Hedge Witches tend to be a practical lot. We lean towards scissors, cooking pots, and wooden spoons; as opposed to 16” dull athames, 13 quart iron cauldrons, and jewel encrusted silver wands.
As I'm sure you have gathered, hedge witchery is a very individualistic path. So what tools are used depend largely upon the witch in question. But what are tools really for, any ways?
Tools, as used by most witches and wiccans, are meant to be symbolic only. For instance, symbolic cutting. They are basically used as hypnotic triggers. This concept is drawn largely from herametic and High ceremonial magick.
However, and what follows is just my way of doing things based in deduction, the path of the hedge witch is a path based in a much older one. One that is practical and simple. It was a path practiced by simple earthy folk. Not ancient priests or priestesses. Thusly they would, more than likely, not have had a huge or all too incriminating wand or a wax pentagram. What makes you thing they would have had the wax to spare?
These people would have had a knife that cuts, a staff to walk with, and something to drink from and more than likely nothing more. These things may or may not have been blessed. More than likely if anything, they would have been left outdoors in the open for a moon cycle. This would have made them part of nature.
Our ancestors also understood that to more contact you have with something, the more “your's” is becomes. Thus they would have used it as often as possible so that the item in question would sort of hold a charge like a rechargeable battery.
However, items that were not used in the same manner or as often, often would be blessed. Things such as cooking pots, beds, houses, and brooms; though tools in their own right, were still not the same because they were not as specific and personal to the witch. Everything is and was considered magickal and this was in need of either protection or blessings.
A lot of traditions like to have their tools associated with other elements. I've always had a difficult time with this concept. The idea of something being associated with the same thing for all people . I have no idea if green has the same meaning for you as it does for me. And to say that one must see green in the same manner as some shmoe who writes a book is just plain narrow mindedness!
I personally feel that a witch should spend time with the various “tools” and decide for yourself what element, if any, you associate them with. Something you might want to keep in mind is the elements are part of Greek and Roman culture and would not have been a part of non-Greek or Roman magick.
So, You ask, how exactly does this effect the modern hedge rider? Well, as I'm sure you are aware, we are practicing an old path in a new era. So we have to do things a bit differently. We have many advantages that our predecessors did not.
But for our path to still remain one of respect and harmony with nature we must remain evermindful of our origins. As often as possible, use items from nature for tools. A long simple branch is just as nice as a staff as one that is jewl covered and imported from Goddess knows where. An item like this doesn't even need to be consecrated! These tools still do work as mental triggers for us. After years of use, you will come to notice that your overall mindset may change when you pick up one of your tooks. This is good and quite normal. You will also notice that each tool will develop it's own sort aura. For this reason some traditions even go so far as to name their tools. If you choose to do so, that's fine. If not, that's fine too.
This is a perdicament that took me quite some time to come to a decision upon when I started practice as a hedge witch. To be honest, when I first started practicing, I tried my hardest to distance myself from wicca and wiccan practices. In retrospect, it was narrowminded and elitiest if me to do so. Ya see, wicca is most certainly the next generation of pagan witchcraft, and as I said, we must learn to change and adapt for our different era.
So back to the question: To bless or not to bless. I say bless. “Why?”, you may ask. Because, we as a society are taught from birth that magick isn't real. Thusly we have to sort of “trick” our minds (remember me mentioning the hypnotic trigger concept? This is where it starts.) we “consecrate” these tools we tell out unconcious minds that this item is now special and magickal.
So let's say you decide to bless your tools, how does a hedge witch go about that? Well, there are a few things you need to decide. First, what tool do you want to use? A few examples might be:
cauldron, cup, staff, knife, and stone
cup, stang, knife, stone
(my set) cauldron, cup, staff, stone
These are just a few ideas. You may add subtract, or completely discardthese ideas. Personally, along with my tool, I have a mortar and pestal that I blessed, a sacred needle, and a few other items. Feel free to tailor your tools to how you practice.
Once you have chosen your set of tools you will then need to decide which element each tool relates to, if any. From there it's just a matter of coming up with a creative “magickal” means in which to ask the blessing of th Gods and it's element, upon that tool. A few examples might be:
On the night of the full moon, go to the banks of some body of water with chalice in hand. Fill the chalice with water and ask the spirits of the element water to connect the chalice with their element, thusly filling it with all the energy of the ocean. Then place the water filled cup so that the moon reflects from the water's surface. As the blessings of the femanine divine upon that tool, ask her to fill it with moon energy. Leave the chalice, with water, in place over night. It is now blessed.
Similar little acts of magick can be performed for each tool chosen. After you have done so, be sure to handle your tools everyday. This way they accumulate a charge as we spoke about earlier.