An Essay on
© 2008 by Academic Services International, Los Lunas, NM, USA
The Instruments - Continued
Getting to the Point
The Sword is usually a Dagger made of steel, with a handle of wood. Ideally, the blade is nine or eleven inches in length. This is beyond the usual "six-inch" maximum length allowed in most States when defining a "concealed weapon." Magicians are therefore advised not to carry full-length magical daggers (or big-ego swords) in a concealed manner, lest they come into conflict with the Establishment.
The Dagger is always straight and two-edged, showing that it is balanced, right to the point, and can "cut both ways." Curved blades are to be avoided as they denote an indirect energy, and those fancy, wiggley, serpentine blades are an abomination for the same reason.
The Sword is the elemental instrument of Air. It is worn on the side of the waist or hip of the magician, or it can be conveniently placed anywhere on the Altar. It represents the mental tools that the magician uses to control his or her work. The blade is inscribed with a word of power, uniquely chosen by the magician to represent the formula he or she will use in performing the Great Work. Any additional designs or artwork are superfluous and serve only to confound the simplicity of the word. The word should correspond to, and integrate with, the design on the Disk. We will examine this corresponding and integration concept further on in this Essay.
In ceremonial usage, the Dagger is always aimed horizontally outward or angled downward. It is never pointed upward at an angle. As the Dagger symbolizes the mental, analytical apparatus, it may be aimed at the world around and beneath the magician, but to apply it (analysis) to superior realms would be a mistake, resulting in asking "why?" and "breaking down" (analyzing) the spiritual input coming from above. The only exception to this principle is when the dagger is pointed straight up, implying that the mind is aligned, clear, and poised to receive energy from higher consciousness.
In the magical world, the magician would ideally find and operate an iron mine, extracting a portion of pure iron. This would then be smelted and forged into a blade of proper dimensions. This Dagger would then be highly polished in a manner similar to that of the Disk, and the word of power would be inscribed thereon. After purifying, charging, and consecrating the Dagger, (however it is made) it should be kept wrapped in yellow silk.
The finest dagger I ever saw was made by Frater Shem who, in the external world, was an engineer, a mechanic, and a dentist. He obtained a large, tempered-steel file, which he ground into shape and polished. A brass hilt and a wooden handle were then attached. It had an overall length of about fourteen inches and was razor sharp.
In the more "realistic" world in which we live, we find that we will probably rely on salesman to help us out. Thus we might accept a commercial steel dagger as a substitute. One can easily find a double-edged, skin-diving knife, or a war-like, military dagger already manufactured and polished at sporting goods stores or in weapons catalogs. Just avoid cheap, plastic handles, fancy designs and inscriptions, curved blades, and gaudy gems glued into the hilt or grip. Plain, simple, strong, efficient - these are the keywords that should guide your purchase. Never use a dagger that has been previously used for any purpose - get a new one!
The word of power is best inscribed with an engraving tool. Again, take care, for a slip of the tool means regrinding and polishing in order to restore a smooth surface. The word might be in Greek, Hebrew, English, or any suitable alphabet.
Now that's a bit less work (than the Disk)! The Sword will probably not be the hardest instrument to build in a proper manner.
In terms of magical anatomy and physiology, the Dagger represents the analytical, intellectual mind of the magician that makes it possible to analyze (divide or break down) complex issues.
The Holy Grail
The Cup is a drinking vessel made of silver. It is also called a chalice, or sometimes (when the new age aspirant is starry-eyed) a grail (or graal). Ideally, the cup is six to nine inches in height.
This describes the modern version - older versions consisted of simple wooden bowls (perhaps a bit too primitive today). There are also suggestions of bowl-shaped vessels carved from a single, large emerald or a chunk of moldavite (a 50,000-year old, extraterrestrial, amazingly energetic, fragmented meteorite found only in Czechoslovakia).
The Cup is at its is best when simple and without excessive ornamentation. It should ideally bear no inscriptions or engraved designs, except as noted below.
The Cup is the elemental instrument of Water. It is conveniently placed anywhere on the Altar. It represents the receptive nature that the magician employs during invocation. The Cup is inscribed with a number, uniquely chosen by the magician to represent the emblem or character that he or she will use in performing the Great Work. Any additional designs or artwork are superfluous and serve only to confound the simplicity of the number. The number should correspond and integrate with the design on the Disk and the word of power on the sword. See integration further on in this Essay.
In the magical world, the magician would, of course, find and operate a silver mine, extracting a portion of pure silver. This would then be melted and cast into a Cup of proper dimensions. This Cup would then be highly polished in a manner similar to that of the Disk, and the number would be inscribed thereon. After purifying, charging, and consecrating the Cup, (however it is made) it should be kept wrapped in blue silk.
