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Solutions for Teen Wiccans: My Parents Won’t Let Me Burn Things or Have Knives!

Updated on August 25, 2016
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A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

Wicca for Teens

So you've gotten over one hurtle—your parents are okay with you learning and practicing Wicca. That’s great! It’s good to know that your parents are educated, open-minded, and trust you to explore your own spirituality. Other kids have to really struggle and compromise with such things until they’re adults and out of the house.

But now you face a new hurtle—they won’t let you burn things in your room. And all the Wicca 101 books and websites instruct you to have candles—multiple candles—on the altar. They also tell you to use incense—more burning! To top it off, one of the main tools of Wicca is an athame—a dagger! Ack! The frustration!

So what do you do in this situation? Well, obviously you can’t be Wiccan without candles and athames—wait, just kidding! Of course you can!

Wicca is a religion, and religion is at its core about you, your Gods, and living a life based on certain principles and tenets. It’s not about which tools are on your altar. If your parents don’t want you playing with fire and blades in your room, there’s a very good reason for it: safety. There are plenty of ways to get around using these common ritual tools without defying your parents.

Want to learn more about Wiccan Tools? This series here is a good place to begin.

Candles are Beautiful

But candles are not necessary for religion.
But candles are not necessary for religion.

Your Deities Can Hear You

Your Gods and Goddesses don't need candles to hear you pray.
Your Gods and Goddesses don't need candles to hear you pray.

Electric Candles

Darice 6206 Brass Plated Candle Lamp with On/Off Sensor
Darice 6206 Brass Plated Candle Lamp with On/Off Sensor

Electric candles, especially the types that flicker, can give you all the feeling of a real candle without any of the danger.


Wicca Without Candles

Candles are usually symbolic of different things on the Wiccan altar. Often they are used to represent God and Goddess. Instead of candles, consider putting a different symbol there. A small statue (go look around the thrift shops, you may be surprised at what you find!). Remember that it’s not just statues of the Gods themselves that can represent your deities—you may worship Athena, in which case a small owl statue would be perfect. Or maybe you worship Ra, the Egyptian Sun God—in which case, a sun stone is quite appropriate. Another option is to look online for images of your God and Goddess, print them out, put them in frames and put the framed photos on the altar. This is an easy and inexpensive way to decorate your altar without any flames.

If you really love the look of candles on the altar, get electric or battery powered candles. Alternatively, you could use night lights or small lamps. These are good not just for representing the deities, and bringing that great atmosphere to your altar, but also for representing the element of Fire. Electricity and light are symbols of Fire—so it’s perfectly appropriate to use bulbs instead of a flames.

Other symbols for fire you might use include a lava rock, red jasper, amber, a sun or star image, a small sun or star figurine, a ‘fake fire’ (such as those sold around Halloween), or a figure of an animal associated with fire such as a snake or a lion.

Wicca Without Incense

The whole point of incense is to use the power of scent—which is very evocative—to help promote the right state of mind for ritual (ritual consciousness). There are ways other than incense to bring scent into your ritual.

Scent sticks in bottles of oil are one option, but you can also purchase essential oils and use them in a small electric oil diffuser. A diffuser has a place for you to put oil, and when you turn it on it heats up to convert the moisture in it to steam, diffusing the scent into the room. If you don’t have a diffuser, simply place a cotton ball in a tiny bowl and put a few drops of oil on it. This will infuse the scent in the room.

Another alternative is potpourri—keep a basket or herbal sachet on the altar and replace it when the scent goes dull. You can even make these yourself by mixing fresh and dried herbs, wood chips, fruit peels and essential oils. You might also want a potpourri electric crock pot, in which you add water and potpourri. Turn it on, and it heats up, steaming the room with the lovely scents you put in there.

Ritual Wands

Antlers not required.
Antlers not required. | Source

This Letter Opener

Winged Dragon Letter Opener Athame
Winged Dragon Letter Opener Athame

would make a perfect athame. Athames don't need to be sharpened. This one is decorative and will help you get into the spirit of your rituals, without the danger of cutting yourself. Plus you can carry it if you wanted to a Wiccan friend's house for a ritual, or to a park gathering, and you won't be breaking any laws.


Wicca Without Blades

Though the athame—the ritual knife—is a common sacred tool of Wicca used for directing energy, it’s not irreplaceable. You can omit it altogether if you like—just use a wand. A wand is easy enough for you to make—just find a nice stick from a tree you love and decorate it a bit if you want. The wand is a gentler tool than the athame, but serves the same purpose—directing energy.

Your finger, incidentally, also can be used for the same purpose. If you want something a little more blade-like, but is legal for a minor to have, consider getting a fancy letter opener.

Don’t hesitate to look around the house and make your own substitutions. What it all comes down to is this: is your tool meaningful to you? Does it help promote ritual consciousness? Does it do the job that you need done? If so, then don’t hesitate to use your instincts for such things.

Your parents are already being more understanding than most by allowing you to explore your spirituality in your own way. Meet them half-way, and respect their house rules. You'll find you can focus on your religion a lot better when you're getting into it peacefully, rather than fighting with parents about it.


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      Megan 3 years ago

      Thank you so much! This was so helpful :)