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The Magician's Dictionary


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This is another of those difficult Japanese words. It refers to the ability to find in simple objects a beauty beyond that of the elaborate or ornate. It includes the shape generated by non-contiguous objects.

WANDS (Or Rhabdology.)

The other day I found myself replying in this way to a fairly common request for more information on magic wands that chelas submitted to the Academy of M/magic(k)al Arts:

"No, polishing metallic wands doesn't build up static electricity in me, or at least I keep dispersing it. Although after I pushed the elevator up button yesterday, the unfortunate fellow right behind me, pushed it also and he got a flash that was visible and nearly knocked him over. I'd better be more careful. Sorry I contracted to buy this one, since it's not double-ended anyway, and is twice what they were charging for similar ones at the last New Age Fair I attended! [1986]. Still, it does have lots of amethysts (eupeptics) and the crystal is well-shaped. but this particular tool is ill-named: "power wand." Quartz is mainly a counter-measure against malefics, evil influences and diseases. My teacher, to protect herself on the street, keeps a small, double-ended power wand in her purse, like a lady's revolver. Mine, however, doesn't do too many positive things, except that is excellent for visualization cuttings, like the ritual knife (see ATHAME). but it's supposed to be used ritualistically, so is of minimal value to those too indolent to conduct rites. I have heard rumours that it can be "programmed" provided it can first be "cleared." (Always consult your books for instruction on "clearing" your wand before using it and then "consecrate" it for what you plan to do with it). Since this one is not double, but single-ended, it should be powerful in first-time situations, initiations, etc.

However, if I want to do really creative things, I use a small Hindu vajra, which is double-ended and can be half hidden when held in the fist. The vajra is a true thunder-stick and must always be of traditional design -- not always doubled and hence not always to be used as a wand. The txuringa is another individualistic type of "wand," actually more like a personal totem -- but it's too private to discuss in public. A txuringa, however, is always made of wood or stone, never bronze, lead or crystal."

So much for the idiosyncratic point of view.

Asking what to do with a wand is a question that would probably not occur to a man -- though it is hardly like asking what one does with a penis! (Some women use their "power wands" as surrogate phalloi -- which is useful in drawing down Hermes or Ares as an imaginary love partner.) Wands represent the creative fire locked inside everything -- it's the power to transmute and be transmuted. On a simplistic level, a wand can be seen as the same as the thing that produces life, but actually it's even more basic than that. The wand is the source of manifestation in any form on any level. It's the connective "One" in face of the womb "Zero."

Next time you start something, anything, from scratch -- think of the wand as its producer. Its purpose is to make you more creative, to facilitate doing as opposed to mere being. Practice and experimentation will enable you to discover uses for yourself. Magical implements are tokens of spontaneity.

Wands are extremely individualistic. Some are very powerful, some only very subtle. I have a number of them which serve different purposes. The most expensive one, made of crystal and velvet, is very mysterious to me. I'm never sure how to use it properly. My most effective one is a twig I found in the woods. I've stuck all kinds of junk onto it and stained it different colors. It has been baptized with all of my own bodily fluids and carefully exposed to all seven elements. It is so powerful that I never use it! No. Again, the wand I actually use is that same two-ended Tibetan vajra. I use it to evoke curiosity sometimes, but mostly as protection and a guide for meditation in the midst of everyday life.

Wands should be of wood. If possible a wand should be a still living branch. The preferred wood for wands is almond. The almond tree possesses a virgin delicacy, sweetness and fertility. First to blossom in spring, it is also fist to succumb to the frost of autumn. The almond nut is the most advanced seed of life in the evolution of the vegetable kingdom. Hazel wood is second best. In any case, it is a good idea to fashion your own wand from scratch, using virgin tools. It should be personalized and earthed. Then it must be exposed to fire, immersed in water, hurled into the air and buried.

