The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Tools of Witchcraft
A chalice, sometimes known as a goblet, is a sacred or ritual cup or similar drinking vessel. Chalices are one of the four tarot suits, also known as Cups. This suit represents the element water and corresponds to the playing card suit, Hearts.
The chalice is one of Wicca’s four elemental tools. The chalice represents the feminine element of water. It may also be understood to represent the Womb of the Goddess.
The Grail is sometimes envisioned as a chalice. One traditional explanation was that this was the cup of the Last Supper brought to Britain by Joseph of Arimathea, in which he had caught Christ’s blood during the Passion.
The chalice represents the goddess or the eternal, universal, sacred feminine. During some traditions the Great Rite is celebrated by plunging an athamé into a chalice. The chalice represents the Goddess, Lady or female principle; the athamé the God, Lord or male principle.
In some traditions, a chalice holds wine during rituals. This is passed between ritual participants and shared. Usually a libation or offerings are also poured out to the Goddess.
Chalices are identified with Circe as she used a potion to transform Odysseus’ crew into animals. Circe is commonly portrayed proffering a chalice, ostensibly to Odysseus. However she is often painted full-face looking straight at the viewer, her arm holding the chalice outstretched as if offering it to you.