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Author Topic: Magickal Tools and Elemental Symbolism  (Read 3082 times)
Fagan_the_Pagan
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« Topic Start: January 31, 2009, 03:03:20 pm »

I am referring specifically to the Wand and Athame.  There are different traditions that hold the Wand as Fire and the Athame as Air, and those that conversely hold the Athame as Fire and the Wand as Air.  Now, I have felt inclined to think of the Athame as fire and the Wand as Air, but what I've heard of specific tradition generally seems to suggest otherwise.  The Four Treasures of Ireland held by the Tuatha de Danaan are supposed to include a sword that represents air . . . or at least that is the association given to it nowadays.  If you look at it from a Tarot Standpoint, Swords is related to Air, while Wands is Fire.  And of course, the associations of swords applies to athames by extention, even though they are more specific.

So, in light of the different takes on the tools' elemental correspondences, I was interested in hearing some arguments in favor of a particular set of correspondences.
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« Reply #1: January 31, 2009, 08:22:39 pm »

So, in light of the different takes on the tools' elemental correspondences, I was interested in hearing some arguments in favor of a particular set of correspondences.

All UPG, and not really an argument -- just my view.

Personally, I hold the wand as air and the athame (or knife, w/e) as fire. I have never been able to wrap my head around the other way, and I think it may be because I know logically that knives are forged in flame -- so they should be representative of flame, in my view. As for wands being representative of air -- well, honestly my particular wand is representative of all the elements. I carved it out of a piece of driftwood, so that's earth, air, and water right there -- the sunlight that I found it in or the fire of the blade I used to whittle it would be the fire. But it's a very light wand, and I found it on a breezy day. It speaks 'air' to me, while I know that it contains all the elements.

I suppose part of the reason wands speak air to me is that when I use one I'm 'waving it through the air' -- not really waving, but moving it. It sort of becomes one with the air when I use it.  Undecided Sorry, I've never put this into words before -- I hope my meaning is clear.  Smiley
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« Reply #2: February 02, 2009, 11:25:35 am »

So, in light of the different takes on the tools' elemental correspondences, I was interested in hearing some arguments in favor of a particular set of correspondences.
I am not commenting the main topic, only two other things that you mention on your post.

If you look at it from a Tarot Standpoint, Swords is related to Air, while Wands is Fire.  And of course, the associations of swords applies to athames by extention, even though they are more specific.

You mention the Tarot Standpoint on elemental associations. There isn't really such, but several different tarot traditions. Originally the tarot suits were cups, swords, batons and coins (not wands and pentacles!). They had no inherent elemental associations because you can't find such things in centuries old tarot decks. People have later designed tarot decks with elemental associations. They simply added the associations that they thought were correct or appropriate. That's why there are decks with different elemental associations. You are likely thinking about Rider-Waite-Smith and Thoth decks, but there are different systems like El Gran Tarot Esoterico, too.

The Four Treasures of Ireland held by the Tuatha de Danaan are supposed to include a sword that represents air . . . or at least that is the association given to it nowadays.

I have heard that elemental associations of The Four Treasures are an invention of the 19th century. I hope someone more knowledgeable can comment this.
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Fagan_the_Pagan
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« Reply #3: February 02, 2009, 02:02:24 pm »

I have heard that elemental associations of The Four Treasures are an invention of the 19th century. I hope someone more knowledgeable can comment this.
This may well be.  I considered this, in light of a past discussion of whether or not the ancient Celts conceptualized the 4 elements as such.  What seemed to be the consensus was that they did not, and that they instead used the trio of Land, Sea, and Air as more of a cosmology than elemental forces.  So I understand that point, which is why I added the qualification that it is how they are viewed today.

And yes, I was thinking of the Rider-Waite Tarot.
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Fagan_the_Pagan
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« Reply #4: February 02, 2009, 02:11:59 pm »

Personally, I hold the wand as air and the athame (or knife, w/e) as fire. I have never been able to wrap my head around the other way, and I think it may be because I know logically that knives are forged in flame -- so they should be representative of flame, in my view.
I had the same idea about the athame beign forged in fire.  Similarly, I think of the wooden wand being associated with the biological process of respiration, and thus tied with air.  Arguments to the contrary seem to have more to do with symbolism than with their literaly qualities, though.  I've heard arguments that suggest that do to associations with change, wand should be fire (seems to be a Rider Tarot based argument). 
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« Reply #5: February 03, 2009, 02:26:53 am »

Arguments to the contrary seem to have more to do with symbolism than with their literaly qualities, though.
If there are any 'literal qualities' at all.

And there are also more aspects to them then just the way they were made. I've seen a Tai Chi Chuan sword form which very light, airy and also precise/pointed movements while stick/wand is less precise and looks much more 'brutal' in a 'primitive' way.
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