DO WHAT THOU WILT SHALL BE THE WHOLE OF THE LAW
Hello and welcome to another part of our series ‘Magick in theory and practice’. Some time has passed since our last contribution, but as life is, everything has its justification. And without further ado, let’s get right into the next chapter of our series. I wish you much pleasure.
MAGICK TOOLS & WEAPONS
Weapons? What weapons? Do I have to hurt or even kill someone here? No! The word “weapon” must not be understood in a theatrical context here. The term “magickal weapon” results from the fact that swords, daggers, knives, staffs, lances and shields can be commonly summarized under the generic term “weapons”. Unfortunately, the word “weapon” is dramatized here and there in literature, so that one speaks primarily of “magick tools”.
Well, basically it doesn’t matter, because whether you say “tool” or “weapon”, in the end it is a supporting, extending, helping and sometimes even supporting symbolic power, which is used by the magickal protagonist in a targeted way. This symbolic power can be declared, superficially speaking, as an aid or even as “magick toys”! Even if the term “magickal toys” may offend one or the other ego, one can easily say that all tools are always just “crutches”, “training wheels”, “extensions” or props.
Of course, these props can be used completely consciously and purposefully, but they are only “analogies”, which in the end stand for significant energies and forces in the cosmos. But since every ritual always has a certain dramaturgy, the magickal weapons also serve as sensory stimuli. Through this the magick act or ritual action can and is symbolically clarified!
But an illustration is never a substitute for a real work, because the most important thing is and remains, the will of the magician!
The beauty of this symbolic power or this emphasis is ultimately that it can be used very individually on the one hand, but at the same time offers a universal framework. Since there is a very large number of “tools”, all of which serve a certain ritual purpose, one should first look at what one wants to achieve and in which magickal area the work is to be performed.
Sure, with my magickal tools I can ultimately direct the most diverse elementary forces and energies or even transform them. I can define a protection, an energetic focus or even just a general support, because by working with material things in ritual, the symbolic language of the tools can work directly in my subconscious. I can even encode my own energy system so that the magickal weapons can be recognized like a “special nodal point” in my magickal work and can be used specifically.
I can do all this and still the protagonist is and remains the most important part of the ritual. No magickal tool can replace the will and energy of the protagonist, even if I have charged it in the tenth generation. Although material things can also store energy and release it in a focused way, they only have a limited supply of this energy. As an active, magickal person, I can access the energies of the cosmos, which can never ebb. Therefore, in ritual work, the energies or the energy channels of the magician, including the chakras, must be harmoniously attuned to each other, so that focused thoughts or “streams of thoughts” become the guarantee for achieving and fulfilling the magickal goal.
The physical and, of course, especially the energetic bodies of the human being, are perfectly sufficient to energetically represent all working tools. Therefore, it must be said quite clearly that one does not really need material working tools! Everything you need, you will find in yourself – everything! Nevertheless, it must be said that at the beginning of the magickal evolution – or ritual career – the material tools have a very high support value. Sure, in the end, they are all just straws that will not save a drowning person, but if these straws provide security, so that one can return to one’s own strengths, they have definitely served their purpose!
In addition, the magickal weapons can also be seen as “energy accumulators”, so that you can always access them and develop a self-coding or sympathetic magickal field as their use increases.
You shouldn’t do ritual work if you’re not “up to the mark”, but as the saying goes, “Never say never.” In this case, the magickal weapons can also be defined as a “meaningful security”, so that even in certain emergencies (physical or mental “illnesses”) rituals can be performed, which pushes the probability of success upwards by the pinch of energy of the magickal weapons! Since the magickal tools can focus the protagonist’s attention, they can therefore also be seen as a kind of “energetic-material extension” of the magician, whereby an extension of course cannot replace the actual work and the conscious focus.
So what kind of tools are there?
Infinitely many, for ultimately all objects can be “magickal tools/weapons”! How? Anything? My kitchen knife, my cup and my vacuum cleaner are all tools of magick? Yes! They are! Ideally, there will be no narrow definition of what the magickally working person “may” use for tools. Ultimately, one must always determine for oneself what is a magickal or ritual tool and what is “only” decoration or trinkets! Although it is often propagated that there are “essential tools” without which one may never perform a magickal ritual, this is strictly speaking nonsense. No matter what “magickal device” is involved, they are all just templates or scaffolding that can help the magician.
In the end, I only need myself to perform a ritual! But if I want to work with material things, I can fill them with “life”! This again means that my ritual chalice can also be a paper cup or a cup, my magick sword a kitchen knife, and if I don’t have a staff, I’ll see if I have something similar somewhere. Of course you can rightly say that you prefer it to be more pompous and elegant. I myself also find it more beautiful to work with a crystal chalice, a forged sword and a decorated gemstone staff, but … this is just a personal preference and basically a matter of ego!
So it always applies that I have to fill what I want to use with life in order to be able to work with it!
