Tiamet the Tool-man's Tailor
Article ID: 3393
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,948
Times Read: 5,509
Author: Mino [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 14th. 2001
Times Viewed: 5,509
Tools and skills go (literally) hand-in-hand. The myth of Lleu and Gwydion from Welsh Lore shows that skills are not always the product of working with tools. Skills are more often-than-not the prerequisite of obtaining the tools that we use later in the on-going practice of magickal living. An interesting approach to the practice of shamanism or witchcraft places tools in the hands of a person who is properly prepared to use them. I have mentored several students that were of the mindset to obtain or create tools for use in learning how to practice magick. There are some very interesting collections of ritual items that I have seen sitting on shelves of display cabinets, and while that is a wonderful form of art it is very different than skillful usage of a tool in ritual.
The adage of the 'cart before the horse' comes to mind when I think way back to my first solitary ritual. Oh I was really happening! I had my athame and chalice. Adorned in a black hooded robe I headed out to the woods behind my house, toting my box full of witchy things in the middle of the night. I'll never forget the awesome presence of nature lit by the full moon and the eerie feelings that it promoted. Although it really worked in retrospect, the ritual consisted of casting a circle, performing the symbolic solitary version of the Great Rite, and closing the circle. I felt great afterwards, but was totally dumbfounded as to why I had to carry out all of that stuff and use it like the books told me to! That just seemed like a lot of preparation for a few fleeting moments of ecstasy. Then of course, there was the task of cleaning up all of the candle wax and wine-soaked altar cloth. The fae folk did not materialize during that ritual, and my dead ancestors didn't arise out of the sterno burner for council and hoopla under the full moon's luminance. The tools must not have been the right ones. My mentor found all of this quite amusing, and all the while refused to promise just when that mantle of magick would fall out of the sky onto my shoulders. I didn't realize back then that my shoulders actually were the mantle and had been with me all through life.
My teacher let me continue those rituals with all of my 'magickal stuff' for quite some time. She told me later that it was good for learning that ritual begins with the thought, and all of my preparing and gathering of materials helped me to focus and send energy into the ritual. I did not believe my mentor when she told me that her favorite magickal tool was a car key. In fact, that almost spoiled my pie! I really began to question my choice of teachers, and myself at that point. I really thought it was a joke, as it may appear to a person reading this as well. It was not. We all have items that have different meanings to us on a personal level. Some memories are attached to material items, while other items are symbols of past experiences or learning associations. It seemed to me at first that a tool was far too important to be so simple, and that it was the tool that made the witch rather than the (now) obvious. The learning process begins from the point that we enter the physical world. As we grow, we learn to associate items with events or emotions. If a knife has a traumatic association for an individual due to a past experience for whatever reason, it would be logical for that person to shy away from using an athame unless or until they are able to put it into a productive perspective. An older friend as a young child was struck on the knuckles with a ruler by a Nun in a parochial school. Today, she does not wear a black robe or use a wand in her rituals, but has learned to accept and participate with others who do.
Several years passed from the point that I decided upon pursuing my spiritual progression before I realized that the magick was not in the tool. When I realized this, several more years passed before I learned that the tool does in fact have its own power through its properties. This may seem quite contradictory, but if one understands that everything is energy then it makes sense from that point of view. Crystals, wood, bones, fibers, metals, and even many artificial substances resonate and vibrate. Attuning to the material is the importance for realizing the power that resides within an object, which equates to the physical and male properties of the application. The mental symbols and associations that are equated with the object are the spiritual and female balance given to the physical which produces the change or effect that can be made with a tool.
There are yet other kinds of tools. One of my favorite tools is humor. Dreary meet and dreary part and dreary meet again is not the promise that I make. Laughter is good for both spiritual and physical health. It is also a very powerful ward, if properly used. Yes, skill is required to use laughter as a tool. Telling a humorous story is an art. We often need the diversion of laughter and the element of surprise to change our outlook on life. We have plenty of doom and gloom in the headlines, and the stress saloons where many of us make money can have a detrimental affect over time. Laughter can help us to deal with the passage of time that it often takes to reach the goals that we have set for ourselves. When we sense a higher level of stress in our own life, laughter can be enough to help us unplug from that vacuum of energy.
The drum is a tool that I use most often. There is nothing that propels me into that trance-like state better than playing a drum. The drum can be powerful for a person even if the skill to play it does not exist. In order to benefit from the medicine of the drum without the skill to play it, one must be able to feel the effect on the heart. Your own heart pounds the rhythm of your physical existence. The cadence of the drum sets the body into aligning motion. Soldiers learn to march in unison to cadences. These rhythmic patterns keep the mind on the path rather than on the distance. It frees the mind by setting a repetitious pattern or program that is constant. Once the mind has mastered the pattern, mental energy flows constantly and produces even more energy. Some of this energy goes into the muscles providing stamina for completion, while the remainder transfers to the creative imagination. The physical body needs some kind of attention or it can imprison the mind to engage in over-abundance of comfort and temporal thrills. The magick of the drum teaches that the body is a tool as it often promotes the movement of dance. The combination of drum and dance raises the level of energy in the body. If your practice is not tantric, then rhythmic movement of dance is an excellent resource for the raising of energy to fuel a rite.
I have learned to place magickal tools in various, strategic locations throughout my home and business. The mental associations can give me what I need just by looking at some of them. They often seem to call out to me, and much like a friendly pet want me to pay attention and interact with them. I pick them up and go to a quiet place, and use them to open my mind to experience and meditative discovery. It is as though a teacher remains with me, and uses the tools to direct my attention towards spiritual progress. I have even given names to some of the tools that have come into my life. These are the ones that have greater meaning to me. I have found that I do not have any of the tools from my first solitary ritual in my current set of working tools. One occasionally surfaces in a box somewhere, and when it does, that awesome feeling of the moment under my first awakening full moon returns. Our travels through time and experience are necessary for developing the skills necessary to use magickal tools. The right tool will emerge when we are ready to recognize the need for it. I call the place Tiamet from which these items arise, and to which they return. She is known by many names: Gaia, the Lady of the Lake, the Underworld, the Initiator, whatever makes one comfortable. When the skill is ready, the tool appears.
Location: Ft. Myers, Florida
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