First ritual tools!

So, like a number of occultists, I have a need for specialized tools in order to do things. The Hermetic coursework I’m working through, early as it is in the lesson, has me needing a Table of Practice and a wand. The Table of Practice (or of Art, depending on which book you read) is sort of like a summoning circle that you summon things into to talk to them, often with some kind of scrying medium like a crystal. The wand, well, it’s a wand. I’m assuming it’s just the standard symbol of fire and will and can be used in other tasks besides communing with spirits, angels, and the like.

I had the basic template for the Table of Practice from my coursework, and knew it had to fulfill certain requirements. The original source for this part of the coursework, John Trithemius’ “Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals” lists more things to be drawn than what I used, but as I did it, it needed: the symbols for the planets, the names of the angels of the planets written in an outer ring, the names of the kings of the four elements written in an inner ring, an equilateral triangle inside the inner ring, and a Maltese-like cross, a Star of David with a yod in the middle, and a pentagram in each corner of the triangle. I’ve seen several variations, such as that of Rufus Opus whose model I based mine off of, of Frater Acher whose work is absolutely stunning, and this one I found through the Magian Rumination blog which uses the Alphabet of the Magi.

So, knowing what I needed, I got out my compass set and calligraphy markers and got to work. I got some good experience drawing out the things as I needed to, but since none of them were pattern-worthy, I sucked it up and got a copy of Illustrator. After fiddling with the application a bit, I ended up with the following:

Much better than anything I could freehand. I used the Celestial script for the angel names, a variant of the Hebrew script. I ended up doing away with the TETRAGRAMMATON in the end, because at this point less was probably more anyway.

The thing is that I wanted to make something more sturdy than writing this on cardboard or using paper Tables of Practice, so I got myself a woodburning kit off Amazon, got some pine circles from Michaels with carbon transfer paper, stain, finish, and brushes, and got to work. Over about three days, I ended up with the following:

For being my first woodburning project, complete with stain and finish, I’m very pleased. This may be something to be redone at a later stage, since I can spot a dozen errors due to bad kerning of the letters or just inexperienced woodburning, but for what it is, I’m proud of it.

While I was working on the Table, though, I knew I also needed a wand. Since I had also got a dowel from Michael’s when I got the other supplies, I decided, why not? I knew that the wand was supposed to have the words “AGLA ON TETRAGRAMMATON” inscribed on the wand, with a Star of David between the first two words, a Star of David with a yod in the middle between the second two, and a Maltese-ish cross after “TETRAGRAMMATON”. Knowing this, I tried to make a template, but I found out that the size of the dowel wouldn’t let me easily tape on this and carbon paper. So, I took my best shot at freehandedly writing out the words.

Before I did that, though, I decided to be a little fancy with the wand and turn the tip of the wand into something resembling a flame. Since I haven’t whittled anything since I was much younger, it’s not very good, but it gets the point across. I first completely burned the butt and the flame tip of the wand and carved a small channel to separate the shaft proper of the wand from the ends before working on the inscription itself.

For being a more spontaneous project, and freehanded at that, I’m very pleased. Also, I have a wand now. That’s awesome. Of course, after rereading John Trithemius, I found that he suggests to write “EGO ALPHA ET OMEGA” on the other side of the wand, which I didn’t read about before. Since I read this after I had already done the staining of the wand, it was too late to do this. If I do another wand, I’ll keep that in mind.

There are more pictures of the Table of Practice and the wand at my Flikr photo set, if you’re interested in seeing some closeups or intermediate stages of the tools.

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About polyphanes
I'm a software developer and Hermetic occultist living near Washington, DC, USA. I claim that I'm youthful, dashing, daring, and other things. I make things and chant stuff, and periodically write about them.

4 Responses to First ritual tools!

  1. Peter Yeboah says:

    Please what did you use to engrave your wand?. And have you done anything further on the arts of drawing spirits into the crystal

    • polyphanes says:

      I used a pocketknife (for the engraved lines and the tip) and a regular woodburning tool from Amazon, like the one here. The materia involved are just a wooden dowel, wood stain, and wood finish, all of which can be gotten fairly cheaply from Michaels. I’ve been doing plenty of work with the conjuration ritual from Trithemius, too, and it goes pretty well. I might get better results using the precise instructions from Trithemius to build the wand and Table of Practice, but this works fine for my purposes right now.

  2. Peter Yeboah says:

    Thank you for your answers my friend. Please i also wanted to know what you think about the fact that, i intend to rather paint the symbols as exactly as they are with gold leaf paint on the wand, rather than to engrave them.

    Do you think it might make any difference?

    Thank you, Peter

    • polyphanes says:

      The illustration in Trithemius’ guide (found at http://www.esotericarchives.com/tritheim/trchryst.htm) says to “write or engrave” the words on the wand. I don’t think it would make much of a difference, so long as the tools had the same form and writing on them as Trithemius suggests. That said, I’ve only ever used my set of tools, so I can’t attest to what other or better-made tools might be like in practice.

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