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.


  1. I call the time you are making or consecrating a tool an initiation.

    In my order, the ritual for consecrating the tools mirrors the ritual used in the initiation. It is more focused, of course, dealing with the element with which you are working than the general initiation. I think this is fairly common amongst the various magical orders out there.

    So I would definitely call the construction of tools a valuable initiation.

  2. The real point where the rubber meets the road is that the power of pwen or talismans or medicine objcect comes more in the consecration and employment as spirit allies and less in the talking about them.

  3. Amen brother Mike. Amen.

    Its the consecration and use that has the juice. I am not saying that you cant get some meaning out of the actual construction, but if you just arent an arts and craftsy person, its probably not gonna happen for you that way.

  4. Regarding Samekh...the Golden Dawn version of the ritual uses several tools. The streamlining of an actual ritualized GD practice with props into a body of light exercise MAY speak more to Crowley than to the ritual. That said, in my Liber 8 adventure, I used the H.D. Betz Headless Invocation instead of Samekh, so I stripped out all of the Crowley as well as all of the GD because that particular invocation is a good example of the efficacy of the tool, as the invocation itself has power beyond just the synergy with the magician.

    All in all though great post man, I just found it by accident.

  5. the AA method for tool construction the construction as initiation is huge. But after a little bit of a different angle. The A vel Armorum works by constructing the nature of the tool within the soul of the magician, essentially the magician becomes the pentacle, the dagger, the cup, and the wand. As he creates them he is expressing an outward modality of his inner state of grace (in otherwords creating a sacrament). The process of creating the tool is the means of processing that internal state into a final physical process to solidify the magician's grasp on his internal initiatory experience. So in that case the work which initiates the magician creates the tool and the magician expresses that through the artifice of the physical object, but he completes its impowerment by initiating it, and this completes that initiation process within himself and moves him into the beginning of the next process.

    There are definitely other tools used outside of the Order of the GD structure of the AA which follow your model more. In which you're essentially engaging the tool with the method of alchemy. Creating an external process which not only reflects but initiates through self identification an internal process.

    My first bit of magical writing since getting back on that horse (a couple nights ago) was actually a good bit of detail on the process of the creation of the ring within the work of initiating the magician.


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.