Do you have a hidden box of treasures or is your altar decorated with lovely gemstones and crystals? Perhaps you have a stash of secret gifts or special items that fill you with magical delight. For a witch, objects found in nature can be used as amulets and talismans - such as feathers, stones and seed pods.
For me, there's nothing more exciting than coming across a peculiar item or unique trinket when rummaging through second hand stores or finding dragonfly wings and abandoned bird's nests when I'm lost in nature. These little surprises can be powerful touchstones when charged with intent.
Of course, there are many facets to witchcraft, which covers a broad spectrum; from white to black and everything in between. Some of you might balk at putting an animal skull or bones on your altar - to represent the end of a life cycle, for ancestor worship or animal totem vibrations.
For these kinds of items, it's best to use what you find in nature, rather than killing the animal yourself just to get their bones, skins, shells or feathers - lest your magic be tainted with a senseless killing. Even though nature has a seemingly cruel side, it is - after all - about survival and you could assume that the animal either died of natural causes or was killed to provide another animal with sustenance.
Other items, such as shells, fossils, dried seahorses and preserved creatures (like those found in taxidermy) might be bought, but you would want to know the history of the creature's demise to ensure that you're not feeding a nefarious industry of death for the sake of profit.
If you hunt for your food and operate in a respectful way, you might give thanks to the creature before consuming it, so saving their bones, etc. would be fine enough to use on your altar or in ritual. In the end, it's about your intent and how you honor the life that was sacrificed.
Gems, Crystals, Metals, Fossils and Resins
Gems and other precious stones have a special place in Witchcraft, not to mention other religions and paths. Most children are enthralled by their secret beauty and many collect them, along with other treasures they might keep in a shoe-box under the bed or in their pockets. Finding a special rock, crystal or even a fossil when exploring nature is a pure delight and learning about them can be a lifelong hobby.
For me, it was a surprise to learn about how they form, whether hidden deep in the Earth, encrusting a fallen tree (in terms of petrified wood or amber), poking out of the sand (fossilized lightning) or as a preserved creature when a rock is split open. The same goes for metals, such as silver, gold and even mercury - which is liquid. Even more amazing to me was how meteorites can contain metals and minerals.
Since ancient times, these precious items have been used as currency and decoration, as well as symbols of power, wealth and spiritual significance. Adorning headdresses, crowns, necklaces, rings and other jewelry, precious stones and metals have been used in the breastplates of Kings, Queens and Warriors.
On the surface, it's easy to dismiss the idea of stones having magical vibrations, if you're a skeptic who views such things as nonsense. I have often wondered if crystal and gemstone magic is a fanciful notion brought about by wishful thinking, but there is scientific evidence to back it up.
For example, clear quartz has been used in electronics, due to it's ability to act as a conduit for energy. Also used in watchmaking and measuring instruments, quartz has the capacity to amplify energy, although synthetic versions are commonly used today and we wouldn't have computers and technology without them.
The problem with science is: it only knows what it knows. Requiring empirical evidence based on data obtained from rigorous testing and experimentation, science relies on observable outcomes. When it comes to energetic healing, it's difficult to state exactly how it works.
For me, I don't really care how it works - as long as it works. Science itself can be a little wishy-washy when it comes to mind over matter, so when we program ourselves to believe that holding a stone in the palm of our hand can heal us or bring about change - so mote it be!