Friday, January 20, 2012

B is for Boline

I've observed over the years that so many beginner books about the Craft accentuate the importance of magical tools. And it seems that most people new to the path spend the first years searching for the perfect athame, wand, cauldron, chalice, etc. I know I was that way in the beginning. But one tool that I don't usually hear anyone share much about is the boline; it never seems to receive much emphasis.

Out of all the tools I have found for my practice, the one that makes the most sense to me, the one that I *really* use is the boline. It is the witch's "utility knife."

Perhaps its because I was a floral designer for many years back in my 20's that drew me to the idea of having a boline. Or perhaps its just because I consider myself a Green Witch and I adore my herb garden; at any rate, when I first learned about this tool, I was more interested in finding the perfect boline than any other item, although it was one of the most difficult to find. There are lots of choices for athames out there, but slim pickings when it comes to the boline.

I considered using my floral knife, which I still have to this day, but it doesn't have the right shape or magical feel, although I have used it from time to time. I found a lovely little leaf shaped knife that has one half that folds out into a blade and considered that my boline for a short time, but it also didn't feel right. It was more ornamental than practical or useful.

Sometimes we find our perfect tools in the most mundane of places. I was at one of my favorite local garden centers when I found the perfect boline, the one in the photo above. What could be more perfect for harvesting herbs that a gardener's knife made specifically for that purpose? It even has a bit of a scythe shape like a traditional boline.

And I find that because its practical, sturdy, well made and was found it in an everyday place (versus as metaphysical store), this is the tool I tend to use the most. It fits comfortably in my hand and it isn't meant to be ornamental, it is meant to *be used*.

I think it is the practicality of the boline that is so attractive to me. I am not a ceremonial practitioner. I don't even do much ritual, to be honest. I understand the symbolism of all the magical tools that Wiccans are supposed to have, but to be honest, I don't see a great need for them. And as I consider myself more of a witch than Wiccan, I have to say that I don't think witches of old really had many of those tools.

But a boline. That's an everyday tool, at least for a gardener. There is always pruning that needs done and herbs or flowers to collect. Maybe witches of old didn't have a traditional boline, but I would guess they had some sort of knife they used for harvesting and gathering.

Although I've been using my knife as a boline since I found it a couple of years ago, I've not done any kind of dedication ritual for my boline, but I am considering it. Perhaps at Spring Equinox, when the gardening season begins, I should plan something to express my gratitude for this practical tool. If ever there was a magical item that I'd like to be more connected with, it is this one.

(This post is part of the alphabetical topic series for the Pagan Blog Project.)


HBN Brazil said...

I have always searched for a Boline.But never got one I could really use :(
Either too expensive or i can't find them at all!

Celtic Witch said...

Hopefully this Blogger will let me leave you a post this time. Anyway, I know exactly what you mean about the boline and your sentiments behind it are echoed in my own life too. I'm not much of a ceremonialist either and practicality is of utmost importance to me. Unfortunately I have yet to find my perfect boline. They're either really ugly and unsuitable or just not right. Yours (in the picture) is lovely.

Patricia Langley said...

I am a firm believer in that the tools choose you. Wonderful post!

Homelight said...

I've been always taught that your tools should reflect yourself. A wise one told me that tools should be beautiful and useful - she was very much into simple living. She was also one for eating off of china everyday, because every meal should be beautiful. She felt if you should spend the money up front and see it last forever.

Sally Bowman said...

Although it is obviously a practical item, it is beautiful in its simplicity. I love the shape of it too.

Sally said...

This post has been really helpful as I am considering a boline and was being drawn towards something pretty looking....but after reading this I am taking myself off to a garden centre soon to see if I can find something practical. I am only just discovering herbs after years of being just too busy to put my heart and soul into them.

Anonymous said...

Finally did my boline post! Come and see...