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Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Discussion of ritual tools and other items used in the Craft.

Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby DamianCrow » Sat May 30, 2015 10:00 pm

The sword is a power tool, whether on the battlefield or in the craft. However, I wanted to know if a wooden sword is alright to use during spellwork or ritual work. I understand that a wooded athame is fine as far as I read (Wicca The Complete Craft by D.J. Conway). Could anyone throw me a bone here?
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby corvidus » Sat May 30, 2015 10:28 pm

The spiritual/metaphysical planes operate on the relationship between symbols, so anything that symbolically represents a sword will work, no matter what type of material (as long as it's consecrated and charged with the appropriate intent).

There is also the Sword Mudra:
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby DamianCrow » Sat May 30, 2015 11:55 pm

Thank you very much, that has answered my question. I never heard of the sword mudra before, thanks for the tip.
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby Vesca » Sun May 31, 2015 12:30 am

Just throwing this out there; Conway (amongst a few other authors and practitioners) twists the air and fire element around a bit when compared to other authors. By that I mean that some people associate swords with Air, and wands with Fire. Just something to keep in the back of your mind if you feel that one way works better for you than another.

But Corvidus is right. The model, make, and material doesn't't matter when it comes to your tools. It's the symbolism, not the object itself. Not everyone even uses a sword/wand/athame/chalice/etc... because they get the symbolism elsewhere or they operate on the spirit realm when they do their work.
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby AdastraJunction » Sun May 31, 2015 8:06 pm

I use a metal dagger but that is due to the types of rituals I do. I have known several people to use wooden ones for various reasons and none have had issues with it. As stated it's personal preference and intended use.
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby Kayla » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:42 pm

I'm curious, I've never used a sword before. What role does it play in spell work?
"I went on a journey to fill the empty spaces inside me, I found the bits of my soul in my friends and enemies."
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby SpiritTalker » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:42 pm

No particular function in spell work because of it's size. It's a ritual piece generally used to cast & trace the triple rings of a circle; too expensive for most & unwieldy to lug around.
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby Siona » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:47 am

Swords and athames have very similar uses much of the time. (Although specific uses and correspondences may vary from tradition to tradition, of course.) Swords often are used more in coven workings, rather than in solitary workings, where an athame would do just as well. But if you have a large space, and a sword, you might find using one interesting. As was said, it can be used to cast a circle, it can also be used to invoke in particular workings, salute in others, or even to control or command, it can be used to bless, it can be used to direct energy. It's a very versatile tool, if not a very practical one for many people to use alone.
I sing of Artemis, the pure maiden, who cheers on the hounds, the hunter of stags, who delights in archery over the shadowy hills and windy peaks, who draws her golden bow, rejoicing in the chase.
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby Corbin » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:30 am

(personal thoughts only, with the realisation I open myself up to misintepretation)

A tool is a coorespondance - like the "thing" not the thing in itself. The only reason not to use wood for Fire is 'wood burns' which is an incredibly literal take on a symbol and ergo spurious. Essencially it's the wrong kind of fire (a symbol in itself) when it should be spirit, energy. And possibly even the wrong kind of wood ;)

The masculine symbols. Not male symbols. Masculine in itself is only another coorespondance - like Yang - it is the expression of something active rather then receptive. All things have masculine and feminine attributes regardless of their physiology and creative/destructive expressions.

Myself, I think I understand why we have come to the point where sword=fire and wand=air (A mistake inherited by the misinterpretation of Thelemic coorespondances) follow Tarot where Sword/athame=air & Stave/wand=fire. The other way felt intuitively wrong. That's a personal thing and no slight at all on other people's chosen coorespondances. They don't work like that.

Understanding your chosen coorespondances on an intuitive and instinctive level is what matters; a connection to what the "thing" is, is more important then its degrees of coorespondance - so symbolically you and the universe can communicate - the system used of little importance compared to the intuitive skills developed by the practitioner. Once you, though symbols come to know the 'thing' even physical tools become unnecessary (except in the coorespondance of consistency).

The most important consideration is 'does it work?' - for you - if you have niggling doubts it requires further examination but experimentation comes before conclusion.

With consideration... and to be incredibly frank... there are two ancient symbols or coorespondance which many modern witches have become uncomfortable with (some to the point of denial) - The sacrificial knife of antiquity and the Erect penis. While thankfully people or animals are no longer sacrificed in modern ethical spiritual practice, the symbolism of sacrifice (and the many forms it takes) and idea-thought-decision-air remains while the individual spirits spiritual impetus (not to be mistaken for the souls impetus) remains the driving force of action-passion-will-fire.

---------

The Sword

Sword, divider, to slay or save?
Wield the provider.

With a severed line; live or die?
A sweeping cut; day or night?
The blades edge cries;
Decide! Decide!
Split open the sky!
Defend or rend?
I care not to what end,
Just make me wrong
or make me right …
but make me more than fancies flight.

Balance these words on the Swords point;
where choice lies in its sacrifice.

----------

The Stave

Stave, the Sovereign,
Wand of Will,
Sceptre of Power,
thrust at the sky with every step,
thrust to the earth with every stamp,
betwixt those powers entwined in hand,
brandished bold; its sweep aglow,
behold its fire; its makers brand.

Sap rising; a flame of a different seeming?
… a rod perhaps of a different meaning?

Passion drawn, solar blush,
turning, burning, ever churning,
white spirit rising, red blood wed,
power, purpose - the blaze within,
that fosters life; it’s needle’s thread.

Aroused once stoked, its heat belied,
in the makers hand, aflame,
never still ... seldom denied
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby Kayla » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:57 pm

Siona wrote:Swords and athames have very similar uses much of the time. (Although specific uses and correspondences may vary from tradition to tradition, of course.) Swords often are used more in coven workings, rather than in solitary workings, where an athame would do just as well. But if you have a large space, and a sword, you might find using one interesting. As was said, it can be used to cast a circle, it can also be used to invoke in particular workings, salute in others, or even to control or command, it can be used to bless, it can be used to direct energy. It's a very versatile tool, if not a very practical one for many people to use alone.


Thank you this was very informative!
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Re: Metal or Wood. The Sword, Element of Fire

Postby Lady_Lilith » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:05 am

No wooded athames and swords are not substitutes, that's just a wand at that point. I would take anything DJ Conway says with a grain of salt. Iron/steel athame and swords are used as protection, commanding spirits, and as a weapon. This was specific in the works of the originators of Wicca. Iron gets rid of fairies, evil spirits, and the evil sort of witches they used to tell stories about. So, it is important in witchcraft and it's a shame Neo-Wicca has played down the importance of the sword/athame, acting as though it can be substituted or not used at all.

Also, air is sword/athame and wand fire in the earliest forms of Western occultism. Gerald Gardner switched them around, so that may be where it comes from.
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