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The Budget Pagan

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    The Budget Pagan

    So...this was on the old forum as the thread "Don't have money for ritual supplies?", and *somehow* it became and on and off favorite exchange of ideas for supplies for the thrifty natured. I managed to find the pre-crash cache of a couple pages, and cut out some of the more pertinent feel free to add on now that we are in our new home!!

    I got this from a group that I belong to also.

    Too Poor for Sage and Candles.

    Author: Tiamat

    Look, I'm really frightened to post this at what some might say. In
    Some communities, kitchen witchery is highly frowned upon, but I would
    Appreciate it if I wouldn't be berated for this. This is my craft.
    This is how I will approach it.

    Honestly, I don't believe that the Goddess needs for you to have a $50
    Athame, a candle in each color, an incense of every scent man has to
    Offer and an altar cloth made of pure silk or crushed velvet.

    I think it's a load of hooey.

    Some people have that money to throw around, and more power to them,
    But there are also a lot of solitary practitioners like myself that
    Are just dead poor, and this sort of thing just isn't an option for us.

    We aren't cheapening up our religion. We're making use of what we have
    And being practical.

    And you can tell me all you want that you can get these things at
    Discounted rates on www.whateverwitchst, or that it's really
    Not that expensive to begin with, but all the same, I make things work
    Without it.

    Right now, I am in such poverty that my mother has been buying me
    Groceries for the past few months so that I don't starve to death. Do
    I have money for a solid gold cauldron? No, and unfortunately I will
    Have to do without one.

    At any rate, I wanted to describe to some of the kitchen witches, or
    Some of the just dead poor people out there, how you could substitute
    Some items for others and still have a very decent effect.

    Here's an item I know we all (should at least) have around the house:
    Soap. Soap can be used for many things. For one, purification and
    Consecration. I can't think of many things that are cleaner or cheaper
    Than soap, can you?

    It's also just as useful as incense or essential oils for relaxation.
    While you are in the bath, imagine that the soap is washing away all
    The negative energies; it's very useful for helping you ground and center!

    I've used soap and an empty water bottle for consecration water. I
    Simply bless the soap and infuse it with my intent, and let the faucet
    Run over it into the bottle.

    Another useful item is salt. Salt, if you know anything about
    Nutrition, `sucks' (For lack of a better term.). When you eat some
    Pretzels, you get thirsty because the salt is sucking away the
    Hydration. Salt can be used to absorb negative energies in a small
    Pouch. It also makes a great offering to the Goddess.

    Sugar is a natural money-magnet, I've read somewhere. Next time you go
    To a restaurant or general store, grab one or two of those
    Complimentary sugar packets and put them in your wallet to attract wealth.

    I think I've read somewhere that it takes several years for a plastic
    Bottle to decompose. When I used to live in New Jersey, this was of
    Little consequence because it was mandatory to recycle in the
    Neighborhood I was in, and you'd suffer fines for each item that
    Wasn't recycled.

    But now that I live in Pennsylvania there are no such laws. I couldn't
    Honestly tell you where the closest recycling center is, but no
    Problem, because those bottles are useful for storing mixtures and
    (surprise surprise) jar spells.

    Captain Planet would be proud!

    For candles, I've found that tea lights are very useful. They are
    Usually white, which is a good color for most rituals. They burn for
    Just the right amount of time and are easily disposable.

    The thrift store is honestly one of the best places on earth to get
    Some tools. A silk scarf will work wonderfully as a small altar cloth.
    I found a lovely silk bathrobe that I think is perfect for ritual
    Gowns (it's purple with silver moons and stars.).

    You can find beautiful bowls and goblets there, as well. I suppose
    Some stores might have candles and incense as well.

    Old jewelry with precious and semiprecious stones for 50 cents?

    Count me in.

    Just remember to consecrate these items since you don't know what sort
    Of environment they are coming from and what energies they carry. I'm
    Currently looking for a Goddess statue; I plan on checking my local
    Goodwill very soon.

    Lastly, cooking is a lot like casting a spell. There are specific
    Techniques and ingredients, and you can work it until it is just
    Right. Tune it to your own ideal. You can infuse any meal you make
    With such intent that upon first taste, the magic will have begun
    Working if you so choose.

    So just some things I've thrown out there to think about. My house is
    A cluttery mess right now and I'm very humiliated about it, but I'm
    Working to get it better.

    Each day I do, I find more things that are useful to my craft. You
    have all the tools and ingredients you need to do powerful magical
    workings right in your own home, I promise.

    I also want to remind you that perhaps to not take everything you have
    ever learned and set it in stone. It's easy to apply sentience to
    colors, shapes, scents and tastes. It's more difficult to replace the
    ideas you already have about them.

    For one, cinnamon is used for many things, but I've never read
    anywhere that it promotes happiness.

