As a continuation of last weeks blog, The Five Elements of the Pentagram, I wanted to elaborate a bit on the four elemental weapons of the magician. It’s true that at least ceremonially the magician has many more tools than just the four, but I wanted to address today, just the basic elemental tools.
I want to address that all of my references here are pulled directly from the terribly traditional table of correspondences, Liber 777. If you have any questions, please either refer to the table or respond to this post. The four basic tools are the ones that most magicians or practitioners are familiar with, that of the suits of the Tarot. These suits are the Sword, Wand, Cup and Disk. In some books there is a bit of confusion regarding where the tools are placed. I call this confusion because it’s pretty clear traditionally that they correlate directly to Qabalistic references as opposed to lose theory and anecdotal conclusions.
It must be noted here that the Sword differs from the dagger in some degree. Traditionally the Golden Dawn associated the Sword with Geburah which corresponds to fire but the dagger to the 11th path of the Qabalah uniting Geburah with Chesed which corresponds to Air.
Aleister Crowley states,
As the Wand is Chokmah, the Will,”the Father,” and the Cup the Understanding, “the Mother,” Binah;
so the Magick Sword is the Reason, “The Son,” the six Sephiroth of the Ruach, and we shall see that the Pantacle corresponds to Malkuth, “the Daughter.”
The Magick Sword is the analytical faculty; directed against any demon it attacks his complexity.
Only the simple can withstand the sword. As we are below the Abyss, this weapon is then entirely destructive; it divides Satan against Satan. It is only in the lower forms of Magick, the purely human forms, that the Sword has become so important a weapon. A Dagger should be sufficient (Crowley, 1997, 86).
As well as,
The Sword or Dagger is attributed to Air, all-wandering, all-penetrating, but unstable; not a phenomenon subtle like fire, not a chemical combination like water, but a mixture of gases (Crowley, 1997, 87).
In this article, when I speak of the dagger I speak of it’s correlation to Air.
The Dagger is essentially the mind, the thought, the analytical bulldozer that assesses and breaks apart the structure of thought that presents itself. If one faces a demon in circle, for example a part of the magician which houses doubt, the dagger can be used to assess and break apart the powerful entity and reduce it to a mere memory in the past. With all that being said, there is a degree of certainty that must be held in the mind to lift such a tool and utilize it. If such certainty is not manifested or is broken the dagger becomes simply a dull blade and no more a tool to the magician. Therefore use the tool with a high degree of certainty and destroy or enslave that aspect that must be conquered.
The magical Will is in its essence twofold, for it presupposes a beginning and an end; to Will to be a thing is to admit that you are not that thing (Crowley, 1997, 62).
The Wand corresponds directly to the second sepheroth of the Qabalah, Chokmah or Wisdom. This is the correlation to the Will of the magician. In correlation to the trumps of the Tarot it also is associated with the 20th path of the Qabalah, that which unites Malkuth (the Kingdom) to Hod (Splendor) and is associated with the element of Fire. It is important as specified above, that the magician understand the difference between Will and want lest he tread into the realm of Chronzon or the diluded.
Hence to Will anything but the supreme thing, is to wander still further from it–any Will but that to give up the self to the Beloved is Black Magic–yet this surrender is so simple an act that to our complex minds it is the most difficult of all acts; and hence training is necessary (Crowley, 1997, 62).
To arm yourself with the wand is not to simply coerce yourself into a whimsical desire, but it is to arm yourself with your true identity. As pointed out above, to know yourself requires that you know who you are not. There is a great deal of conditioning we have acquired, virtues based on fear or constant projections of our own dislikes. To know who you truly are requires a lifetime of dedication and a substantial and unyielding amount of uncomfortable and intense introspection. To arm yourself with a wand is to unite yourself with God.
As the wand is associated with the identity of the magician it is often associated with the word of the magician. It is not unheard of to associate the Wand with the Word or the magical oath. Aleister Crowley concludes that emotions often trigger excitement or a heightened sense. It is important in the aspect of ones true identity or Will, that emotions are suppressed or controlled to be used as servants to the Will.
The Cup can hardly be described as a weapon. it is round like the Pantacle–not straight like the Wand and the Dagger. Reception, not projection, is its nature (Crowley, 1977, 73).
The Cup is associated with Binah, the third sepheroth of the Qabalah, that of Understanding and the element of Water. It also corrisponds to the 18th path of the Qabalah, that of the Moon tump uniting Malkuth (the Kingdom) with Netzach (Victory). It is through understanding that the magician perfects himself. There is then a direct dependency within the magicians constant work toward perfection, that the aspect of the Cup relies heavily on the aspect of the Wand and vise-versa. Through Understanding does one execute his Will. It is thusly proper to use such a weapon to drink and receive. It is a powerful tool when empty as well as full, to be drank from or to pour into.
The Wand was the Will of man, his wisdom, his word; the Cup was his understanding, the vehicle of grace; the Sword was his reason; and the Pantacle shall be his body, the Temple of the Holy Ghost.
What is the length of this Temple?
From North to South.
What is the breadth of this Temple?
From East to West.
What is the height of this Temple?
From the Abyss to the Abyss.
There is, therefore, nothing movable or immovable under the whole firmament of heaven which is not included int his Pantacle, though it be but “eight inches in diameter, and in thickness half an inch (Crowley, 1997, 95).
The disk corresponds directly to the tenth sepheroth of the Qabalah, that of Malkuth, the Kingdom. Generally this tool bears a symbol of the universe. Often it bears the mark of the Microcosm such as a pentagram, but often it may be more suitable to house that of the universe such as the zodiac or some symbol of greater personal meaning. This tool houses everything within it. It is comprised of Fire, Water and Air, it houses all 10 sepheroth of the Qabalah and is the epitome of the saying, “there is a glimpse of heaven on earth”.
1. Crowley, Aleister, Mary Desti, Leila Waddell, and Hymenaeus Beta. Magick: Liber ABA, book four, parts I-IV. 2nd rev. ed. York Beach, Me.: S. Weiser, 1997. Print.