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Author Topic: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?  (Read 3074 times)

MarieBay

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Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« on: October 17, 2011, 09:41:49 pm »
This one's had my brain tied in a knot for a while.

It kind of goes without saying that each person's set of magickal tools and ritual items is unique. I've heard of folks using anything from free stuff they've found on the street to something they had specially made by a skilled craftsperson. And as for materials, wood to plastic, natural to synthetic, luxurious to inexpensive... it's all across the board.

Disposable things like candles, or permanent fixtures like statues, and even storage places for all of your things very in material, but I want to know how much do you think the type of material used governs your tools efficacy? For instance, would a glass cup be any less potent than a silver chalice in a ritual? Is a steel anthame better than one made from bone? Does or can consecration trump any properties innate in material your tool is made from, or can material seriously hinder use?

Valentine

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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 11:49:09 pm »
Quote from: MarieBay;26065
This one's had my brain tied in a knot for a while.

It kind of goes without saying that each person's set of magickal tools and ritual items is unique. I've heard of folks using anything from free stuff they've found on the street to something they had specially made by a skilled craftsperson. And as for materials, wood to plastic, natural to synthetic, luxurious to inexpensive... it's all across the board.

Disposable things like candles, or permanent fixtures like statues, and even storage places for all of your things very in material, but I want to know how much do you think the type of material used governs your tools efficacy? For instance, would a glass cup be any less potent than a silver chalice in a ritual? Is a steel anthame better than one made from bone? Does or can consecration trump any properties innate in material your tool is made from, or can material seriously hinder use?

Just as with tools used for mundane physical tasks, materials matter.  Different materials serve different purposes and have different properties--whether you're swinging a sledgehammer or a tattoo needle or a chalice.  Even if you're just primarily trying to channel and manipulate noncorporeal energy, some materials and shapes are better "conductors" than others--and just like with physical tools, there are lots of solutions to any given problem.  If you want to put a nail into a board, technically there are a lot of things you could use, including nothing but your own body--but the right tool, made of the right stuff, will translate your efforts into something more efficient and potentially more powerful than the wrong tool or just you on your own.  You want to break concrete, you need more force than you alone can safely and non-injuriously provide--or an awful lot of time.  (And you could use a big rock--or water--or a sledge--or a backhoe--or a concrete saw--or sandpaper--there are always ways to improvise, or jury-rig, or work around, withv varying results.)  I think often of the witch who first trained me--she personally had a phenomenal faculty for moving energy around all by her lonesome, and she learned to just brute-force any given problem because she had the oomph to spare.  But in later years, I started consistently surpassing her--because I was willing to use tools to augment my strengths and limitations, and educated myself in which tools worked for me.

This is all a long-winded way of saying:  yes.  Magically, iron behaves differently than ironwood, glass differently from quartz.  You can use substitutes and workarounds, you can substitute one conductor for another, but everything's got different properties.  For a lot of tasks that other witches might use a wooden wand or a steel knife, I tend to use a big iron skeleton key.  It works better for a lot of the tasks I want it to help with.  In the same way, I prefer my stone-and-bone ritual knife to a metal one I used in a pinch for a long time.  Can I direct energy with just my hand, or a bit of oak, or even plastic?  Sure!  But they work differently, and require adjustments.

To consider one of your examples, say, a glass cup vs. a silver one.  The fact that they are both cups is a property.  The type of cup, the shape, is a property.  The "cupness" is essentially a material to be used, and in their mutual "cupness" they can function similarly--for instance, as a symbol of a container of water, or of a heart.  But silver is associated with stuff that silver will bring into your equation, your "signal", and that won't be in common with the stuff glass will bring in.  Same as a rubber mallet versus a wooden one, or a brass shield versus a hide one.  A steel athame is better than a bone athame for the things which require the properties of steel.  A bone athame is better for things that require the properties of bone.  I find plastic is a terrible conductor of energy.  I expect other people have uses for it.

There's a sort of grammar and diction to it.  No two words are actually synonyms--everything has shades of meaning and connotation--but there are a lot of ways to say a given thing, and everyone's got a particular authorial voice.  You just pick the words that are right for what you're trying to say.

Am I babbling on, or making sense?
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 11:53:02 pm by Valentine »
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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 08:48:58 am »
Quote from: Valentine;26089

Am I babbling on, or making sense?

 
You just said pretty much everything I would have said, so I think sense.

I'd also say that it's not necessarily *always* about better. Sometimes it's about the experience of using the tool. I own both a metal chalice and a ceramic one. I generally prefer the ceramic, but there are times when I want the energetic effect of the metal.

