The great mystery of practical magic is supposed to be centred in the Magic Rod, and Éliphas Lévi, who claims to have reconstructed the primitive ceremonial, but seems rather to have over-edited his materials, supplies a highly sensational account of its powers and an elaborate method of its preparation. For him it is the sign of the transmission of the magical priesthood, which has never ceased since the darksome origin of pseudo-transcendent science. The operator is overwhelmed with precautions concerning the secrecy which must be maintained in regard to it and might well be dejected by the difficulties of its consecration. In view of such imputed importance, it is curious that De Abano and pseudo-Agrippa omit all mention of this tremendous instrument, while the Key of Solomon dismisses it in a few lines of easy instruction. It would appear, however, that a staff and rod are both necessary, especially in Goëtic operations, though their distinctive provinces are in no
case described. According to the Book of True Black Magic, the staff should be of cane and the wand or rod of hazel, both virgin-that is, having no branches or offshoots. 1 They must be cut and trimmed on the day and in the hour of the Sun, while the following characters must be inscribed upon the staff, but on the day and in the hour of Mercury: 2--
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If engraved with the "sacred instrument," it will be so much the better. 3 In either case, let the following words be recited when the writing is finished:--O ADONAY, most Holy and most Powerful, vouchsafe to consecrate and bless this Staff and this Rod, so that they may possess the required virtue, O most Holy ADONAY, to whom be honour and glory for ever and over. Amen.
Lastly, the two instruments should be asperged, fumigated and put away in the silken cloth.
The Grimorium Verum directs the operator to make two wands of wood which has never borne fruit. The first should be cut at a single stroke from an elder-tree on the day and in the hour of Mercury. The second should be of hazel, free from bud, and cut in the hour of the Sun. 4 The magical characters which must be engraved upon each have been omitted by the printer, but they are supplied--or their substitutes--in
the modern Italian versions. They are, for the first, the seal or character of Frimost and that of Klippoth for the second (see Chap. III., Sec. 2). The prayer of consecration offers no variation of importance from that of True Black Magic, and does not need to be reproduced. Aspersion and fumigation are prescribed, as in the previous case.
The Grand Grimoire devotes an entire chapter to the true composition of the Mysterious Wand, otherwise the Destroying or Blasting Rod. It mentions no other instrument, and ascribes to it all power in diabolical evocations. It would seem to have supplied Éliphas Lévi with the first hint of his still more potent Verendum, to which, however, an allegorial significance may perhaps be attributed. On the eve of the great enterprise, says this Ritual, you must go in search of a wand or rod of wild hazel which has never borne fruit; its length should be nineteen and a half inches. When you have met with a wand of the required form, touch it not otherwise than with your eyes; let it stay till the next morning, which is the day of operation; then must you cut it absolutely at the moment when the sun rises; strip it of its leaves and lesser branches, if any there be, using the knife of sacrifice stained with the blood of the victim. 1 Begin cutting it when the sun is first rising over this hemisphere, and pronounce the following words:--I beseech Thee, O Grand ADONAY, ELOIM, ARIEL and JEHOVAM, to be propitious unto me, and to endow this Wand which I am cutting with the power and virtue of the rods of Jacob, of Hoses and of the mighty Joshua! I also beseech Thee, O Grand ADONAY, ELOIM, ARIEL and JEHOVAM, to infuse into this Rod the whole strength of Samson, the righteous wrath of EMANUEL and the thunders of mighty Zariatnatmik, who will avenge the names of men at the Day of judgment! Amen.
Having pronounced these "sublime and terrific words," and still keeping your eyes turned towards the region of the rising sun, you may finish cutting your rod, and may then carry it to your abode. You must next go in search of a piece of ordinary wood, fashion the two ends like those of the genuine rod and take it to an ironsmith, who shall weld the steel blade of the sacrificial knife into two pointed caps and shall affix them to the said ends. This done, you may again return home, and there, with your own hands, affix the steel caps to the joints of the genuine rod. Subsequently, you must obtain a piece of loadstone and magnetise the steel ends, pronouncing the following words:--By the grand ADONAY, ELOIM, ARIEL and JEHOVAM, I bid thee join with and attract all substances which I desire, by the power of the sublime ADONAY, ELOIM, ARIEL and JEHOVAM. I command thee, by the opposition of fire and water, to separate all substances, as they were separated on the day of the worlds creation. Amen.
Finally, you must rejoice in the honour and glory of the sublime Adonay, being convinced that you are in possession of a most priceless Treasure of the Light. 1
162:1 The definition of virgin wood differs in the Key of Solomon, which says: In all cases the wood should be virgin--that is, of one years growth only.
162:2 According to the Key of Solomon, both staff and rod should be cut on the day and in the hour of Mercury at sunrise, which limits the operation to the few days of the middle winter, when the sun rises about eight o'clock.
162:3 Presumably, with the burin or graver.
162:4 This variation appears to reconcile the Book of True Black Magic with the Key of Solomon, and is probably the true reading.
163:1 See Chapter VI., Sec. 1.
164:1 Another method of preparing a Magic Rod ordains that it shall be a branch of the hazel-tree put forth during the year of operation. It must be cut on the first Wednesday after the new moon, between 11 P.M. and midnight. The knife must be new and the branch severed by a downward stroke. The rod must then be blessed; at the stouter end must be written the word AGLA ✠, in the centre ON ✠, and towards the point TETRAGRAMMATON ✠. Lastly say over it: Conjuro te cito mihi obedire--I conjure thee to obey me forthwith.