I buy almost all of my magical tools.
I’ve constructed a few altars, altar pieces, and talismans in my day. But most of the regular tools I use have either been found objects, gifts, or purchased. (If you’ve watched my video, you’ve seen some of them.)
There are some things that I do very well. I am a good cook. I have made some very nice wines. I’ve been told that I am a good writer.
There are some other things that I am capable of, but not expert. I can do routine maintenance on cars, and some other minor repairs. I can patch drywall and fix toilets. I can do some woodworking and have made some primitive furniture.
If it really came down to it, I could make my magical tools. If I could access the equipment, I could lathe or carve a wand, or fit a knife blade to a handle, or sculpt a cup. And from many of the magical texts I have studied, this is the best way to procure effective and powerful magical tools: make them yourself.
Well, I have a problem with that.
This foes back to my understanding of economics. Money is an exchange. A placeholder. A form of mobile barter. It is a way of take an object or service and transferring the value of that to something else. Yes, I can create a wand. But I can create wine of a far better quality than any wand I can make. I can cook far better than any knife I can make. And no matter how much I practice, I will probably not get to the point where my skill at making a knife exceeds my skill at making food or wine, because the latter are expressions of who I am, while the former is not.
I would rather have a high quality tool made by someone else who is expressing their best destiny and talent by creating it than a lesser quality tool made by myself. In my mind, it is more meaningful to fulfill the best use of my talents in exchange for money, which I then exchange for the product of the best use of someone else’s talents. In my mind, that exchange of highest calling makes the tool I purchase much more potent than fumbling to produce a substandard item.
Now it may be that there are some tools I may excel at making: I will gladly and eagerly fabricate them. And there are most likely several people who excel at making tool I cannot make as well, or who may value tools made by their own hand more than superior products made by someone else. That is fine. But my preference is for that quality, that vital essence of purpose, over the right to say I made something myself.
And don’t get me wrong, I have constructed (and still use) items that are of lesser quality than what is available. I was unable to afford a bronze lararium, so I made one myself. When I can afford a high quality one, I will acquire one. I made busts of my gods because I could not locate suitable images of the Roman gods for my altar. So I improvised as I needed. But for more common and available tools, I will gladly trade my labor for that of a more expert craftsman.
The way I see it, doing so allows me to honor the gods, and facilitates the craftsman doing the same.