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Author Topic: How does one go about creating a wand?  (Read 14000 times)
Lyikos
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« Topic Start: January 22, 2008, 08:22:06 pm »

I've read a few articles on tree association and which ones are good for wands or other thing. Most of them just gave me the idea that I should find a tree associated with what the purpose of the wand is and leave an offering. None of those however, told me what the offering should be, or how to ask for permission. Or what to do with the branch afterwards. So, can someone point me to a guide, or give an account of their own methods?

Any help appreciated, thanks in advance.
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« Reply #1: January 22, 2008, 10:47:22 pm »

None of those however, told me what the offering should be, or how to ask for permission. Or what to do with the branch afterwards. So, can someone point me to a guide, or give an account of their own methods?

Standard practice in the group I work with is to leave a small offering that we feel is appropriate: if we're not sure, our standards are copper pennies or a few strands of hair. Several of us keep small stones or biodegradable substances handy for offerings. (I keep undyed spun wool, when I remember.) Some people use tobacco, which has a long tradition in many Native American traditions (and which is therefore quite appropriate if you live in those areas) but finding unpolluted tobacco is not necessarily simple if you don't smoke.

As far as what to do with it: depends. Both of mine had the bark stripped, and some light sanding, and that's it. I know people who do far more elaborate things (wire wrapping, adding stones, etc.) You can use glue that will hold stones or glass, or leather wrapping, too. Me, I go for simple. You can also paint them, or use ink or other coloring agents. (Just be careful that whatever you use will hold up to use, and not come off on your fingers!)
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« Reply #2: January 23, 2008, 08:43:47 am »

I've read a few articles on tree association and which ones are good for wands or other thing. Most of them just gave me the idea that I should find a tree associated with what the purpose of the wand is and leave an offering. None of those however, told me what the offering should be, or how to ask for permission. Or what to do with the branch afterwards. So, can someone point me to a guide, or give an account of their own methods?

Any help appreciated, thanks in advance.
I have been working on one for several months now. First I decided on a tree. I picked apple. It seemed to fit in with some things I have going on and I had one which needed pruning. I made an offering of organic fertilizer which I sprinkled onto the circle I had drawn around the tree. Then I brought it into the house and set it somewhere to dry for 5 or 6 weeks. Then I debarked it. I sanded it smooth with sand paper. It even worked well where the tiny branches had been attached to my surprise.

I've got to say this has been one of the most enjoyable things I have made in a long time. Everything I have done to it came to me sooo easily. Almost scarily so for me. At times I spend a great amount of time trying to figure what I am going to do with something but ideas for this were coming right and left.

I decided I wanted it to be a bit darker which is strange for me as I like all things natural. So I figured there must be a reason and stained it red oak and sanded and stained and sanded and again stained and sanded.

I decided to carve things which mean a lot to me into it. Lets see,I'll grab it. OH yeah, I have a tree first, then a pentacle, a crescent moon, a mountain, a horse head,a nice spider web,a raven,a teepee,the symbol for Jupiter, my own personal symbol,and a small broom. I know, some will wonder how i came up with all that but these are things which have great meaning for me and just popped right into my head.

I made a depression into the top of it trying to replicate the shape of a rough amethyst I have and then glued it in there. I think I may have done something I now wish I hadn't by putting a clear coat over it thinking it may protect the carvings some. It has made it shinier than I had wanted.

I am not yet done with it. There is about 1/3 of it which has nothing on it where I plan on wrapping some colored leather(purple I think) and I am still just a bit undecided what if anything more. I seem to be at the first hint of indecision here. I do have a couple of very special feathers which will be attached to the handle section along with a couple of special gemstones.

This is coming out way better than I had anticipated. Actually I am quite proud of it and if you knew me you would know that is something that is very rare for me. I have created many very nice painting and drawings which have never brought about this feeling of pride in what I have made. This has been a once in a lifetime experience for me. Even non pagan ppl in my home who have seen it are just silly impressed with it. My daughters wife has even asked if I would make her one for her B-day which was a bit surprising and something that I dont  feel right about and am not planning on. I may make her something else we'll see.

I think you should give it a shot and hope that it turns into the enriching experience for you that it has for me. Good Luck with it.
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« Reply #3: January 23, 2008, 10:16:34 pm »

Standard practice in the group I work with is to leave a small offering that we feel is appropriate: if we're not sure, our standards are copper pennies or a few strands of hair. Several of us keep small stones or biodegradable substances handy for offerings. (I keep undyed spun wool, when I remember.) Some people use tobacco, which has a long tradition in many Native American traditions (and which is therefore quite appropriate if you live in those areas) but finding unpolluted tobacco is not necessarily simple if you don't smoke.

