and guidance.
Divination tools are tools used divine the past, present or future. Divination comes in many forms, ranging from staring into a flame (pyromancy) or using a divining rod (dowsing). Jeane Dixon, for example, used a crystal ball in a lot of her readings. In her writings she claimed she could see image pop-up in the crystal ball like you would see on a television—but that may not be the case for everyone. I, for example, don't see images in the crystal ball so much as my mind's eye. When you practice divination, note your thoughts, feelings and visuals inside your head before you get frustrated from not seeing anything physically.
Forms of divination include cards (such as tarot, zener cards, oracle cards, and even regular playing cards), scrying mirrors (clear, crystal or black), pendulums and the more notorious crystal balls. If you're new to being psychic/intuitive, I'd recommend starting off with an oracle card deck and work your way up to tarot. If you feel drawn to using a crystal ball or mirror, don't frustrate yourself by setting your expectations to ridiculous heights. Get a notepad and paper, and put yourself in a relaxed, calm environment, and take notes. You might a visual inside your head, or hear a word. Write those down.
When I read a tarot spread, it's a combination of the images on the cards (as triggers, in a way) and visuals I receive in my head that form the precognitive elements of the reading. Getting to know how you divine is just as important as practicing divination.
Natural tools are the tools that we find in nature. These include stones, plants, minerals, and even water. Natural tools always have a positive energy about them because they're found in nature. Nature as an environment tends to be positive because it is pure and untouched. Another reason natural tools are always so positive is because they come from God. They were the first tools given to mankind to use (long before science came around). The tools God has blessed us with will naturally be positive.
Wow, I could write a whole blog on stones alone (and I just might at a later date!). Stones, like candles, come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and price tags. The quick and dirty way to tell a stone's general purpose is to associate it with a chakra color. Dark stones (grey, black, brown, and some red stones) are associated with the base chakra (grounding, protection and masking/cloaking). Orange stones are associated with the 2nd chakra (sexual drive and creativity). Yellow stones are associated with the 3rd chakra (willpower, self-esteem, and manifestation). Green and pink stones (and some red stones) are associated with the 4th chakra (luck, love, self-love, money, abundance, compassion, etc...). Blue stones are associated with the 5th chakra (communication, self-expression and thyroid). Violet and indigo stones are associated with the 6th chakra (intuition, calming, clairvoyance, dreams, sleep, and mental clarity). And finally, white stones are associated with the 7th chakra (divine connection/communication, angels, reducing anxieties and mental disorders, meditation, and spiritual awakening).
Stones have different effects on different people. Some people work better with some stones more so than others, and how a stone energetically works may change to a degree from person-to-person. The best advice I can give regarding stones is to use your intuition in selecting the stones you need. Also, don't spend an arm and a leg on stones. A low-grade emerald works just as well as a gem-quality emerald. Also, compare vendors. Some people are overpriced while others are dirt-cheap.
I could also probably write a full blog on herbs alone (let's save that for a later date, eh?). Herbal supplements and teas can be imbued with energetic intent and used in different rituals. Using herbs in rituals is found mostly in paganism, but can be also found in some eastern and Native American rituals. Shamans are known to carry herbs around with them in a bag, and some superstitious cultures recommend carrying certain herbs around in your pockets for luck. I personally haven't had experience using herbs in rituals, but I have heard they're great for doing rituals regarding fae (fairies) and outcomes regarding natural magic.
Here is a list of different herbs and their metaphysical properties.
Scents have an uncanny way of triggering memories and affecting the mood. So it's no wonder why so many metaphysicians like to use essential oils and incense in many rituals. These too, have purposes associated with the chakras and can be used in a wide variety of rituals and practices.
Essential oils are very versatile and come in a wide variety of types. You can apply them topically, add them to a bath or ointment, and even anoint items with essentials oils. Do your research and be careful—some essential oils can agitate the skin, and many are not to be ingested! Peppermint oil, for example, is great for alleviating headaches, but if I apply it to my skin directly (instead of diluting it in vitamin E oil or olive oil) my skin will form a rash. Do your research before applying any type of essential oil topically.
