When Odysseus prepares his sacrifice of a black ewe for dead Tiresias, Circe instructs him to protect it from other spirits with his sword. Agrippa tells us that this is because spirits fear knives. In Balkan witchcraft, those who can soul travel keep a special blade above their bed for protection. In British folklore, certain classes of Fae are said to be repulsed by iron.
I am wondering if anyone here has had an experience suggesting that some spirits fear blades, or has heard of reference to this outside of European traditions of magick?
Never heard spirits fear blades before. Maybe if they ever do it’s the iron content (especially back in those days when steel wasn’t really a thing and swords were mostly iron)? I’ve heard fey don’t like iron so I’m just guessing but got no idea if it’s true, but figure if fey really don’t like iron maybe spirits don’t fit the same reasons. Or it’s all bologny.
I have experience that they don’t fear the blade, so much as the shift in the magician’s perception/attitude when holding one. I’ve been scraping candle holders and similar with knives and steel chisels (another blade) in my hand and not a single spirit has ever complained or acted like it mattered at all. Why? Because I wasn’t holding it at them in a way that enabled latent power (that the tool only channels, doesn’t create).
Some cultures thing that they fear Iron/Steel. It’s an old believe and likely stems from the times when blacksmithing was considered a form of magic. Leviathan didn’t hesitate to bless and open my stainless steel sigil of his that I carry in my wallet.
Traditionally, this is swords particularly made out of Iron, I believe. This is because traditionally it is believed that this can actually pierce spirits’ subtle bodies when used against them. Although they are immortal, this would cause them great pain. So it’s not so much that they fear blades or the iron simply because it is a blade or iron, but because it can affect them.
There are spirits attatched to Iron and Blades, after all, and Mars rules over Iron (In various sources).