Friday, July 31, 2009

Which finger holds the power of the universe?*

Tools, tools, tools. Simple props or powerful talismans? Initiatory gateways to higher power, or a crutch for the weak? Empowerment or a trap?

To me it's obvious. Magical tools have power. If they didn't, then no one could buy a talisman from a magician and have the kinds of effects they get from a Astrological Renaissance Talisman made to grimoiric specifications or a mojo bag from the local root doctor. We learn in Agrippa of the planetary and elemental traits of things in nature and things refined by mankind. Stuff is symbolic of other stuff, and when combined with similar symbolic stuff in the right proportions, the stuff becomes something more than just the sum of the parts. I've seen it, and at the very least you've heard about it.

At the same time, the magician making the tools is going through a transformation. The making, acquiring, and consecration of the tool are all reflective of an invisible process that is going on in the magician's sphere, in the macrocosm above that they represent. Joe got a Boline, Scott is making his Elemental Weapons, and Jason carries his Phurba. All of these items are symbolic of a change in the magician in question, and indicate a process they have gone through, or are going through.

I call the time you are making or consecrating a tool an initiation. I think once the tool has been made, the transformation in the magician is going to be with them regardless of whether they happen to have the symbol of that change with them or not. At the same time, a ritual done with the tool will be more powerful than one done with a substitute, or one performed relying only on the attunement of the magician's sphere.

Practically speaking, it could be the Magician that has the power, or it could be the tool that has the power, but I suspect it's the tool empowering the Magician who also empowers the tool. Synergy. Regardless, it seems that rituals performed with tools have stronger results.

I believe that when it comes to making rapid changes to the physical realm by influencing the spiritual substrate, it is best to be able to do a ritual with the appropriate tools. It is second best to be able to do the ritual with symbolic substitutes. Least preferred is to have to do the ritual without tools, relying only on the power of the Mind and the resonance of the Magician's tuned sphere.

(Yet Liber Samekh is performed entirely in the body of light. Just something to think about.)

The bottom line is that, while it's fun and educational to debate the function and even necessity of tools in a magician's repertoire, in practice I've found that sometimes I use the tools, and sometimes I don't.

* Whichever finger holds the power of the universe, goddamned straight it's a finger. Even if you don't need a physical tool to do your magic, your body is still an extension of the Mind, which is yet another tool in a box.