Most witches/magicians use tools during spells and rituals to help control energy or bring more energy into the magickal working. Each tool is used for a different reason. This is a list of some of the most common tools used:
An athame is a ceremonial knife. This is the witch's weapon and most important tool. In some traditions it must be a black-handled knife inscribed with magickal markings.
The athame is used for mixing salt and water, potions, etc.; inscribing the circle; charging; consecrating; or empowering amulets, talismans, poppets, etc.; drawing lines; discriminating; setting limits; making choices and carrying them out. An athame is never used to cut.
A sword is used like an athame, but it is more formal and authoritive.
The sword is also used for invoking the Guardians of the Watchtowers, ruling the circle, and making salutations.
Everyone knows what a wand is...right? They are traditionally cut from on-year-old trees, in one stroke, at sunrise on a Wednesday. A wand's length should be the distance from your elbows to fingertips. But you can really make it any length you feel most comfortable with.
The wand is used for casting circles, channeling energy, inviting and controlling entities, mercy, manifestation, changing: spirit into matter, concept into form, and idea into reality.
A pentacle is a five-pointed star inside a circle. This is the star of the Goddess. It is pointed upward for protection and positive energy, downward for banishing and binding. Each of the points represent an element: earth, air, fire, water. The top point, however, represents the spirit.
A pentacle is also a tool used in magickal workings. It is usually placed at the center of the altar and magick is worked atop it. A pentacle that is drawn or written is called a pentagram.
Pentacles are also meditation tools. They can be used to call spirits or invite entities. You make the sign of the pentacle by tracing the star in the air, or on someone or something. A silver pentacle offers the most protection.
A chalice is the vessel of the Goddess, the Holy Grail. Made of glass, metal, or wood.
The chalice is used for mixing salt and water, mixing potions, the power to be human, to be real, to be whole, emotions, nurturing.
This is the womb of the Goddess, the cauldron of inspiration, a place of resurrection. It is traditionally made of cast iron, and often has three legs.
The cauldron is used for brewing herbs and potions, renewal, rebirth, regeneration and transformation, reflecting the moon, for lunar magick, jumping over, for fertility, and used as a safe place to burn things.
A censer is a vessel, usually brass, in which incense can be burned. Put some sand or salt in the bottom of the censer, heat charcoals until they are red hot, then use tongs to drop a few of them into the censer. You then sprinkle solid incense, like gum resins or seeds, on them. Seeds tend to pop, so covered censers are safest. You can also use them for burning incense cones.
Incense is used for fumigations, purification, raising power, achieving trance states, banishing evil spirits, and encouraging and welcoming good spirits.
The witch's besom is a decorative broom that is used for symbolic cleansing, sweeping away evil, negative influences, or bad vibes, expelling evil spirits, with water for aspurging and purification. A broom symbolizes the union of male and female, the joining of the phallic stick to the feminine brush. Because of this, brooms have long been used in fertility rites, such as jumping over at handfastings, and 'riding' through crops for the fertility of the land.
A bell or gong can be kept on the altar and rung to banish spirits, entities, negativity, or anything else.
Since the water and salt are almost always used in casting spells you may want to have two special bowls for this purpose.
Mortar and Pestle
These are used for crushing herbs and anything else you may need crushed.
Book of Shadows/Grimoire
A magician's Book of Shadows is something very personal and something you have to make yourself. It's a book that you write all your spells, rituals, magickal information, and anything else you feel comfortable putting in it. Your Book of Shadows is yours alone and you can do what you want with it.
All tools should be consecrated before use. Your spell or ritual will not be very affective if your tools are not consecrated.