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Thread: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

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    Newbie mahgdelain's Avatar
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    Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    I know in the traditional Gardnerian Wicca, the athame is associated with fire, while the wand is associated with wind. However, I personally associate the athame with wind, and the wand with fire. My reasoning (aside from identifying with the symbolism generally presented in Tarot) is that I associate metal and knives/swords with wind more than fire, as fire seems more like a parallel with power, which I associate more with the wand. (Apparently it somewhat common for the athame and wand to switch elements among different practices, so maybe this isn't quite as strange as I'm making it out to be.)

    So, does anyone here also have elemental associations that other may not consider to be the norm, and how did you come to make that connection?

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    Kick Ass Little Crow Corvus's Avatar
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    Re: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    I did that exact thing for the longest time and I know a lot of people who do associate it that way. I only recently started thinking of the athame as an air symbol and wand as fire
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    Cat Freak Gleb's Avatar
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    Re: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    Um... What is athame?

    Personally, I am connected with earth. It's my human nature maybe. I don't know about the second element, though.
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    Re: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    Since i'm not Wiccan I can't speak to the elemental associations and associated tools. To do that you might want to list your own tools and associations and see what people use or if there are equatable tool comparisons.

    For instance I do not use an Athame at all, yet I do use a sword and use it as a representation of earth and fire though more so for fire. Figure all metal is a product of being formed and molded within flame, yet an aspect of the earth itself. About the only time its not earth is when the metal is formed in space and falls to earth and is then subjected to flame and heat to forge. But I highly doubt to many people have edged items formed from space metals that fell to the earth.

    For air I tend to use either a Jinx or a feather. Of course the feather represents the winged ones who soar in and upon the air. The jinx is an archaic wheel like structure that is hung in the air from a ceiling or such and sings when the wind blows upon or through it. Different patterns making different sounds, almost like a wind chime I suppose. Figure probably the figure that inspired the Hekate's Wheel imagery as it was seen as a magical device and used by a number of goddesses.

    For earth I tend to use a staff, sort of a walking stick in length, say 6 foot. Its a representation of earth and soil from which it draws life but also a representation of the Standing ones who suggest earth and greenery and life.

    For water I tend to use water itself though sometimes i'll use water colored candles as the melting wax has many of the characteristics of flowing water. It pools, it penetrates into things, its both active and stagnate at the same time. Like water it also has various degree's of hardness and pliability and can be changed to other states or transmuted. Figure fire is a catalyst in that is causes change but is not water.

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    Newbie mahgdelain's Avatar
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    Re: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    -Gleb: Athame is a double-edge blade that is often used in ritual or spellwork among certain tradition. In Wicca specifically, it appears to be one of four tools most commonly used as a method of helping focus energy: Athame, Wand, Cup/Chalice, Pentacle. Obviously they aren't necessary for everyone, and I still haven't settled into any particular path, but I liked the idea of having physical representations to help focus intent and well, these were the first I happened to come across and thought I might give them a try.
    -Monsno: Yep, you're probably right I should have listed all of them! My interest in paganism in general was first piqued when I got my hands on a Tarot deck. Because their associations were wand: fire, athame: wind, pentacle: earth, and cup: water, I guess I took that symbolism with me as I began to look at other things. For metal, while I think of the forging process, my first instinct is thinking of metal (specifically blades) as cold and quick, like air. Then, for magic-specific things, I think of using a wand. When I also think of magic/power, it's like a flame to me. So that's the reasoning behind those. Then for water, I do think of a chalice/cup, and for earth I'm actually wavering between pentacle/disk and staff, though because I don't really have room for a large staff where my altar is currently, I may have to stay with the former, haha. I have other items on my alter that symbolize the elements but are less there to perform tasks with and more just to "hold" that particular energy (I'm a very visual person). Obviously I should probably explain more, but alas, I have class, so I will be back later!

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    Sr. Member Riothamus12's Avatar
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    Re: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    Traditionally the set up is this:
    Air: Blade, think of it as a blade that dissects something to understand it
    Fire: Wand, think of it as a symbolic torch
    Water; Chalice, it is used to hold water and other liquids
    Earth: Pentagram, Think of it as symbolic of the foundation on which things rest.
    Aether: N/A. I personally associate it with the interplay between the other four or the spiritual essence of the person enacting the spell.

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    Copper Member Ula's Avatar
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    Re: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    I am not Wiccan either. I don't usually associate tools with the elements. Laying a compass is more about direction than item. I also don't use wands and use my athame for cutting which most say you shouldn't. I have used feathers for air and I would consider athames fire for the same reason someone else said about forges and all.

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    Re: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    Don't know if you'll find this useful or not, but here it is for your reading pleasure:

    Symbolism of the Athame

    The Best Ways to Get an Athame
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

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    Re: Tool-Element Association- Your Opinion?

    I'm not Wiccan anymore...but when I was, I followed the Gardnerian system. (This is probably one of the most esoteric whatnots you will ever hear me wax around here)

    At the time, I was taught that while they can be interchanged both in task and element the athame represents fire because it is primarily used to direct/command (aetheric) "fire"--what Pagans commonly call energy, while the wand represents air because it is primarily for the summoning/inviting of spirits. Also that, when it comes to energy, the athame is basically a power tool--it is used to "cut" a channel for the existing energies in the environment; it creates a sort of psychic vacuum in space to "suck" surrounding energy and condense it in the "channel"....sort of like when you are at the beach and dig a trench into the sand, and water wells up. An athame digs a trench in space for aetheric fire to well into it...its subtractive (like fire). The wand on the other hand is used to draw energy from one's self and add them to the space...its a precision tool, and its additive (like air).


    I'm not Wiccan any more (and haven't been in about 15 years). My tools are chosen because they have mundane purposes in my rituals and I don't associate them with any particular element for magical purposes.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

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