I’ve been reading this great series on “Broke-Ass Witchery” and it got me to thinking about the things that I did when I was super poor, and some of the things that I still do now. Spirituality, no matter what path you follow, doesn’t have to be expensive. Contrary to modern “spirituality as fashion” thinking, you don’t need to buy fancy things in order to practice your faith. The Higher Power doesn’t expect anyone to go outside their means for faith.
So I was thinking about ritual items and spiritual items that you can get really cheap or free. I’ve been insanely poor in the past, and my abundance isn’t quite here even now. I like free anyway, who doesn’t? And the thing is, putting effort into finding ritual items and items of spiritual significance can be a gift in and of itself. Effort can be worth far more than money to your deity/deities. After all, anyone can mindlessly buy a thing, but finding or making one takes time, thought and commitment.
Here are a few spiritual things that you can acquire or make with little or no money:
Feathers: If you own a bird, you can get lots of feathers for free during molting time, and feathers have many representations in many faiths. Just collect them when they drop and keep them stored in a clean spot. You may also be lucky enough to find feathers outside when wild birds have their spring or fall molt.
Seeds: Seeds can represent growth or change, and can be used as offerings. If you have a bird, you may have seeds available as treats, and some can be used for spiritual purposes. You can also collect seeds, seed pods and nuts from outside at certain times of the year.
Plants and flowers: If you can get outdoors, you have access to all kinds of plants. Even those things that people call weeds can and do have spiritual significance. Gather blossoms, leaves, whole plants, bark, twigs or anything you need.
Fallen branches: Fallen branches can make excellent wands if that’s part of your spiritual path. I have made numerous wands from little more than a good-feeling branch and some lovingly woven string, maybe with a bead or feather attached.
Shells: If you want to connect to an aquatic aspect of the One, or have other use for shells, many can be gathered for free if you live near a beach.
Stones: You’re not likely to just stumble across semi-precious stones in nature, but it can happen. What you’ll find plenty of are pretty rocks that can be used as-is, or tumbled. (You can make a tumbler out of sand and a coffee can.) Any stone is part of nature and can have just as much meaning as an expensive chunk of gemstone.
Animal parts: For those who use them in their practices, it is possible to find animal parts from time to time. You may be able to find fur, claws or skulls if you look, and properly collected road kill can be cleaned and used for spiritual purposes.
Altars or ritual spaces: I have made many a small altar from slate I got for free near a river or a slice of wood. I decorated them with a wood burner or with inexpensive craft paint. Even cast-aside furniture at the roadside can become a wonderful altar or ritual space if cleaned and embellished with love.
Altar cloth: Before you toss out old clothes, curtains or other fabric items, think about them as an altar cloth. With a little cutting and hand or machine stitching, many things can receive new life and new purpose.
It’s also good to keep in mind that if you don’t have access to these things, a friend might. If you’re not open about your faith, pretty much anything can be acquired under the true but vague explanation of “I need it for a craft project.”
Never think that because you don’t have much money that you can’t have nice spiritual things. The higher Power(s) know how much you have, and they don’t care about you spending a lot of money. It’s your intent and what’s in your heart that matters. It’s only other human people who think you need to buy fancy things. Spirituality is in the mind and heart, not the wallet.