I asked online pagan, Wiccan, and witch communities what witchy or magical items they carried around with them on a daily basis. Over two hundred people responded.* Here are the top 10.
1. Crystals / Rocks: 69%
Crystals and rocks were by far the #1 thing we carried around with us. Whether we use them to promote a change in energy, or because they’re beautiful, or because they’re mementos, it wasn’t even close. Pagans carry crystals more than anything else witchy, at a landslide 69 percent. It probably has something to do with the different vibratory energies crystals transmit, which can interact with our electromagnetic field and benefit us. As practitioners of the craft, it’s no surprise that we pick up on those subtle energies and use them to our advantage. There’s nothing like getting soothed by your favorite amethyst or charged by that moonstone that captured the full moon’s rays.
2. Divination Tools: 25%
25 percent of us carry divination tools, including tarot cards, pendulums, and runes (popularity in that order, at 12%, 8.5%, and 4%). I can’t speak for everyone, but consulting the spirits and the divine helps me when I’m confounded by a situation or when I feel despair.
For example, when I recently pulled the 10 of Swords in a tarot reading, it helped me admit that I was feeling defeated. Seeing the externalization of this was important for me, because I sometimes have problems acknowledging my negative emotions until they consume all of my energy. The card helped me see that I was at the end of a bad thought cycle, and that better times are coming, provided I learn the lesson.
However, even when I’m in a good mood, I do readings. I want to know what’s in store for the future, or what energy I may not be aware of. While the answers aren’t always the ones we’re looking for, they’re always the ones we need.
3. Essential Oils: 20%
About one-fifth of us always carry some kind of essential oil. Like crystals, these are also mood-altering substances. When inhaled, scents bypass our cognitive brain and are processed by the limbic system, the fight or flight part of the brain. Every time we breathe in lavender or jasmine, our body responds on an instinctual level, destressing and relaxing. In this day and age, oils can help us channel the energy we need to get through the day and bring about a higher mindset. (I included the 1 percent of people who mentioned Florida water here as well.)
— Susan Bates (@SBStitching) October 24, 2017
Witch bags are awesome!
4. Spiritual Symbolism: 17%
17 percent of the polled pagans said they keep some kind of spiritual symbolism with them. Most mentioned a pentacle / pentagram in their bags or purses. I wasn’t surprised by this. Sometimes you can’t wear them on your body, and it’s nice to see it nestled beside your spare change and your billfold.
Some people mentioned other objects as well, including miniature figurines of gods / goddesses, animal figurines, and coins and medallions with spiritual symbolism.
I also included spiritual drawings, art, and sigils in this category, as they’re visual representations, even if they are somewhat two dimensional. These items all seem to center us and focus our energies into a more spiritual or directed place.
I have an image of a woman dancing in front of a full moon tucked in my wallet. It’s empowering to look at her freedom and happiness when times are tough. Sometimes, I forget it’s there and stumble across it while I’m paying for groceries. I love those moments the most. Catching the goddess’ eye when I wasn’t paying attention always makes me smile.
5. Herbs and Sacred Plants (not for ingestion): 15%
We carry an astounding variety of herbs and sacred plants with us! 15 percent responded that they carry anything from sage, palo santo, sweetgrass, John the Conqueror, tobacco, cinnamon, lucky hand, bay leaves, and others (listed from most cited to least). These have a variety of uses, such as personal cleansing, ritual, spell work, offerings, and protection.
6. Natural Objects: 10%
It seems we can’t help but pick up objects and slip them into pockets and bags when we’re in nature. 10 percent of us love natural objects so much that we carry them with us wherever we go.
I’m the same way. The beauty of nature inspires me, and as long as a forest doesn’t have a “no picking” policy, I love finding memorabilia and keeping it with me. It’s amazingly cool to rummage in your bag and find a shell from that one day on the beach, or a strange thorn from a fallen tree from a winter forest walk. Eventually, these items make it onto my altars, but they live in my bags for quite a while.