In our "realistic" world, we find that we will again rely on salesman to help us out. Thus we may accept a commercially manufactured Cup as a substitute. You can often find a silver Cup, already manufactured and polished, at shopping centers and pawn shops. Avoid cheap, plastic cups, cups designed for trophies, and cups with handles, fancy designs or inscriptions. Gaudy gems glued onto the instrument make it unacceptable. Plain, simple, shiny silver - these are keywords to guide your purchase. A Cup that is merely silver-plated is possibly the best that you can achieve.
The number is best inscribed with an engraving tool. Again, be careful, for a major slip of the tool means wiping out the Cup as regrinding and polishing again are often not possible, especially if the Cup is merely silver-plated.
It is acceptable to obtain a Cup that has been previously owned, but avoid one that has been used for magical purposes. A new one is best.
In terms of magical anatomy and physiology, the Cup represents the receptive higher mind of the magician that receives inspiration, insight and information from above.
The Wand is an instrument of power made from a hollow copper tube. It is also called a staff, a rod, a blasting rod, or (when the aspirant is of a military or a musical nature) a baton. Ideally, the Wand is nine or eleven inches in length.
This describes the modern version - older versions consisted of simple wooden sticks cut from an (perhaps a bit primitive) ideally oak or acacia tree with a magical sword on the day of the Spring Equinox.
The Wand is most functional when it is hollow and without excessive ornamentation. It should bear no inscriptions or engraved designs. A Wand is ideally hollow because it is a conductor of fiery energy.
The finest wand I ever saw was one made by myself. I obtained a piece of copper tubing that was nine inches long and one-half of an inch in diameter. A cap, designed in the shape of triple tongues of fire, was cast from solid gold and fitted over one end of the hollow tube. The tube was then filled with mercury (quicksilver) and a cap for the other end of the tube was cast in gold in the shape of a coiled serpent. The caps were sealed in place with epoxy cement, thus preventing the mercury from seeping out. It was very heavy, rather compact, and packed a real wallop!
The Wand is the elemental instrument of Fire. It is conveniently placed anywhere on the Altar or held in the magician's hand. It can also be retained in a pouch or pocket that is sewn inside one sleeve of the magician's robe. It represents the fiery will that the magician employs during the evocation of spirits. The Wand is endowed with a deed (an act or a ritual, that is, of course, first written down upon papyrus), uniquely designed by the magician so that the Wand is utilized therein. Any additional designs or artwork are superfluous and serve only to confound the simplicity of the conduction of energy. The deed should correspond and integrate with the design on the Disk, the word of power on the Sword, and the number on the Cup. See integration further on in this Essay.
Another version of the Wand is the Tibetan dorje (thunderbolt).
Numerous fairy, elfin, and sorcerer wands are available from internet-based, and storefront-based, occult supply shops. These often have serpentine wires wrapped around a piece of wood, metal, or crystal, with various gemstones and/or synthetic imitation "stones" or crystals set haphazardly about the wand. These are generally gaudy, repulsive creations that should be avoided by all means. Some of the designs are simple, sleek, and approach the ideal.
But a real magician will simply make their own wand. The use of a (single) high quality crystal, set in the end of a Wand, is not prohibited, and may in fact enhance the power.
In the magical world, the magician would find and operate a copper mine, extracting a portion of pure copper. This would then be smelted and cast into a hollow (preferred) or solid Wand of proper dimensions. This Wand would then be highly polished in a manner similar to that of the Disk, and the deed would be designed. After purifying, charging, and consecrating the Wand, the deed (rite) would be performed, and thereafter the Wand should be kept wrapped in red silk.
In our "realistic" world, we find that we will probably rely on building supply center spirits to help us out. Thus we may accept a commercially manufactured copper tube or bar as a substitute. You can find copper pipe, already manufactured and semi-polished, at plumbing supply shops. Obtain a length of the straight, hard copper pipe, and forego the rolled-up, soft copper tubing. Avoid buying pre-manufactured wands from occult shops. Fire symbols and emblems (along the lines described above) may be incorporated into the Wand, as long as they are aligned in a balanced manner. Gaudy gems glued onto the instrument should simply be unacceptable. Plain, simple, direct, powerful - these keywords guide your creation of a suitable Wand.
It is not acceptable to obtain a Wand that has been previously used. Now who knows where that has been?
In terms of magical anatomy and physiology, the Wand represents the reproductive organs of the magician that makes it possible to create new vistas and scenarios.