How do wands work? They aren't intended to serve as mere "indicators," worse yet, as "directors" (like an orchestra conductor's baton). I'm afraid we have to go back to the sexual aspect and think of what the Egyptians called bah -- "phallos" -- but apart from its ordinary sexual usage. If you can imagine such stuff outside the context of raw pornography, wands are non-penetrative. They are the conduits or vehicles of life (or being/becoming) and energy, and as such, demand of their users sometimes superhuman abstinence. We have to understand also that it's only one of the four magickal ikons (Wands, Cups, Coins, Swords). By themselves wands summon only the fire-world, the Lion of courage (and through the archangel Michael, one of the archangels of the celestial quaternary). Fire can be Will, Artistic Creation, Procreation, Health Protection, Life, etc. Wands are not hazy, mystical, psychedelic, emotional, desiring or delusional as Cups are. They are the masculine, Yang-bearers, but only symbolic of the phallus, as the Cups symbolize the vagina. (Beware -- don't try to take these things all the way down into the gutter! This is not Freud's world! Such glibness will cause you to be eaten alive and your unhallowed remains tossed into the eternal fire!). In Paracelsus' teaching, Sex is the 7th of the 7 Magickal Principles, not an activity necessarily involving the human body in any way. The Cup, i.e., Chalice (Holy Grail), being virginal and receptive, is to be contrasted in similar fashion to the Coin or Pentacle (Devil's sign), which is "closed" because "pregnant."

Amongst the Hebrews, there is the Rod of Almond, "Mateh Hashaqad" of numerological value 463 (400 = tau or Malkuth to Yesod, 60 = samekh or Yesod to Tiphareth, 3 = gimel or Tiphareth to Kether). Thus the staff is the whole of the paths from the Kingdom to the crown. (Reference is to Exodus -- the staff of Moses.) The top of the wand is in Kether, which is one, whereas the Qliphoth of Kether are the Thaumiel, or opposing heads that rend and devour one another.

At any rate, wands are unifying, juxtapositive, connective devices, whereas swords are penetrative and divisive. Fire (the wand) transmutes in the "melting pot," whereas air (the sword) disengages and separates things.

So wands work by coping with disparate or opposite things. If you want to repel, use single-ended quartz (or two ended quartz/amethyst, i.e., Moon/Jupiter). If you want to attract, use double-ended diamond, gold, ruby or carbuncle. Since the vajra is itself the "diamond" of the Bodhi-Sattva, it is harmoniously proportioned, even a vajra of brass will serve -- for that matter, even paper will suffice! Longevity, however, is an ideal attribute of life, so metal is more suitable than paper as a carrier. And if your wand must be of metal, then gold is best.

Finally, on the most pragmatic level (earth of fire), the wand is one's oath. The Word herewith must express the Will, hence the mystic name of the Probationer is the expression of his highest will.

You might think that the more wands you have, the better, and that is true to some extent. But after accumulating four or five of them, they begin to be a burden to carry around. You may have more powers, but you also begin to attract more challenges. Four wands indicate established strength without competition, but after that, if you start collecting more and more wands, you'll have to go on acquiring more still, in order to meet the new obligations associated with these power levels. Ultimately you will either become monarch of the unwieldy things or the inundated sorcerer's apprentice. At that point your responsibilities will outnumber your privileges. The King of Wands is executor of power, engaged continuously in the fulfillment of endless obligations.


Angels of Daniel's Apocalypse, headed by Semyaza and Azazel. They descend to earth to teach magic, agriculture, weapon-making, ornaments through spiritual fornication with earthlings. They are finally routed by the four archangels. Finally Jehovah sets Mastema over them as a controller of mankind. The Watchers were originally good but tempted by earth women, who appeared when they were having intercourse with their husbands. From lusting after the Watchers, the women conceived "forms alien from the seed of men."


In Old Persian astronomy, the four "Royal Stars" which were at that time (3000 B.C.) standing guard at the equinoxes and solstices: Aldebaran, Watcher of the East; Regulus, Watcher of the North; Antares, watcher of the West; Fomalhaut, Watcher of the South. Today's equivalents would probably be Regulus, Alcoyne, Albireo and Bungula.


1915-1973. The ground-breaking teacher of Zen and oriental philosophy in California during the 1950's. His books, The Wisdom of Insecurity, The Supreme I Identity, The Way of Zen, The Spirit of Zen, and so on, brought an entire generation to the threshold of enlightenment. He also wrote Myth & Ritual In Christianity, which sets to right the nonsense promulgated by the Church. Some deconstructionist biographies written since his death attempt to portray Watts as an immoral man (wine-bibber, cigar-smoker, womanizer). But Watts never posed as any kind of saint or buddha, nor thought of himself as anything more than a writer and lecturer. Unwed relationships and moderate addictions do not detract from moral character, whatever middle-class hypocrisy may decree. If any cult has arisen around Watts and his teachings it is due to the fact that he simply had valuable insights to pass on.


