Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

THE ROBE, THE WEAPONS, THE ALTAR, THE DIARY, AND THE HOLY OIL. "All ceremonies are, in themselves, very silly things; but yet a man of the world should know them. They are the outworks of manners and decency, which would be too often broken in upon, if it were not for that defense, which keeps the enemy at a proper distance. It is for this reason that I always treat fools and coxcombs with great ceremony: true good breeding not being a sufficient barrier against them". Chesterfield *** Much nonsense has been written about how and where to acquire the materials for magical implements. One could become very discouraged if they were to follow the instructions of some of the medieval literature. The rationality behind making this task so difficult is based on the premise that the more work one puts into these tools, the more detail the subconscious mind will absorb about the object. These objects are animated by virtue of focus and contemplation to a level that they become an extension of the Magician; a living thing. To match the level of this integration those who purchase their implements will have to spend several months, maybe even years, meditating on their tools. This process need not be a tedious one, it is enough that one refrain from purchasing a ready made tool. Don't worry if you do not feel capable of undertaking this seemingly tedious task, given enough time Magick will stimulate and free the creative child within. Remember that these implements are physical representations of your Spiritual life. One should treat them with respect. Once they have been consecrated to The Great Work, they should not be handled by any other person. They are not toys, treat them with reverence and they will be of great service. If you feel inclined to show these off to your friends, read the chapter on "SILENCE". The elemental weapons embody four parts of the psyche depicted by the four elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, or if you prefer, Yod-Heh-Vav-He: Tetragrammaton. They also allude to the four planes of existence: Atziluth (the archetypal plane), Briah (the creative plane), Yetzirah (the formative plane), Assiah (the material plane). *** THE WAND The wand is the material depiction of the creative principles of the Magician. In short, it is a symbol, or token of his or her Will; thus, to illustrate the certitude and unshakable determination it should be straight as an arrow. It governs the element of Fire, and expresses the abstract process inherent in the plane of Atziluth. There are as many styles and variations for the wand, especially in Golden Dawn groups where every officer has a wand or scepter to illustrate a specific idea or principle; but we will only concern ourselves with the personal weapons of the solo Magician. Since in many ways the wand can be compared to the Phallus, many Magicians go to great lengths to make their wand in the same proportions as the physical organ it represents. The Wand is Yod, The Father; or Chokmah (Knowledge). Since copper is the metal attributed to Venus, or Netzach (Victory) on the Tree of Life, most fashion the wand from this alloy in order to allude to the prolific aspects of The Work; "Love is the law, love under will". For the implement to be useful it must be comfortable, it should not demand attention which would otherwise be focused on the ritual. For a wooden Wand, I have found eight inches to be a comfortable length, with a width between 3/4 and 1 inch. For a solid copper Wand a diameter of 1/2 inch is sufficient. After it is consecrated keep it in a red silk bag. *** THE CUP The Cup is the physical object which portrays the element of Water. As the Wand represented the Magician's Will, the Cup is a personification of his Understanding. It illustrates the methodology of the plane of Briah. The cup is a symbol representing a female idea; hence it is associated to the Yoni. It is Heh, The Mother. Since it represents Understanding, or Binah on the Tree of Life, it is only appropriate that the diameter be three inches; Silver is the rightful alloy for this instrument, which signals to the Moon, or Yesod (Foundation) on the Tree of Life. It should be deep enough to hold wine without easily spilling it when one moves about. The message behind the Cup being illustrated by Yesod and Binah is that the Understanding of the Magician is as deep as the waters we call our subconscious; it is a deeper significance than day to day understanding. After it is consecrated store it in a blue silk bag. *** THE DAGGER The Dagger is an animation of the element of Air. It is symbolized on the Tree of Life by Tiphareth (Beauty), the planet is the Sun. The Dagger is Vav; the Son. It explains the process of Yetzirah (the formative plane), and is symbolic of the Intellectual capacity of the Magician: his reason. Most practitioners of the Art treat the Dagger as a Martian implement which dictates judicial authority over Demons. This is a job best fulfilled by the Sword, a more advanced implement, and will not be discussed in this treatise. The Dagger is uniquely Air; unlike the Sword it threatens malignant Spirits with intelligence instead of force. The blade should be double-edge, with the length of about eight inches in order to embody the intellectual properties of the Mercurial Sephiroth; Hod, Science. Since humans have a tendency of only accepting principles which endorse what they believe to be "reason", it then becomes necessary to balance the illusion of intellectual superiority by making the hilt from the Venusian alloy copper; who's correspondences are best embodied by the Sephiroth Netzach, Art. It is a gentle reminder that Magick is both the Science AND Art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will. After it is dedicated to the Work keep it in a yellow silk bag. *** THE PENTACLE The Pentacle corresponds to the final Heh. It is symbolic of Earth; and it represents the body of the Magician; the house of God. It is the Magician's sustenance. It exhibits the traits of the plane of Assiah. It is the Daughter. The Pentacle should be made of beeswax at a diameter of 8 inches and a thickness of 1/2 inch. Upon the surface the Magician should carve an image that describes the WHOLE of the Universe. Nothing should be left out. The whole idea here is to reduce all of those things which the Magician perceives as the Universe to a minuscule dot. The design need not be as elaborate as Dr. John Dee's, symbols which allude to similar ideas can be combined in order to reduce the amount of detail: But it is important that it be complete. When you are there, you will know. This, of course, may take much meditation, so one should take their time with this implement to avoid having to do this twice. The pentacle will reflect the Magician's subconscious perception of the Universe. Once it has been blessed