Category Archives: Grimoire

The Magic of Metal: Lead

Natural History and Folklore

It is the heaviest of the base metals. Lead items found in archaeology are often entirely unbroken and many of the pipes in some European cities are the same lead pipes put in place by the ancient Romans. Alchemists once believed they could turn lead into gold.

The Latin word for lead is Plumbum, which is where the symbol for lead (Pb) came from. The Greeks mined it and it has been used for more than 6000 years.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: Pb              Melting Point: 327.5*C / 621.5*F
Atomic Number: 82                 Boiling Point: 1749*C / 3180.2*F

Wearing anything made of lead over a long period of time will cause it to react with oils in the skin and will be absorbed into your body. It is not toxic to hold for short periods of time, however.

Physical Properties

Lead is not a pretty metal, and tends to block out light and sound. It is a poor conductor of both heat and electricity. Lead is soft and ductile. Melts easily over open flame. Lead has a bluish white color but will tarnish to grey when exposed to air. Lead is very corrosion resistant. Lead is also used on occasion to store corrosive liquids. It has no known biological role, but if it builds up in the body it can be lethal and cause serious health problems.

Practical Uses

The largest use of lead today is in lead acid batteries. It is also used in various consturction industries, and in the manufacture of ammunition, the use of solder in electronics. In machining, it is mixed with brass to reduce the wear on the material.

Magical Associations/ Uses

Lead can be used in magic for connecting with oneself, protection, meditation, stability and grounding. It can be used in binding magic as well, specifically for binding and controlling negative behaviors and thoughts. Lead is also good for communicating with spirits and the underworld.

This metal is also good for magical workings involving learning, and safe travel. Lead is also a great metal for divination, especially in pendulums. As it blocks out sound and light, this metal is good for making barriers against all kinds of energy. Due to its toxic nature, it can be used in curses and other maledictions as well as the inverse, the reversal of such magics.

Correspondences

  • Transformation
  • Resurrection
  • Protection
  • Steadiness
  • Element: Fire
  • Planet: Saturn
  • Deity: Saturn / Chronos
  • Zodiac: Capricorn and Aquarius
  • Element: Earth
  • Grounding

Alchemical Symbol

Image result for lead alchemical symbol

Fun Facts

The ancient Romans made pipes from lead

Plumbum is also the source of the word Plumber

Once used widely in paint, its toxicity has long since stopped that

Half the lead produced is used for automobile batteries

There is no lead in lead pencils, it is actually graphite

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The Magic of Metal: Mercury

Natural History and Folklore

Mercury is also known as quicksilver and was known historically as mercurius vivens or ‘the living mercury’ do to the fact that it still moves around as the temperature changes, even slightly. It has been found in tombs in China, Egypt and India. The Greeks used it to treat skin conditions and it was used to treat syphilis in the Middle Ages. It was also once used in women’s cosmetics, which of course proved fatal.

It was used in thermometers for the longest time, despite its toxicity. Ir rarely occurs alone in nature, usually in cinnabar as droplets. Its earliest use can be traced back to 1500BC, as use in adornments in Egyptian tombs.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: Hg           Melting Point: −38.829*C / −37.892*F
Atomic Number: 80              Boiling Point: 356.619*C / 673.914*F

Mercury is very toxic, so most of its uses are phased out or are under review.
Physical Properties

Mercury is one of the heaviest metals known to man and is a liquid at room temperature. It is an anomaly among the other metals, as it only reacts to heat, though it does not conduct it. It is not hard or malleable, making it unable to be scratched, shaped or bent. It works as an excellent conductor of electricity when it is frozen.

It has no known biological role, though it is found readily in the environment and in every living thing.

Practical Uses

Its mot notable usage might be that is was used in thermometers. It is now use mainly as a catalyst in the chemical industry, though it is also used in electrical switches. It is also used to make alloys called amalgams.

Magical Associations/ Uses

Since it is dangerous to use, it is often replaced with silver. Mercury and its replacements can be used in metal for change, communication, and progress. Mental clarity, learning, and being persuasive are some reasons to use mercury in magic. It can be used in glamour magic as well, but you should not have any direct physical contact with this metal.

This metal can be used in magic for luck, in scrying magic. Since it is so poisonous, either silver or aluminum can be used in its place.
Correspondences

  • Serpents (due to the way it moves)
  • Change
  • Life, death and decomposition
  • Luck
  • Deity: Mercury/ Hermes
  • Planet: Mercury
  • Zodiac: Gemini and Virgo
  • Element: Water. Earth and Air

Alchemical Symbols

Image result for mercury symbol
Fun Facts

It is highly poisonous

Hg, the symbol comes from the Greek hydrargyrum

Quicksilver comes from its mobility

It is useful in extracting gold from rocks

Mercury weighs 13.6x as much as the same amount of water

It is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature

The Magic of Metal: Steel

Natural History and Folklore

Steel was known to cultures through antiquity and was produced in crucibles and bloomeries. Noric steel was used by the Roman military and the Warring States period in China had quenched steel. Steel wouldn’t come into more common use until later on, during the 17th century in Germany and England.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: N/A           Melting Point: 1370*C / 2500*F
Atomic Number: N/A             Boiling Point: 2750*C* / 4982*F

Physical Properties

Technically, a metal alloy, Steel is made of iron and a non metal (carbon). Steel is a metal with a high strength, low weight, high durability and ductility and a great resistance to corrosion. Steel cools down rapidly even from very high heats. There are many different kinds of steel, made by the different specific chemical compositions of the metals themselves.

Chromium is what we add to steel to create stainless steel and give it its resistant properties.

Practical Uses

Use widely in construction of all kinds, it is used in the construction of appliances, buildings, roads, and just about anything and everything in the modern world. Bolts, nails, screws and other construction equipment and tools are widely made from various types and grades of steel, along with household cooking utensils.

Offshore construction, ships, pipelines, aerospace and even furniture are also made from various types of steel. It is a metal that is found in almost all facets of modern life.

Magical Associations/ Uses

Due to its practical uses and associations, it is a good metal to use in magic for defensive purposes, for destructive purposes, for strength, bindings and resistance. It retains iron’s inability to hold magic itself, but can still be used to direct it. Stainless steel can be used for protection magic and glamour magics.

Since it cools down quickly from high temperatures, it can be used in both fire and water magic and rituals, especially those that involve a change in the ‘temperature’ of something, like cooling down one’s anger or lust, tempering one’s emotions. Since Iron is the base metal of steel, it shares many of its magical properties and uses.

Steel can be used in magic and magical items to guard against negativity as well as to prevent nightmares. It can also, like iron, be used in grounding magic and energy work, or to dampen magic and energy in general. Can also be used in reflective magics.

Correspondences

  • Weapons and Armor
  • Permanence
  • Energy
  • Strength
  • Cooling off
  • Directing energy
  • Technology
  • Planet: Mars
  • Element: Fire or Water

Alchemical Symbol

Image result for steel alchemy symbol
Fun Facts

Steel is roughly 1000x stronger than iron

It is the main material in most renewable forms of energy (solar, hydro and wind)

Over 60% of steel is recycled in North America every year

Steel is used in almost every industry there is

The average computer is about 25% steel

2/3 of all canned goods packaging is made of steel

Ask the Witch, Part Six

QUESTION

My question is, how important do you think belief in the supernatural is for being a witch? I’m mostly agnostic (although I’m generally fine with thinking that there are higher beings / forces, like nature or math), so I don’t believe in tarot or the idea that gods exist literally. I was wondering if that would “disqualify” me (for lack or a better term) from being part of that community. From my perspective, it seems like witchcraft is about taking the natural world and using it to do good (like making medicine from plants to help a sick person, or even things like treatments in hospitals as those still are using things from nature to work). So, that’s something I figured works either way (belief or no). Maybe “witch” just doesn’t accurately describe me, which is ok. I’m just curious as to what someone who has a deeper understanding would think. What do you think? I’m thinking of making a small altar in my dorm room next year, but I guess that doesn’t have to be witch-specific, so yeah.

ANSWER

I have good news for you!

