A mortar and pestle is a tool for crushing herbs and other materials. It consists of a bowl (the mortar), usually made of stone or ceramic and a heavy pounding tool (the pestle), usually made of the same material. The pestle fits inside the bowl and crushes materials inside the bowl. A mortar and pestle may be used for pounding grains to remove the hulls or to make flour. Magic-users normally use mortar and pestles to grind ingredients for magical spells, kitchen witchery, incense and alchemy. Mortars and Pestles have been in use by cooks, healers and magicians for millennia. There is evidence of their common use in Egypt prior to the 1500s BCE.
The word mortar comes from the Latin mortarium meaning “a receptacle for processing” or “the product of grinding or pounding”. The word pestle comes from pistillum meaning “pounder”
A mortar and pestle is a symbol of wort cunning and pharmacy, as it is a tool used by both herbalists and pharmacists (note the Walgreens logo).
Baba Yaga, a witch of Russian folklore, rides through the air on a mortar and pestle. She is viewed by some as a Goddess or a Goddess aspect.