MAGIC WANDS - Labour, Capital and Magick > by Levin Diatschenko

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“I am the sceptre of the rulers of men.”

– Krishna.






Labour is accomplished with the hands, and a man’s will is indicated by what he holds in his hands. It was with his hands that humanity built its great cities and artworks. With his hands he hunted and cultivated food. With her hands she carried the newborn child of the future generations. It was also with his hands that man killed.

   A person does not hold a tool unless he has a purpose. Tools, therefore, indicate purpose itself. If a man holds a gun, his will is to kill; if he holds a hammer, his intention is to build; fingers poised above a typewriter keyboard signify the person’s intent to discourse with humanity. And so on.

   The symbol of all these possible tools or possible purposes – the archetypal symbol of Man’s will – is the rod. The rod is the prototypical concept of a tool. It is a straight line, born from a point. It is a stick that fits in the palm of a primitive hand, held firm by the opposable thumb that makes him human[1]. The line is as straight as his purpose is steady and undeviating. It is simple and unspecified so as to include the concept of will itself, of the freedom will power brings and of order in an otherwise chaotic universe.

   We’ve seen this image as the wand of the magician, who ‘with magic’ -- that is, bypassing the middle processes of building -- manifests his will. It is the staff of the wizard and the club of Hercules.



wizard staff



   Every tool is therefore an incarnation of the rod, though with each specification and change in shape, its power is lessened, less universal, more localised. More ‘hands on,’ we might say. A monarch holds a sceptre, which physically has no application or function. But a monarch rules over an entire kingdom. A wave of his sceptre can cause a city to be built. A shovel, on the other hand, has unquestionable use and definite function. But its wielder has rule only over himself, if that.

   In Initiation, Human and Solar, Alice A. Bailey speaks of actual rods of power, kept by the world’s hierarchy of enlightened Mahatmas. She says:

“ In the sceptre of a ruling monarch at this day is hidden the symbolism of these various Rods. They are duly recognized as symbols of office and of power, but it is not generally appreciated that they are of electrical origin, and that their true significance is concerned with the dynamic stimulation of all the subordinates in office who come under their touch thus inspiring them to increased activity and service for the race.”

   Another reminder of this relationship is the ‘staff’, in the fact that the head of an organization has a ‘staff’ of people working under him (under his purpose).

   The further away from its universality the rod grows, the less visible it becomes. First there are simple modifications, such as having a pick on the end. Eventually, however, the shovel becomes a front-end loader, or a bobcat. They are still operated with the hands, but the simplicity of the straight line is lost in the details. The pen becomes the computer keyboard.

   At the end of a life, the rod becomes simple and visible again, this time as a walking stick held by an old man. He leans on it as if, with his bodily strength fading, the only thing keeping him up is his Will.

   The rods inside the clock understand this metaphor; they are even known as ‘hands’, and they point diligently to the present moment. This is because the only time we can make a difference in the world is now -- that is, the present. The present moment is the fulcrum. We can neither exert our wills in the past nor the future. The watch-face shows that the primeval power in us, symbolised in the rod, never for a second loses sight of the present moment -- as if indicating the door of opportunity. The hands are made completely invisible with digital technology, of course. But they still exist; just as the spirit is now occult, though as existent as ever in humanity[2].


As stated, the hands and their contents indicate the purpose in a person. If there is no purpose, the palms will indicate this too. The absence of the rod leaves a vacuum in the palms that attract ‘reverse rods,’ that is, indications of the absence of will.

   A cigarette, for example, is a reverse-rod. Visually it self-destructs. Practically it is a substitute purpose; the cigarette ‘employs’ the idle hands. It also kills the smoker, whereas will power represents life. The cigarette causes slavery through addiction when rods or tools, free people from bondage (in theory and purpose). A bottle of beer can also stand as a general reverse-rod, and so on.

   A cigar, displayed with pride in the mouth of a tycoon may be an indication of possession -- a desire-demon possesses the smoker. The ‘demon’ has stuck a burning stick out of the ‘door’ to signify that the ‘house’ has been taken.

   Sometimes, the wielder of a rod has little control over it, as it is a rod that reflects the will of a faceless corporation, a market trend or other external patterns. Building a rod like creating a Sabbath, then serving it.

