How much Pagan stuff do I need?

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I’ve been practicing Paganism off and on again since 2007. I admit that I’ve acquired a lot of Pagan stuff over the years, mostly books, but also quite a few divination tools and Pagany tchotchkes. I purchased most of these items myself at thrift stores or at one of several excellent magical shops that we’re lucky to have in Austin. Other things were gifted to me by friends, or things I picked up at Reclaiming events, or bits of nature that I brought home with me from walks: rocks, seeds, shells, feathers, the occasional dried leaf or bone. Why have I been collecting all this stuff? The longer I’m Pagan, the less I think I need any of it.

I used to maintain multiple altars around the house. One for honoring ancestors, a kitchen altar, a personal altar to help me hold space for meditation and journaling. I find the very act of creating an altar to be a powerful magical act. Making and tending these altars has been an important way of exploring Pagan practice, of figuring out what I actually need to do as a Pagan. But now I find the jumble of multiples altar spaces distracting. Clutter fractures my attention, if I’m not careful.

I’ve come to understand that I honor (or dishonor) ancestors with everything that I do. My entire kitchen is an altar. I can meditate any time, any place. So what is my Pagan practice like now, and how much stuff do I need to do it?

For daily practice, I’ve been grounding before gratitude journaling and drawing a rune (not from the Elder Futhark, but from a homemade set of witch runes). For this I need only my own breath, my journal, a pen, and a small bag of runes. I say a very short verse at the front door when I leave each morning. I use hag stones that I’ve collected on walks to ward both the runes and the front door.

I walk outside with Poe, and I care for my herb and native plant garden at least weekly. For these activities I need only my dog’s leash and my gardening tools.

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Monthly I volunteer with a local seed saving organization. For seed saving, I need only the seeds I’ve collected from my garden or other local plants, some envelopes, and a pen for labeling them.

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For crafting home herbal remedies like teas and tinctures, I generally use things already in my kitchen: knives, cutting boards, bowls, mugs, jars.

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I facilitate sabbat circles for the Pagan Alliance at First UU, but I find I need surprisingly little special Pagany stuff to do it.

As a Pagan, I believe that the divine is plural. I celebrate a cyclical view of time with seasonal ritual. I try to be in right relationship with the rest of the living world; I especially need to be in active relationship with plants, I’ve learned. One journal, one set of runes, garden and kitchen tools, candles, and some stones I’ve collected are all I need to do it. Which is why I’ve gradually been shedding my Pagan stuff, giving it away or donating it, and I plan to shed even more.

2 thoughts on “How much Pagan stuff do I need?

  1. I think that happens to a lot of us as we go on through Paganism, we find that we need less of the obivious Pagan Tools. I forget who said it, but I once heard that if you can’t do it with a stick you pick up off the ground on your way to the ritual, you won’t be able to do it with a fancy wand either. It’s about intention, I think. The only tool is ourselves (wait…not that we’re tools but…you know what I mean?)

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