Frater RO, recently packed up a lot of his own tools and wrote about how dusty they had become. He viewed the construction of his tools at the main point, and now that their meaning has been internalized, their use is not necessary.
Dohmnaill, my first magical partner, recently made a post about divination and the lack of tools. He commented that I started making the by the book tools (GD tools) back in high school. Looking around my temple now, I am literally surrounded by so much magickal claptrap that it takes up the whole room, not including the stuff in the garage that is packed up.
I did not ever view my tools as initiatory. Even after making the first set of GD tools (4 elemental weapons, Lotus Wand, Tablet of Union, Rose cross etc) I really didnt feel the construction was all that important. Their consecration and use was. If I could have purchased them for a reasonable price rather than make them, I would have.
After I "got Thelemic" I re-did most of my ceremonial tools in a more personalized, less primary color, fashion. I performed the exercises with the tools that Peter Carroll recomends (which I still like BTW). I dumped a lot of energy into those tools, and truly the wand was linked to my will, the chalice to my wisdom and vision, the dagger to my analysis, and the pentacle to my synthesis. They became extensions of the self, which is what most people I was learning from at the time recomended.
When my chalice fell off my shelf at my apartment at 6th and Pine, I was on 4 blocks away at 4th and South eating lunch at Hot Tomales. I felt it drop. I felt broken for some time afterwards. I started to question the wisom of using the tools in that fashion.
Today, as I said, I have ooldes of tools. I still make my own wands for different purposes, not because I think that its an initiation to make them, I just like to do it, and think most store bought wands suck. The rest of my tools were mostly either purchased or given to me as gifts. Some have accumulated a lot of mojo, some I just like cuz I like them, but none are linked to my soul in any way and I can do what I do for myself without any of them at all.
I used to say tools are like cars, you can walk to Ohio from Jersey but its more effecient with a car. I don't really buy that argument anymore though. I can do just as well without them as I can with them. There are two exceptions however:
Working with others is made easier with tools. It brings the whole show together and keeps everyone on the same page. The tools become amulets of the groups egregore and the tradition that they represent. When I do sadhana at home I usually dont use many tools. but when I gather together with the rest of the Ngakpa Sangha we dress in full gear, bring out the big drums, dorje's, drilbu's, kapala's and kangling's.
Working for others is also easier with tools. Astral magick gets astral results. I would wager that if RO asks Gabriel to perform a task in the material realm, and does it with full regalia, he gets better results than if he does it in the spirit. Just the way it seems to work. Material magick yields material results. When I work for clients I always try to set up a full altar with candles and such so that there is no mistake that the work I am being paid to do is getting done. I also usually try to have something physical to give to the client. Physical objects can carry power easier than just sending it through the lines.
Some tools are challenging to work with and yield their fruit only when I work for it. My favorite tarot deck as far as symbolism and beauty is the Medieval Scapini Tarot. Perfect combination of Khabalistic and Cartomantic symbolism tied up with first rate art. It is on par with the Thoth tarot as far as its complexity, but not effected by the silly Thelemic changes to the tarot. To me its the perfect deck. Problem was that it wouldnt speak to me, until about three weeks ago. I dunno if it was waiting for me to have kids or what, but something told me that it had a message for me, I did a reading and a meditation on the fool and it has been yielding the most amazing and accurate readings ever since.
The picture above is of my client altar from about a year ago.