A ritual tool is an instrument used in ceremonial or ritual magic. Which tools are used and for what purpose, and the significance attached to them varies from tradition to tradition. In general these will be found more in real-life occult practice than "fantasy magic" and only in those practices that place a significant value on ritual - meditative or shamanistic practices will likely ignore them altogether.
Where used, they are divided into the cardinal (or primary) tools (those regarded as basic and more or less indespensible) and lesser (or secondary) tools.
The cardinal tools are as follows:
- Athame - aligned with the element of fire and used to draw wards and direct and compell some spirits.
- Chalice - aligned with the element of water, used to hold ritual liquids including drinks and libations or substances to be enchanted.
- Pentacle - aligned with the element of earth Normally engraved onto a metal disc or a piece of parchment and worn around the neck or wielded in the left hand. Normally carries a variety of wards and serves a generally protective function.
- Wand - aligned with the element of air and used to channel and direct spirits and ritual energies. Sometimes seen as a less aggressive counterpart to the athame.
Secondary tools vary immensely, depending on the tradition, and may not play a significant part. An indicative list of secondary tools would include:
- Cauldron - in some traditions an aspect of the chalice.
- Sacrificial dagger - used to bleed and/or kill sacrifices in those traditions that hold with such things.
- Magic circle
- Rod - depending on tradition, sometimes a smaller staff or a larger wand.
- Staff - in some traditions an aspect of the wand … only bigger.
- Sword - used in some traditions as an aspect of the athame.
Other things, often used in occult rituals but not directly part of the rite may also be termed ritual tools. These might include:
- Ouija board - a tool used by amateurs to aid communications with spirits.
Game and Story Use
- Can be used to add flavour if you are designing a system of ritual magic or need to describe a ceremony.
- Materials of construction may or may not matter, depending on the rules system … alternatively it may depend on what magical tradition you follow, or even what you think works.