Which Is Better: Store-Bought or Natural Magical Tools?
The Importance of Magical Tools
Why is it important to have an altar? Why is it important to have candles, wands, athames, crystals, herbs, and other magical items? Many practitioners use tools as a means of helping to create change in their own personal worlds. This could include healing, abundance, love, cleansing, invoking the gods and ancestors, and more. Magical tools have been used since ancient times and continue to be used today, though many of the tools have changed in type and appearance. It is quite popular today to own lots of glittery crystals and stones, whereas in ancient times it would have cost a fortune to own such highly-sought items. Fancy athames and wands are popular today, but might have been a simple kitchen knife or sanded stick a few hundred years ago. Herbs have been used for medicinal and magical purposes since humans have existed. They are probably one of the few magical tools, if you will, that haven't changed much over the years.
What about you? Do you use magical tools in your spiritual practice? Do you have an altar, and if so, what do you keep on your altar? Have you ever thought about whether store-bought or natural materials are best for magical tools and why? In this article we will explore this debate, and identify the pros and cons of each.
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Where do most of your magical tools come from?
Store-bought Magical Tools: Pros and Cons
In the nineties and early two-thousands, when I started practicing, it was difficult to find magical tools in the store. Mostly because: a. the internet wasn't as accessible as it is today, and b. there were no metaphysical shops close to my house. What I would end up doing was using items that we already had around the house like votive candles, kitchen knives, plates, bowls, and spices from the spice cabinet. These were typically items my parents wouldn't notice were missing (*cackles*). If I couldn't find something I needed around the house, I would look outside or make it myself. When I got further into high school and acquired my driver's licence, my friend and I learned of a metaphysical shop in the area, although it would be about a forty-five minute drive from where we lived in Southern Maryland. We took that trip quite a few times and visited The Crystal Fox in Laurel, Maryland to grab magical oils, candles, small stones, and accouterments. It was a thrilling, magical journey for us each time we went. Nowadays, metaphysical shops in urban and suburban areas are easy to come by making them more accessible.
But are magical tools a necessity, particularly if one has to purchase them from a store or online shop? Many argue that store-bought magical tools are not as powerful as homemade or naturally-foraged tools, while others claim they are just as effective and powerful as long as you cleanse and charge them with your own personal energy.
The pros to buying magical tools from a store or online are obvious:
- Convenience: you don't have to make or find the tools yourself
- Pretty, Shiny Things: they are aesthetically pleasing
- Shopping Fun: there is a variety of magical tools to choose from
- Local Business: if you buy from local shops or home businesses, you are supporting local, small shop owners
The cons of buying store-bought magical items might be:
- Power and Intention: they might not be as powerful as if you make or find them yourself
- Energy Absorption: they will have absorbed others' energies during the manufacturing process (as well as when they sit in the store) which leads to the next point...
- Labor and Exploitation: they could also have been made by someone overseas who is in an unfavorable position of labor (child labor, poverty-stricken, exploited women, toxic manufacturing plants, etc).
- Environmental Concern: they might have been made of materials that harm or exploit precious resources from the environment
To further discuss the environmental concern, there are some crystals and stones that are mined endlessly to the point that the land is blown up and ecosystems are destroyed just for companies to acquire these gemstones to sell on the market. And what about the endless supply of tarot and oracle cards on the market? Did we forget that paper has to come from somewhere and that paper might be made from a tree that was felled in a decimated rainforest? Do we really want our magical items, the tools that are supposed to help us create positive change in this world and in our lives, to have negative origins such as these?
Natural or Homemade Magical Tools: Pros and Cons
It happens often - someone brings up the cons to store-bought magical tools and an argument erupts. The person who is speaking out against store-bought magical tools is typically the person who advocates for homemade or wild-crafted magical tools. Natural magical tools could come from many different places. It could be a branch you've found on the ground of a forest or in your backyard that you now use as a wand. Magical tools can be found at the beach, such as seashells, driftwood, and sea glass. They can also be grown in your own herb garden. While we tend to think store-bought items are more convenient, natural magical tools could be just as convenient.
The pros to naturally foraged and homemade magical tools:
- Convenience: walk out your back door and find items to use in your practice
- Connection: looking for magical items in nature automatically gets you outside and connected to Mother Earth and the elements; making tools with your own hands connects you deeply with the material itself
- Power: natural and homemade tools have are powerful in that they are pure and infused with JUST your energy
- Cheap: if you find your magical items in nature or grow them in your garden, you don't have to pay anything at the store (minus when you first start your garden with seeds, soil, etc)
- Preservation: you aren't exploiting the environment or overseas laborers when you forage or make your magical tools
The cons to foraging or making your magical tools:
- Time and Effort: it takes time and energy to go outside and find natural items or to make your own items by hand
- Environmental Concerns: one can argue that finding magical tools in nature can still exploit or hurt the environment if the plant is endangered or if it disrupts wildlife, etc.
- Not Supporting Small Business: clearly if you make or forage for your magical tools you are not financially supporting the small businesses that compete with the large corporations such as Amazon, Walmart, etc.
Foraging and making your own magical items has such a profound impact on one's personal spiritual path, it should be done by everyone more often than not. If only that it connects you with the land where you live and puts your own personal energy into the magical tool without tainting from others' energies.
Foraging and making your own magical items has such a profound impact on one's personal spiritual path, it should be done by everyone more often than not.— Nicole Canfield
So Which is Best? Natural, Homemade, or Store-bought?
We've seen the pros and cons for both store-bought and natural/homemade magical tools, so which is best? It all depends on the individual's preference, as they both have good and bad points. Perhaps if we can have a healthy mixture of both, or lean more towards foraged and homemade items, we would cause less environmental damage. The environment should be a concern on a magical practitioner's radar as most see the earth as a living being. An argument for buying store-bought materials might be that we, as humans, already buy pretty much everything from the store, so what's the big deal? While I agree there is a fine line, maybe by making more of an effort to make or find our magical tools we will cause just a tiny bit less of environmental damage.
What do you think? Should we try to make and forage for more of our magical tools than just buying them online or in a shop? Does it matter to you where your tools come from and the story behind their origins?
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Nicole Canfield