safeguard it in green silk. *** THE ROBE The robe is the armor of the Magician. It should be loose fitting and comfortable. The material of which it is composed should be light, soft, and capable of breathing. Cotton is a good material, so is a poly\cotton blend. However, wool is the best due to its ability to direct astral energy. The color is really a matter of personal choice. One should try to match the color as closely as possible to the Sephiroth they are working with, this would however, require that the Magician keep 10 different robes; one for each Sephiroth. For this reason most Magicians use black robes. Black is the accumulation of all colors, therefore appropriate for any working; and is so neutral that it is not likely to distract you in the middle of your Work. Furthermore, black is color absorbing, it attracts light by behaving like a solar panel and should be used for any ritual designed to fortify the Aura; such as the Pentagram Ritual, Middle pillar, etc. White, on the other hand is the absence of all color, it repels light, which makes a great shield, and should be used when working with hostile forces. I have one of each. Whether or not to have a hood is also a personal preference. I favor a hooded robe because it allows one to feel completely shielded, but some would argue that a hood is distracting because it shifts about on your head. Whether you make yours hooded or not, or whatever color you decide is best for you, remember that it should be loose and comfortable; you should never wear any underclothes while wearing your robe. Wide sleeves look great, but you are in danger of catching fire should you lean over your Altar candles. A zipper may be practical, but you will feel it rub against your skin. The less distractions, the better the robe. *** THE ALTAR The Altar is composed of a double cube. The bottom cube represents the underlying force of The Great Work; Love. The top cube is the Will of the Magician. "Love is the law, love under will", or "As above, so below", and further: "Kether is in Malkuth, and Malkuth in Kether, after another manner". There need not be a division between both cubes. In fact if it is made as a single, unseparated rectangular unit it can become the place where one keeps their implements. The height should be 36 inches, with a width and depth of 18 inches. It should be black on the outside to illustrate the ACCUMULATION of all colors, and white on the inside to depict the ABSENCE of all color. Plywood or particle board are perfect. The thickness of the wood should be taken into consideration; a heavy altar will need hidden wheels under it to make it easier to move around. A lighter altar will not support much weight. Once it is finished it can be painted. I have seen one that was covered in veneer; black on the outside and white on the inside. This move proved to be worth the extra effort, as the surface is virtually stain proof, tolerant from the heat generated by the incense burner, and wax from candles peel right off. One side of the Altar should be a door with hidden hinges and a lock. The inside should have a shelf for the Book of The Law, incense, charcoal, burner, pentacle, cup, candles, and holders. There should be a place to hang the wand and dagger. *** THE HOLY OIL The anointing oil of the Magician should metaphorically represent the desire of the Holy Guardian Angel to join with its lower counterpart: the Magician. All of his or her being, Temple, and weapons should be consecrated and anointed with this oil. With this in mind, one should take care to only use the highest quality oils available. During the Aeon of the Sacrificial Gods, the oil used to accent on the current of the times was "Jerusalem Oil". This was simply composed of equal portions of Frankincense and Myrrh; both traditionally used in burial ceremonies. The fragrance mentioned above is dated, and the New Aeon Magician should resort to an essence which best depicts the joy and strength of the Age of The Child. The following is a formula for such an oil. It is named after its creator, the 17th century Magician: Abramelin. In a glass vessel mix: 4 parts cinnamon oil, 2 parts Myrrh oil, 1 part Galangal oil, and 7 parts olive oil. If fine oils are used in the proper proportions the mixture should have a clear, golden appearance to it. It should tingle slightly. If it stings, it can be diluted with olive oil, but one should only resort to this if it causes serious discomfort. Now, for a word of warning: CINNAMON OIL IS VERY CAUSTIC. If you keep the oil in a plastic bottle it may melt and ruin your altar or some other thing you have devoted a great deal of time to. Use only glass receptacles. *** THE DIARY The Magical Diary should only contain data pertinent to Magick, that is; everything. Every entry should start with the date, time, year, Solar and Lunar positioning. All of your feelings, what you ate that day, the weather, etc. A lot of these things may not sound important now, but believe me; if you are trying to duplicate an experiment it will be necessary to recreate all of the elements which may have played a roll in the original operation. For this reason, care should be taken to chose words which convey your message as clearly as possible. Writing in code may add to the romance and mystery associated with Magick, but if your diary does not convey enough information to reproduce experiments, then all is lost. Since the days of the week are representations of the seven ancient planets, it is handy to write the planetary symbol associated with the day of the week instead. For example: Monday.................................Luna Tuesday................................Mars Wednesday...........................Mercury Thursday............................Jupiter Friday................................Venus Saturday.............................Saturn Sunday..................................Sol The following is an example of a thoroughly composed diary entry: January 1st, 1992, Sun in Cap. , Moon in Sag. 11:00 PM 6:00 AM. Awoke feeling refreshed. Performed Lesser Banishing Ritual of The Pentagram, followed with Liber Resh. Breakfast: Grapefruit, bowl of cereal, and a cup of strong coffee. Went to work. 12:00 PM. Lunch: Veggie dish and a coke. Snuck into bathroom to do Liber Resh. Had argument with boss; say's there is not enough money in the budget for a raise. First I felt bad that he thought my work was not worth the extra pay; now I am angered because I KNOW it is worth it. 11:00 PM. Dinner: Soup, salad, turkey sandwhich, and coke. Did Resh at 6:15. Re-read Crolwey's "Magick in Theory and Practice". Watched a little TV. News story about the Reagan administration's involvement in the Iran/Contra scandal was upsetting. Reagan should go to jail. Performed final Liber Resh, and Lesser Banishing Ritual of The Pentagram.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank