tools In Magic, certain objects used in Rituals and the casting of Spells. Tools represent the divine forces of the masculine and the feminine and also the magical principles of the Elements. They are receptacles for higher forces and help the magician to connect to those higher forces as well. According to ISRAEL REGARDIE in The Tree of Life: A Study in Magic, a magician’s tools—as well as Symbols—are “the means . . . by which the Magician is able to understand himself, and commune with the invisible but no less real parts of Nature.” Western magical tradition holds that magicians should make their own magical tools in rituals performed under certain astrological auspices and/or phases of the Moon. The making of the tools imbues the magician’s own energy into them. A great deal of time, energy, intent, WILL, and IMAGINATION goes into the tool-making. The tools need not be perfect works of art—the essence imbued into them is more important than the perfect form. If a tool cannot be made—such as a steel dagger—it is acceptable to use one that has been purchased for magical purpose and never used for anything else. Tools are inscribed with the magician’s magical name and perhaps names of God or Angels, RUNES, or other magical Symbols meaningful to the practitioner. Tools are consecrated in ceremony prior to their first use to charge them with magical power. When not in use, they are stored in the altar cupboard (see below) wrapped in colored silk. The Grimoires give elaborate and precise instructions for the making of tools. Specific tools vary according to traditions. In ceremonial magic, there are four tools—also called “elemental weapons”—considered basic to magical work. Each tool tools 315 corresponds to an element. There is no tool for the fifth element of spirit or askasa, which is invisible. Each tool also corresponds to characteristics of different gods or attributes of the sephirot of the Tree of Life; by using the tools, the magician takes on those authority and powers. (See CORRESPONDENCES.) Dagger.


Air. The dagger is made of iron or steel. It is associated with Mars and the color red. It is a weapon of Tipareth on the Tree of Life and symbolizes sacrifice, death, and resurrection. The dagger should never be used to cut any living thing. Cup or chalice.


Water. The cup corresponds to Netzach on the Tree of Life. It is a passive tool, representing the divine feminine forces, intuition, understanding, and receptivity. It is open to receive CELESTIAL DEW. The cup is made of SILVER, glass wood, or pewter and has a flared lip; it holds consecrated water or wine. In ceremonial magic, the cup is seldom used, except in the highest Invocations. It is not used in Evocations. Wand.


Fire. The wand is the WILL and the wisdom and spiritual presence of the creative self. The traditional wand is an 18-inch straight length of ash or hazel with the bark removed. Some wands are made of silver or crystal. Eliphas Levi prescribed specifics for wands in Transcendental Magic: [The wand] must be one perfectly straight branch of almond or hazel, cut at a single blow with the magical pruning-knife or golden sickle, before the rising sun, at that moment when the tree is ready to blossom. It must be pierced through its whole length without splitting or breaking it, and a long needle of magnetized iron must occupy its entire length. To one of the extremities must be fitted a polyhedral prism, cut in a triangular shape, and to the other a similar figure of black resin. Two rings, one of copper and one of zinc, must be placed at the center of the wand; which afterwards must be gilt at the resin and silvered at the prism end as far as the ringed center; it must then be covered with silk, the extremities not included. Levi further specified the engraving of Hebrew words on the copper and zinc rings, followed by a CONSECRATION that would last seven days beginning at the new moon. The wand is used for invocation and evocation and also to organize the forces of nature in spell-casting. The wand symbolizes manifestation; it unites the realm of spirit with the material world. It corresponds to Hod on the Tree of Life, the sephirah of Mercury and magic. Pentacle.