   Those who have no rod are similar to negative mediums. But when they adopt sections of other people’s rods -- in the form of employers -- they are sometimes saved, temporarily at least. I have worked in labouring jobs with people who were quite self-harming when faced with spare time. One such man would drink alcohol until he passed out as a regular habit on his days off. His job perhaps saved him, being that it took up most of his time. Freedom would no doubt have killed him. Such was the vacuum left behind in place of a purpose. 


   Rods control and direct the attention, and therefore the life force. A conductor’s baton directs, holds together and organises an orchestra into a synthetic whole. The baton is here a bridge that the music uses to travel from the world of ideas into the physical world as soundwaves, perceivable by the ears. Perhaps this is why he is called the conductor.

   A lecturer directs his pointer to the blackboard, and the classroom fuses its attention on its contents. The rod creates unity.

   As the hands on the clock point to the present moment, which, in other words means eternity (what Helena P. Blavatsky called “Duration”); so too can a long enough rod encompass all of space, giving all men an opportunity to grab hold. “And,” as Freemasonry puts it, “in all his pursuits […] have eternity in view.” This is the famous lever that can move the world.

   A corporate owner states his will, say, to build some office blocks. His invisible rod fragments and specifies. The architect takes a piece in the form of a pencil. With it he controls and directs what dozens or more workers will then do, with lesser and more specialised ‘branches’ of the rod. It leads from the corporate executive on one end all the way to a worker on the other end.

   But, what of other corporations and competitors? The rod of one nation is only long as its borders. We can see that the world then is made of many long rods, but few reach around the globe. These relatively short rods incarnate as swords and rifles, in order to clash at the borders. Capitalist lances hit against Trade Union lances. Flags are hoisted on rods.

   We can theorise, then, that only one rod is large enough to encompass the world.

Only one, expressed in the ideals of the UN (and its ILO), is within reach of all people all over the world. Christian terminology puts it thus: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” (Perhaps we see an incarnation of this rod as the flaming torch of the Olympic games.)


   In the New Testament we have this warning: “Every plant which my heavenly father did not plant shall be rooted up”.

   The image of the tree is common. Hercules made his club from the branch of a tree. In some tarot card decks, tree trunks, branches and so forth represent the Suit Of Wands. Here they would have knotty staffs like that of a wizard, rather than the smooth man-made rods of a performance magician. Trees reach for the sun, as our purpose is to reach for the light of spirit. They also produce fruits, as does labour.

   When we go against natural law, which is born of a higher will, our rods eventually snap under the pressure of the greater rod. The state of the environment, of mental health, the oil crisis, and many other instances are all evidence that the capitalist system dominating world interrelations today, is breaking against the pressure of natural law.

   This lesson is indicated for us when two magicians challenged Moses. He throws his rod on the floor and it turns into a serpent (which has its own allegories again). The mages of the Pharaoh do the same, but the serpent of Moses swallows their serpents. It then becomes a staff again. All smaller wills are absorbed in the Greater Purpose, illustrating that in the end there is only one life which we all share. A similar principle is shown in Hermes’ caduceus. The dual snakes are controlled and directed up along the winged rod.



   Another relationship that the caduceus and the Moses story reveal is how all areas of human endeavour polarise or develop into a duality. We see this in many things such as capital vs. labour, religion vs. science, Left wing vs. Right wing, Mods vs. Rockers, Men vs. Women, Spirit vs. flesh, and so on. Debates will usually polarise too, no matter what the topic.

   The new third rod that was Moses’ staff indicates how we finally transform the duality into a trinity. The two merge into one. 


   This issue, like all others, comes down to the Seven Rays of which H.P. Blavatsky first spoke of, but which are present in all the scriptures of the world’s religions. The first three factors in considering captital and labour are the first three rays in practice.

1st Ray… This is associated with Life, purpose, universality, will and freedom.


   What is the purpose of any given job? One needs money and work to ‘live’. All jobs must have a fundamental spiritual purpose; making money is a substitute purpose, not a true purpose. People yearn for reason. The first ray also denotes universality, and so too must all produce be for the good of all men.


2nd Ray… is associated with love, wisdom and connecting.


   People yearn to love their work, and to engage in something harmless and beneficial to society.


3rd Ray… is associated with creativity, comprehension and active intelligence.


   One needs to feel the job is being done well, with creativity and intelligence, and employees need to comprehend their tasks. 