It is also perfectly ok if you “love” your magick tools. You just have to be aware that every time you use the tools, you have a charged energy storage device in your hand. Sure, there is always more than enough energy in the cosmos and I “only” have to open my crown chakra to flood my system, but tools at the beginning of ritual practice can also be understood as an “auxiliary rod”, “training wheels” or “water wings”.
In the beginning of ritual practice, one can create relief for oneself by literally holding on to these things. As long as one recognizes, understands and accepts that with growing practice and magickal progress, the “dearly beloved” tools become unnecessary, one can easily work with them. You just shouldn’t make the mistake of tying yourself to your tools in such a way that you really can’t work without the corresponding attraction of magick! If you can only open your energy channels when you have your “favorite magick wand” in your hands, you will create real blockages.
These blockades you will put yourself deep into your own energy system, because you code yourself on it (key-lock-principle), to “work” only if the corresponding ritual object is materially felt or guided! Should this happen, you will lose a part of your individuality. However, since in magick the individuality of the person is the Alpha and Omega, one must always reflect what one wants to achieve and how one wants to work!
Of course, there have always been rituals and cultural-religious actions that used an immense number of “magick tools”. The ancient advanced civilizations (Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians etc.), for example, naturally possessed certain symbolic objects which were used in various rituals.
But you have to understand it as a real “show effect”, which can of course be transferred to the observer or viewer. The “old magicians” or “priests” of course knew that their respective patrons always wanted something for the eye.
If there was banging and stinking in the different rituals, one could be sure that the respective ruler was satisfied with the ritual. This does not mean, however, that no real result was expected. Of course a mage could still put on such a great show. If his results never met the promised requirements, he had to leave immediately!
However, my remarks about “magickal weapons” must not be misunderstood. Of course, if you work magick, you only need yourself and your energy system. But if you want to move in a “magickal” or “cultural” tradition, you can feel a very close connection to your own ancestors, to your own roots of life through these objects, so that you treat the ritual objects with an absolute reverence.
This obeisance can also be understood as an energetic focus, which then again belongs to the actual ritual like prayers, invocations, wishes, signs and symbols. Thus the most different peoples and cultural circles possess individual magick tools.
From a cultural point of view it is exciting that many tools have changed over time, or have been adopted here and there by other cultures – in a changed or identical way! On the one hand, this was a very positive development, because in this way the magickal weapons were refined and partly also individualized. On the other hand there was also a negative taste, because a real “tool jungle” was formed, which not only differed in cultural aspects, but also showed regional differences. Unfortunately, divergences can also always cause quarrels and discord among people – loosely based on the motto “My magick wand is longer and better than yours!
This is of course egoistic bullshit, superfluous and counterproductive, because even if there are real “magick tool lists” in the different magickal traditions, you should always remember that it is always just a tool and you have to decide for yourself which tools you want to use for what!
The magickal weapons are and always will be tools, props, crutches, utensils, training wheels or water wings! Nothing more!
But it is not surprising that many people who are on a spiritual trip buy wildly and acquire superfluous “magick stuff”. The fact that they need this magick stuff at all, that they usually can’t energetically revive it and that they can’t even put it into a traditional or cultural category, is usually overlooked. Here really Indian peace pipes are imported, so that one can smoke in a hermetic planet ritual!
Although one can always argue here with the conclusion of “chaos magick”, where in the end everything is allowed and every working, individual mix has a meaning, one can assume that magickal newcomers are more likely to practice chaotic magick and have no plan of correspondence and analogies of magickal tools. Therefore one must always remember that even the “most beautiful wand”, the “sharpest sword”, the “most pompous chalice” and the “largest pentacle” are just worthless kitsch that will please the ego at most.
Of course, you can surround yourself with “true treasures”, in which the ego really enjoys, as long as you know 100% within yourself that only the protagonist is the most important thing in the ritual! Furthermore, the protagonist must be able to vitalize his individual tools so that they function as energy stores that can be consciously accessed!
So does that mean that it is better not to work with material, magickal weapons? Does that mean you shouldn’t do real magick?
No! On the contrary! If I know for myself that I can create everything out of myself, if I can make my rituals succeed without material help, I can easily decide to work with material magickal tools! No matter if it is for traditional reasons (a beautiful cast-iron cauldron in the middle of the circle) or for reasons that really come from the ego, but which one allows oneself, because one simply feels fun and joy when working with “one’s beautiful tools”.
Therefore you should always treat the magick weapons with respect. Once they have been initialized or activated, they are “holy utensils”, which the protagonist has concretized through his purposeful will! In extreme cases – which in my opinion would definitely not be desirable – the magickal weapons can form such an intimate connection with the magician that one can truly see them as part of the magician. If the weapons are then touched or even used by strangers, this can lead to energetic irritations that are not conducive to focusing or to the respective ritual work.
Of course, it always depends on the character of the magickal person, whether he sees a material and individual value in the tools or whether they are exclusively objects of utility. You have to decide for yourself whether you are primarily only allowed to “touch” your tools yourself and work with them or whether you would like to “borrow” them!
On the one hand, magick weapons are always dead matter that can be used without further ado. But on the other hand they can also be animated and you should see to whom you want to entrust these “living things”! I myself see my tools as individual possibilities to express myself. Since I like to ritualize, I can say quite frankly that my ego is happy when I handle beautiful objects.
Of course, the same ritual must also work on the astral plane, without the material helpers and exclusively through the will and energy system of the protagonist! I have decided for myself that I will take a golden middle course in simple magickal work, on which my material magickal weapons have their place!
However, when it comes to work that has to be done primarily astrally, then I work completely without my tools and use energies, which could basically be declared as “magick tools” again! However, practice has also shown me that one should keep a personal joy for oneself, so that one also has fun with or rather in the rituals – and for this I like to work with “beautiful things”!
OK, even if one could now experience long and broadly that magick weapons are only aids, they are nevertheless utensils, which appear very often in literature and in practice. Therefore it is of course useful to make a distinction between the respective tools, so that you can classify magickal weapons by genre or class. Although there are “universal tools” which can be found in every magickal tradition, there are also very “special” tools which appear in magick again and again. But since it is impossible to list all, somehow only conceivable, tools and explain them in detail, I will make a small selection, so that the universal tools are explained, briefly in terms of their magickal properties.
In ceremonial or ritual magick the different tools can be roughly divided into three categories. The “small tools”, the “big tools” and the “remaining tools” are to be mentioned here, whereby it really refers to the respective size of the magick weapon. It has nothing to do with any “power factors” or “energetic achievements”! In this case it is simply about the material size, nothing more!
Here is the classification:
“Small tools”: athame or dagger (element fire / air), staff (element air / fire), chalice (element water), pentacle (element earth), bell, scourge and a divinatory tool, such as a crystal ball, pendulum etc. (element ether).
“Big tools”: Sword (element fire / air), spear or stick (element air / fire), water bowl (element water), shield / sacrificial bowl (element earth), gong, cauldron and a (big) divinatory tool, such as a magick mirror, (element ether).
“Other tools”: altar light / candles / lamp (element fire), incense burner, holy or inspired scriptures, ritual texts (element air), broom (element water / air), altar (element earth), temple, robe, magick oil, crown, lamen (a kind of magickal crest worn on fabric or leather), various seals made of metal and/or paper and the circle, which can be seen as a demarcation of the magickal space or as a magickal focus or other-world. This circle can be drawn via string, wire, salt or flour. (element ether).
Wait! Wait! Why is it that some weapons are associated with different elements Why is the sword sometimes fire and sometimes air? And while we are at it, there are many other magickal tools that are used in shamanism or witchcraft, for example? How can they be incorporated into this trinity? Is it possible at all or do we have to make a new classification for this category? Questions upon questions, but they are justified!
OK, let’s start with the other magickal tools or with the different magickal areas. If you like, every form of magick has a “ritual part”, so the previous division into small, large and other tools can be seen very much under the ceremonial-magickal or even under a hermetic aspect! In this case, however, hermetic magick is a genre that has many parallels and interfaces with other magickal traditions.
If I now make a turn to witchcraft, I will find many parallels. Well, this may be because the primary founders (Gerald B. Gardner, Doreen Valiente as well as Alexander and Maxine Sanders) all had something to do with hermetic magick, or were partly influenced by it! We will go deeper into this in another future series “Famous magicians and magickal authors” on 93magick.com
In order to show the different parallels, I want to give a short overview of the tools of witchcraft and which “classification” one can make here:
Elementary tools: sword, athame, bolins (knife with the white handle), magick wand, chalice, cauldron, pentacle, incense burner, scourge, cords.
Auxiliary tools: robe, altar, altar lights, elemental altars with elemental attributes (feathers, fire, water, stones/earth), bell / gong / singing bowl etc., various seals/sigillas made of wax, wood, metal and/or paper, Book of Shadows (magickal diary).
But if you now make a jump to shamanism, which of course also belongs to the natural religion, like witchcraft, you will find the following classification or the following tools:
Drum and drum mallet, feather (also as head- or clothing jewellery) or incense feathers, rattle, stones (no matter if pebbles or precious stones), plants and parts of plants, different amulets (not made of metal; if so, it must be “pure metal”, no alloys), chain pendants and symbols worn as head-dress or on clothing, Indian dance stick, pipe, knife and medicine bag.
The magickal tools of the shaman always consist of natural materials, i.e. they are materials that occur in nature and are not artificially produced (e.g. plastic, metal). Concerning shamanic work it has to be mentioned that there are many individual variations and characteristics. This makes it basically impossible to classify real branches and areas. So it always depends on the working method of the respective shaman, which tool is rather an elementary tool and which is an auxiliary tool.
But what about the elements? How do the respective allocations come about? Why is the sword sometimes assigned to fire and sometimes to air?
Well, the answers to these questions will be dealt with in the next chapter of our series “Magick in Theory and Practice”.
I’m happy if you enjoyed reading so far and encourage you, if you would like to say something about it, to write a comment below.
With this in mind, I wish you all the best and look forward to welcoming you back among the interested readers in the next chapter.
May you be blessed on your magickal journey.