An Arsenal of Magic Implements
To accomplish his mysterious purposes, a wizard would arm himself with an understanding of all the interwoven occult disciplines. But before he could put this knowledge into practice, he also required an arsenal of implements to enhance his powers and protect him in his dealings with spirits and demons. Robe and headdress, sword, dagger, and wand were the foremost tools of his trade. With these and the arcane knowledge enshrined in his library of manuscripts, charts, and books, the priest of the night could span the abyss between the seen and unseen worlds.
White, not the black of fairy tales, was the proper color for a wizard’s robe. Cornelius Agrippa, the German scholar whose celebrated Occult Philosophy became a textbook for 16th-century [C.E.] mages, said the wizard should dress in a gown of the finest linen, covering the whole body from head to foot, close-fitting and tied only with a girdle. Buckles and button would obstruct the free flow of supernatural energy. The headdress, whether tall or flat, pointed or round, should also be white, with YHVH, the Hebrew name of God, embroidered on the front. Both robe and headdress should be adorned with sacred emblems—stars, pentacles, and circles.
Once equipped with headdress and robe, the wizard’s most vital task was to forge a sword and dagger. This operation was best conducted when the moon was rising in the sphere of Jupiter, planet of good fortune and success. The mage would then burn incense of ambergris and peacocks’ feathers, saffron, aloe wood, cedar, and lapis lazuli—the scents associated with Jupiter—and chant in the name of God, heaven, and the stars to infuse his weapons with mystic strength.
Only then could the wizard prepare his wand, the most precious of all the magic implements. A slim wooden rod, some twenty inches long, the wand was ideally cut from a solitary bush that had never fruited. On the first night of the new moon, in the hour before dawn, the magician should dip his knife in blood. Facing the eastern horizon, he should cut the shoot with a single stroke of his dagger then peel its soft green bark in the first rays of the reborn sun. The three sacred instruments—sword, knife, and wand—should then be wrapped in a silken cloth until they were required.
Delicate though it seemed, the slender wand was by far the most formidable weapon in the sorcerer’s arsenal. With it he could summon spirits, cast spells, or wreak destruction; he could make objects disappear, or reveal to the naked eye things that were otherwise invisible. If he were a beneficient practitioner, he might use the wand to liberate the victims of dark forces from the curses laid upon them….
— Time-Life Books, The Secret Arts, pp. 114-16
Tags: On Magic