I stole this title from Jason Miller, he posted Tools of the Trade a few days ago on his Blog Strategic Sorcery. But I felt it was such a good title, it could be used more than once, so here goes...
My wife placed an order a few days before Fathers Day, but it didn't come in time. A few days later she called to see what was taking so long and found out the gift was not shipped immediately after being ordered for a very simple and profound reason. It did not exist.
She had placed an order with Capricorns Lair, an online metaphysics supply store. A Great metaphysics supply store by the way! Every time we have ever ordered from them we have received great products in a timely manner.
So we were quite surprised when my Fathers day gift, a Silver Blade Bronze Handled Boline never arrived. But when we called to find out why, we were pleasantly surprised. They had not shipped it because it had not been made yet. The description says "made in the USA, not China" but it should say HAND MADE in the USA, when you order it.
When we called to find out about the delay the phone was answered by a very friendly voice, and when we asked about it he said he was actually still in the process of making it when we called. As it turns out he was the Silver Smith who forged the blade.
I fell in love with the idea that it did not come out of a box of a hundred or so assembly line products from China or anywhere else. I have a nice collection of various ritual tools, but they are not a trophy case collection. They are used regularly, and I have accumulated them slowly over time. Each one is unique and meaningful to me, and many like this one has a story.
In my tradition we have a Rubric definition for many things including tools;
"...The Boline is a ritual tool used by traditional Witches to prune and harvest medicinal plants for use in their craftwork, but we as Veritas Wiccans are also taught to use it in a more spiritual manner by harvesting inner fruits and promoting personal growth..."
I really love this tool, the very high quality of its hand made construction and the deep symbolism it holds for me and my craft. My wife thought it was a fitting gift as I've been writing a lot lately about the Fruits of my Labors, which I think is or should be one of the most important purposes for the practice of Witchcraft. The Great Work of Self Improvement.
In other Tool News...
I bought a fishing spear at the beginning of the summer, and finally put it to use. I got it at the Sports Chalet, it's about six foot long fiberglass, and was only about twenty bucks. It kinda reminds me of a CB antenna with a bungee cord on the one end. My close friend and Coven mate is a Scuba Instructor, he called it an Hawaiian Sling and gave me a few pointers on tension and grip.
My tradition teaches every tool has an operative and a speculative use and meaning, like the Boline. Physically used to cut plants and herbs on the outside, while applied spiritually to cut out the dead wood and harvest from our inner garden.
As I lay on the river bank after a long day of swimming and hunting trout with my kids, I thought about the operative and speculative symbolism of my fishing spear. I think it's funny that I always hated fishing with my Dad. I always loved my Dad, I just hated sitting there waiting for a fish to come along and bite down, it always seemed so boring and way to passive for me.
I hit my first fish on my first try, but he didn't stay on, my aim was off. I learned real quickly that you gatta lead them a bit.
I chased this one, it's strange to me that they don't take straight off. They dart only a few feet and back around, he made the mistake of giving me a second chance, and then a third.
It's amazing how much you can learn while your holding your breath...
When I came bursting out of the water with this nice big guy on the end of my spear, fighting and flopping it spooked a small family, the women were not happy to see fish that big where they were swimming with their kids.
I cleaned him right then and there on the bank, I thanked the fish for being my first and for teaching me so much before he gave himself to me. Then with a few sacred words I ate his little, still beating heart.
I scooped out the rest of his goodies and with a few more special words gave them to Yvn-Wi Gv-Na-Hi-Ta, the long man, the spirit of the river. Thanking him for having me and my children as his guests, before we took the trail back to civilization, back to the matrix.
My wife and I are strangely old fashioned when it comes to certain things, it's seems funny to think of us with the tattoos, piercings and Witchcraft as being traditional, but we are. I was proud and manly to come home and slap a fish down, spear in hand. My wife was happy too, just the idea of the hunter-gathering man bringing meat home to Mama.
The trout was good, really good. Almost as good as the pigeons I ate in Iraq, but not quite.
But I was starving back then, and there was a war going on in the background.
But it was good, and so was the lovin' that night.
So I'm going back tomorrow. Grin.