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Magical Tools

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
From: richard sprigg 
Subject: Re: Magical Tools (was Imaginary Magic)
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 00:21:35 -0400

nagasiva wrote:
> 50010815 VI! om Hail Satan! Hail Yes!
> nagasiva:
> >>>> when does a tool become magical?
> richard sprigg :
> >>> In use.
> >>> When does a lotus-wand become a fly-swatter?
> nagasiva:
> >> I'd say that there is a duration of use important to the transition
> >> between conventional usage and nonconventional usage. the lotus-wand
> >> doesn't stop being one merely based on a single usage to swat a fly.
> >> if that's *all* that one uses it for, then it starts being a fly-
> >> swatter solely, yet to those who have no knowledge of this
> >> unconventional use it will still be a lotus-wand to all appearances.
> richard sprigg :
> > Agreed; that is the essence of what I was saying, that use
> > defines the tool, and that appearances are irrelevant.
> depends on the person. some people are appearance-based and may
> need to fluff up the magical tool for their usage. I don't get
> the impression that magical principles are so universal as all that.
> I wonder whether there are people who cannot (perhaps would never
> wish to) work without magical tools because of what kind of people
> they are (not just their beliefs about the activity).

I've met more than a few who were born mechanics: no tools, no work.
Many of them belonged to social clubs, though whether the nature of
clubs attracts that type of person, or whether that type of individual
forms clubs I cannot say.

> >> my own 'athame' is a case-in-point. I have *combined* their usage,
> >> but it wasn't an athame or ritual dagger until I used it for this
> >> purpose in a number of workings -- during this time it added to
> >> its character of letter-opener that of ritual dagger. if someone now
> >> saw it sitting on my altar they might intuit its usage and know
> >> its character, but otherwise only I would (since I did nothing in
> >> particular *other* than change-through-usage to signify this -- I
> >> could have sigilized it with a sharp object, or painted magical
> >> figures on it, for example, and this would have made it more
> >> apparent to those who encountered it outside my altar).
> >
> > Yet who would such decoration be for?
> could be for anyone, even the letter-opener! c'mon, me and Arrow
> (just named) have been through decades together. I've relied so
> often on Arrow's stability and direction that I may want to
> demonstrate my affection for hir contribution to my magic!

"Me and my Arrow"

"You dont have to have a point to have a point"
- Oblio

> > I often wonder about all the folderol about such things.
> > I do engrave pantacles and write sigils, yet still I wonder
> > if it is essential.
> would you find it amusing to test it? 

I have, using several methods.
For sigils I found that Spare's earthenware Virgin was most effective.
Pantacles, being almost opposite in nature, I found careful engraving
fixes the nature of the seal more effectively.

> or ultimately is it
> really important whether it IS essential? [M] seems to
> think so (because understanding and knowledge are being
> displaced by the ignorance of belief in its essentiality,
> if I have understood aright). perhaps [M] is correct. or
> maybe a third possibility exists, that [M]'s experience is
> not one which can be generalized across the human spectrum
> (or across all magic). maybe there are types of magicians
> who can and cannot follow [M] and succeed in their magical
> endeavors, for example.

That may well be so.
The process of creation in both the above seems to act in such a way as
to make the tool more readily assimilated into the background, the one
forgotten, the other recalled.
My attempts to replicate this with imagination have been far less
successful: that this may reflect upon my own limitations is quite
> >>>> why bother making tools at all? why not just pretend that you do?
> >>>
> >>> Not all follow the majority.
> >>
> >> but my point was that the line between imaginary magic and real
> >> magic is a function of actually doing it. pretending through
> >> visualization and such is only an abstraction, and not the same
> >> calibre at all!
> >
> > Are you suggesting that visualization is ineffective, or that
> > visualization *alone* is ineffective? I've read the above a
> > couple times, and it reads well both ways.
> I'm questioning whether a purely imaginary magical work (spell,
> ritual, etc.) would be effective in causing physical change. is
> there some kind of magical link, some kind of symbolism involved?
> or are neither of these important? [M] mentioned using only the
> body and I thought that was an interesting consideration. certainly
> Crowley writes about 'magically blowing his nose' in illustration
> of the Magical Link in "Magick in Theory and Practice", and with
> a very wide application of what magic includes (e.g. any intentional
> act, etc.), this quickly becomes of a different character than
> attempting to send your neighbors scurrying to another county.

Most of my work for some time has been related to unverifiable phenomena
such as understanding. 
My recollection is that when a physical effect was obtained, it happened
in such a manner that it could have been coincidence. Even after a
number of such coincidences, there is always a doubt remaining.

> if one's tools are one's body, then will the magical link locate
> in the air surrounding one's body, or do you think it projects
> through a medium, telenergetically? thought? ectoplasm?
> communication to the Mind of God? assuming the role as dimension-
> controller for the duration of the spell? psychi(ci)sm?

Is the mind in the body, or the body in the mind?
I know the answer is both and neither, but that won't answer the

> > I personally find the concept of smelting one's own iron to
> > be rather excessive.
> if I knew someone doing that type of work I might do it too, but
> I tend to learn more directly with/from people who are already
> around me more easily than establishing novel disciplines in the
> midst of my life. I'm quite comfortable doing weird or routine
> things of that sort, but I prefer precision and wasteless elegance.
> this seems in tune with your feelings about excess.

> > I use an 18th century ritual sword, a WW2 commando dagger, and a
> > manufactured cup.
> lovely. that sounds quite martial in tone. particular dedication?

The Sword I found under a house in London. 
The hilt is wood, painted red, and wrapped in a blue cloth.
I started to use it mainly because it has a beautiful balance, and is
single edged.
That factor seemed to express my approach far better than a double-edged

The dagger is a straight, tapered blade, two-edged, with a black handle.
It banishes rather well, and the handle is both heavy and comfortable.
> > I make my own wands, pantacles and other accoutrements as I need
> > them. It seems that in those cases the effort of crafting adds
> > something extra.
> I feel that way about magical weapons and tools, yes. I wonder
> about the role of emotional attachment in magic, whether there
> is soundness in warnings about attachment of any type (e.g.
> 'lust for result'), or if these are fool's dogmas because if
> one believes strongly enough that it will happen, the result
> will be the same regardless of one's lust for it.

IMHE "lust for result" screws things up simply because you are thinking
of results rather than acting toward them. 
This is true in music, painting and cooking as well: try making a
Hollandaise while reading a recipe book.

> >> using the finest raw materials for this transformation is a
> >> different and more intense (investing!) experience than
> >> choosing any roughly oblong item and calling it a wand.
> does one lend better or more reliable results than another?
> if so, under what conditions? in whose usage?

I can only speak to my own experience.
Much of my work is outside, and wands must be fairly compact.
I will put together a list of the woods I have used, and the ones I
found most useful, as well as the rationale that led me to them (if

> thanks for info on zebra wood being toxic, kin.

My pleasure.

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