The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Author: Raven Digitalis
Jewelry has long been used in magick. Its most common historical use is protective, to guard against demons, malicious creatures, and adversaries’ attacks. With the rise of metallurgy, specifically designed pieces came to be used as magickal talismans. This is prevalent in indigenous and modern societies both.
Jewelry can be a stylistic way to display your beliefs and alignments either inside or outside of ritual circle. Practitioners of numerous spiritual varieties prefer wearing ritual jewelry in the form of charms, amulets, and talismans. Each piece is a significant reflection of a practitioner’s individual callings. Many ritualists go skyclad yet choose to wear jewelry. Metal shimmers and reflects light, becoming important pieces of focus in ritual, especially those held under shroud of night. Gemstones are also common, being direct manifestations of Mother Earth.
Other magicians choose to eliminate all decorative wear including jewelry from the body prior to ritual. They believe the pieces detract from the energies raised, inhibiting the natural flow. On the other hand, most occultists feel that if the piece is properly charged, the magickal act is actually emphasized and the raising of energy can be better directed for a specific purpose. This debate goes hand in hand with the ideas of body piercings being either beneficial or detrimental additions to magickal work. Some believe that when used in ritual, metal is conductive to spiritual vibrations and that simply wearing it presents a suitable image of oneself to the gods and spirits, filled to the brim with sacred symbolism. This is especially beneficial when each piece has been previously charged with magickal intent.
This article examines metal jewelry and the metaphysical associations of metal in particular.
Jewelry reserved solely for ritual and ceremonial purposes are called bigghes. This separates ordinary jewelry from sacred jewelry. Bigghes originally referred to a High Priestess’ ceremonial jewelry but is now used more to refer to any Witch’s jewels.
Some choose to physically protect their bigghes outside of circle in order to ensure that no external energies become attached to the piece, keeping them hidden in a secret place unless ceremony decrees. A popular method is to wrap the ornament in cloth, specifically black for protection. Some choose to reserve certain jewelry for nocturnal rites and others for diurnal, keeping the jewelry attuned to specific ritualistic energies alone. Jewelry can be attuned to any additional purpose imaginable, whether zodiacal, planetary, emotional, intellectual, based in the chakras, or attuned to a piece’s specific symbolism.
Chinese Mysticism, Taoism and Metal:
Spirit is commonly referred to as an individual element in Paganism and Wicca. This recognition places an emphasis on the Divine as the most important aspect making up reality. On the Neopagan pentacle or pentagram, Spirit is placed at the highest point, understood as supreme because it unifies the elements and seals them all together. Though Paganism recognizes Spirit individually, ancient Chinese mysticism sees no separation between Spirit and the other elements. All intertwine and interconnect perfectly, forming the Universe and everything in it. The existence of chi is understood as connecting their conception of the physical elements. The recognition of the five Chinese elements came about before humankind drew a strict separation between reality and spirituality. Therefore, it was unnecessary at the time to consider Spirit individualistically. Some Pagans use the Chinese elements instead of the traditional Pagan ones, while most do not.
In Paganism, metals first and foremost correspond to the element Earth. In ancient Chinese mystical systems such as Taoism, the element Metal is said to encompass all forms of rock and mineral life. In the Taoist practice of Feng Shui, metal represents inner strength, determination, and receptivity. Physically, metal expands when heated. This reiterates the energetic receptivity of metal, that is, if one understands that physical reality (the metal itself) as a reflection of the spiritual. Within Chinese spiritual systems, its energy also dominates the autumnal season and draws energy inward for personal reflection and centering on the subconscious mind. In Chinese astrology, Metal rules the birth signs Monkey and Rooster as their fixed element. In more detailed Chinese astrology, the element ruling each animal rotates continuously while certain attributions remain fixed, so that each birth year has an additional correspondence. Those ruled by Metal tend to be confident, aggressive, and assertive in nature.
