From the Master of Golden Thread Camp
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Traditional correspondences assign the elemental weapons as such: the wand for fire, the cup for water, the sword for air and the disk for earth. Consider the wand: it is essentially a hunk of carved wood. How does a hunk of wood represent fire? How does a piece of tempered steel represent air? One would never think: “Well, I better not touch that tree or I will burst into flame” or “this cereal spoon is pinnacle of rational discourse”. So the elemental weapons do not really express the inherent qualities of the elements they represent. Sure, meaning is given to these symbols, but it can feel as if the associations are somewhat forced.
In Liber Aleph Chapter 115, Crowley discusses the difficulty of communicating genius or creative ecstasy. You have had a brilliant inspirational moment of incredible clarity, immediately you begin to translate this divine spark into a painting or poem or sculpture. You were given a glimpse of Atziluth, a pure form of idea, and you labor to bring it down through the other worlds. Finally upon completing your opus you now have a hunk of Assiah which represents this journey. So you take your hunk of Assiah out to the public and tell everyone: “Look! Look! This is a piece of the spark divine. This is my vision.” The response is invariably disappointing. Everyone will probably tell you that it is nice and neat and “interesting”, but rarely will you ever be able to communicate that Atziluthian ideal that sparked the descent into matter.
This is the process by which we derive the elemental weapons (among other elemental attributions). These weapons are the imperfect, Malkuthian crystallization of the quiddity of universal force. The weapons do not show the elements, but rather how a simple human would interact with the lowest octave of that energy or category. Limiting one’s understanding of the elements to the broad, Malkuthian attributions of their weapons is missing the point. For in this form the weapons mark the link of the lower with the highest. A magician will work to reverse this journey by extrapolating the path that leads to the highest form of elemental categorization from the lowest common denominator of it attributions.
But this work is personal, it is dependent on our own unique understanding of the visible world and the invisible forces which act upon it. So it needs to start with symbols and ideas that have the highest density of contextual intersection. The process is akin to commanding: “Here is a rock. Understand the universe.” It is not impossible, but it is a long, creative journey from one side of that equation to the other. The magician may find that elemental water is nothing like what has been described to her. Instead of being the general concept of emotion, elemental water may become associated with more nuanced and personal ideas, such as gravity, or understanding without knowledge, or aethyr or the liquor amnii of particulate matter. The list could go on.
Of course, with a process so dependent on direct experience, it is possible that the magician may find that their understanding of an element has become so divergent from other initiated understanding that it is absolutely without use. To guard against this, the magician must be diligent to constantly check their deepening and lengthening knowledge of the elements with the accounts from masters past. These records will keep the magician on track within the broad definition that such primal concepts demand. Attention must also be paid the subtle and blatant distinctions of each element to another as well as the commonality inherent within them. This will serve to prepare the magician for the apprehension of the unity of all four of the forces of nature.
Once an elevated understanding of these elemental weapons is obtained then the work of consecration can begin.
Love is the law, love under will.