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To: alt.magick,alt.occult.methods
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Implements
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 01:01:54 GMT

x-posted into alt.occult.methods, as it deals with practical matters :-)

Chris wrote:
> I am of course not made of money so I have done my best to collect
> implements  for my practice. The Implements do not match the ones in 
> my books exactly (theory and practice and The Practice of Magickal 
> evocation) and some of them are not made from 100% natural materials 
> only. I would like some reasurance or confirmation that these 
> implements are fine. If they are not then I would like to keep 
> saving and working to get better ones. So if anyone finds any major 
> flaws in them, that would give my problems, or reduce effectiveness 
> please let me know.
> I use...
> A Pantacle, 8 inches made of pure beeswax. I have just a simple 
> Pentagram craved in it.
> A Silver Plated Cup, it was my grandfathers, it has his name 
> engraved on the bottom (would this cause any problems ?)
> A Dagger made of Cheery wood, Copper and Silver.
> A very simple and plain Fire wand made of Oak (I think) with some 
> copper wire wrapped around the top.
> My Main wand, this ones a little tricky, Im not sure what wood it is 
> made of, It has a crystal glued into the top (epoxy) It has leather 
> wrapped around it. It was coated in polyurathane
> My Pentagram Dagger is single edged and is simple and made of silver
> My crown is a simple copper band with a stearling silver crescent 
> moon glued to it.
> My circle is made of Canvas and The names are painted on it.
> My Robe is beautiful, its all black, but it was made by my 
> grandmother, its not made of natural fibers.
> My enochian tablet is made of Plywood (plywood has pieces of wood 
> glued together) and I took a new approach to it, I burned My letters 
> into it, as opposed to using paint. I was thinking of putting 
> polyurathane over it to help protect the letters. Would this be a 
> good idea? any suggestions?
> The reason I ask, is that altough I love the look and feel of my 
> implements, a thought occured to me.
> When an implement is made from completely natural resources, then 
> each of these parts is in someway alive.
> The nonpnatural Materials are dead chemicals, which in my opinion 
> would be qlippothic.
> Now The writters on magick suggest making Every little thing from 
> virgin resources. For example, the Magician must forge his silver 
> cup from pure silver, but he must also mine the silver for himself. 
> These instructions although they would be quite nice, are totally 
> impractical.
> So the floor is open...

Several of the items you mention are made of synthetic plastics or
coated or glued with them (the robe, the polyurethane, the epoxy). These
are organic chemicals and ultimately derive from dead trees, although
their molecules have been tweaked a bit. 

It is my experience that mages of European cultural descent are more apt
to hedge their working about with rules against "forbidden" or
"inedequate" tools or methods of work than are mages of other cultures.
This can be found at ALL levels of European magic, not only ceremonial

For instance, among folk magicians of many cultures, a used horseshoe is
hung by the door to protect the house from witches and to bring in good
luck -- but only among the British and the Irish is the directionality
of the horseshoe considered to be so important that if the horseshoe is
hung "the wrong way" (with the bottom open, in this case) people believe
that "the luck runs out." Likewise, i have seen huge flame fests break
out overe the subject of whether the robes of ceremonialists MUST be
wool or whether synthetic fibers are permissible in tropicak and
sub-tropical climates. I call rules like this "proscriptions against
'wrong way' magic." 

In my opinion, rather than accepting such proscriptions against 'wrong
way' magic unthinkingly, it is a useful exercise to look at them in the
context of the culture in which they developed. I am not claiming here
to have discovered "the" answer, but i have noticed something
interesting about the place and the time period during which ceremonial
magic was first written down. As we know, most of the grimoires of
European magic date from the Renassance, a time when science was gaining
ground as a competitional system of thought in Europe. By the early 20th
century, when "Magick in Theory and Practice" were published, it was
decidedly unusual for an educated European person to champion magic over
science as a system of belief. 

The fact that magic does not always work was seen as its great flaw by
scientists and rationalists, and i believe that in response to continual
critiques from scientists about the failure of magic to produce
consistent results, European mages -- both ceremonial and folk-magical
-- developed a protective system of excuses for failure whereby the
nature of the implements or the timing of the work can be used to cover
for failure -- and also, at the same time, can be used to make the
practice of magic more difficult for the beginner, keeping the field
rarified and "coccult." 

As i said, these are simply persoanl observations, but i find them
useful in overthrowing slavish obedience to "rules and regulations" that
might hinder me from my experiments. 

As for your case -- well, my feeling is that although i personally would
not wear a polyester robe, everything else you have is fine -- and if
you live in a hot climate, the polyester robe is probably fine too! 

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice --

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