How To Use Old Books & Antiques In Your Magic
Witchcraft is all about using the power available to us to make change in our lives. Sometimes this power comes from within us. Other times we work with the energy of outside sources. These sources could be magical objects, the elements, other people who practice alongside us, our deities, a higher power, or the universe.
Many witches are familiar with the traditional magical tools—crystals, herbs, oils, and candles to name a few—but other objects hold powerful energy as well.
Old things can be particularly powerful. Maybe you’ve sensed that energy when you’ve visited a historical landmark, browsed a used bookstore, or spent an afternoon antiquing. Using this potent energy can be a fun and fascinating way to boost your spells.
How To Find Old Objects, Heirlooms, & Antiques For Your Witchcraft
The experience of shopping for your antiques can be magical in itself. Prepare yourself before you enter a shop by setting an intention. You can speak it aloud or in your head. Your intention could be something like, “I find exactly what I’m looking for in the right way, at the right time.”.
Take a moment when you step through the door to pause, and notice the energy in the space. Can you name the “flavor” of energy? For example, you might detect a note of mystery in the air or a sense of awe. The most important thing to pay attention to is whether or not the energy feels good to you. If you feel any kind of anxiousness, heaviness, or negativity, turn around an find another shop to explore. It doesn’t necessarily mean you should never step foot in that store again. It could simply be that your intuition is saving you time by telling you there’s nothing for you there at this time. Whatever the reason, follow the whispers of your inner wisdom.
If the energy in the space feels positive, take a look around. Allow yourself to move through the store intuitively. Keep a sense of lightness and playfulness as you browse. Soften your gaze and allow your eyes to glide easily over the inventory on the shelves.
If you feel a pull towards a specific object or section, stop and examine it closely. Ask yourself if you know why this object caught your attention. Did an image or word flash through your mind when you noticed the object? Did you immediately know where or how you’d use this item? Maybe you have no clue what to do with a particular item, but you feel drawn to it nonetheless.
Pick up the item and turn it over in your hands to get a sense of its energy. Run your fingers over its texture. Smell it. Look at it all over for nicks or any imperfections. Do any of the markings tell you a story about what this item has been through? Do you feel a connection to it? Does it make you feel powerful? Do you notice any other emotions coming up as you handle the item?
I once found a book on magic at a used bookstore. I paged through it and loved the content. But as I held the book another minute, I started noticing a weird feeling in my body. It just felt bad. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew the feeling was coming from my energy interacting with the book’s energy. This doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with the energy of the book. The next witch to wander in might pick it up, and love the energy. The book just wasn’t a good fit for me at that moment. For whatever reason, the vibrations of the book didn’t match my own vibrations. That’s fine. We are all unique, and we are going to react to objects differently. Honor that as you’re shopping.
If you still feel like the object is something you’d like in your collection, check the price. If you look at the price and you don’t feel any kind of resistance to it, that’s a good sign. If, however, you check the tag and feel a knot forming in your stomach or some similar feeling, you might want to think twice before buying this item.
This is especially important if you are planning on using the object in money or abundance spells. You don’t want to look at that thing and wish you’d put that money towards your electric bill instead. Those emotions might have a negative effect on your magic.
It can also be helpful to ask the person who runs the shop to give you any additional information about the item before you make your final decision. Does he or she know the object’s history or the former owners? What decade was the item from? What part of the world? Get as much information as you can because it can give you ideas for how to use this item in your witchcraft.
After you’ve taken everything into account—the energy, the feelings you have as you interact with the item, the price, and the item's history—the last step is to ask the item itself if it wants to come home with you. You can do this by holding the item, and thinking, “Do you want me to buy you?” Whatever answer pops into your head the moment after you ask that is your answer. Make your decision accordingly.
To Cleanse Or Not To Cleanse?
When you get the object home, you’ll need to decide if you’d like to energetically cleanse the object, or use it with the energy it already carries. Since it’s old, its energy is probably pretty strong. If you do want to cleanse the energy, be aware that it may take a few tries before the object is totally cleansed.
If the energy already feels good to you, and you think it would complement your spells, feel free to skip the cleansing. That residual energy has the potential to super-charge your magic.
When in doubt, use divination tools like runes or tarot cards to get more information on the type of energy your antique is currently holding. You can do an energy “check-up” periodically to see if any significant changes occur in the energy over time.
