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Magickal Tools - Tribal Paganism
June 2008
Tribal Paganism
Thu, Apr. 3rd, 2008 08:31 pm
Magickal Tools

I sometimes have ambiguous feelings about magickal tools. On the one hand, I believe that I should be able to do work without the assistance of crystals or herbs or amulets or any other external gadgets. Sometimes I see all those things as just another expression of my modern materialism. On the other hand, I realize the power of "headology" and the fact that the tools I use help me immensely to do work that would otherwise require much more time and discipline than I have available. I am, after all, a modern working mother with a million and one responsibilities and don't have four or five hours a day to just meditate and be holy, you know?

So, I want to take inventory of what tools I find most useful and hear from others about the tools that they find most useful. I'm talking about physical things, not the internal tools that are really the most necessary. What makes a material tool "invaluable"? What makes a tool "useful"? How do the tools affect the magick that we do?

Here are my most useful tools:
Crystals and Stones - I use worry stones to release pent up energy which I tend to store in my body if I don't take the time to do something about it. Rubbing a hematite or small crystal ball in my hand does wonders for my sense of calm, and in turn for my general health. I also use a medium sized obsidian ball for meditational focus and scrying purposes. Whether it's the actual properties of the stone, or the shape or the color, I don't know for sure, but this is the one tool that taught me how to scry after years of attempting. I can hold it in my hands for just a few seconds and my eyes just blur out and I start seeing things.

Wands, Staves and Knives - I don't have one right now, actually, which is a little sad, but I love working with a wand. It's very useful for directing energy. I can tell the difference in the energy when I, say, draw a circle using just my fingers or using a wand or staff.

I've never had a wand or staff that was bought. Instead I had one wand that I made myself and another that was given to me. I also had a staff that was given to me by a forest. The wands remained behind me in the US and the staff remained in the UK long ago. The fact that each of these came through non-store bought pathways made them feel more "real" to me, too.

However, I had a store-bought knife that I used similarly to an athame that was just awesome. I say similarly, but not precisely. I used the knife as a knife for all sorts of practical purposes, from cutting roses for rose petal lemonade to cutting meat for dinner, and I used it as a magickal tool as well. It gave me the sense that it was an extension of me in the same way as my ice skates are an extension of me -- they extend my capabilities beyond what my flesh and blood give me, but they function as if they were part of my own body.

Tarot or Playing Cards - My tool of choice for divination is cards. I have a family tradition that goes back many generations of reading playing cards. I also taught myself how to read tarot about 8 years ago. Both tools work for me like reading a book. I can't really explain "how" they work, though I have my pat answers that seem to satisfy skeptics so that we can get past that block and get down to the actual reading part. Thing is, they just work in a very predictable way. Someone has a question, I read the cards, and we have an answer. Occasionally I mess up a reading entirely, but that is odd and I usually figure out why a little later.

Amulets (home made) - VERY useful for helping friends and family members. These are part headology, part portable energy holder. It's like charging a battery so that you can move electric energy from your wall socket and put it into a toy car. Amulets are charged batteries that serve a specific purpose. I can pour my intentions into something that can be worn, held, or placed in a special location and those intentions sort of have a place to congregate, as it were.

(cross posted to jewitchery)


I cared not for consequences but wrote
Fri, Apr. 4th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)

Would you think that it's better if you build a house without using any hammers, nails, or saws?

Tools are not a compromise. We are tool-using creatures. I think that, like magic in general, you can't develop a good connection to your tools if you look down on them.

That said, the most useful and versatile tools I can think of are salt and water.

Fri, Apr. 4th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC)

Greetings and well met!

Myself, I use some tools..I have a wand and a staff that I made myself. The staff came from a house I was doing yard work in many years ago. It was a sapling that the homeowner insisted on removing, but I saw no reason for the tree to be removed. It was not choked, it was healthy, and it had some room to grow. But, since the homeowner was paying me to do the work, I had to do what I was told. So I cut down the sapling with a prayer and an apology, and turned her into a staff. She has not left my side since.

The Wand was a find in the Woods that raised me. A simple curved branch that I liked the feel of. So I stripped it, wrapped it in leather and added some stones. An amethyst on one end, a quartz on the other, and in the middle near the 'handle' I set a piece of malachite.

I agree on the point of store-bought items. Most times. I'd prefer to use 'gifts' and finds. But there is the occasion where one sees something in a shop that just absolutely draws one in. In those cases, I believe there's a reason an item is 'calling' one.

Now, that being said, I generally take a 'blood, sweat, and tears' approach to magick. I'm not a huge ritualist. I believe the gods are listening regardless of whether we use elaborate rituals or not. Most times we simply need to get their attention.

But..when we create things such as wands or staves..we are putting pieces of ourselves into these items. We carefully strip them, and lovingly sand them down. We scrape or cut our hands as we toil over them. When I made my tools, I purposely let my sweat drip on them and rubbed it in. If I bled on them, it too got rubbed in. I wept when I cut down the sapling, because there was no practical reason for that tree to be destroyed. Rather than have it end up in a kindling pile, I turned it into a staff. Those tears were also rubbed into the wood.

And as I said, neither of those items have left my side. There were a few times they got left behind in my many moves. They've always found their way back to me.

And that's all I really use in the way of magickal tools. I use what's available, what's been gifted to me(by friends or the gods). Of course salt and water, undoubtedly have their uses as well.
My personal opinion: The most powerful magickal tool at our disposal is: Ourselves. The hardest part is realizing it, and learning how to properly channel it.