Do I Need a Wand to do Magick?

by Mike Sententia on May 31, 2012

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viek asks:

do i need any type of magical wand or any ring to do magic? and if no than what i need to do it?

The first answer is easy: No, you don’t need any props to do direct magick*. That’s one of the identifying characteristics, actually: No props, no rituals, just your mind affecting external reality.

*This blog is about direct magick, so that’s what I’ll focus on here.

I had to think about the second question, though. I could say, “Awakened mental muscles and a connection to good ethereal software,” but that’s roughly zero help to beginners. So, in plain English, what does direct magick require?

If you mean, “What should I buy to get started with direct magick?” then the answer is, “nothing.” Everything you need is free in this series, and will remain free with the PDF version of the book I have coming out.

That simplicity comes at a price, though. It means you have to start on the internal work of magick right away. You don’t even get to dress like a cool wizard first.

What’s that internal work? Awakening the parts of your mind that drive magick (your “mental muscles”), learning to consciously engage them (“mental posture”), connecting to the forces that mages channel (“ethereal software”), and learning to command them yourself (with your mental muscles).

Posts to walk you through finding and using ethereal software coming soon. Also, if you’re new here, check out this series to see all the steps to learning direct magick.

In the end, every style of magick does internal work. Even if you focus on external actions like rituals and props, the internal changes will still happen, simply by working with energy and calling on ethereal software and spirits. If you find the props fun, use them. But the internal work is the same, with or without a wand.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ananael Qaa May 31, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Of course you don’t need tools to work magick. Properly consecrated and empowered tools, though, will improve your results. The tools that magicians use aren’t just psychological props. When correctly made they have their own magical fields that combine with your own. The idea that using a tool is merely psychological trickery is common in modern magick, but I would argue that’s only the case if the tool is not empowered.

If you look at the old grimoires, you can clearly see that just picking up a wand or dagger that looks cool at a Renaissance Festival and waving it around when you cast spells doesn’t cut it. There are whole series of rituals that you perform in order to render your tools capable of performing magical operations. They differ depending upon the grimoire, but they are almost always spelled out as part of the conjuring procedure.

As a matter of fact, empowering ritual tools is probably the closest thing to how you describe “creating ethereal software” that I’ve experienced. Still, even the tools develop a sort of rudimentary awareness that is rather different from what you get with a computer program.

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Mike Sententia May 31, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Interesting. I always enjoy your comments because I learn about the traditional (and older?) ways of doing magick.

Sometime last year, I attended a private ritual, and connected to my friend’s tools. (With permission.) Something was connected to them, but it wasn’t the normal, temporary connection like I made to look at them. Instead, it was a lot of very small connections, going closer to the physical object than I normally do, even when I’m binding ethereal software to a pendant or other object. I’d meant to explore it more at their next ritual, but wound up traveling then moving to San Francisco, and never got a chance. So, I don’t have a full model of “consecrated ritual tools,” but I can confirm there’s something interesting there.

In the end, though, my friends only used the ritual to send instructions to some ethereal software, something I do all the time. I guess that’s why I’m not that excited about them: The tools themselves are neat, and the way the magickal form connects to the tool is neat, but in the end, it didn’t seem to do that much that I couldn’t do other ways. But maybe that’s the point: The consecrated tools make it easier to do those things, so you can either do more other stuff, or do the same magick earlier in your career, or get less tired, or something along those lines. Ananael, can you elaborate on the traditional reason to use consecrated tools? That would be a good starting point for exploring it.

Also, any idea on where the idea that tools are just psychological props came from? Because that’s the main way I’ve heard it, and I’m sure you could see that view reflected in this post, even though, when I think about my friend’s consecrated tools, it’s clear they’re not just props. (I do feel a bit guilty for not updating that part of my model after that ritual. Which is part of why I’m so curious about this.)

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Ananael Qaa May 31, 2012 at 2:23 PM

A properly made tool behaves like a talisman for the principle that it represents, a battery of “energy” if you want to think about it from an energy work perspective. So, for example, a properly made fire wand would increase the probability shift that you could produce when working with anything related to the classical fire element. To get that to work you have to have some idea of how to work with Qi and infuse it into objects, though, and I do think that your direct magick model is a viable method for learning energy work. So, in effect, someone working with your system would want to learn the direct magick techniques to enable them to build the tool correctly.

Depending on how you read Crowley, you can interpret his writings to suggest that the tools are essentially mnemonic devices (though I would contend that consecrated tools are different from, for example, the number of lamps you position around your circle). However, the biggest proponents of the “psychological tool” idea are probably found among the ranks of chaos magicians because it fits nicely with their “belief powers everything” model of magick. However, it is also true that many of the most prominent chaos magicians such as Peter Carroll freely make use of various tools in their workings and the concept is by no means universal among chaos practitioners.

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Mike Sententia May 31, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Thanks. That makes sense with chaos magick popularizing the psychological tool model.

On the energy battery: The idea makes sense, but it doesn’t add up for me. First, I haven’t seen magick fail because of “not enough energy,” and in general, getting the right signature of energy is probably more important than getting more of it. (You had a post on the frequency of vibration vs quantity of energy, back when everyone was discussing the information model of magick, so I think you agree with me here.)

But, now I’m thinking of an advanced healing technique, where you create a form (“form” = solid magick stuff) in the person, configured so it only produces a particular signature of energy. Then you connect power to that form, and it provides the right energy for the healing. Similar to how quartz will absorb any energy, then emit the energy in a quartz-signature. I saw the ritual tools before I knew this technique, but this signature-producing form is more or less in line with what I saw (as are several other hypotheses).

