Day 222: Searching for your Grail

Witches take a LOT of time to settle on a chalice that feels right for them.  On one level, I’ve always been amused by this because it’s just about the easiest tool to come by, unless you count crafting a wand from a tree branch.  Even drugstores carry wine glasses these days, after all.  Just so we’re all clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a drugstore wineglass for your chalice.  I mean, I’m fairly sure most Pagans won’t use plastic ones as their chalice, but dollar glasses are great, too.  They’re also pretty easy to pagan-up if you’d like.  Glass etching solution is another fairly ubiquitous and cheap item at any craft store, and you can make your own stencils out of a little bit of contact paper and a razor blade.  In an hour or so, your chalice could be sporting all manner of decorations and inscriptions!  If you’d rather not have a glass chalice, you can almost certainly find a pottery studio in any city that will allow you to paint whatever you like on a stock item.

But even though obtaining a chalice is dead easy, we still tend to labor over finding the perfect one for us…and very few of us actually do craft our own.  My first permanent chalice was a stone piece I picked up on a high school trip to England, and my second is a solid silver vintage Jewish Kiddush cup.  Silver definitely is a favorite chalice material among Pagans, and it’s easy to see why.  This is the most feminine tool, after all, and silver is the most feminine metal with its lunar associations.  Do a Google image search of “pagan chalice” and you’ll find hundreds of pictures of goblets that all incorporate silver in one way or another.  Pewter is another common favorite.  It is a silvery metal as well, has a great, solid heft to it, and has an ‘old’ feeling.  It’s also considerably more cost-effective than silver.

While metal goblets do make for great chalices, you do want to be cautious:  some metals (like brass and some low-grade pewters) can leach carcinogens into mildly acidic liquids like wine.  Still others make the liquids taste ‘off.’  (This is actually why silver became so prized for dinnerware:  it contributes no off flavors to food or drink.)  Some metals also can’t be cleaned well with soap and water, and residues of their specialized cleaners could be toxic.

Glass and earthenware vessels are definitely the safest choice as far as toxicity and beverage taste are concerned, but they can break.  Nothing ruins a circle like having to stop to pick glass shards out of carpet and mop up red wine…especially if you’re circling skyclad or barefoot!  If glass or crockery calls to you, though, you might want to choose a blue glazed or tinted piece to further reinforce the alignment with water.

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