Alice A. Bailey illuminates more examples of the triad in this area: --


Capital………………….The Land…………………….Labour



Labour Union……………General Public……………….Management

Money Factor……………Material Factor………………Human Factor


Proffit…………………….Cost of Living………………..Loss



   In his paper, Beyond Employment, The Next Agenda (, Ken Phillips gives us the legal definition of employment, which is very interesting when coming from an occult perspective. Here is a quote:--


  “[W]hen [people] become employed they enter a legal state of being in which the employer has the "right to control" them.

   “When Australian industrial relations courts consider issues they first ensure that employment exists.   
   “The courts, in determining the legal existence of employment, apply several tests, the major one being the "control test". If an employer has no demonstrable "right to control an employee", no legal employment status will be said to exist.

   “This legal right of employers to "control" employees is a throwback to medieval times of feudal England and results in strange behaviours and regulations.

   “A condensed history lesson would show us that prior to the signing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215 the people who lived and worked in the King's forests were at law the King's chattels. The Magna Carta contractually constrained the King, initially to the benefit of the Lords, but over generations contractual rights were delivered to all citizens limiting the unfettered abuse of the common person.

   “By the time of the industrial revolution people were no longer chattels of the King, but during working hours the master-servant relationship entrenched similar ownership and control powers. Workers were at law ‘servants’, who were effectively controlled by the ‘master’.

   “The progress of common law since the early days of the industrial revolution has diminished the master-servant relationship to the status of the employer-employee relationship where "control" has been reduced to the "right to control". Because employment equates to a legal right to control, social concern over the abuse that can occur when one person has the legal right to control another has caused legislators and institutions to limit and regulate employer power. Trade unions and the industrial relations club find the moral justification for their existence in this legal ‘right to control’ of employment.”


   This sheds some understanding on freemasonry. Traditionally, men who are “free and of good report” may become masons. In modern times, the ‘free’ means little, for the vast majority of citizens in the first world, at least, are not slaves. We are usually free to join unions, or not. We are usually free to vote and take part in democracies. Employment is a different thing than it was. The idea of just, upright and ‘free’ men seems to be a carry-over from times where the employee-employer relationship was closer to servant and master or slave and owner – closer to many third world conditions.

   Phillips goes on to ask the questions: “How is it that in a supposedly civilised society one area of the law aims to enforce income suppression, delivers legal supremacy of one individual over another and consequently institutionalises class stratification? Why, in a society obsessed with equality, is such blatant inequality tolerated and even institutionally enforced?” 

   The above article explains what is called ‘non-employment,’ as distinct from unemployment. His key example is shown by the example of employment placement agencies, where a person’s legal employer is the agency, not the company the worker serves. The agency merely sends the worker to a company, it doesn’t ‘control’ in terms of on-the-job tasks.

   Next, he explains the emerging phenomenon of employee-employee relationships in place of employer-employee relationships. This is where the employer is not actually a person on site, but a faceless company. In this phantom employer’s place is put an employee whose job is to manage instead, but who feels and is very much another employee.

   All this illustrates the further dilution of the control-based and dual relationship.

   Michael Wheeler, in his paper Toward A New Employer-Employee Partnership (, voices a common feeling of today:--


“To be successful, the employer-employee relationship should be a partnership. That means listening to what employees have to say. Sybil Evans, a management consultant, explains that organizations need to establish a "voice system." This means that the employee has a voice in the organization when he or she has a concern, complaint, suggestion, or idea. A national workforce study found that "workers are more loyal to their employers, more committed to doing their jobs well, more innovative, and more satisfied with their jobs when they have more of a say in how to do their work." Since employees must take primary responsibility for their career development, they also must ensure that they are receiving candid, useful feedback from their employers about their potential and contribution.”


   We have, then, the presented duality. On one hand the struggle towards equality in the workplace, which includes the aspiration to feel valued, not just in the workplace but also in society through one’s work. On the other hand there is the holding on to the last measure of control and inequality. Sometimes the inequality is for the purpose of distinctions in favour of maintaining order and coherence, rather than a disorganised chaos. But more so in our time, it is not merely an attempt at maintaining order, but rather of maintaining selfish control of resources, class or office.  

   In freemasonry – and therefore in the older mystery tradition from which it draws its ritual -- we have an answer suggested, in theory at least. For in masonry there is both hierarchical order and equality at the same time (the duality brought into integration), carried forward beneath an underlying and united purpose. This is shown in the two pillars at the front of the temple, Boaz and Jachin; but more especially, it is shown in the purpose of the level:


   “The level demonstrates that we are all sprung from the same stock, are partakers of the same nature, and sharers in the same hope; and although distinctions among men are necessary to preserve subordination, and as a reward of merit, yet ought no eminence of situation make us forget that we are brothers, for he who is placed on the lowest spoke of fortune’s wheel is equally entitled to our regard, as a time will come – and the wisest of us knows not how soon – when all distinctions save those of goodness and virtue, shall cease, and Death, the great leveller of all human greatness, shall reduce us to the same state.” 


   One gets the impression that the workers of King Solomon’s Temple would have been very much devoted to their work, rather than just to their employers or pay checks. This suggests a higher rod being used. King Solomon was likewise a server to a greater ‘employer’. As one lecture (taken from the Old Testament) says, “for God said of King Solomon, ‘He shall build me an house and I shall establish his throne forever.’” Love is therefore added to the workplace.

   I can only think of similar devotion being carried out in volunteer work of a philanthropic nature. There are often no employers as such in these situations, but there are organisers. Where there is the old Western spirit of competition in business and life in general, there is more than one rod being used and these are clashing.

   It is interesting to note that the original Knights of Labour borrowed their rituals heavily from masonry. The Knights of Labor, whether knowingly or not, put the concept of the trinity into practice via the triangle seen on their Great Seal. Wier explains: “The inner-most lines of the equilateral triangle signified humanity, man's relationship to the Creator, and the three elements essential to man's existence and happiness - land, labour and love. They were also emblematic of 'production, consumption and exchange.'”





   Like freemasonry, the culture of the Knights of Labor was fundamentally good-willed, nurturing ethical seeds in its members. That the short-sightedness of some members tainted its spiritual usefulness does not change the beauty of its ritual, and the same can be said of freemasons or even theosophists over the years.

   Samuel Wagar, in his introduction to the now published rituals of the Knights (Adelphon Kruptos), says: “The Knights were a cultural movement as much as a movement of the proletariat, with goals broader than reforming the relations of production. They saw themselves as reworking society on behalf of the working class, and they included both skilled and unskilled, black, white, and brown workers (although, to their lasting shame, not Asian-origin workers), and women and men. They established co-operative enterprise and advocated for arbitration over conflict.”

   He goes on to comment on the ritual: “What is particularly significant about the Adelphon Kruptos, which makes the document so interesting to me, is its sense of the moral power and nobility of labour, the clear portrait of personal worth being measured and validated through productive labour. It is an emotionally resonant restatement of Marx’s cool and intellectual analysis of estranged labour and a determination, through fraternalism, to reclaim labour as ‘noble and holy’ and to reclaim the products of labour for moral reasons.”


   Here is an example of a question they would ask candidates for initiation:


   Worthy Foreman: “By labour is brought forth the kindly fruits of the Earth in rich abundance for our sustenance and comfort; by labour, (not exhaustive), are promoted health of body and strength of mind; and labour garners the priceless stores of wisdom and knowledge. It is the ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ – everything it touches turns to wealth. ‘Labour is noble and holy.’ To defend it from degradation, to divest it of the evils of body, mind, and estate, which ignorance and greed have imposed; to rescue the toiler from the grasp of the selfish is a work worthy of the noblest and best of our race. You have been selected from among your associates for that exalted purpose. Are you willing to accept the responsibility, and, trusting in the support of pledged true Knights, labor, with what ability you possess, for the triumph of these principles among men?”


   If the candidate for initiation answers in the affirmative, he soon receives this welcome:


   Master Workman: “On behalf of the toiling millions of Earth, I welcome you to this Order, Pledged to the service of Humanity.”


   One can note that many of the aims of the Knights were achieved and are in existence today, such as the eight-hour day, bureaus of statistics, safety regulations and so forth. The use of tactics by later labour unions is another example. But more than these is the legacy of their attitude, such as to equal pay for women and the nobility of work, which contrasts sharply with the status anxiety perpetuated in today’s media worldwide.


   Consider ‘the worker’ as a human equivalent of the rod symbol. Almost every adult on Earth is a worker, that is, they go to work each day. I am here using the term ‘worker’ in a more general sense.

   Workers are the ‘hands of humanity’, the part that gets things done. They specialise into carpenters, welders, managers, salespeople, and so forth, just as a rod specialises into a shovel or pencil. As the shovel is still a rod, the management are still workers.

   This indicates in theory what would become of owners in the future. Some workers might have a natural gift for leadership and management. So be it. But let all concerned never lose sight of the worker in them, just as the occultly literate does not lose sight of the rod in all tools.