Additionally, do your research on the brand of essential oil you're buying. Not all essential oils are created equal, and some brands use substitutes, artificial ingredients and fillers. Most of the time, you get what you pay for—but again, do your research.
I personally like to use essential oils when I take my weekly epsom salt bath. Depending on the type of bath (purpose) I'm taking, I will use different essential oils. I also use spray sage oil (diluted in blessed water) for quick cleansings. Choosing an essential oil by smell is a great way to see which ones may be most to your benefit. I personally use lavender like it's going out of style, and lemon when I need a pick-me-up. Most metaphysical stores carry essential oils.
Incense are sticks of oils or resins that can burn for a period of time to create an aroma in an area. They can assist in changing your mood, helping you focus in meditation, and in honoring our ancestors and deities. Many religions (such as Christianity and Buddhism) incorporate incense into rituals. Incense can also dispel negative energy (such as sage, palo santo and sandalwood) and encourage certain moods (like calming you down). Many times before a reading or meditation, I often burn frankincense. Frankincense is associated with the crown chakra, and helps me focus. Other types of incense, can promote grounding and relaxation (such as myrrh). Here's a link to a list of incense and their metaphysical properties.
Tools to avoid
This should be common sense, but unfortunately due to misrepresentation by the media and other outlets, it isn't. In general, stay away from metaphysical tools designed for malicious intent. Why? Karma. I don't care how "good" a practitioner thinks they are—no one can dodge karma. No one...and karma has an interesting way of coming back at you a lot harder than you dish out. So be sure to be extra nice to people. The general rule of thumb with using spiritual tools is this: Don't use any tools for the purpose of making another person do something, or for the purpose of harming another.
For heaven's sakes, don't use a ouija board! If you have a ouija board, bury it or throw it in the ocean (but whatever you do, DON'T burn it!). Stop reading this blog and go do that. RIGHT NOW! I know of real-world horror stories surrounding ouija boards. I'm a medium. I talk to dead people—and I will not touch a ouija board. They're mostly used by pretentious amateurs looking for cheap thrills anyways—and that's where the trouble begins. Most professional metaphysicians, psychics and mediums will not use a ouija board. They're gimmicky AND dangerous. Most people do not know how to correctly protect themselves when communicating with spirit and while you're using a ouija board—things can come in that shouldn't. Long story short: ouija boards are the metaphysical equivalent of opening all of the doors and windows to your home and screaming at the top of your lungs to all of the burglars in a 50 mile radius that everything you own is up for grabs.
All types can just waltz right in.
OK, if I have to explain to you why a voodoo doll is bad, then you don't need to be practicing metaphysics or spirituality at all. Using a voodoo doll or anything else that brings harm to another human goes against that which is good in this world.
Using any tools to make another person do something, or with the intent to harm or bring any form of negativity upon another is a horrible thing to do. If you need to block someone, there is plenty of stuff out there that can ward off negative energy, protect, and most importantly, transmute negativity into light. Using spiritual tools for something other than the purpose of bringing positivity into the world does not produce the effects you want in the way you want. All results of such are temporary, and the karmic reprocussions are so harsh that the initial purpose just isn't worth it in the long run.
Long story short: be nice to people because karma is a bigger b*tch than you are.
I know certain religions heavily incorporate metaphysical tools into their rituals, but I recommend not becoming too dependent on them. Sure, I like to use stones and light some incense while I meditate—but I can meditate without those tools. Don't become dependent on tools to the point that you psychologically feel like you can't create the result you're looking for without those tools. All tools are meant to help—but the biggest tool is your mind. You create your reality, and you put the magic into any spiritual tool you use. Believing that the tool itself is what allows you to do something is like believing that you can only get to where you need to go by airplane. There are cars, trains and most importantly, your own two feet that will allow you to get to the places you need to go. Sure, it may take a bit longer, or more energy—but you can do it yourself without the tools just the same.
Spiritual tools are meant to assist us in our metaphysical pursuits. Using metaphysical tools will allow you to become more familiar with and confident in your spirituality and spiritual gifts—but becoming too dependent on spiritual tools will inhibit those gifts in the long run. So, when you use spiritual tools, ask yourself this question: "Am I using this tool because I feel I need it, or because I feel it's helping me grow and enhance my life?"