The term witch does not mean you have to follow any specific deity. The term witchcraft simply means “religious practice involving magic and affinity with nature, usually within a pagan tradition”… therefore, your love for natural medicine and nature makes you a witch no mater what. Now as far as the ‘supernatural’ aspect goes, of course you don’t have to believe that a deck of cards can give you advice or guidance. You also don’t have to believe that you can communicate with spirits if that doesn’t seem right to you.

Being a witch, ugh ok the thing about witchcraft is that there are as many ways to practice it as there are people who practice it. What you believe and what you don’t believe define YOUR craft. there isn’t a right way to do it. It sounds like you are a very logical, science based person and it only makes sense that you incorporate that into your craft.

also, look up secular witchcraft. there is a good post about it here that I think really explains it well.

As far as making an altar, go for it! set up a little space of whatever makes you feel at peace with your craft. it doesn’t have to be ‘aesthetic’ or stereotypical. It just has to be you.

The Magic of Metal: Iron

Natural History and Folklore

Iron is possibly the most common metal in witchcraft. In general it is associated with repelling magic, demons, spirits and the fae. Iron makes up the major part of the inner and outer core of the earth. The atomic symbol for iron (Fe) comes from the Latin term for iron, which is Ferrum, whose root meant ‘to create, to form or to bear forth’. It is the sixth most abundant element in the universe and iron-oxide is belied to be the reason for Mars’ red surface.

Meteorites are largely made up of iron. Iron is also an important dietary nutrient for plants, animals and humans. The Iron Age succeeded the Bronze age, starting around 1200B.C. Iron is the second oldest metal known to man, the word iron coming from the Anglo-Saxon ‘iren’ which through time meant ‘holy metal’.

Iron has been found in historical sites the world over. In Egypt some iron artifacts have been found that contain a fair percentage of nickel, indicating that they were likely meteoric in origin. Some holy sites once never allowed items of iron make to be allowed inside due to their anti-magical/ spirit repelling properties.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: Fe           Melting Point: 1538*C / 2800*F
Atomic Number: 26                Boiling Point: 2862*C / 5183*F
Physical Properties

Iron in its pure form is grayish, soft, and very reactive. It’s strength comes from its alloying with other metals. Easily corrodes and rusts in both air and moisture.  An excellent conductor of heat and electricity, malleable and the most magnetic of all natural elements.
Practical Uses

The largest and most common use of iron in today’s world is the manufacturing of steel, which is used in everything from buildings, ships, cars, tools and more. As it is one of the strongest metals, and most important for alloys, it is a conundrum since it rusts so easily.

Iron was once the primary structural material but has been replaced by steel. Cast iron is still used in a variety of auto parts and plumbing manufacturers. Wrought iron is also used for cookware and for home decor.
Magical Associations/ Uses

One of the most common uses of iron in witchcraft is to repel other magics or magical creatures. It is also a dousing metal, making it useful in directing magic as well as ‘pulling’ magic from someone or something. Since it is magnetic, it can be used to attract as well as repel. Iron doesn’t hold magic well, which is why it is used to direct and redirect rather than actually holding it. As it is found in meteorites, it nearly encompasses the ideology of “as above, so below”.

Since it is magnetic, iron is an ideal metal for grounding work, as well as for astral travel. Iron can be used in rituals and spells promoting energy, determination, willpower, aggressiveness, fertility rites, speed and beginnings. It is related to the element of fire, so is good for use in any working relating to fire magic. It is a good metal to use in healing magic due to the fact that it is in our blood.

It is useful in blood magic as well. Curses commonly use iron, as well as curse removal magic, as iron deflects and redirects those energies.
Correspondences

  • Attracting and repelling
  • Directing and redirecting
  • Both the earth and celestial bodies
  • Grounding
  • Protection
  • Planet: Mars (deity as well)
  • War, power, strength
  • Courage
  • Zodiac: Aries and Scorpio
  • Healing
  • Permanence
  • Opposition to nature or the natural state of things
  • Love and lust

Alchemical Symbol


Fun Facts

Iron makes up 5.6% of the earth’s crust

Too much iron in the body can be dangerous

It is a structural constituent of the sun, stars in general and planets

Cast iron is made by heating iron alloy into a liquid then pouring it into a mold

China is the world’s largest producer of iron, accounting for 33% of the world’s iron.