    However if you grew up loving cinnamon and the smell of cinnamon bread
    brought joy to your heart, then perhaps cinnamon would work for you in
    a happiness spell.

    Likewise, if cinnamon for some reason brings you to gag every time you
    smell it, obviously you don't want to use it in a happiness spell.
    Perhaps you won't want to work with cinnamon at all and may want to
    replace it with sugar or something.

    I wish you all an abundance of blessings, and hope that this was
    somehow useful to you.

    Posted by: moonstone-opal on February 15, 2008
    Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of HistoryPagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

    Re: The Budget Pagan

    Post by: B. de Corbin on February 15, 2008, 06:14:59 AM
    This is a good post.

    One might also want to try buying materials from sources other than those intended for pagans. I just got some very nice stones from Santa Fe Jewelry supplies ( (

    I got a couple of very nice little moonstones and some Lapis for about $.30 each.

    Places like this are where the other suppliers get their material, then they mark the price up to make a profit.
    Post by: B. de Corbin on February 15, 2008, 08:19:45 AM
    Much of what we do comes from the folk traditions of various cultures. up until the Renaissance, "exotic" spices were very uncommon, and, until the late 19th Century, most "folk" lived in a state of poverty that most Europeans and Americans can barely imagine (if you are reading this at your home computer and imagining that you are poor, boy, have I got news for you...).

    Then, people used what was at hand. Most of the herbs that are used are easily grown, or are commonly found growing as field weeds. That's why they were used. Wormwood (easily grown, and tends to go wild) and yarrow (extremely common field weed) make excellent smudges for purification. Try growing your won plants, or hunting them up in the wild. Do invest in a good field guide, though, especially if you intend to ingest anything (the Audubon books are excellent - clearly illustrated and very easy to use).

    Try making your own tools. Many areas have community colleges which offer pottery and metalsmithing (or jewelry) classes. You can easily make all your alter bowls in one pottery session, if you want to, and metalsmithing classes will teach you how to make a whole mess of useful objects. community college classes are reasonably priced, and they give you access to decent instruction, as well as tools and equipment which would be very expensive to buy on your own (a kiln, for instance, would cost you many hundreds of dollars for a small one, thousands for a reasonably sized one).

    Besides, you may learn a useful and economically satisfying skill. The best investment that the average person can make is almost always education.

    If there is no community college near by, local artists (and often very fine and successful ones) will often teach you either very cheaply, of even for free. Some can be very snotty and secretive, but it has been my experience that MOST love to show people how to use their hands for what they were made for. I myself LOVE teaching willing students, and usually do it for free, just for fun.

    The ideas that one needs to spend a lot of money to do things is often a kind of trap - the kind of trap that it is best to avoid ;D.
    Post by: GracieGray on February 15, 2008, 03:38:45 PM
    Most of my "altar" stuff comes from the Dollar Store, yard sales, or are things I have made.
    I have a lovely green glass goblet that I use for a chalice that I bought on clearance at the local Dollar Store. I have a small ornate knife I picked up at a yard sale that I use for an athame. I've made my own wand and staff from willow branches from the friendly little tree in the creek behind the house. I make my own altar cloths from remnants I get for real cheap at the local Hobby Lobby. I prefer tea lights and votives for candle work myself. I've found some really nice agates for $2 for a bag of 6 to 12 nice big stones in the aquarium department at Wal Mart. My cauldron is a dutch oven I got on clearance sale at the local farm supply store. I did splurge on a nice mortar and pestle though.
    As for herbs, you should see the monster sage plant in the garden in front of my house. You can grow sage, thyme, and/or basil in a large pot or window box if you don't have garden space. You can do a lot with salt and black pepper, which you can get at the local discount store. You can also get red pepper, basil, and other "cooking" herbs at discount stores sometimes too. Baby food jars are really great to work with for spell jars or to hold things like blessed water.
    You just have to be a bit enterprising, and willing to look in unexpected places for things that you can use.

    Post by: thalassa on May 12, 2008, 07:24:49 AM
    Quote from: raistlin on May 11, 2008, 06:06:53 PM
    I also might mention--if you ever have left over Pringles cans, you could always clean those out and reuse them, too. The tall ones are great for storing incense, and the small ones are good for charms and jewelry.

    they also make a good sized candle mold...

    add the wax and wick, and peel the can off when done

    as do the little milk cartons kids get at school, and TP rolls, if you line them with waxpaper on the inside

    (parafin is cheap, and you can add a couple drops of food coloring, and essential oils (some food flavorings also work) to color and scent them----which can be found at a grocery store fairly inexpensively)
    Post by: Rukia Fae on February 09, 2009, 01:41:00 PM
    I don't spend hardly anything on my supplies. Candles I get from the dollar store, and I just got a box of 24 candles (2 each in 12 colors) off ebay for around $6. I use a lot of tealights because they are so cheap. I use felt pieces of various colors during some rituals (cheap and easy to replace if (meaning when, lol) wax drips all over it.

    my wand is a wickedly cool looking piece of driftwood stick I found on the beach. I dont have an althame- I use toothpicks for scribing in candles and such.

