Mishkan ha-Echad

Monday, 19 March 2012

Making Tools - Materials

One of the important things to realise when making tools within the Golden Dawn tradition is that the material largely does not matter. Unlike some grimoiric traditions, the Golden Dawn generally does not see the magic as being inherent within the material itself, but rather within the symbolism employed upon it.

An example of this can be found in the Theoricus Adeptus Minor paper on the Ring and Disc (see Sandra Tabatha Cicero's The Book of the Concourse of the Watchtowers, p. 258):

"The Ring and the Disc may be made of any material - cardboard will do - not too light, or the elasticity of the thread may vitiate its action."

It may come as a surprise to many people that cardboard was a particularly common material used by the original members. For example, W.B. Yeats made a lot of his talismans from cardboard, pasting coloured paper on to make the various polygrams, etc.


Yeats' Tzadkiel Talisman


Yeats' Rose Cross Lamen

This is not to say that the material employed cannot add another layer of meaning. We know from our Golden Dawn studies that copper is linked with Venus, for example, so if we employed a copper disc with Venusian symbolism it would have more symbolism than a cardboard equivalent. 

The power is in the symbols, however, not the raw material, so we need not feel limited by our lack of ability to procure or craft with a certain material. Necessity often requires that we make do with what we have, and it is infinitely better to employ a tool made of cardboard or paper than none at all, a truth discovered by many magicians, such as Lon Milo DuQuette with his paper PELE Ring.

Images © National Library of Ireland
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