Before many people even begin experimenting with magickal ritual, they’ll often start gathering the ritual tools and implements that they think they might need once they DO begin. There’s a feeling that if they get into the ritual and find that they have the wrong implements – or are missing an implement altoghether – that the ritual will fail, or will even turn against them!
The common recommendations for ritual tools usually represent each of the elements:
> A.The ATHAME is a black-handled ritual dagger, used to direct the magickal force of the Operator, and to constrain violent or aggressive spirits.
Some sources insist that the blade run 6 inches, others say that it should be the length of the magician’s hand from wrist to the longest fingertip, and others – myself included – have concluded that these details aren’t of primary importance. Traditionally, the Athame represents the element of fire, although some Hermetic schools connect the Athame with the element of Air.
> B.The WAND is a rod or branch used for directing the will of the magician, as an extension of the Operator’s natural power.
The wand is used in situations when the use of an aggressive tool like the Athame isn’t called for. Again, there is quite a bit of variation on the length of the wand, although one of the most common suggestion is that the wand should match the length of the Magician’s arm from elbow to the longest fingertip. The Wand is traditionally associated with the element of air, but sometimes is swapped with the Athame and is said to represent the element of fire.
> C.The CHALICE is a goblet, usually made of metal, stone, or wood, that symbolizes not only the magickal element of water, but also the womb of nature itself.
The Chalice is used for Ritual oblations and sacramental liquids.
> D.The PENTACLE is a disk engraved with a sigil or seal, most often a pentagram or hexagram.
The Pentacle is placed on the altar, and the fetish items, symbols, or other ritual items can be placed on top of the Pentacle, which will magnify the power of the ritual and the charging of these items. The Pentacle is obviously associated with the element of earth.
On top of these basics, it is sometimes recommended that you obtain a ritual staff, a blasting rod, ritual robes, Solomonic rings of protection, elemental tablets to hang on the walls, and quartz crystals to place in the corners of the Temple.
I have to tell you something: All of this has always seemed a bit forced to me.
From the beginning of my journey into the world of magick and spirituality, I knew that another world overlapped this one, and that there exist methods by which I could reach into that world and interact with it.
I also knew that these methods are largely internal, and that the rituals themselves are symbolic, and serve only to incite the necessary personal shifts in the Operator.
Since magick itself is an intimate interaction between these two worlds, there should be as little mental inference as possible. The mind should be allowed to remain steadily on the Crossroads, and having to swap this tool for that one, or to interact with a variety of objects can tend to bring the mind back to the physical world and its demands.
For some ritual magicians, these tools help focus them on the magickal task, or serve as gateways, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
However, it’s also possible to perform even the most complex magickal feats with absolutely NO TOOLS at all – and USE ONLY YOUR MIND.
Your Mind Is The ULTIMATE Tool For Directing Astral Energy To Cause Physical Change… Not Knives, Cups, And Other Objects
And it’s also the *ONLY* tool you NEED. (Remember, tribesmen/mystics/shamans all performed magick before many of the popular occult ritual tools even came into practice! What does that tell you?)
My “Mastering Divination” course demonstrates this idea quite well, in that I literally walk you through the process of utilizing several divination tools, and gradually move towards the ability to tap into a limitless well of knowledge, without having to look at cards or interpret tea leaves, but simply receive All Knowledge!
Finding your own “middle ground” is important when deciding what ritual implements you want to use. What almost always happens is that magicians will begin with quite a few ritual tools and devices, and as time and experience proceeds, that they gradually use less and less of these physical implements.
I can’t say that I ever notice the opposite.
When I do perform ritual, I rely on physical items as little as possible. A simple circle, incense and censor, and sometimes a ritual dagger.
I find that this better allows me to do the REAL work in the space between the world, at the Crossroads.
I’ll talk to you again soon!
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