In that hypothesis, the consecrated tool isn’t so much a battery as a resonator, making it easy to produce energy with the right signature. When you put energy in, it will feel like more energy comes out (like with quartz) because the new signature is more noticeable, so I could see how people might wind up describing it as a battery. This is all just speculation, though. Does any of it match your experience of consecrated tools?

And any tips on getting my hands on a consecrated ritual tool? Do they sell them in shops? I could go to some rituals, but since I just moved and don’t do rituals myself, I’m not really wired into the ritual community here.

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Kol Drake May 31, 2012 at 3:25 PM

I will admit that after 30 odd years of trying to NOT do ritualized practices, I seem to be ‘directed’ into looking in those practices for some reason. Not sure how that dovetails with ‘direct magic’ however…

Ritual tools. It has always been my thought that there is nothing inherent within any tool that makes it magical. What makes anything magical is the intention of the magician, and specifically how one uses a given tool to convey that intention to the world around them. Basically a ritual tool is the physical expression of a concept the magician is expressing as part of the magical work they are doing. Very much trying to make a concept ‘more specific and concrete’ so as to better express ‘the meaning’ to that ‘ephemeral software’ waiting for instructions.

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Mike Sententia May 31, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Ananael is talking about consecrated ritual tools. You take a wand or dagger (which is, indeed, nothing special), do some magick to get things to connect to it, and now that physical object also has magick stuff tied to it. I would expect that you could do this with a lump of coal or a penny just as easily as a wand or a dagger, though that’s pure speculation at this point. But the point is, we’re not saying that the physical object is inherently magickal; we’re saying that you do some magick to the physical object, and then next time you pick it up, it still has that magick thing attached to it.

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Ona May 31, 2012 at 6:38 PM

The consecrated tool thing is interesting. There are some layers I suggest might be worth considering. Compare for example:
a) random guy takes a rock, makes up a consecration ritual in his own style, and does a ritual to consecrate the rock to a spirit he likes to work with, then uses the rock as a sort of portal/point of contact for easily connecting with the spirit
b) same guy does same thing, except he reads a consecration ritual used by many magicians for centuries to consecrate the rock to the spirit, then works with it
c) an initiated priest in a centuries old religion consecrates the rock using a centuries old ritual, then hands the now-sacred rock to guy from a), who takes it home and works with it…

It’s been my experience that the power of the rock in c) is going to be far greater than in a) or b), because the ritual contains the power not only of the present performance of it, but all the repetitions of it over centuries.

Not using your vocabulary here, but I think you can do your own translation.

Now, can random guy a) talk to the spirit without any rock at all? If he has some spirit-talking ability, sure, probably. Will the communication be as intense and direct as if he uses the special rock? Probably not, unless he is a very experienced and connected medium and the spirit feels like bothering. What c) does is make guy a)’s lack of training less relevant, and guarantees the spirit’s attention and presence.

And, most of all, if he happens to value the artistry, respect, culture and connection to the past that comes with doing things in a traditional religious practice, it will likely impact *how* he relates to the spirit on an inter-personal level.

Having been involved in ritual-heavy traditional religious practices, I can say it’s not very common for me to consider a spirit to be a casual acquaintance or errand-boy. The ones I have had long term working relationships with are on par with family, at the very least; more often there is devotion, respect, deep love and other such things involved, too.

Maybe that adds to the conversation, which is an interesting one…

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Mike Sententia May 31, 2012 at 7:46 PM

You add an interesting aspect: Obtaining or making a consecrated tool shows that you are willing to put effort in, which will probably make the spirit more receptive to you. Similar to the sacrifice of something that has no intrinsic value to a spirit, like food.

I’ve seen a similar thing in my own work, where spirits respond better as I improve my communication. The spirits were perfectly capable of communicating with me before I improved, but learning to communicate better showed that I care about talking with them, and so they were more open with me.

Thanks for chiming in, always good to have your perspective.

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Ananael Qaa June 1, 2012 at 6:40 AM

The “battery” example is more analogy than literal. The tool doesn’t actually store any sort of physical or measurable energy. Maybe in your model you would call it a fractal signature or somesuch. It’s a field of consciousness-stuff with a specific pattern that the consecration ritual links into the tool. As I also mentioned, the tool pretty much works exactly like a talisman once you do this – so however you model talismans, that’s how you should think about consecrated tools.

Most magicians who can make decent consecrated tools never sell them. The expectation in the tradition is that you’re kind of supposed to do it yourself, and this has the advantage of the magick in the tool being in harmony with your own field of consciousness. I suppose, though, if you did obtain a consecrated tool from someplace you could use some of your sensory connection methods to set up a link to it so it would work for you.

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Yoseqlo June 1, 2012 at 7:20 AM

I think that the consecrated tools’ usefulness is like Ona said, to have an contact, or do a magick thing easily for a non- initiated… Sound like that’s the point, cause why take that tools if you can handle all of it? That’s why the amulets and talismans are so easily to sell.

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Ona June 1, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Also, consecrated tools and rituals can be valuable for their own sake. Just like you can survive eating gruel and vitamin pills, but it’s so much more fun and beautiful and connecting to have friends over for a barbeque, or go out to a nice meal with wine and dessert etc. It’s tradition, custom, social life, human being-ness, a celebration of the complexity and beauty of life. ;)

Everything doesn’t need to be about efficiency, affordability, practicality, etc.

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