    Oils- I make my own from herbs I grow (need to get some seeds for this spring, speaking of...). I just got a BUNCH of clay pots for free that are now all over my front porch and I plan on using them for some of my herbs and such...

    my goddess statue is some angel from a ceramic nativity set...hey, I like her and it works for me! lol. My god symbol is a piece of copper wire I manhandled into a celtic cross type shape. maybe strange, works for me.

    For me, its all in the intent. The goddess doesn't care how much I spent or where I got my supplies.

    I don't have space for a permanent altar, so I use a huge picnic basket I got off my local freecycle group.

    Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of HistoryPagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible


      Re: The Budget Pagan

      Sweet! I was hoping this thread would start up again...

      Mostly art.


        Re: The Budget Pagan

        I always thought for example, herbs grown by me in my garden would be more potent that something bought in the shop.


          Re: The Budget Pagan

          I agree that this doesn't need to cost a ton of money... I am finally creating a more "formal" altar for myself now and am using a combination of things that I had (that mean something to me) and some things that I bought.

          Dollar store/garage sales/antique shops are great places to look... I've found many jems in those places.

          blackbear haverstack... don't have the web address, but if you google it they have a really inexpensive soapstone mortar/pestle set 6-7 dollars if I remember correctly.

          I am using a letter opener as my athame (looks like a sword though, lol!) got it for around 5 dollars from a store online called raven's mist.

          using a large abalone shell as my cauldron/incense burner and some smaller ones as my bowls. I have tons of candle holders/incense burners around my house, so I just picked a few to use on my altar.

          my chalice is from the set that my mom and I used for our weddings... she is using one for her altar and I have the other for mine. It is more special to me that way

          I made my wand from a branch I found outside while walking. I looked down, saw it and thought... that branch wants to be my wand.

          I don't have any god/goddess statues, but I do have little charms of my animal spirit guides displayed on my altar. Got them for bet 50c and 1.50 each at a bead shop near my house. My way of acknowledging them and saying thanks

          I love the idea of growing the herbs... I'm going to look around for some seeds and try and grow a little garden. Never had much of a green thumb, so wish me luck!!!


            Re: The Budget Pagan

            A couple of ideas...

            My incense burner (for charcoal discs) is just a terracotta plant pot saucer full of salt. That's not so much a ritual tool for me, as a house scenting tool.

            The clay 'goblet' I use for my ancestor offerings was about 50p from a car boot sale and the bowl I use for the gods was unclaimed lost property at my last work place. Charity shops/car boot sales are definitely good places to stock up on things like candlesticks, vases and offering bowls!

            Several of the items on my altar are made of painted air-drying clay (they are extremely amatuerish but I made them myself which is the important thing I think).
            * * *
            You can find some of my creative writing at


              Re: The Budget Pagan

              Mr Penry always keeps interesting pieces of wood from whenever he prunes the hedges and trees in our garden. He makes these into lovely wands, staffs and incense holders. One his wands was actually bought by a witchcraft museum in Switzerland!


              Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....


                Re: The Budget Pagan

                [quote author=Tylluan Penry link=topic=561.msg9134#msg9134 date=1288683090]
                Mr Penry always keeps interesting pieces of wood from whenever he prunes the hedges and trees in our garden. He makes these into lovely wands, staffs and incense holders. One his wands was actually bought by a witchcraft museum in Switzerland!
                [/quote]Ooh yeah prunings are also a great source of incense. I went through a phase where I burnt a bit of pretty much anything smelly I cut in the garden. I'm not sure that it was entirely sensible, but it was fun.
                * * *
                You can find some of my creative writing at


                  Re: The Budget Pagan

                  Having little money myself, I've found there are a few things that cannot be overlooked when looking for tools you can use in the future. When I go on holiday it's always somewhere like the moors or the seaside, so I go armed with sandwich bags and pick up anything I find interesting, such as flowers, which if packed flat in the bags will preserve beautifully, stones from the beach, (a lot of things you stumble across, even in somewhere like Brighton, a very touristy place, have natural veins of quartz and other semi-precious materials running through them), feathers, etc etc. Label where they came from, as it might help to enhance the spell later, but don't pass anything that catches your eye by. You'll never know when it might come in useful!

                  Also, with incense, before you go running down to the shops, rummage through the parlour. Chances are in your kitchen cupboard you will have everything you need, in handily labled glass jars. You can mix these yourself, burn them directly on a charcoal or if you want something longer lasting blend them with ordinary grapeseed oil, which is cheap as chips.

                  Finally, after a trip to the Witchcraft museum in Bostcastle, i realised that things you can have easy access to work just as well as expensive specialist items. For example, large fishing floats which turn up all the time on the beach, or even christmas tree baubles work brilliantly as scrying balls.


                    Re: The Budget Pagan

                    Most of my suggestions are already up here. Looking at my altar, I see stones and a sand dollar that I found or was given over the years... candles, not expensive... bead necklaces for specific goddesses and a set of prayer beads, all of which I made from cheaply-bought beads... some of my devotional art... and dried leaves and flowers I collected.

                    If you're on the US West Coast (maybe they're elsewhere too) there's a Mexican spice/herb company that sells for far less than American herbs, carried in many moderate-to-bargain supermarket chains (Lucky's, Super A, and Safeway, at least). They also carry some herbs that aren't used (at least not often!) in American cooking, like mugwort. I think I got my handful of mugwort for $1.50.

                    If you want an athame, try a knife/gun store, the vendor room at a gaming convention or Renfaire (the latter will be more expensive), or of course a thrift store. I got my beautiful largish antler-handle athame from a nice gentleman at a gaming con for $25.

                    Can't go wrong by mixing salt water for purification, either in budget or in energy potency.


                      Re: The Budget Pagan

                      Great post!

                      I haven't bought anything so far. I am able to practice without any tools, just my intentions and my body. I do have some tea candles, which I have used.

                      I would love to get a nice incense holder, but I don't think it's necessary for a solitary practitioner to have anything. Tools (and pretty things) would be nice, and maybe in the future when I have a lot of disposable income, but for now, I work with what I have.

                      And it's great to know that I can. ;D


                        Re: The Budget Pagan

                        I have the most inexpensive source for salt water .... I live 2 blocks from the ocean ... I f I need some I get it during new moon ... I figure the following waxing moons simply add to the power that I think it has ...
                        I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them ... John Bernard Books

                        Indian Chief 'Two Eagles' was asked by a white government official; "You have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done."

                        The Chief nodded in agreement.

                        The official continued; "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?"

                        The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied.. "When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work, Medicine Man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex."

                        Then the chief leaned back and smiled; "Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."


                          Re: The Budget Pagan

                          None of my ritual items were bought or obtained for that purpose. My athame was bought at a street fair for fun, I later realized it was a straight up athame (how didn't I notice those runes earlier?), my water is tap water, my pentacle is just a bone disk bead with a yin-yang on it, and my wand was just a stick with a quartz crystal attached by wire. Herbs/spices are my problem but my limited cooking spices cover most purposes.
                          The thrift stores are great places to get stuff but I have not yet had anything at the thrift store stand out to me.

                          Cheapest ritual item ever; your imagination


                            Re: The Budget Pagan

                            My incense burner is a bowl full of unscented cheap clay cat litter from the dollar store.

                            My candles are Shabbat candles, purchased at the grocery store.. 72 for $4.99!

                            My herbs and spices are bought at the dollar store. Hooray for %0.50 basil! Clove is more expensive, and I had to get it from the normal grocery store, but a little goes a long way. I grow others. Seeds are cheap, plastic food containers are plentiful, and dirt is everywhere.

                            Incense can be made from these herbs. Why buy a smudge stick for $5, when you can simply bundle and dry your own sage for less? I have since purchased some nice sticks for relatively cheap, but it's not necessary.

                            Water is water. If you're worried about purity, you can get a gallon of filtered and deionized water for $0.89 at Walmart.

                            My altar cloth is a bandana I purchased for a dollar. I upgraded from an old t-shirt.

                            My altars used to be on top of an overturned cardboard box. I have since "upgraded" to various shelves and tables, obtained slowly and over the years, for very cheap. Cigar boxes are awesome. You can generally get these for free at cigar shoppes, ad then you paint them. There are a lot of Hobby Lobby stores, with some nice raw wood boxes you can play around with. Yeah, I don't like their affiliations, but hey.. My northern altar cost ten bucks.

                            My altar tools were carved, using a paring knife, from the branches of a tree that fell in my back yard when I was in high school. They're crude, but effective. I figure you could go out to a park after a wind storm, and pick up some dead wood to work with.

                            Flea markets, garage sales, and dollar stores are just fine places to purchase your athame from. By the way, for those of you who do not know, an athame is your ceremonial knife.

                            And, as it was stated before, you don't need a danged bit of this stuff. Not really. It's nice to have, and can help you focus your mind, but it's all placebos.


                            Your brain is a part of reality, and, as such, is privy to its darkest secrets.



                              Re: The Budget Pagan

                              [quote author=oldeone link=topic=561.msg20278#msg20278 date=1291666572]
                              There are a lot of Hobby Lobby stores, with some nice raw wood boxes you can play around with.


                              I like can nail them into the studs in the wall for an awesome little shrine.
                              Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of HistoryPagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible