We're only three weeks into this HGA retreat venture and I'm already feeling the pressure. It's like I can't help but work-work-work, consecrating, evoking, empowering, and restructuring all the little bits and pieces of my life through the spirits and inner powers. I'm on fire with how much I need to do, but thankfully I've learned enough from Egyn and my Genius regarding how to keep my feet firmly on the ground, my body nourished, and my mind rested. Not that that's kept the inevitable fatigue away, of course, but it's kept it managed.
Guided by my HGA and Genius, I decided that one thing I definitely had to do soon was to call on the four archangels and the four directional princes in another round of evocations, and consult with them for a kind of "progress update". I had spent all of this year so far wrestling with and putting into practice what it is that they've shown me, and I think I've done a pretty good job. But if there's anything I've learned from working with them (and of course, the spirits of my court), it's how blind we all are to our own blind spots, and so I was very interested in going back to them, presenting the fruits of my inner alchemy, and asking for their evaluation and next steps. Egyn didn't let me proceed to the "practical/magical" portion of his teachings for nearly a month until I got this one thing down right, and I really value that rawness and authenticity.
Naturally, I want to show the spirits that I am a magician of integrity; that I don't just call them and ask for initiations and then do nothing but ride their waves out passively without putting any effort into making my world and the world around me better. Rather, I want to prove that I work hard at what they show me and then come back for more, eager to cultivate a continuously evolving relationship with them and their multifaceted teachings. Studying the Red Work material has definitely deepened the level of affection I feel for these spirits. Far from seeing them as a kind of contact I can just call up for advice and then hang up on until next time, treating them like one-dimensional characters on some table of correspondence phone book, I've come to love them as my family, and in that love discover a lot about my soul what it means to be me.
So I went back and conjured Auriel and Egyn together three times: Saturday-Thursday-Saturday. I received a number of instructions, one of which was to go out and either make or buy a magical tool that would function as the seat of coalescence and growth, on which any desire and product (sigil, charm bag, vessel) could be placed to ascend to full manifestation. They made it clear that it was only when I had fully embraced how it is that my own body and mind bring to manifestation all the little internal impulses, thoughts, and habits I had previously been ignorant of or thought I had under control that I could properly consecrate an external tool, for external magical tools are only ever extensions and refinements of the magical capabilities of the inner self. The reason they only revealed the method of consecration (and gave their license to assist in the manner as well) now was because I had tempered the inner sufficiently enough so that there would be no accidental conflict in the flow of power to the outer. Small wonder I had to go through such a mentally and emotionally grueling experience first. It was a real kind of purging, not just so that I could open up to accept something new, but more so that I could enable authentic parts of myself to see more light and take up more space that had been previously denied to them by the more scattered, cluttered parts of my monkey mind.
Shortly after the first evocation I stumbled upon an earth pentacle another magician had made and was selling that I immediately resonated with. Being that the "four elemental tools" are really a modern invention, I've never found myself very attracted to having a "full set" and using them in strictly elemental ways. That said, knives, cups, and wands have certainly featured in the various forms of authentic, historical witchcraft my practice is informed by, they've just never been attributed to the elements in the way they are in the Golden Dawn, as an example. My altar has always been equipped with a knife, a cup, and a wand, each having taken multiple incarnations, but what those tools mean to me and what my relationship is with them has drastically changed and will continue to change as I work more with and learn under the spirits. When I first started out as a baby witch I certainly thought of them in more elemental terms, because I had been so immersed in modern tarot decks and books which affirmed that view. Later after developing a relationship with the beings that govern my witchcraft tradition, I came to see them in a completely new, more versatile light. Now my understanding of the elements and their role as the "translators" of creation (as opposed to the building blocks) has also informed a new appreciation for potential tool attributions, especially since I see them as being a lot more than just either the physical earth/water/air/fire or even their corresponding properties, but also as modes of thinking, moving, breathing, and being.
In a sense, I kind of came full circle. I don't see the "elemental tools" as inherently elemental, but I do see how their forms can express the "ways of the elements", as Auriel called them. My cup, for example, is a lot more than just a ceremonial water cup, but it can express a lot about the ways of water when I need it to, and when it wants to. What the spirits asked me to do was to obtain a tool that would be the seat of manifestation, coalescence, and growth because those are the chief ways of earth. With those qualities in mind, I was to be mindful of the form of the tool. Things should be able to lie comfortably on its surface when cooking, so to speak, otherwise if it is a bowl it should be large enough to hold most potential materia. I decided that I wanted something flat and sturdy that even larger objects could sit on, either a small table or a disc. My only other instructions were that it should pay heed to the spirits and the stars which share in the same way or path.
Pentacles and discs really lend their forms well to this sort of practice, and I can really see why it's no accident that a modern tradition developed around this understanding. I thought that quartz, gold, beeswax, or clay would make a good base. Ultimately what I went with was an exemplar another magician had made for sale that I fell in love with; a clay earth pentacle heated with olive oil and beeswax for hardening and sealing. It bears the names Uriel, Phorlakh, Kerub, Ghob, Gnomos, and AGLA around the rim, with the signs for Jupiter and Saturn, and Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn surrounding the earth symbol. In the middle is the final ה of יהוה.
I took it lovingly into my hands as soon as I received it, treating it like an important comrade. I rubbed it with Abramelin oil and consecrated it under Auriel and Egyn on the third evocation. I've already used it to charge and seat a spirit's essence into a home I had created for it. The whole vessel sat on the pentacle for 24 hours and immediately began manifesting "supernatural activity" once I had taken it off to place it on the proper altar.
I'm halfway through this process for the water instrument, but will leave the details for after the full moon when the consecration is complete.