Iron is often remarked as being an anathema to spirits. Used in ritual settings, oft via ritual tools which are made to have a sharp point, iron historically was been used to command spirits (especially those which one can not trust) to do a magician’s will. Additionally, iron is frequently one of the suggested metals to be used in tools which sever plant materia from it’s host in order to trap the spirit within.
THE HISTORY OF IRON
The use of iron (and other metals) in tool making was one of the first major revolutions for mankind. The Iron Age (occurring after the Stone, then Bronze Ages) saw an explosion in the development of the human race in all areas. In a way unlike they ever had before, mankind possessed the ability to control nature with metal which didn’t dull or wear out as easily as bronze did. It’s potentially no wonder why our ancestors discovered that this metal was also useful in controlling the unseen forces as well.
Further, iron was utilized extensively in war and subjugation of man as well as nature. Many people were bound in chains, set to work, and killed all at the hands of iron. It is no surprise why various human and nonhuman spirits fear this metal and the way in which mankind utilizes it.
IRON IN WITCHCRAFT
From the perspective of the Compass, Iron is indeed an anathema to spirits (in particular the fae folk and related races). I have been told by several spirits that, to them, iron appears as a metal which “burns with no flame,” and can cause immense torture, pain, and damage through simple body contact. Further, it appears to give off an aura surrounding it which can also cause spirits to feel uncomfortable simply by being in it’s presence. Lastly, when manifest as a blade, it has the ability to cut spirit matter (energy) twain with exceptional precision compared to a wooden or stone alternative.
Iron is a powerful conductor of energy, and when it is manifest as a blade it can focus that energy to a laser-like ray. It is also worth remembering that when energy projected from a witch passes through an object like a sword or wand, it adapts the qualities of that material as it goes. Hence, energy moving through a ferris blade not only becomes focused, but gains the aforementioned anathemic qualities towards spirits. Therein, when a iron blade is used as a tool to threaten (or damage) spirits, they almost certainly take notice.
This is one reason several spirits fear a iron when it is brought within a ritual space; and why some will absolutely refuse to work with a witch who has iron on their person. If we draw the analogy to humanity, one could imagine a coworker at an office job protesting the fact that another coworker is allowed to bring a gun to work. Even if it’s unused, that weapon is a threat to the safety of everyone involved.
The placement of iron around one’s living space (often in items which also convey luck, such as a horseshoe) is a way of conveying a message to the spirits of “I know what harms you and I’m not afraid to use it.” To draw another human analogy, this would be like someone mounting a shotgun above the mantle to demand respect from guests, and also potentially telegraphing to any visitors the extremes that you’ll go to in order to protect your home and loved ones. When a spirit sees signposts like these they often just move along to the next location. This is also why iron decor intentionally placed as a warning might keep out wandering spirits, but won’t block a specifically evoked entity from entering the space.
LEAD IN WITCHCRAFT
The celestial dome is constantly showering down it’s force upon the midworld. This energy occurs mostly at night and in the form of what would metaphysically appear to be an ultrafine mist. The amount of energy a person receives from the celestial dome is minimal, but necessary for survival. Like vitamins, being disconnected from his force for too long would result in a wasting and eventual death.
Lead, however, is a metal which appears to block or divert this energy from the celestial dome. Further, when a being is a manifest celestial (or a spirit who is visiting the celestial realm) lead appears to be a major hinderance. However, unlike how it affects the fae folk (et alia) above, iron appears to have little to no effect on the celestial energies. As one spirit in the Stardust Compass remarked regarding it, lead is “A cold, barren thing. A deep, impenetrable void of nothingness.”
Lead additionally appears to affect the ability for celestials to not only manifest and transfer energies but also to even communicate, travel, or interact. Utilizing lead in a rite often ends up manifesting to a spirit more as a void or vacuum mechanism (wherein they are stripped of power and effectiveness) rather than a burning, violent anathema that iron appears to manifest as.
REGARDING BRONZE, COPPER, SILVER AND GOLD
The only other commonly utilized metals within the Stardust Compass are copper, bronze, as well as occasionally silver and gold. All metals are frequently treated as benevolent objects rather than malevolent, none appear to act as an anathema to spirits, they all transmit and focus energy well, and all appear to be acceptable to the spirits of the Compass for workings of witchcraft and magick.
Image: Untitled by Shivian Morgan