I like this reply. Lately, I’ve been shedding implements like a malemute its fur come Spring
The common practice…
@Dankquanicus I may have replied to your post but I’m not directing this rant at you, I’m just bitching out loud.
Common practice equals common results lol, that’s well put.
Hahaha yeah man it does seem fashionable these days doesn’t it.
I hear newcomers speaking on the virtues and liberation that tool free Magick provides. I think the intermediates and Adepts that preach this this to them are really fucking them over and doing a disservice to them here’s why. You can develop so much faster using tools than learning from scratch.
A newcomer will likely feel absolutely no energy bring directed from their fingers during an lbrp for example and will think for months they aren’t doing it right or whatever. With a wand or dagger in that same example you are focused on the the very and of the wand or dagger, you learn to direct this much faster and more fluently than without as a beginner in my view not everyone is going to agree with that but I’m gonna say that’s fine don’t share and ask how many newcomers they’ve taken from beginner and helped instruct and guide them into independent , formidable intermediate practitioners…I know how many I have.
It’s like toolless Magick has become a new fad. Like it’s somehow vogue or hip to be a “toolless magician”. Wanna hear what I think? I betcha do… here’s what I think. I think there are alot of poor, or simply lazy magicians that have no organized practice that has any discipline. If you knew what working directly with the 4 elemental weapons of the magician would do for your Magickal abilities you wouldn’t be so quick to say with a dismissive smirk that they practice toolless Magick in a tone that implies superiority over those that have done this since the time this sort of student was wearing diapers.
Let’s talk about what the big 4 can do for you.
Wand: development of a stronger will, and an developed ability to concentrate and direct astral and etheric energy during other acts of Magick.
We all know Magick fundamentally consists of 3 primary elements ( argue this with me I wish someone would ) willpower, concentration, and imagination. Willpower I’d necessary to direct, command , control and to overcome obstacles and hostile wills of others.
The cup: purification and imagination, the cup can be used for many purposes such as scrying, purification of ones self or surroundings it can assist in training imagination and clairvoyance
The dagger: ( dagger of air ) this can be used to actually eviscerate spirits in the etheric or astral realms, this when in the hands of someone familiar with it can be a weapon against spirits or it can also cut through false ideology, and ideas that are holding one back. Think Occam’s razor. Beautifully illustrated Mike Bee ( yes I know)
The pentacle: ah a fabulous weapon that can provide defensive shielding, can assist in manifestation, trap and detain spirits, offer protection from evil spirits and much much more.
So when I hear these newcomers downing tools and acting like they’re simply antiquated relics of eras gone past only used by stodgy old ceremonial magicians it makes it clear to me immediately that this individual has ALMOST certainly had no actual Instruction or training and is basically winging it and putting a practice together patchwork. Will that hold water with so many glaring deficiencies… not likely but that’s not my problem.
The brass bowl, the sword, the scrying mirror, the crystal ball, all of these tools have a function and a place in a powerful, coherent practice.
Now I will say this so I don’t get jumped by mouthy beginners ( one of my favorite things anyway,) you do not NEED tools to do Magick. The elemental weapons and I suspect every other tool Is present INSIDE of you. Now here’s what you need to understand : a tool is something that helps you perform a certain task or trains you to develop in certain ways.
Can you drive a nail into a beam with you hands? Mmm probably could if you were a diamond soul monk…yeah he probably could, my current reader ( not you @Dankquanicus …mmmm I wouldn’t be putting my money on that no. Well you could try a rock but it wouldn’t be fun… well that’s still a tool. I’d prefer to use the right tool for the job and just get a hammer. If I was in a pickle I’d simply to make do with the internal tools and I’m ok with that. I’m not just a turtle on my back if accosted outside my temple, I’m not in any way fucked or diminished.
Tools help you. There is no reason to down them or people that find them practical. Can I direct energy with two fingers ( as can most of us ? ) Obviously yes. Is it easier with one of my wands. Certainly is.
Tools are not necessary and alot of magicians out grow their tools as they develop that’s perfectly natural. What isn’t natural is to over estimate your abilities as a newcomer and think that tools can’t help you and you couldn’t benefit from them in any way at all. Well do you use candles in Magick? Oh that’s a tool, do you cast a circle with salt, there’s a tool, here a tool, there a tool, everywhere a tool tool
Final thought: don’t allow a tool to be one a crutch. They should be training wheels on a bicycle. When they aren’t needed anymore then they aren’t needed.
There that’s what I think.
Now from one of the greatest bands of all time.
I give you TOOL
Brilliant post, @DarkGodofQlippa! I even wanted to use a similar analogy before as what you used here:
To speak more from the perspective of my practice as well, even if you were, for example, the shining image of Odin yourself, a traveler and always pursuing knowledge, a magician, a creator, it’s still helpful to have additional synthemata when you call upon him, everything still helps. Even if you are Ruled by the Celestial Venus, being born with her in Pisces, her Exaltation, and Rising, it is still helpful to wear her colour, burn her incense, and so on, while calling upon her.
Of course, you yourself are not going to be similar in nature to every God, so in those cases the synthemata are especially helpful.
I definitely agree that tools should not outright be rejected, but the spirit of the Magician should not be rejected either! In fact, the spirit of the Magician is the vital ingredient in all of this, it is what acts out the magic and makes it possible to begin with, after all.
So, when I make an astrological talisman, sure, I have my materials on hand, I have an altar with an appropriate tablecloth, I have an appropriate number of candles, I have an appropriate incense, and I am making it under a very precise astrological election (Itself in this case vital), but I am still fasting the days leading up to it, I am still building up my sphere with the appropriate influence, and when the time comes, I am concentrated and I speak with power and faith.
So, as you say, tools are helpful! That is their purpose. Even if you have all the power in the world, they still help regardless in this case, because we are dealing with spirit, which underlies all of the world.
Of course, if you don’t want to work with tools, that’s perfectly fine. If you’re working in a tradition that forbids it, that’s also understandable. This is just advice to the general magician, and helps with understand the nature of magic in a helpful way, as we ought to also understand why tools are helpful.
From a Ceremonial magician’s point of view, sure. Their practices are largely dependent on them for a good while at the least.
It really depends on what magic they’re doing and what their home life will allows them have around. You will not be able to do the heavier hitting spells in Pele’s Grimoire with tools. It’s a different beast.
The associations you listed are learned associations, though. They only have the meanings because someone said they do and the magicians agreed upon the associations. Not dissimilar to the names and nature of the elements. Western Magic has 4 base elements, but Taoists have 5. The ritual tools they use follow a similar mechanism of an agreed upon meanings, but in a pinch, don’t have to be used.
Taoist magic has a lot of hand gestures/postures and things similar to sigils that are traced. This is due to the body being a microcosm of the macrocosmic universe. Magic is not the only focal point or goal for their practices. Different audience with different goals, usually.
Someone posted a thing called The 4 Laws of the Sphinx.
As a ceremonial Magician I know the importance of Magickal weapons, but I’ve internalised them - more or less. My left index finger is my Wand and Sword/Dagger. The Earth itself is my Pentangle. I rarely use a Cup, but I have a glass should I need it.
And can I just state “Amen” to that? I wholeheartedly concur!