Thanks, I never thought it would be something as simple as pennies and hair.
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« Reply #4: January 23, 2008, 10:18:05 pm »

I've got to say this has been one of the most enjoyable things I have made in a long time. Everything I have done to it came to me sooo easily. Almost scarily so for me. At times I spend a great amount of time trying to figure what I am going to do with something but ideas for this were coming right and left.

I decided I wanted it to be a bit darker which is strange for me as I like all things natural. So I figured there must be a reason and stained it red oak and sanded and stained and sanded and again stained and sanded.

That's cool.
And staining being OK is great, I'll definitely do that.
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« Reply #5: January 31, 2008, 09:17:47 am »

I've read a few articles on tree association and which ones are good for wands or other thing. Most of them just gave me the idea that I should find a tree associated with what the purpose of the wand is and leave an offering. None of those however, told me what the offering should be, or how to ask for permission. Or what to do with the branch afterwards. So, can someone point me to a guide, or give an account of their own methods?

Any help appreciated, thanks in advance.

As with most things in my Craft, I went with my gut feeling. It was a fresh, breezy summer afternoon and I was taking a walk in nature, surrounded by trees, grass, herbs and flowers and I stumbled into the most beautiful place I had ever seen - a complete, perfect circle of grass surrounded by trees in circle, standing in the middle I was completely surrounded and at peace. I saw rocks and burnt wood in a circle, obviously some people had lit a bonfire there at some point. In some bushes I saw some branches lying on the ground and I found one that appealed to me. I had not come there in the purpose of finding a wand, I was merely walking around, communing with Nature and having a good time. But I instantly knew that I should make a wand out of it and I did.

I sanded it down, carved runes into it and voila! Very simple and very beautiful - and very effective.
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« Reply #6: February 01, 2008, 12:11:19 am »

I've read a few articles on tree association and which ones are good for wands or other thing. Most of them just gave me the idea that I should find a tree associated with what the purpose of the wand is and leave an offering. None of those however, told me what the offering should be, or how to ask for permission. Or what to do with the branch afterwards. So, can someone point me to a guide, or give an account of their own methods?

Any help appreciated, thanks in advance.

Basically, if you belonged to a tradition or a school that had rules, you wouldn't be asking.  Therefore, it's all about how the wand feels to you in your individual practice.  Think about what you're going to be using it for, what element(s) to which you feel it is properly aligned, and what your imagination shows you when you dream of 'wand.'  Then try to match it.

Some trads hold the wand to be a symbol of air, others of fire.  Most see it as male (since it's closer to phallic-shaped than cup-shaped...), many see it as similar to the athame in that it is often used for directing the energies, but it is more gentle and less forceful than the athame.

None of this need to bind you to the practice, however.  Solitaries get to do it their way.


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« Reply #7: April 02, 2008, 02:03:21 pm »

Quote
Quote from: Jenett on January 22, 2008, 08:47:22 pm
Standard practice in the group I work with is to leave a small offering that we feel is appropriate: if we're not sure, our standards are copper pennies or a few strands of hair. Several of us keep small stones or biodegradable substances handy for offerings. (I keep undyed spun wool, when I remember.) Some people use tobacco, which has a long tradition in many Native American traditions (and which is therefore quite appropriate if you live in those areas) but finding unpolluted tobacco is not necessarily simple if you don't smoke.

Thanks, I never thought it would be something as simple as pennies and hair.

I have an interest in this myself, as I want to make a staff of Oak this spring - and finding a nice wind blown branch that size, that's not rotted, might not be so easy.

But seriously -  what need does a tree have for money?  or hair?? 
If going so far as to give an offering in return, we should think of what has value to the tree, not ourselves.

Unless the copper in the coin, or the keratin (the protein in the hair) can be used as fertilizer by the tree?
or is it simply a matter of, "It's the thought that counts" ?  Wink

If you can't find a wind blown branch, and must cut,  personally,  I feel it'd be better to water the tree and fertilize it, regularly,  if possible, over a week or two;  also, apply some kind of apropos "salve" to the end of the cut branch, though I don't know yet what would work best other than dark paint.  (I need some research there) ..something though,  to keep bugs out, and moisture in, and make sure you don't endanger the health of the tree.



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« Reply #8: April 02, 2008, 04:26:42 pm »

But seriously -  what need does a tree have for money?  or hair?? 
If going so far as to give an offering in return, we should think of what has value to the tree, not ourselves.

I think the offering is of the energy contained in the copper and hair, my research led me to believe copper is associated with the water element, the hair I suppose would contain life energy.

