The following information is for magical practitioners on a budget. Please note that this information pertains specifically to witchcraft and not to other magical practices such as Ceremonial Magick wherein the need for supplies may be more involved. As far as my qualifications go to give this series, I was working poor (retail, food service) for some years, and have been on a fixed income (disability) so this series is based in personal experience.
This is the first piece of advice I would give to my fellow broke-ass witches: You do not need a whole lot of stuff to practice magic with.
Technically, you don’t need anything.
You may find this hard to believe especially if you are used to books with spells in them, or seeing people share written spells on Tumblr. To be quite honest, I see most of these spells (though not all of them, there are some decent ones) as being very beginner. I am not a fan of most pre-packaged spells and the biggest reason is that what works for someone else may not work for you. Certain herbs and crystals and colors may carry very different associations for you.
I also see these things – herbs, crystals, etc – as being props. They can be useful for directing energy, but they are less useful if you don’t know WHY you’re using them (which is a big complaint of mine about spells on Tumblr in particular, they have you throw a bunch of things together without explaining to you why you’re including such-and-such), and ultimately you don’t need them.
Let me repeat this: you don’t need herbs, crystals, tools, and other items to cast effective spells. These things can help, but ultimately magic is dependent on one thing: your will. Some of the most potent magic I have ever done has been visualizing a thing happening and willing it so, and pushing out that energy and watching it take hold. Purely mind magic, sans tools, sans supplies.
There are other things you can do which cost little or no money. Rune magic, for example, is free at least in terms of physical cost. (With regards to actual study and practice, it obviously costs more than that.) I can trace runes in the air with my finger and visualize them in glowing light or fire, and visualize the runes energetically imprinting a person, place or thing and beginning to effect change that way. Runes are extremely powerful magically. Candle magic is also something that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You can get a bag of 100 tealights fairly cheaply at most department stores, or find candles in most secondhand shops. My candle magic as involved as lighting the flame and visualizing my desired outcome, pushing that energy into the flame, to release and affect change as it burns. Easy peasy, and costs pennies per spell.
Elemental magic is also free. You can write something down on a piece of paper and burn it to banish or curse it, doubly potent if you add runes to the paper. You can use rain or flowing water for cleansing or healing. You can use wind to carry your will forth on the breeze. You can use the power of a wicked storm to raise hell. Some of the most potent binding magic I have ever done on people who were being a nuisance was putting their names in the freezer.
You do not need tools for magic like a wand. These can be nice to have, I won’t lie, a wand that is put into regular use starts to pack a pretty powerful charge that can amplify your magic. That being said, you can use your finger, your breath, your voice, and this is all free. You can also find a stick or small branch from a tree that speaks to you and use that as a wand if you must have one and you can’t afford one, which works well.
In the long run, the biggest thing you can do to save yourself money with casting spells is to disavow yourself of the notion that you HAVE to use herbs, crystals, oils, etc, with every spell that you cast. You don’t, and you’ll be a better witch if in fact you can rely on these tools as little as possible and learn to develop your visualization skills and feeling/sending/projecting energy and possibly even tap into the raw power of the elements to carry your will forth.
That said, for those of us who like having things (and like I said, it can help), I will explore the procuring of witchy items on a budget in future posts in this series, stay tuned.