Magic is not static, it’s fluid and changes as it weaves its way through time and technology and society. During the Trojan war, magic was very different from what we know now. Society was different, culture was different, and the world was a different place. Magic is really just spirituality, or at least an aspect of it, and across the world spirituality, its practice, and the culture surrounding it were very different things back then. The oldest religions still practiced today were first formed hundreds of years after Troy (although some may have roots that stretch back nearly as far), and the modern interpretation of those religions is very different from their origins.
The world was a different place then, with a different spirituality, and right now the world is again changing. We’re entering a new age, and spirituality is becoming something very different. In the last few hundred years technology has changed the way we view spirituality, and what we, as practitioners, are exposed to.
When the Golden Dawn was formed at the end of the 19th century books about magic were hard to find. Finding a book with even a shred of good information was a godsend. Serious magicians might have libraries of dozens of books, if they were lucky and well to do. A book that a seller in France might constantly mark down because he couldn’t sell it might be highly sought after, and over priced, in the United States. And if you did find a book, there’s a pretty good chance you’d have to sit there and try to translate it from German, or French, or Hebrew, or whatever other language it happened to be written in with little more than some basic phrases and a something to English dictionary.
Not a hundred and fifty years later, and most of these sought after books are available for free and in English on websites across the internet. There’s now more occult/magic/new age/ect books published than people want to buy (and I suspect there’s more published than even people who want to read them). There are really good professional grade translations done of most of the major occult works, and not just ones done by interested magicians that kind of understood the language like in the past, but ones done by professional translators who have a deep understanding of the language and the culture surrounding the work when it was written. Also I suspect about 70-90 percent of the people reading this have at least a gigabyte of illegally downloaded books on their computer.
In a lot of ways technology is great. It is going to make our magic stronger and better and more versatile. I can search the web for a pic of a god, put it up on my laptop, and make an instant portable altar to any entity I want in a few minutes or less. I can store thousands of pages worth of information on herbs on a phone I keep in my pocket, and use a search function to instantly and easily find the parts of the information I need. Magic is changing because of technology, and in a good way.
Then there’s the technomage. Or whatever the modern term is. Technomage is a term I know some guy was using over a decade ago, but it’s one of many terms I’ve seen used to describe a certain mentality and idealism about magic.
Before I go further, you don’t need magical tools to do magic. Anything that can be done using some tool or another can be done without it. Used correctly though tools enhance what you’re able to do, and they help amplify and direct your power. Any good magician can do magic just fine totally bereft of tools, but any good magician is also going to realize how much easier magic can be with the proper tools.
As an example, I’m still young and fit enough to walk ten miles while carrying fifty pounds. But it’s a lot easier for me to just throw that stuff in the back of my car and drive where I want to go.
Proper tools are, well, powerful tools in magic. In the hands of a magician, a wand is a very powerful device, even more so if it’s been properly blessed or enchanted. The pencil you’re using, however, is not a wand. You may be able to move some energy through the wood like a person does with a wand, but you won’t get anywhere near the same effect.
Different kinds of wands, made out of different kinds of wood, feel different, because the wood adds something to a wand. When buying a wand one should be careful to get one made from a type of wand that meets the wants of the practitioner. With a pencil the wood is cheap, and it’s also hollowed out and filled with graphite or lead. It’s a design that makes a poor wand to begin with. The pencil is also something you’re using because you don’t want to go through the cost or effort of buying a real magic wand. If that’s the way you think about your tools, and the sort of respect and investment you’re willing to put into your spirituality, your magic will reflect that.
Incense is a powerful (and cheap) tool. It can change energy, alter your state of mind, and help with visualization, among other things. A can of febreeze, however, is not incense. You’re not going to get any of the benefits of incense by spraying an aerosol all over the room.
Woods have specific energies, stones have specific energies, and metals have specific energies, and many items, such as swords and cauldrons, have specific symbolisms and important non-spiritual uses that are reflected in their magical roles.
Magic isn’t dogma. Spells and rituals can be modified to meet the circumstances of the practitioner or even created from scratch, and proper substitutions can often times be made if a person understands how magical tools work and what their purpose and role in a spell or ritual is. And as I stated earlier, if you can’t find a particular tool, you can always do magic without it, you just have to be a more capable magician.
But a proper substitution isn’t finding something that vaguely resembles (either in form or purpose) what you’re supposed to be using.
A good wand, or knife, or crystal ball, or cauldron, or bell is usually really special to a practitioner, because it is a really powerful tool, and if you’ve never played with a proper magical tool, you really can’t fathom how much of a difference having a proper one makes.
Even something as simple and cheap as a candle is sometimes replaced by certain people with a light bulb, because it’s too much effort or responsibility for them to watch a small controlled fire for a few hours while it burns.
Using a pencil in place of a wand is about the same as turning on a lamp as opposed to using a real candle in your candle magic. If you’ve done any real candle magic, you probably have a good idea how much weaker or more difficult the spell would be if you used a desk lamp instead. That’s what happens when you don’t use a proper wand or sword.
If you’re the type that uses a light bulb for candle magic, I can tell you why your spells don’t work as well as you’d like. Spend a dollar and an evening and try doing a spell with a real candle. In the morning you’ll agree with me.