Thrift store shopping for spell components and other witchcraft items imparts a sense of history into your practice.
It also cuts down on consumer production, lowers your carbon footprint and keeps needless waste out of landfills–all principles that belong in an earth-based practice.
(Yep, I just justified your shopping trip with a little moral high ground. You’re welcome. 🙂
I rounded up 9 common thrift store items easily adapted to a witchcraft practice.
If you practice herbalism or use herbs in spell craft, you know there’s no such thing as too many glass jars.
Beautiful glass apothecary jars litter the housewares shelves at thrift stores.
(Sometimes, even a real crystal one gets tossed in with the glassware. To check, gently flick the glass with your middle finger and thumb. Crystal sounds bell-like when it vibrates, whereas glass makes a dull, flat sound).
Be extremely selective. In particular, look for tight seals on the lids, or tightly fitting corks for corked bottles. Check carefully for cracks or other imperfections that compromise storage quality.
Look for graceful lines, etching or striking colors.
Cauldrons (aka Cast Iron Pots)
You never want to buy thrift store items that wear easily, because by the time they get to you, they usually don’t have much life left in them.
But a solid cast iron pot of good quality is an heirloom.
They also make perfect cauldrons.
In some ways, they often work better than the cauldrons sold at specialty occult shops because kitchen cookware is, by definition, food safe.
Pick one up and try one of the many ways to use a cauldron in your Craft.
When searching for your local second hand shops, don’t forget about used bookstores.
While an occult book is a truly rare find in a general thrift store, antique book dealers are another matter.
Believe it or not, many pre-owned bookstores maintain a section for the occult. These books tend to retain their value well, so professional book buyers usually don’t pass up good occult titles.
Some even carry used tarot card decks. (Check to make sure all the cards are there–I’ve made that frustrating mistake before!)
Even if they don’t have a section specifically for occult subjects, they almost certainly carry used books on subjects of peripheral interest to witches.
Try asking about apothecary, holistic health, gemstone identification or mythology.
If you like to incorporate ritual jewelry into your practice, head over to the sparkly things at your local antique or consignment shop and let them dazzle you.
Feel a strong connection to something in particular? It might be just the piece you were searching for.
Or was it searching for you? 🙂
Take care to properly identify more expensive pieces. Most consignment counters try to value things fairly and honestly, but even professional appraisers make mistakes.
Here’s a little secret. You’re going to love to this one.
People often buy expensive silver chalices to use in wedding ceremonies.
Once it’s over, no one knows what to do with that stupid silver cup.
You can’t use it for company. There’s usually only one or two in a ceremonial set.
And besides, they’re almost awkwardly formal looking. It feels oddly inappropriate for any other occasion besides the wedding it was intended for.
Unless, of course, you’re a witch. 🙂 Then there’s all kinds of ways to use a chalice.
I almost always find at least one or two nice chalices in the silver section of any thrift store when I look. As a bonus, they usually age with a lovely tarnish that gives it that Old World feel.
Pro tip: Check carefully to make sure the chalice wasn’t engraved with initials. This may not bother you, but for me, it’s a deal breaker.
If you want to maintain an altar, but lack a solid surface to set one up on, check out the thrift store.
Find a simple fold out table for an apartment with limited space.
Or, go big and ornate with a solid wood masterpiece.
In general, the long, narrow tables people put in their entryways and hallways work really well.
Then, go on Pinterest and check out all the amazing ways to upcycle secondhand furniture.
Paint it. Change out the drawer pulls for funky antique ones. Or, completely dismantle the whole thing and redesign it.
Super fun, and you get to impart your personal energy on it.
Much like chalices, I actually prefer second hand offering dishes to new ones. I like the historical quality of them.
Look for natural wood bowls, or hand-thrown pottery.
Pieces that cost over $100 retail sometimes go for less than $5.
Chipped ceramics with a little wear also look really beautiful. The more beat up the better.
Kitchen Witch Supplies
Many standard kitchen witch items sell for almost nothing in secondhand shops.
People often use specialty items like the mortar/pestle a few times, and then never again. They’re nice in theory. But for a practical cook making a quick meal on a weeknight, they never work as easily or quickly a food processor.
So off to the thrift store they go.
But for the kitchen witch, these older, more traditional tools slow the process down, forcing the practitioner to fully experience the kitchen spell in a mindful way.
Look for natural materials, like heavy wood cutting boards, hand crafted spice racks or ceramic serving platters.
Some Final Tips
-Only choose piece you truly feel connected to. Otherwise, your ritual space becomes cluttered with unnecessary objects.
-Go with a list, and stick to it. You likely know from experience what you need. Get that, and leave everything else.
-Most people like to do some kind of energy clearing for used items they intend on incorporating in ritual. This can be as simple as leaving it in the moonlight, or much more elaborate.
-Quality, quality, quality. That is your mantra. Thrift stores are so full of stuff, you can’t afford not to be picky. Never settle for anything less than gorgeous, usable and long-lasting.
Love these ideas! Also, fancy decanters for Florida water and animal figurines that represent spirit animals. ❤
Yes! You can even paint animal figurines a solid color to match your altar decor. And you can pick them up for less than a $1.
Estate sales and moving sales often have really nice things for cheap.
Lovely post. 🙂
Something I love to collect are moulded, coloured glassware pieces. I use a gorgeous blue stemmed dessert dish for my chalice, a smaller blue dish for water and a tiny green dish with a metal rim for salt. They look lovely and the chalice feels really special to drink from.
Love those ideas!
Love these ideas, but I wish thrift / 2nd hand shops near me would carry items like that 🙁 I have never seen e.g. any silver chalices, cast iron cauldrons or pestle & mortars in them, and I frequent thrift stores *a lot*…
Try thrift stores in different neighborhoods. That’s what I do when I want to find something different than the “usual” at my regular thrift stores. I’ll go to ones that are 20 or 30 miles from where I live.
Are you really a witch?
I guess that depends on how you define the word witch, Miss Embry. 🙂
I LOVE the thrift store for witchy ideas! I found amazing chalices, all sorts of spell supplies, bottles… I even found a bottle with shells, sand and shark teeth in it!
Wonderful Ideas! Don’t forget to cleanse these items before putting them to use!
Be sure you smudge every item you purchase from a thrift store you don’t know what’s attached to it
I love that you elaborated on this article about witchy items that people must look for to complement your collection. My friend’s sister is very much into these witchy supplies, and since her birthday is coming soo I want to gift her something special. Since it’s her birthday I will not go thrifting, but I will start looking for an online store that sells these type of things.
Thank you sooo much for the tip about crystal vs glass and what to look for and basically this whole post! I found some awesome stuff at my local antique malls and thrift store and didn’t get stuck with junk. Thank you!