Metal is said to correspond to the physical body’s lungs. The lungs hold the sacred breath of life. This is recognized in Buddhist vipassana (breathing or ‘insight’) meditation, which, though having originated with early Theravada Buddhism (which is a school of Hinayana or Early Conservative Buddhism) is common in the Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhist tradition as well. The skin also breathes and is therefore also ruled by Metal. The nose and mouth are also included, as they are gateways of the breath. Finally, the large intestine corresponds to Metal, as oxygen in the diaphragm regulates abdominal pressure. Deep breathing is essential to keep the blood flowing and the body moving.
In Chinese alchemy, seven metals are specifically emphasized: Iron, Copper, Silver, Tin, Gold, Mercury, and Lead. Each represents a particular stage in the development of humanity. Each corresponds to a planet, having specific astrological correspondences (see the following chart) . Planetary associations to metals came about as a result of the development of various alchemical sciences. The symbolism of “seven” is reflected in the western seven-point star called the septagram, and in the traditional Hermetic hexagram, wherein six planets represent each point of the symbol, with the sun resting in the center. The number seven is also significant in the Vedic Hindu chakra system as the body contains seven main “light wheel” energetic vortexes along the spine.
Additional Pointers on Magickal Jewelry:
When searching for jewelry, or crafting it oneself, one must be mindful of the piece both in a magickal sense and physical sense. Magickal jewelry should be an extension of the practitioner’s internal spiritual being. Not only is a piece’s symbolism significant, but its physical origin and placement on the body are of additional importance.
Sadly, due to corporatism, much jewelry is mass-manufactured overseas. Most of these pieces are made of tin, pewter, or reconstituted silver. These kinds of metals hold a low concentration of energy, in turn causing them to be more difficult to enchant or imbue with magickal properties. Though the price of “real” metal may be considerably higher than the mass-produced, it’s spiritually and aesthetically worth it! Naturally, handmade pieces hold more sentimental and actual value, even if the wearer does not personally know the creator. Each handmade piece is unique and can both conduct and hold a greater capacity of personal energy.
As an aside, please be a good Witch by asking the source (supplier) for the gemstones and crystals you wear; if stones are not ethically mined, whether in terms of the ecosystem or the human labor involved, it won’t carry good karma for you or anyone else.
I believe that jewelry should not be worn nonchalantly; the wearer should have a good amount of knowledge about the symbol they bear and should carry personal sentiments for the piece. Far too many people walk around with flashy symbols completely unaware of the meaning—occult bling, basically.
In addition to having a personal connection to the symbolism of the jewelry, one should always be aware of the reaction it evokes from onlookers. How does the symbol affect other people; what emotions does it have the potential of bringing about in the viewer based on what it might represent to them? Perhaps a Seal of Saturn or Baphomet pendant aren’t the best pieces to wear to the dentist’s office or to a parent-teacher conference. They would, however, be perfect for a Pagan festival or a night at the club!
Any item added to the body naturally influences the body’s energetic flow. Metals have specific properties, which can either inhibit or increase the energetic flow in the area in which it is worn. If a piece is worn near a chakra, it will likely have some sort of influence simply because of energetic proximity (especially if the piece has been enchanted) . The area on which one wears their jewelry carries particular importance. Which brings us to this fabulous list!
Fashioned as a perfect circle, the ring represents eternity, reincarnation, and the cycles of the Universe. It acts as a smaller representation of the magician’s sacred circle. Because of the ring’s shape, magickal energy flows very well through it when charged. Its smoothness and shape symbolizes life’s perpetual cycles.
The ring has long been associated with love. It is a symbol of unity in modern marriage and handfasting ceremonies, solidifying the connectedness between two people and the influence of the Divine in ritual. The ring is placed on the third finger of the left hand, which was once believed to have a vein or nerve in it connecting to the heart. This was actually a misunderstanding by the Egyptians, later adopted by Greeks and finally Europeans.
Magickal folk have long worn rings. The famous Babylonian magician King Solomon had a ring called Solomon’s Seal, which mythically allowed him to accomplish any task he wished, including controlling demons, genii, and other spirits.