Earth. The pentacle is a medal or disk made of zinc, stone, wood, or wax. Like the cup, it is a passive tool of receptivity. It represents the body as a temple of the divine spirit. The border of the pentacle is inscribed, such as with the magician’s magical name on one side and the archangelic and Godname of Earth on the other side. Inside the border on the side with the archangelic and God name is a HEXAGRAM or SEAL OF Solomon; on the other side is a Pentagram. The pentacle thus symbolizes the union of humanity (pentagram) and the heavens (hexagram). The magician chooses which side to use depending on the nature and purpose of a ritual. Other important magical tools are: Altar. An altar anchors a sacred space. A traditional magical altar is a double cube—two cubes stacked one atop the other—and painted black or covered with a black cloth. In the kabbalistic tradition, the numerical value of the sides of the cubes add up to 10, which is the number of the Earth and also the t et ragrammat on. Small tables also are used. Representations of the four elements as well as other magical tools are placed on the altar. The altar also functions as a cupboard for storage of other magical tools. Bell. A bell clears and purifies the air, and sends away evil spirits. An 18th-century text, De Mirabilis Naturae 316 tools Magic tools, from left clockwise: wand, candles, invoking crystal inscribed with angel names, tripod for perfumes, lamen of the archangel Michael. In center is a magic circle. In The Magus, by Francis Barrett, 1801. (Author’s collection) (1730), gives instructions for making a bell that will enable communication with the dead. A bell made of an alloy of lead, tin, IRON, copper, MERCURY, silver, copper, and GOLD should be inscribed with the magical names of Adonai, Jesus, and the tetragrammaton. The bell is to be placed in the middle of a ditch in a cemetery for seven days, after which communication with be possible. (See NECROMANCY.) Knife. Some knives are used for cutting, preparing magical recipes, and fashioning magical objects. Sword. A sword represents fire and Geburah, the sephirah of Mars. The sword represents the divine masculine forces analysis and separation, especially of good and evil. In some traditions a sword is used in place of a dagger. It is used in banishings. A sword is never used for cutting. It is considered to be more authoritative than a knife. Brazier or Censer. A small dish or bowl, usually made of brass or earthenware, is used for the burning of incense, herbs, and PERFUMES for the purification of air and evocation of spirits. Tripod. A tripod brings the brazier or censer up to chest level for the offerings of perfumes that are not done on the altar. Bowl. In some Divination rituals, a bowl is filled with ink or a mixture of water and olive oil. The shiny surface is used for Scrying. Talisman. A disk of metal, wax, clay, and stone that is inscribed with Sigils, SEALS, a PENTACLE, or other magical symbols is often used in magical workings. Lamen. A plate made of metal, wood, or cardboard that is inscribed with magical symbols or words, and is worn on a cord around the neck during rituals. A lamen is symbol of occult authority. Bell. A bell—or a small gong—is used to mark the beginning and end of a ritual. Candles. White CANDLES represent purity. Coloured candles are used for different ritual purposes. The Key of Solomon specifies that the magician should make his own candles molded with virgin earth that he digs up himself or with wax taken from bees who have never before made wax. Lamp. A lamp must always hang over the magician’s head during workings and is never stored inside the altar cupboard. According to Regardie, it symbolizes “the undimmed radiance of the Higher Self, the Holy Guardian Angel to whose Knowledge and Conversation he [the magician] so ardently aspires.” Stylus. A sharp instrument for inscribing hard-surfaced objects with magical symbols and names. Clothing. Traditional robes are the white or black “Tau” robe, so named because of the long and wide sleeves that create a tau-cross effect when the arms are outstretched. Robes are inscribed with magical symbols and names. A robe denotes a magician’s inner concealed glory and also the shift from daily life to magical/spiritual work. Whatever the special ritual clothing, it should never be used for any other purpose. In Freemasonry, masonic tools have symbolic significance. The compass represents virtue and the measure of a Mason’s life and conduct. It is a symbol of the Sun and also represents light and illumination of one’s duty. The square represents morality, propriety, and good conduct. The working tools of the Royal Arch Mason are the crow (for raising heavy stones), the pickaxe, and the shovel, which symbolize the removal of the rubble of corrupting influences, passions, and prejudices. See also CONSECRATION.


Bardon, Franz. The Practice of Magical Evocation. Salt Lake City: Merkur Publishing, 2001. Cicero, Chic, and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. The Essential Golden Dawn. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 2004. Flowers, Stephen Eldred, ed. Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1995. King, Francis, and Stephen Skinner. Techniques of High Magic: A Manual of Self-Initiation. Rochester, Vt.: Destiny Books, 1976. Kraig, Donald Michael. Modern Magick: Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts. 2d ed. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 2004. Mackey, Albert G. Lexicon of Freemasonry. Philadelphia: McClure Publishing, 1908. Regardie, Israel. Ceremonial Magic: A Guide to the Mechanisms of Ritual. London: Aeon Books, 2004. ———. The Tree of Life: A Study in Magic. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1969.

The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley Copyright © 2006 by Visionary Living, Inc.