I have a strong preference for natural materials, but I do use polymer clay (basically plastic) for some altar items (I've done devotional statues out of it, for example, and medium-term (couple of months) talismans), in large part because it's a lot easier to work with in an apartment kitchen than more natural clays. (Ok, also because there's some really awesome effects you can get with it, and it's inexpensive enough you can play around with different ideas easily.)
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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 11:48:56 am »
Quote from: MarieBay;26065
This one's had my brain tied in a knot for a while.

It kind of goes without saying that each person's set of magickal tools and ritual items is unique. I've heard of folks using anything from free stuff they've found on the street to something they had specially made by a skilled craftsperson. And as for materials, wood to plastic, natural to synthetic, luxurious to inexpensive... it's all across the board.

Disposable things like candles, or permanent fixtures like statues, and even storage places for all of your things very in material, but I want to know how much do you think the type of material used governs your tools efficacy? For instance, would a glass cup be any less potent than a silver chalice in a ritual? Is a steel anthame better than one made from bone? Does or can consecration trump any properties innate in material your tool is made from, or can material seriously hinder use?

 
I agree with Valentine very much. But at the same time, I think it depends on the person and their situation. For example, I use dollar store-bought candles, a steel athame with plastic handle, and an old ottoman thingy for an altar. And yet, they all serve me well. For me, materials are not as important as the tools themselves. But to others, the materials may be the most important facet of what they do. However, I'm by no means well off, but I make do. And like I said, my tools fit me just fine. Especially after I consecrate them. I mean, my Aphrodite statue originated as a decoration in my fish tank. And yet, it is one of my favorites, and I feel very connected to Her through it.

Another one of my opinions (and forgive me if I'm just ranting) is that no matter what you use, if your intent and enthusiasm is strong, your tools will work for you. If I have an amazing, expensive diamond wand, but I'm not into what I'm doing with it, then it will not work very well. Some of my best tools are simple and almost silly. But they work for me. Go with your intuition and what feels right for you, and chances are, you won't go wrong. =)
"Go then and make of the world something beautiful, set up a light in the darkness." - from Awakening Osiris by Normandi Ellis

MarieBay

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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 10:49:35 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;26089
some materials and shapes are better "conductors" than others--and just like with physical tools, there are lots of solutions to any given problem.  If you want to put a nail into a board, technically there are a lot of things you could use, including nothing but your own body--but the right tool, made of the right stuff, will translate your efforts into something more efficient and potentially more powerful than the wrong tool or just you on your own.


Absolutely! Finding the correct tool for the job is both a trial-and-error thing and an application of knowledge. Sometimes you're able to nail it on the first go, other times you have to try all of the possible and possibly wacky solutions before you come up with the tool that fits you and/or your purpose perfectly. I think it says a lot about a person's skill when they're so in tune with their tools that they become a fully integrated part of that person's actions, whether they be physical or energetic.  

Quote from: Valentine;26089
To consider one of your examples, say, a glass cup vs. a silver one.  The fact that they are both cups is a property.  The type of cup, the shape, is a property.  The "cupness" is essentially a material to be used, and in their mutual "cupness" they can function similarly--for instance, as a symbol of a container of water, or of a heart.  

There's a sort of grammar and diction to it...


*lightbulb moment* That's exactly what I was wrangling with! The shape is a quality unto itself and is really one (albeit important) facet of the tool in question, and,  depending on the person and situation, may trump any inherent qualities of the material the tool is made from.

I like how you said there's a grammar and diction to it. Familiarity with the tools you use is really just another language you learn during the course of your journey.

MarieBay

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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 11:07:07 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;26151
Sometimes it's about the experience of using the tool.


I was listening to an interview with a potter a while ago, and he was talking about his experiences with tea. He said he had many mugs with smooth edges, some had handles, some didn't, and they were all lovely, well-made mugs, and he enjoyed using them, but he said it was the one odd mug with the unfinished rim that made him aware that he was drinking tea, that made him sit back and think "yes, I am drinking tea from this mug", simply from the unusual tactile experience of lips against rough ceramic.

Sometimes we may have a number of lovely, well-made ways to solve our problem (in this case, containing tea), but it's the little, personal details that transform the experience from mundane to special and intimate. And I think that's totally applicable in the realm of ritual tools.

Vanora

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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 06:25:06 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;26089
Am I babbling on, or making sense?