Rings can be magickally imbued with any purpose the wearer desires. Because they sit directly on the flesh, the energy of the charged ring has a constant connection with the body. Rings worn on the projecting hand (the hand you write with) should be imbued with properties you wish to project to others such as healing, awareness, peace, and so forth. Rings worn on the receiving hand should be imbued with properties you wish to invite into yourself. (Please be a mindful Witch, magically, not a selfish Witch; there are far too many of the former and not enough of the latter!)
For some wearers, the finger on which the ring is worn is of extreme importance. Traditional Hermetic elemental attributions are as such:
Thumb – Water
Pointer – Fire
Middle – Spirit
Ring – Earth
Pinky – Air
One can also channel the elements through the fingers when inviting them into ritual space. In some modern traditions, the associations between the ring finger and the thumb are switched. This actually makes more sense to me than the former, considering that the thumb is more solid or earthy, and the ring finger is more undulant or watery. I do believe that the finger best associated with Spirit is the middle because it’s the longest of the five. Think twice before flipping someone off… your spirit may be open for anyone to grab!
Necklaces are a part of every culture and are included in popular myths. A necklace called the brisingamen was worn by the goddess Freyja in Norse mythology. The necklace was made of gold, created by dwarfs, and was associated with the ability to bring out the beauty of the wearer. The enchanted necklace was later stolen by the trickster deity Loki—go figure!
Necklaces absolutely surround the wearer with the energies of the piece, mending its energy with that of the wearer constantly throughout the day. This is one reason the jewelry worn should be chosen with care! Necklaces can hang at the throat or heart area. Therefore, the piece works with energies of each: The heart chakra is associated with the color green and contains the vibratory qualities of love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. The throat chakra is believed to be blue in color, connected to energies of communication and self-worth. The jewelry worn on each chakra point can be attuned directly to these associations, or simply carry their own magickal charge using these chakra points as an entryway into the energy body.
Fashioned in a circular form, bracelets hold similar properties to rings.
Wearing empowered bracelets on each wrist is extremely effective for imbuing the magician with particular vibrations, either balancing one’s energy or attuning it to an intended purpose. For this reason, bracelets are especially good for magick of a self-transformative nature. (Many would argue that this is the most important magick there is.) Bracelets made of stone or a series of threaded stones can be highly charged with magickal associations appropriate to the stone. Metal bracelets carry associations with the list of metals (to follow) , while magnetic bracelets are reserved for a specific energy healing practice called magnotherapy.
Ear piercings were once thought to guard against disease, head pain, and “sinful words.” This is more in the realm of superstition than magick, but earrings can still carry magickal associations. Because earrings in pairs are oftentimes worn on opposite sides of the head, they may be empowered with balance and equilibrium. Throughout the day, energies bounce from one earring to the other and thus through the head. If enchanted as magickal polarities, earrings can lend an extreme amount of power to the wearer, especially if the symbolism, structure, or content of the pieces are considered.
Ceremonial crowns are so very sexy. They are most common with females because of their historic usage, though some male practitioners like wearing Horned God crowns or those aligned to the Holly King or Oak King as popularized by poet Robert Graves. In traditional Wicca, the Coven’s Priest and Priestess wear crowns, symbolizing a connection to the gods. Most crowns are made of sterling silver; the well-made ones tend to be fairly pricy. If the Lady chooses to wear her ceremonial crown outside of circle, she best be prepared to live in magickal consciousness the whole day through, standing strong and spiritually aware as a Priestess of the Goddess. Some people wear tiaras and crowns non-ceremonially, for fashion’s sake. This is simply for decoration, but as with all jewelry, it may be used to top off a magickal, enchanting outfit.
What kind of metal is it?
I have always seen molded metal (such as jewelry) as corresponding to both the elements Earth and Fire, regardless of the type. Metal is a natural substance of the earth, and is melted, molded, and crafted with a process involving extreme heat from fire in order to take on a shape. The element Earth represents strength, grounding, and connection to Mother Earth. It is the rational and logical portion of the human psyche. Fire represents passion, motivation, and strength. Its flame is a guiding light to spiritual awakening. Beyond the concept of Earth-Fire connectedness, the various metals also carry their own unique correspondences based on their vibrational currents. Metal jewelry may be worn to draw upon Earth and Fire alone, or magickally worked upon to fine-tune the specific qualities of the individual metal.
