Before I made my own altar, I used a portion of my dresser as my “altar” for years. My altar cloth is made out of remnant fabric, I got my candles at the dollar store, my goddess statuette was discounted, my chalice was a gift, making my altar only cost me $15 bucks to build and suit my purposes and I’ve been able to move it with me, conveniently placed on top of my altar box with similar dimensions (also discounted).
Bottom line is, making decent magic(k) doesn’t have to be expensive. I know, there’s so many altar tools out there that are shiny and cool, but is it going to make your magick better? Do you need to spend $100 on an athame, or $200 on a staff? Is your magick breaking your bank?
Understandably, every now and then we will need to buy things, at the same time, these things should be reasonable. We don’t need to buy the brass wand for $300. We don’t need to buy the $20 candle because it says “wicca” on it. Walmart sells unscented, colored 7-day candles for a buck. This is where I began collecting my parts for my rituals. I said I needed to have a candle at each quarter of the circle. Tealights from the dollar store did well for a while until I wanted to see a representation of each quarter- Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and of course, spirit.
While supporting small businesses is definitely a good thing, it’s necessary to know when the consumer is being taken advantage of. Personally I’m not sure if the market for Witchcraft is as big as it was throughout the 70’s and on, when everybody wanted to be the next “Sabrina”, or wanted to be in a coven like The Craft in the 90’s. Lately the sensation has been all about the series Supernatural (which I could never get into, but “Winchestercest” is an insanely popular ship), but most just end up at Hot Topic for that stuff. Recognizing when a product is being hyped up over its name and not its quality is something to keep an eye on, and also remembering that small businesses often sell these products as a source of income, so it’s good to help them out. Unfortunately, Pagans aren’t made of money.
There’s many resources related to “witchcraft on a shoestring”, websites, books, you name it. The only thing I really spent money on was my books. These books really support the authors they’re coming from, especially buying new, otherwise yes, I am a huge fan of Half Price Books- I buy a ton of books and research stuff as part of my craft.
So, expensive tools does not make better magick. At one point in time it was common for witches to literally use the earth to perform spells. Sometimes that can be hard especially if you’re in a metropolitan city or a very urban area, being able to improvise is essential. You are the being that calls out the quarters, you do the drumming, you cast the circle, you read the sacred words to call the elements and the gods, and the intent is all yours. You’re in charge. The only tool you need is you.