Mishkan ha-Echad

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Value of Tools

One criticism of ceremonial magic over the years has been its focus on the requirement of various tools, both physical, in the sense of implements and regalia, as well as less corporeal, in the sense of charts of planetary hours and other guides for the perfect ritual performance. Some magicians who are not very tool-friendly have suggested that they are more advanced because they do not need such tools, which, of course, intimates that ceremonial magicians do. This is an error, however, as ceremonial magicians do not use tools because they are needed, but because they are useful. It could be argued that the only neccessities for magic are Will and Imagination, but why make the job more difficult than it needs to be? You can tap a nail in with your hand, but why not use a hammer?

The value of tools is that they serve as an aid in the performance of magic. The wand or dagger serves as an extension of the will, in much the same way as the sword is an extension of the arm in martial arts. All ceremonial tools are designed to accomplish a given goal, and thus, instead of depending entirely on the faculties of Will and Imagination, a certain symbol or colour may be utilised to make the process more natural and effective. At the end of the day even the Will and Imagination are just another set of tools in the toolbox of the magician.
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