The Witches’ athamé and sword are metal tools, used to pierce between the worlds and serve as strong energy conduits. Though I may draw Earth-Fire correlations with physical metal, the magickal blades are ruled under the element Air in western occultism (like Hermeticism) , and thus Wicca. This makes sense, as a blade is used in ritual to project intention, command forces, and direct energies; the force of will behind it can easily align with the element Air.
The following is a list of generally recognized associations with various types of metals. I invite readers to reference this list when purchasing or creating magickal metallic jewelry.
Brass – Deflecting Harm, Fire Magick, Healing, Love, Luck, Mental Powers, Money, Protection. (See also Copper)
Bronze – (See Copper and Tin)
Copper – Amplifying Energy, Balance, Beauty, Calming, Clarity, Compassion, Conducting Energy, Confidence, Cooperation, Creativity, Divination, Emotions, Empathy, Fire Magick, Friendship, Harmony, Healing, Intuition, Love, Luck, Lust, Money, Motivation, Newness, Passion, Physical Health, Pleasure, Preventing Illness, Prosperity, Psychic Development, Sexuality, Sociability, Strengthening Spells, Sustenance, Unity.
Gold – Acceptance, Affirmation, Art, Assertion, Balance, Calming, Courage, Creativity, Dedication, Direction, Energy, Esteem, God Invocation, Guidance, Happiness, Healing, Health, Individuality, Inspiration, Life Choices, Male Mysteries, Mental Powers, Money, Power, Prosperity, Protection, Purification, Realization, Rebirth, Satisfaction, Seasonal Connectedness, Self Awareness, Spiritual Direction, Strength, Study, Success, Wisdom.
Iron – Action, Aggression, Balance, Change, Chaos, Courage, Cursing, Deflecting Harm, Determination, Emotional Control, Extraterrestrial Communication, Faerie Magick, Facing Challenges, Grounding, Healing, Instincts, Justice, Motivation, Physical Health, Protection, Pursuance, Releasing Anger, Sexuality, Strength, Strengthening Spells, Success, Wealth, Willpower.
Lead – Ambition, Banishing, Binding, Boundaries, Business, Change, Chaos, Cleansing, Cursing, Death Magick, Deflecting Harm, Discipline, Divination, Exorcism, Fear-Based Issues, Freedom, Grounding, Habit Breaking, Healing, Introspection, Introversion, Laws, Magickal Petitions, Materialism, Meditation, Necromancy, New Beginnings, Past Life Regression, Protection, Receiving, Recurring Cycles, Releasing, Restrictions and Freedoms, Self Control, Stability, Strengthening Spells, Thaumaturgy, Transformation, Wishes.
Pewter – (See Copper and Tin)
Platinum – Abundance, Balance, Channeling, Communication, Friendship, Growth, Health, Hope, Intuition, Love, Materialism, Memory, Mental Powers, Money, Optimism, Psychic Powers, Sustenance, Transformation, Upperworld Communication. (See also Iron)
Silver – Acceptance, Alignment, Art, Astral Projection, Balance, Beauty, Care, Communication, Dance, Divination, Dreaming, Eloquence, Empathy, Female Mysteries, Fertility, Gardening, Goddess Invocation, Guidance, Healing, Hope, Inspiration, Intuition, Love, Lunar Attunement, Meditation, Menstrual Attunement, Money, Night Magick, Nourishment, Nurturing, Optimism, Peace, Personality, Prosperity, Protection, Psychic Powers, Purity, Self Reflection, Sensitivity, Study, Travel, Wealth.
Steel – Deflecting Harm, Divination, Dream Protection, Grounding, Healing, Protection, Stability. (See also Iron)
Tin – Abundance, Balance, Creativity, Divination, Expansiveness, Generosity, Growth, Healing, Health, Hope, Ideas, Intuition, Justice, Learning, Love, Luck, Mental Powers, Money, Opportunities, Philosophy, Prosperity, Spiritual Awareness, Success, Travel, Wisdom.