   Nor of the soul in Man.



   The Argentine Fabrica Recuperada is an example of the Employer and employee categories being changed to mean specialisations/incarnations of ‘the worker’ archetype. Hundreds of factories are being operated and managed by workers without bosses now, after the older class-distinct method caused the factories to close and die at the turn of the century. The workers organise and perform the tasks of bosses themselves, showing the adaptability of a rod.

   It is interesting, too, that while political groups are allying themselves to the movement after the fact; the movement began more out of necessity rather than being motivated by political ideals. I wonder if they would have ever succeeded if it were the creation of political ideology[3].

   Any group that would hinder the Fabrica Recuperada movement now would not be seen to be hindering a ‘communist movement’ or ‘unionist movement’ in the eyes of the world; they would be hindering ‘Argentine citizens’. This is a much stronger rod to go against. By all reports, the workers’ revolution is proceeding very well. Wages are higher now in all companies (often double for the same job) now that the money does not go to the owners.     


   Another enthusiastic initiative to put the soul back in vocation are the Circles of Trust retreats created by Parker Palmer, based on Quaker processes (rituals?). This goes on through his Centre For Courage and Renewal.


Mobius Strip

  Palmer uses the Mobius Strip as an illustrative example of the emerging of duality (or cleavage), and then the following stage of fusion or integration. With a strip of flat paper, the ends joined, we have a ring with an inner side and outer side. Palmer describes the outer side as our social selves and our eventual vocations in the world. But on the other side of the paper, closer to the centre, is the inner side of the ring. This is that hidden part of our selves, concerned with spiritual things. There is a clear duality, and the soul is trapped, even buried in today’s materialistic world.

   But when changing the ring into a Mobius Strip, in which the inner side and outer side become one continuous side, we have the balancing of the opposites. That is, by following one’s true needs, honestly expressing one’s self, we reveal/create our true vocations. The cleavage ends and we create a bridge. In the Argentine factories, we might say the labour was on one side and the owners on the other; now, the workers are the owners, and the owners , workers -- a living Mobius strip. In this example, the original owners did not get past the duality, but instead left the country. However, one could see Tolstoy’s character Levin the wealthy landowner, in Anna Karennina, giving an example on how owners could create the Mobius Strip from their side of the duality. Indeed, Tolstoy’s ‘disciple’ Gandhi did that to an extent in the non-fiction world. 


   “What a long time it can take to become the person one has always been,” says Palmer in his paper Now I Become Myself. “How often in the process we mask ourselves in faces that are not our own. How much dissolving and shaking of ego we must endure before we discover our deep identity – the true self within every human being that is the seed of authentic vocation.”

   Later he says: “That concept of vocation is rooted in a deep distrust of selfhood, in the belief that the sinful self will always be “selfish” unless corrected by external forces of virtue.”

   “Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks – we will also find our path of authentic service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need’.”


   The image of the wand of a magician indicates a further stage in some areas, where the work is done with little on-hand labour. Perhaps computers and machines take over the manual tasks (as we used to imagine before sweatshops and third-world labour made ‘robots’ redundant). All that people need to do is ‘wave their wand’, that is, manage the technology that does the work. This would surely mark a significant stage for humanity, when our hands are finally free.

   One road is to fill our fidgeting hands with a ‘reverse-rod’, and kill ourselves. The other way is to plant our rod upright in the earth and climb it, like Jacob’s ladder. In other words, turn our attentions to the deeper and more esoteric pursuits of answering just what work is.

   Krisna teaches: “What is work? What is beyond work? Even some seers see this not aright. I will teach thee the truth of pure work, and this truth shall make thee free."

[1] The secret handshake of the Knights of Labor was a clever recognition of this. The grip signified “Humanity” and involved applying pressure with the thumb before locking it in the grip. “As the thumb distinguishes man from all other orders of creation, and by it alone man is able to achieve wonders of art and perform labor, we always, therefore, approach a member in this way, after which shake hands in the usual way.” (Adelphon Kruptos.)

[2] This is reminiscent of Krisna’s words: “Having pervaded this entire universe with but a fragment of myself, yet I remain.”

[3] It is such passion-infected movements that helped in ending the Knights of Labor, if Samuel Wagar’s view is correct. He states that among the many factors leading to their fall included factions of anarchists, socialists and business unionists clashing within.