Magical Uses For Antiques
Sometimes you’ll stumble across a book that you have no interest in reading, but feel “called to” anyway. Whether you love the cover and binding of the book, or just like the energy, you can creatively repurpose the book for magical use.
Make a Book Box
If the book is a hardcover and its binding is in good condition, you can hollow out the pages of the book to make a box. There are many great tutorials on youtube about how to do this like this one. You use the box to store herbs, crystals, notes, intentions, tarot cards, or oils. If the book has good energy, you can even use it to charge your magical items before spells.
If the book has gold-edged pages, use it for money or abundance spells. If the book is an old textbook, use it for academic spells. Do this by writing out your intention and placing it inside the book. Another way is to place crystals, tarot cards, or herbs that support your intention inside the book, and hold the book while you perform a visualization meditation.
Make a Grimoire
Again, if you love the look and the binding of the book, you can use it as your grimoire. For this, Cut sheets of paper that are about the size of the pages of your book. Paint a thin layer watered down glue or gel medium to adhere the blank pages right onto the existing pages of the book. Another option is to paint over each page in the book with gesso. Write your spells or magical musings on these blank pages until you’ve filled your book.
Make Paper With The Pages
Take the pages of an old book, shred them, and make paper out of them. Use this paper (carrying with the energy of the old book) to write your wishes, intentions, spells, or journal entries on.
You can also add glitter, bits of dried herbs, or seeds during the papermaking process. If you add seeds to the paper, you can write an intention or draw a sigil onto the paper, and bury it in your garden. See your intention come to fruition as you watch your plant grow!
Candle Holders or Candelabras
Antique candle holders or candelabras can be great additions to your altar or home. Find out what metals or materials were used in the items, and see if those materials are associated with any magical properties. For example, gold or brass represent wealth, so they are useful for money and abundance spells.
Tea Cups, Chalices, & Cauldrons
Be on the lookout for pretty cups, plates, or teapots you can use in solo or group rituals. Check the cookware sections for cast-iron pots that can be used as cauldrons.
Scarves, blankets, curtains, tablecloths, handkerchiefs, and printed fabrics are often sold at resale or antique shops. Any of these can be used (cut or whole) for a variety of magical purposes. Silk fabric is traditional for wrapping your tarot cards whenever you’re not using them. Fabrics with peaceful energy can be decorations for your sacred space or to sit on while meditating. If any fabrics feel particularly powerful, you can use them as altar cloths, for crystal grids if they have interesting designs, or wear them around your neck while you perform spells.
Jewelry & Pendulums
Many pendants on chains can be used as pendulums. You can use costume jewelry rings, bracelets, and necklaces to set up your altar for wealth, abundance, love, or sensuality spells. Use these pieces alongside crystals to create beautiful intention-based grids. Pearl necklaces can be useful for beauty spells.
Antique Card Decks
In addition to the interesting tarot and oracle card decks that you might find while antiquing, you might consider buying a regular deck of playing cards for magic if the energy feels strong enough. You can assign words, sigils, or images to each card based on the specific energy of each card, or simply place the deck on your altar to add power to your spells.
Records, Stereos, & Musical Instruments
Music holds a very special kind of energy. It can immediately charge a room with a particular mood. If you find a record, music player, or a musical instrument that feels powerful and fits your magical intention, experiment with using it during visualizations, meditations, or spellwork.
The Magic Of Energy
As you work with these old objects, keep in mind that the energy can change the more you interact with them. If you feel like an object isn’t serving you any more or no longer belongs in your collection for any reason, pass it on. It might mean that your time with that object is over, and it is ready for someone else. Just like the changing of the seasons or the cycles of the moon, we feel best when we keep things flowing in our lives. Whenever we let something go, we are making room for something else. You will know intuitively when it’s time to bring something new into your life.
New to witchcraft?
Sign up for my FREE Witchcraft 101 course!
by Julie Hopkins
Julie Hopkins is a writer, yoga teacher, and founder of Power Within, a whimsical online space created to help others improve their lives with magic. She’s from Chicago, but spends most of her time traveling to cool places.
Julie discovered the world of magic after she got tired of reading personal development books and hearing the same ideas over and over. Looking for a new way to grow, Julie started experimenting with tarot cards and felt an immediate connection to her intuition in a way she’d never experienced before. After that, she began studying magic in all its forms, never looking back. When she’s not writing about witchy things, you can find Julie making candles, daydreaming, and playing with other people’s dogs and babies.