Ceremonial Magic and Wicca

Date:  11-28-88  12:14
From:  Gary Dumbauld
To:    Morgan
Subj:  Re: Tools

 M>I just wanted to see how this group felt about the association of
 M>the different tools with the elements....

 Hmmm.  Not a small order.  First, background:  I have been involved in
Ceremonial Magic and Wicca since 1965 (plus or minus a year).  My High
Priestess and companion has been actively Wiccan for fifteen years, a High
Priestess for ten.  Our coven members range in magical "age" from six month
students to a lady who was raised Wiccan - this woman is a real joy to work
with, as she has none of the bias many "converts" to the Craft seem to exhibit.
The following is the collective opinion of our coven - here goes:

Both the wand and the athame (substitute for dagger, ok?) are traditionally
(Sez who? Oh, Tim, give me a break!) viewed as "male" [read patriarchal male -
`power over'] tools, symbols of authority; the wand being the sceptre and the
athame the conquering sword.

If you identify the East and Air with inspiration and the intellect, and you
identify the South and Fire with will-power, then the wand has got to be in the
East, an air tool.  The wand as the sceptre of authority loses out to the sword
as an authority tool every time - I'd rather be swatted with a sceptre than
sliced/diced any day!  In the system we follow, willpower may overshadow the
intellect, so it all dovetails nicely.

From here on out is my opinion: I have a bit of trouble seeing anyone making an
athame without the use of fire - and a wand exposed to lots of fire soon loses
its "wand-ness" and takes on "ash-ness.";-) I make my own tools; I've forged
lots of knives, damn few wands.... Maybe my bias comes from being a blacksmith
by avocation?  Another point - with a rock and a knife you can make fire - by
rubbing two sticks you can also make fire, but the fire consumes the tool if
you're using two sticks.  Is this a valid argument?  Beats me!  Anyhow, I use
the athame as the tool of my magical will.  I feel more in control (more
willful?) using the athame to _impose my will_ over time, space, and/or events.

I'm sure the Ceremonial Magicians on the net will have much to say about the
wand being the tool of fire, and the sword/knife/athame the tool of air.  So be
it.  I was involved in Ceremonial Magic for a while years ago; I've brought
lots of CM technique to our (coven's) Wiccan philosophy and practice- but even
when I was a practicing Ceremonialist, the Lodge I was with used the Staff of
Raphael in the East as the tool of air, and the Sword of Michael as the fire
tool of the South.  All the explanations and lectures I've heard over the years
about wand-fire and knife-air associations seem to me to fly in the face of

In the final analysis, I suppose it makes sense to go with what works *best*
for you.  When doing healing in circle, we cast the circle with the wand if
we're dealing with injuries, and use the sword to cast the circle if we're
dealing with disease.  There's a bit of my CM background influencing our Wiccan
practice (Raphael heals injuries and Michael heals diseases).  I have tried on
several occasions to use the wand as a fire tool and the knife as an air tool,
and for me, it just doesn't work. Like trying to use a wrench on a nail, or
hammer in a bolt.  But, that's *my* bias.  --Garyd.

 * Origin: The Masterwork Opus * Aurora, CO (303) 341-6614 * (1:104/55)