Handling Sacred Tools

Wynn recently asked, “Generically, what are the general requirements to handle sacral tools? Piety, cleanliness, and the ability to shield oneself from the tool/the tool from oneself?”

I love the way this question is phrased: “generically.” Why? Because the “requirements” will change depending on the Deity or Deities involved, the tool, the tradition, and even the person doing the handling (and their headspace, talents, etc.). The question also acknowledges that if there is an issue, that issue might just as easily be with the person handling the tool as with the tool itself. This too, is significant.

Now, I try to avoid handling my sacred tools indiscriminately. They are reserved for sacred work and as with all things that come into contact with the Holy, may carry that type of spiritual contamination. That’s an odd word to use with something holy, right? It is such a negative term in English but I don’t mean it to be so here. It simply is. When a person, place, or thing comes into contact with the Holy Powers in some way, I was taught that this effects an ontological change in that person, place, or thing. It changes them in a way that can affect others. As with any contact with the sacred, one should be prepared before that engagement.

This contamination carries over into spiritual technicians – spirit workers and shamans, orpheotelestai, etc. They carry the contagion of the holy. That’s a good thing, a renewing thing, but something that may have significant consequences as well. This is the first reason that a specialist’s sacred tools need to be carefully maintained and cared for (the second being simple respect for the Holy Powers). If someone is mentally or emotionally unbalanced, if they’re avoiding dealing with themselves, if they are going through a tumultuous patch, if they have hurts that they aren’t yet ready to examine…well, such contact as I was taught, can force the issue all by itself. It can destabilize, open everything up, force the addressing of things, and hopefully bring one through to the other side. This isn’t something a spiritworker, et al does consciously but rather a direct result of that sacred contamination. The goal of such a process is healing and coming into better, cleaner relationship with oneself and with the Holy Powers but I’ve seen it in action and it is … quite remarkable to see unfold. So, being picky about who might handle one’s tools is just a good best practice (1).

It’s important to recognize the sacred and its boundaries. That presupposes piety and respect, of course, but also an understanding of protocol and procedure and a willingness to follow it to the letter. Also, these are sacred tools (or regalia). They belong to the Gods and spirits in question and are used by the specialist. That warrants a bit of respect. They are extensions of the Holy Powers and Their sphere of influence, Their territory. That’s not something to mess about with lightly.

One thing to note as well is that you must be properly centered, grounded, and preferably shielded before you handle any of these tools. I have known people to become dizzy, nauseous, headachy, and even to slip deeply into an altered state just from being in physical proximity to a spiritworker’s tools and/or regalia. I make sure that my ground crew runs through these basic exercises thoroughly before we get to work for just this reason. I’d also have khernipsor Florida water, or some type of cleansing and purifying substance (2). It can help you, the spiritworker, and may be needed for the tool itself. I’d also recommend having silk gloves. I have found that silk insulates to a certain degree from these energies. I also keep organic linen on hand to wrap tools and regalia up in for the same purpose.

Energy is such a nebulous term in this context. When I use this word, what I mean is that through use, consecration, blessing, etc., the tools or regalia in question have become imbued with a tiny, infinitesimal rhythm/pulse/force/flow of the Deity’s Presence/power. As I noted above, it becomes an extension of Them, Their territory, Their sphere of influence (3). It is precisely for this reason that one cannot and should not treat sacred tools and regalia as one might regular clothing. Those things no longer belong solely to the practitioner.

So, when you are going to handle sacred tools, I would suggest praying, centering and grounding, and fully cleansing yourself first. This is good protocol for any ground crew. Remain mindful that you are dealing with sacred things and stay focused and you should be fine. This is part and parcel of what a ground crew does. After tending to the spiritworker, one of their main responsibilities is care for gear, tools, and regalia.

Aside from that, just being respectful and organized will go a long way.

 

Notes:

  1. One thing that I have rarely seen or heard discussed as a spiritworker is what to do with sacred regalia and tools after one’s death. I strongly advise every spiritual technician to put in his or her will clear instructions detailing who should receive those things, or what should be done with them. This may take a significant amount of negotiation and divination on the spiritworker’s part before this can be clearly worked out but not doing so can be disastrous. The numen contained within working tools and regalia can make non-spiritworkers ill if they are unprepared for it. The last thing you want is your sacred regalia turning up at a yard sale after your death. You’re responsible for any harm incurred from that, because it is within your power to make appropriate plans while alive.
  2. Khernips is a type of holy water used for purification and cleansing in Greek polytheisms. It is easy to make: take good, clean water and a bay leaf. Light the bay leaf on fire and douse it in the water. I usually offer a prayer to Apollo asking that through this union of opposing forces, fire and water, mediated by earth (the leaf), this substance be granted the power to purify.
  3. The same might be said of the specialist. They too become extensions of the territory and sphere of influence of the Gods they serve while in active service.

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on June 30, 2020, in Lived Polytheism, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. That is AMAZING! I knew one could be contaminated with Miasma, but I didn’t know the inverse was possible as well…that one can become “contaminated” with Sacred Energies.

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  2. If one were to put together a toolkit as someone offering ground crew services, and I’m just talking about items to help handle sacred tools here as opposed to medical and security items, including a container of cleansing water, perhaps recals, silk gloves that fit, and handkerchief sized )big ones meant to use not dainty pocket squarer) pieces of organic linen would be advisable?

    With the gloves my first thought was ochre red if you could get it, as a nod of respect to that holy substance and the apotropaic effect of red human hands, though such a colorful touch might be distracting.

    I’m also reminded of the hankerchiefs embroidered or otherwise patterned heavily with symbols of warding that I’ve heard of particularly in central europe used to handle holy objects yo prevent contamination, in more Christian-focused lore to keep the human from tainting the holy, but I can see the protective effect going both directions and wondered what your opinion on such embroidered cloths specifically for such work would be?

    I imagine such tools would themselves require some protocols, to be kept both mundanely clean and cleansed of any lingering holy (or miasmic) contamination.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      I’d also have a good sharp knife, energy bars, and an energy drink of some sort, plus a spritzer bottle of khernips. For gloves i just by a box of latex gloves from the pharmacy. once my dentist gave me a box of purple ones. that was cool. I like purple. 🙂 I’m not allergic to latex but for those that are, there are vinyl gloves available and oh….i can’t remember the name of the other substance from which they can be made, but there are options.

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  3. I only meant silk ones for the energetic buffering effect mentioned above, medical gloves are a whole different creature. The spritzer bottle is a handy idea!

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    • ganglerisgrove

      if you find ochre colored silk gloves let me know. I went with a pair of black ones and a pair of white. best i could find. 😦

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