Ah... the fan.... that wonderful, mysterious and oh-so sensual tool of magick and love. The hand fan has been long known in the Middle East and the Orient, as well as in the Americas, and the Hawaiian and Polynesian islands.
According to records, the hand fan was supposedly invented in Japan sometime in the 6th century. However, fan collectors and enthusiasts claim that the hand fan has a history of use in China which is well over 1,500 years old. Fans made of feathers are also associated with Shamanistic ritual. The hand fan was introduced to Europe sometime in the Middle Ages and very quickly became a favorit e among royals and courtesans.
But the true magick of the fan was not understood and soon it was forgotten. Sadly, it was eventually relegated to an unceremonious place as a simple prop or wall decoration, and a cooling device.
The hand fan is far more than this.
The Language of the Fan
Traditional hand fans are made of vellum or even delicate rice paper. Some of the most exquisite I've seen are made of silk. These are then decorated with detailed miniature paintings of animals, nature scenes, etc. The hand fan has a definite language and was very often employed to send messages. These ranged from the "come hither" flutter, to the demure "I am available" half drop toward the heart.
If you take a good look at the Fans made in the Orient, the Middle East, etc., you will see (especially with the more classical ones) a tradition of using magickal animals such as dragons, or sacred birds such as peacocks, cranes and ducks. Some depict warriors with great swords. There are also many who use water motifs....bridges and waterfalls are very popular. Mountains and hillsides are as equally popular. Others are laden with the romantic motifs of couples strolling in a park or beautiful maidens taking a leisurely stroll. Some show magnificent fields of bamboo, or players using bamboo flutes... or forests with enormous trees.
What do all of these have in common? They all represent the elements taught in the ancient art of Feng Shui: water, earth, fire, wood and metal.
By fusing the art of the hand fan and their delicate art work, we are seeing a system of magick being passed down from generation to generation. Whether this was done by design or accident is not really important to us at this moment. However, an interesting footnote for the purists among us is the belief that ancient Chinese magicians used the hand fan in order to cast spells, call spirits and a host of other magickal applications.
However, we can still use the delicious art and magick of the hand fan in many other ways.
Uses of the Magick of the Fan
The hand fan is so versatile. Knowing the correspondences above you can design and devise your own unique set to keep in your home, to use for healing and to give away as charged talismans.
The hand fan should not be propped onto a wall and left there to hang forlornly. In order to obtain the strongest energies from it, the fan should be blessed and charged in your usual method. Unless you plan it, a complicated ritual is not necessary. Since fan is of the element of Air, you may wish to pass the fan(s) you will be empowering through a good cleansing incense like sage.
Look for and obtain small stands which are used to prop designer plates. Any hardware store will have them. Once they are empowered and charged, place them in the correct quarter corresponding to their element.
Once you select a fan or fans you will using in your magicks, please remember to treat them with honor and respect.
These are some of the uses of the magick of an empowered hand fan. They are also wonderful gifts for any witch at any time.
Used here by permission of the author.
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