You don’t need all that stuff to do magick.
Now there is a whole other camp of people who believe that you don’t need tools at all, ever, and that literally no one should so much as light a candle to get things done. They might say that tools are for novices, or make you feel inferior for using them. They might make it sound like only beginners “need” that stuff, and as soon as you reach a certain “level,” you simply won’t need more than your will to do the job. I’m about to piss them off, too:
There’s nothing inferior about using tools and components to cast a spell.
Where do I fall on the spectrum? Well, I like tools. They help me focus, and I believe that they help me representatively speak to the universe through shapes, colors, and symbols that transcend mortal language, and better express my thought and intentions.
Why do they say that only new practitioners use tools? Some people get to a point in their practice where they can sit down next to a stream, or under a tree, or even in their favorite bar somewhere and slip their mind into the right realm to affect change in the universe. This does not make them better magick-users than you. Not everyone can simply slip their mind into the kind of place that makes magick happen without something to focus them. If you need to chant around a red candle adorned with runes and oil to get into focus for your love spell, that’s what you should do. If you need to cast a circle in a forgotten glen full of candles and incense burners with a picture of your intent under a full moon with an owl on your arm and a staff in your hand clad in your hand-made robe, that’s what you should do.
The truth is, a butter knife will work as well as the most ornate athame if that’s what you have. In times when Witchcraft wasn’t the most popular thing in the land, Witches had to either hide their tools in plain sight, or simply use their everyday objects when the need arose. If you were a peasant, and you got caught with a silver chalice, and an ornate, jeweled dagger, there was a much greater chance that you’d be arrested for stealing than Witchcraft, because the Pagans, the hill people, the common folk, didn’t have those things. They used what they had.
Thankfully those kinds of restrictions don’t apply in modern America where earth-based faiths and practices are on the rise. So when it comes to tools and spell components, the Serpent Witch says use whatever you want, but don’t let anybody make you feel inferior for using them or not.