The magical Wand is probably one of the most consistently used of all
magical tools in
virtually all traditions and ways around the world, and it's use is
not limited to Wicca.
Druids use Wands, Witches use Wands, Magicians use Wands, and
Shamans and cunning folk all use Wands. Why might this be so?
Above all else this is because pointing or directing energy is one of
commonly used ritual acts in all ways and paths. As simple as that-
if you want to point
or direct energy or intent at anything in a ritual way, it generally
feels symbolically and
aesthetically much more powerful to do so with something than it does
if you use your finger.
This being so it helps if you have a special device to use in this
way- A Wand.
Designs of Wands can vary from the ceremonially and symbolically
extravagant to the
sublimely simple. A stick picked up on a country walk will suit some,
a creative product
of three months work will suit others. Preparing wood for use as a
Wand if you are going
to decorate a Wand in any way.
Bringing a piece of wood from one environment- laying on the ground
outdoors or still
attached to its parent tree, to inside your home, will cause changes
The most major of which is that it will dry out. Even a dry piece of
stick picked up in
midsummer from your local woods is likely to have more moisture in it
than it will have
after a few days of being in your home, so unless you work with your
stick very soon
after gathering it, it will begin to split or even warp.
The first hint for this is then to stabilize the wood as quickly as
The simplest way to do this is to give the stick a good coat of
varnish that has been thinned
down with Turpentine so as to replace the moisture and stick all the
fibers of the wood together.
If you use a matt finish varnish you will avoid a high gloss
appearance on the wood, or else if
you use a gloss varnish you can sand that down so that it doesn't
show with fine grade sandpaper.
An alternative is to use beeswax dissolved into a thin cream with
You can slather this on quite thickly so that it's absorbed by the
wood, and remove the
surplus with a soft cloth. If you're going to decorate or carve your
wand you need to do this before
varnishing or waxing, as wax in particular will prevent paint from
sticking, and make it difficult to carve.
If you cut a Wand from live wood but don't plan to work with it for a
while, then keep it somewhere
cool and more moist than indoors. Such as in a shed or garage. It's
best to leave the bark on wood
that is going to be stored a while to prevent it splitting as it
dries. If you're going to work it straight
away then remove the bark straight away also as this is much easier
done when the wood is freshly cut.
Woods to use: Most traditions and ways have symbolic associations of
trees to draw from for
Wand source woods, and much ritual magic and Witchery will offer more
ideas and inspirations.
When drawing from these sources bear in mind the practicalities of
why ancestral peoples or cunning folk
chose to use particular woods- what qualities were they looking for?
What associations might they
have been drawing from? If you look at things in these ways you will
clearly see that as well as mythic
and symbolic qualities, most traditions also wove in the practical
qualities of specific woods- Hazel,
Ash and the wood of fruiting trees have long been used as Wand woods
in Britain and Ireland.
Hazel produces Wand sized branches all in one year that have produced
flowers nor fruit in that year and are therefore 'virgin'-
unfertilized and still having
those qualities of potential yet unexpressed. Hazel is also a good
wood for carving, and these one year branches grow dead straight.
Ash has similar qualities and is excellent to carve. Both Hazel and
Ash are also very white woods.
Apple trees also make these long straight branches that are virgin in
the same way as Hazel, and
Apples have powerful mythic and symbolic associations.
The 'traditional' length of a Wand is that
length from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger. From such a
measurement that involves the
measurer fully in the process we can see the magical principle of
something that grows out of a relationship between the measurer and
that which is measured and
apportioned. A far more powerful principle than using a rule or tap
measure to impose an arbitrary
measure upon a magical tool of this kind.