From most common to least, here are the natural items we carry: feathers, shells, acorns, sticks, bones, buckeyes, pine needles, dried berries, horse chestnuts, pine cones, dried leaves, cat whiskers, and one person even cherishes a dead cicada in their bag. A few people even mentioned carrying bags for collection (which is brilliant).
7. Items for Ritual: 9%
An amazing 9 percent of us can be ritual-ready in a moment’s notice! From the 2 percent who carry their book of shadows and spells, to the 2 percent who carry wands and / or athames, to the 1 percent of people who carry an altar cloth to make everything beautiful, a lot of us are ready to cast circles no matter where we are.
Even if it’s something as easy as a candle spell, 4 percent always have a candle, and another 5 percent always have a lighter or matches. 3 percent always have incense on hand, just in case, and the 2 percent who carry feathers would be happy to waft the smoke. Another 2 percent carry sacred water, and 4 percent carry salt for protection. I was thrilled to see two people say they carried a mini altar set-up with them, and three people mentioned feathers as part of their ritual use as well.
I didn’t include the mentions of herbs such as sage or palo santo here, because they can be used independent of a ritual. However, if we did include those answers, the percentage of people ready to have a ritual would jump up to 24 percent!
8. A mojo bag / spelled object: 7%
I loved reading about the 7 percent of people who spelled a sachet or mojo bag, and carry it around with them every day. If you can’t wear your bag on your body, your purse or bag is the next best place to make your long-term magic work. I also included a voodoo doll someone mentioned here, as it’s a spelled object.
While I wasn’t told the exact contents of the bags, I’m guessing they have herbs, crystals, and some mysteries. A few people indicated the purposes of the bags, which included protection, love, and prosperity.
9. A Blank Book or Journal: 7%
Getting in touch with our creative side is important, and that’s why 7 percent of pagans polled carry a blank book with them. You never know when inspiration will hit, and when you’ll want to jot down your thoughts. Likewise, we may need to journal out the emotions to get clarity, or sketch or draw something artistic, or pen a poem or a story. I included pagans who mentioned carrying paper and pencil, as well as the people who told me about their on-the-go art kits.
10. Herbal Supplements: 5%
Whether it’s Gotu Kola, St. John’s Wort, Yerba Santa, or CBD oil, it’s clear we love our supplements. 5 percent mentioned a bottle of herbs, or a tincture / extract rattling around their bags. Other supplements included Bach Flower Essences, Elderberry syrup, tea bags, and 5-HTP.
Alternative medicine is huge with people who have open minds. I’m only a little surprised I didn’t see more.
I want to give a shoutout to the 3 percent who still read books, whether on Kindle or in paperback form.
I also want to give another honorable mention to the 2 percent of us who carry a photo or memento of someone they’ve lost. If my recent Samhain experience taught me anything, it’s that the dead are still with us, and they want to help us. Carrying items from the ones who crossed can keep their spirits close.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into multiple bags and purses from pagans all over the world. It’s not surprising that we pagans carry a variety of things that can put us in deeper touch with the gods and ourselves. It’s a magical life, and our bags reflect this.
If you enjoyed this article, check out another great pagan listicle: 9 Reasons Why You Should Go to a Pagan Festival, Even If You’re Solitary. If you’ve been on the fence, or have never been to a pagan gathering, this article provides information about what they’re like.
You might also like my Ostara article on a ritual designed around the meeting of the maiden and the crone, or the goddesses of the light and the darkness. It is a mirror piece to a popular article I wrote about honoring the dark goddess on Mabon, or the autumn equinox.
* A total of 211 people responded to my question, “Pagans / Wiccans / witches — what items do you carry in your purse or bag?” or some variation. I asked people on Tumblr (#witchblr), on the Pagan Spirit Gathering Facebook group, on the Way of Wicca facebook group, and my pagan personal friends. There may be a little bit of human error in the calculations. 🙂