(Chinese: "Non-Action Action.") This is the truth as revealed by "The 10th Man" (Wei-Wu-Wei being the name of its author): you can never "cognize" anything that has any "independent nature of its own" if it is not part of what you yourself already are.


The Realm of the Dead, which is veiled by Isis.


Symbolizes the world; its huge, unconscious "better" side or "healthy" nature. A whale washed ashore dead is an omen of uncontrollable disaster.


Destiny and Karma. The 10th and central Arcanum, circumscribed by the tetramorph and lettered Caph. It is the pathway between Chesed and Netzach. The wheel is a mandala, enabling the magus to master the polarities within himself. It may also be equated with the wheel of Samsara (birth, death and rebirth). Fortune tellers assign great happiness to this card (presumably because it is ruled by Jupiter).

It also represents the Wheel of the Tarot itself. Caph is "the palm of the hand" and the number ten refers to the ten fingers, leading some interpreters to conclude that the wheel is really a potter's wheel (in the hands of the Creator). Others interpret this as meaning that our fortunes lie in the palms of our hands. Clearly, the meanings of the wheel spin out in all directions.


To the left, contrary to the sun, "counterclockwise." (See DEOSIL.) This is the direction of negativity, evil and witchcraft. Operations conducted in this direction enlist the power of Satan.


Another word for persistence and maintained attention. Will is one of the two natural human powers for altering reality (the other is imagination). When faced with an insoluble problem or great odds against us, it is the Will alone that leads us through to solution and victory. As the imagination is the power of the mind through understanding and enlightenment, the Will is the way of material action. There is no will without physical effort of some kind exerted over physical phenomena.

Colin Wilson says of the will:

"Modern civilization induces an attitude of "passivity." When a Stone Age hunter set out to trap wild animals, he was aware of his will as a living force. When the prehistoric farmer scored the surface of the earth with a crude plough, he knew that his family's survival through the winter depended on his effort, and his will responded to the challenge. When a modern city dweller walks down a crowded thoroughfare, he feels no sense of challenge or involvement. This city was built by other people; all these shops and offices are owned by other people. He can get through an ordinary day's work in a state approximating to sleep. Most of his routine tasks are carried out by the 'robot.' There is neither the need or the opportunity to use the will."


Magical words or phrases are social techniques that double as talismans or ritualistic paraphernalia and serve as short-cuts to reality alteration. They take many forms, some of which are the following:

    Setting-Up Exercises -- Suggest that something of moment is afoot: "I swear by the Bolts of Besqul..." or "I externalize thee..."

    Magical Formulae -- Serve as exhortations in the guise of threats: "Those who do not follow will be left behind!" or "Who stabbeth me, bleedeth himself!"

    Special Effects -- Used to induce the cooperation of the social environment: "Burn, Fire Perpetua!"

    Consensus Modifiers -- Rework consensus through overt assault on the status quo or through the introduction of novelty: "For it is written but no longer true..." Also open (and unconventional) evangelism eventually has an impact: "May Thantifaxath grant!"

    Power Implementation -- Such formulae are positive, reinforcing and tied in creatively to reality because once uttered, they immediately achieve their ends: "You are herewith ordered to report to ..." In magic, power implementations are generally surreptitious and operate in the world with infinite subtlety. Statements such as, "Be thou clean O leper!" are extremely bold (and rare). However, the most irresistible overt usage is the curse. A curse propels the victim's ego into a horrible locale or state of being that he already secretly fears ("May your body house maggots in Hell!" or "You are a Toad!"). The ego is bound to languish in the wake of the curse, if it is successful. And when the self desiccates, the body quickly follows. That's why insults generate violence. The injured psyche needs to re-establish its loss of position.


The final Arcanum, lettered Tav. The dancing figure is the Divine Hermaphrodite, uniting all the opposites. It represents the "Kether" of the lower Kingdom and is the first step of Initiation, as well as the revelation of the Eleusian mystery. The link between Malkuth and Yesod, occurs on the middle pillar, where also appear Dašth and the solar center (Tiphareth). It is the link to the astral plane.


Chinese word. Having ethereal, numenous value wholly apart from any obvious historicity, practicality or esthetic quality. May be found in "stones rejected by the builder" or in the midst of trash. Also associated with Satori.


Taoist non-assertion of self. The path of non-action. The origin of the idea implicit in "going with the flow."

    Preface    A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     I     J     K     L

    M     N     O     P     Q     R     S     T     U     V     W     X     Y     Z





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