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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Iron was once the primary structural material but has been replaced by steel.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.

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The Magic of Metal: Bronze

Natural History and Folklore

The Bronze Age began around 2100 BC and changed the evolution of mankind by hearkening a leap in technological advancements in tools. As ‘cold iron’ was said to be baneful to the fae and other mythical creatures, as it represented a break away from the natural, so too could bronze share this ideaology. Bronze mirrors were a symbol of great beauty around the world.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol:   N/A         Melting Point: 950*C / 1,742*F
Atomic Number:     N/A         Boiling Point: 2300*C / 4172* F

Physical Properties

Bronze is an alloy made from 85% copper and 15% tin. It shares the physical properties of both tin and copper, making it a useful metal for cooks, metallurgists and artists. It is stronger than both of its base metals though. Tin darkens the brightness of copper to a reddish brown that can be polished to shining tan. It also has antibacterial properties.

Due to the copper in bronze, as it is exposed to air, it oxidizes and builds up a patina to protect the metal beneath. It is a highly ductile metal that exhibits low amounts of friction against other metals.

Practical Uses

Today bronze is used much as it was in previous eras for decorative purposes, but also now for automobile parts and for piping. Is is also utilized in the electrical industry for electrical contacts, in the production of ships propellers, and in making musical instruments.

Magical Associations/ Uses

Bronze would be useful in protection magics, spellwork to inspire creativity, in magic for employment or money, to increase your social status, sound magic, communication spells, general resilience, and opening doors of all kinds. It can also be used in spells and rituals for courage or a stronger sense of self.

If gold is the sun, and silver the moon, perhaps the brown of bronze represents the earth. As it was a key aspect of human technological advancement, it can be used in magic for moving forward, for growth and for grand changes in general.

Correspondences

  • Grand endeavors
  • Courage
  • Practicality
  • imagination/ creativity
  • protection/ resilience
  • collaboration
  • Sound magic/ music
  • Money
  • Element: Fire
  • Planet: Venus & Jupiter

Fun Facts

Most bronze today is made from copper and other metals (aluminum and zinc) as opposed to tin.

China, Egypt and Mesopotamia made a great deal of profit during the Bronze Age.

Historians don’t know the precise reason for the collapse of the Bronze Age, just that it ended abruptly.

The Magic of Metal: Pewter

Natural History and Folklore

During the Renaissance and Medieval times this metal was one of the most commonly used, though in recent times it has become more rare. This metal is mostly tin (anywhere from 80% to 99%) The rest of this metal is usually, antimony, copper or sometimes lead (though lead is absent from modern pewter for obvious safety reasons.)

The name pewter is likely a variation of the word ‘spelter’ which is a traditional name for zinc and zinc alloys. Pewter began to be used around the Bronze Age and the earliest piece was found in an Egyptian tomb from 1450 BC.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: N/A           Melting Point:  170*C /330*F
Atomic Number: N/A             Boiling Point:

As long as your pewter is free of lead, it is safe to keep on your skin or to eat and drink from it.

Physical Properties

A malleable and ductile metal with either a bluish white surface or a bright finish. Pewter is tarnish resistant, keeping its color indefinitely. Most pewter work is unornamented, but those used for display purposes are painted, inlaid with other metals, gilded or enameled. It’s low melting point and ductility make it ideal for shaping and crafting.

Pewter can be cleaned with normal household chemicals and small surface imperfections can be fixed with a simple steel wool pad. Acids, however, over long periods of time an tarnish the metal.

Practical Uses

Pewter was used in tableware by the Egyptians and the Romans, then all the way into the Middle Ages, when it was eventually replaced by pottery and glassware. Some of the most familiar pewter items are lidded and unlidded tankards. More often it is used in collectible statuettes today. Also, since it has a low melting point, pewter is used for candlesticks and jewelry. This makes pewter items less than ideal for being in locations with high heat, such as ovens.

Magical Associations/ Uses

This metal (along with copper and cast iron) is most often related to kitchen witchcraft, stemming from its traditional use in plates, cutlery, and flagons. Traditionally it is associated with ‘common’ magic as opposed to higher magics (i.e. energy work, spirit work, alchemy and the like). It is believed that potions/ brews/ tinctures of any kind work better when brewed in pewter, the same goes for any magical cooking you do.

Due to its connection to decorations throughout history, tin can be used in glamour magics. Used in bronze and other alloys, this might be a good metal to use in magics for softening things, or in magic that needs a softer touch.

Correspondences

  • Protection
  • Home and Family
  • Illumination
  • Divination
  • Softening
  • Zodiac: Capricorn
  • Planet: Saturn

Fun Facts

Pewter is the fourth most precious metal in the world.

Pewter dissolves in hydrochloric acid, producing tin chloride

Pewter is less expensive than silver, but shares its color and shine