 
I think what you've said sums it up, but I think of things the way I 'feel' them (if that makes sense) and usually small things add up to a bigger sense. i'm new to the world of magika and I just want to know if I have the right idea.
If I replace a silver laced steel athame with an oak handle with say a bronze laced iron one with a copper handle and they were the same shape and form. It would only change the energies directed and not the specific shape (if that's the right word) of them.

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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 06:59:29 pm »
Quote from: Vanora;30519
If I replace a silver laced steel athame with an oak handle with say a bronze laced iron one with a copper handle and they were the same shape and form. It would only change the energies directed and not the specific shape (if that's the right word) of them.


I would say you are correct, each of the materials have a unique vibrational 'feel' to them.  If it helps, think of the materials in specifically physical terms - every material has it's own resonate frequency.  It's how an opera singer can shatter a crystal goblet by singing high C.  Match the material's resonant frequency with a sound vibration from an outside source of sufficient amplitude and the object will literally shake itself apart.

Now take that one step further - every material has it's own innate resonance as well, the frequency of energy that it vibrates at.  The two vibrations are different (at least to my knowledge) but they are unique to their material.  Energetic vibrations work much like physical vibrations - constructively and destructively.  Energetic vibrations can either support or detract from what you want to do.  It's just like a kid rocking back and forth in the bathtub to make bigger and bigger waves.  Their movement supports the water's movement.  If they moved opposite to the water they'd stop the wave.  

When working magic you want to pick the materials for your tools that most support the type of magical energy that you want to work with.  For example, if I were working protective magic I'd choose onyx and hematite rather than rose quartz.  The innate vibrations of onyx and hematite are more supportive to what I want to accomplish than the rose quartz.  That's not to say that there's something wrong with rose quartz just that there are better choices in my toolbox.  For healing or love spells the rose quartz would be the much better choice than the other two.  It's all about matching the vibrations with your work.

Ok, I may have gone off the deep end here since I have a nasty headache.  Did that all make sense?
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Vanora

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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 07:17:13 pm »
Quote from: Oaksworn;30526
Ok, I may have gone off the deep end here since I have a nasty headache.  Did that all make sense?


Yeah that makes sense but can different vibrations support eachother? Or change another? For example I had a large rose quarts in my one hand and a raw golden quarts in my other and I tried putting the energies in a small glass bowl of water just to see if it would work but instead it ended up purifying both quarts. When I tried to 'feel' if the experiment had worked I was surprised to find that the water was filled with dark energy and that the energies from the crystals was hovering in the exact shape of the water in the bowl about 5-10cm above it, and it was a different kind of energy not specifically just either quarts but mixed.

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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 11:19:23 pm »
Quote from: Vanora;30658
Yeah that makes sense but can different vibrations support eachother? Or change another?


Sure, that's a big part of magic.  It's not everything that goes into a spell but it's a significant part of it.  In this respect, it's much like cooking - blending together different ingredients to achieve the flavors your looking for.  In fact, in some practices, the line between cooking and spell work blurs.  You may want to look into a table of correspondences for stones, herbs, moon phases, days of the week, etc. to get a better idea of which elements would work together.  Tables are a good place to start but you definitely want to keep notes of your work so you have a better understanding and insight as to how those parts fit together.

Quote from: Vanora;30658
For example I had a large rose quarts in my one hand and a raw golden quarts in my other and I tried putting the energies in a small glass bowl of water just to see if it would work but instead it ended up purifying both quarts.


I can't really say what happened but from your description it sounds as if you simply cleansed the crystals.  I've read and spoken to people of the practice where crystals can be immersed in water for a period of time, a day or night, maybe a lunar cycle, put out in the sun or moon light.  The water is supposed to absorb the vibration of the crystal which can then be ingested.  Personally, I've never tried it.
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Senola Kari

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Re: Can A Tool's Material Hinder Use?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2011, 10:40:02 am »
Quote from: Oaksworn;30693
I can't really say what happened but from your description it sounds as if you simply cleansed the crystals.  I've read and spoken to people of the practice where crystals can be immersed in water for a period of time, a day or night, maybe a lunar cycle, put out in the sun or moon light.  The water is supposed to absorb the vibration of the crystal which can then be ingested.  Personally, I've never tried it.


Indeed, there are books on the subject, the one I've read being Michael Gienger's "Gem Water." There are a lot of specifics (I believe the water has to be distilled, and some crystals' vibrations can be toxic.) I haven't tried it either, as I don't believe I have the resources needed to make the best of the experience (my house has well water, and gods forbid my mother lets me touch a stove to boil some).
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