What I ended up doing is making a sigil ala Spare to have the perfect branch come to me, and it did. Cool story behind it.

I was walking home late at night after spending the day hanging out with my friends in the suburbs, on the way back from the train station I got hit by torrential rain and could hear thunder in the background. As I was about to slide my ID to get into the dorm, I trip over a tree branch that I didn't notice was in front of me. I knew there that this is the branch I tried brining to myself because it was the perfect size, shape and color (upon stripping the bark I found that it smells nice to). At this point I have my wand finished and its been working well. I believe its maple, but I'd have to wait until later in the spring to be sure, the tree I suspect it came from is still barren from the winter.
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« Reply #9: April 02, 2008, 04:44:55 pm »

But seriously -  what need does a tree have for money?  or hair?? 
If going so far as to give an offering in return, we should think of what has value to the tree, not ourselves.

It's not about the money (a penny would be totally inappropriate in that case: that's an insulting offering if we're talking about money as money). I think it's mostly about having a simple physical object you can anchor the energetic offering to. Just dumping it on the tree seems rude, the same way that dumping it on someone else would be: by transferring the offered energy to a secondary object nearby, it's like sticking it out on a plate: the tree can use it or not.

A penny or hair is used because they're common objects, and either biodegradable or not going to cause problems to the local environment (pennies will eventually leach generally beneficial minerals, hair will degrade or end up in a bird's nest.) Same deal with my handspun undyed yarn: it contains my energy, but it's not going to introduce modern dyes to the ecosystem or anything.

Quote
If you can't find a wind blown branch, and must cut,  personally,  I feel it'd be better to water the tree and fertilize it, regularly,  if possible, over a week or two;  also, apply some kind of apropos "salve" to the end of the cut branch, though I don't know yet what would work best other than dark paint.  (I need some research there) ..something though,  to keep bugs out, and moisture in, and make sure you don't endanger the health of the tree.

My understanding is that sealing the tree is actually *harmful* to a number of species - either because it's not what the tree needs, or because a particular species has a reaction to a common ingredient. (I am not informed enough to know which trees, however - in the US, this is something local agricultural services would likely be able to tell you.)

As far as watering/fertilising - I don't know about anyone else, but many of my own wood items have come from public land (or something like a cemetery, like the yew wand my HPS cut for me at one point) which is already either being tended, or designed to be *untended*. In the first case, additional things like fertiliser might either affect the local water run-off, or be in contradiction to the tree's needs, or whatever.

Water, however, when the weather's dry, would be good. But again, probably not actually helpful except as a salve to the conscience if you're in normal weather patterns for the area.
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« Reply #10: April 02, 2008, 06:01:20 pm »


My understanding is that sealing the tree is actually *harmful* to a number of species - either because it's not what the tree needs, or because a particular species has a reaction to a common ingredient. (I am not informed enough to know which trees, however - in the US, this is something local agricultural services would likely be able to tell you.)


I definitely have to look into that.   I'm mostly interested in oak though. 

I take it you perform a charging ritual with the coin then, first, Jenett?   It just seems that simply plunking a random penny out of the pocket and uttering a quick blessing under the breath would not suffice.
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« Reply #11: April 03, 2008, 08:34:29 am »

I definitely have to look into that.   I'm mostly interested in oak though. 

I take it you perform a charging ritual with the coin then, first, Jenett?   It just seems that simply plunking a random penny out of the pocket and uttering a quick blessing under the breath would not suffice.

Charging ritual? Nope. But at the same time, a bunch of my training includes how to do this kind of thing quickly and efficently. (I think anyone can do that, given some practice: the thing is that not everyone has yet put in the practice time.)

My process, when I use it (and that's pretty rare: the last time I personally gathered wood for a wand was, erm, 5 years ago. I've been given one since then, and I've gathered other materials for ritual work - flowers, tall-standing grasses for a Lammas figure, etc.) goes like this:

1) Figure out what I'm looking for.

2) Keep the intention in mind while I go looking.

3) Once I find it, charge an appropriate offering: this is a brief thing, but it's reasonably energy-filled. The physical process is rubbing or blowing or something similar on the offering, the energetic side is much like several steps of our standard circle set-up for charging/consecrating an item: brief but effective. (It's most like the techniques we use for charging/blessing the materials used in the blessing.)

Might take me 30 seconds. Might take me a minute. Depends a bit what I'm using as the offering: my own hair or my own spinning take energy charges really readily, because I've already invested a lot of personal energy in producing them. A penny, not so much (on the other hand, if I know I'm going out to do stuff that might involve offerings, I've probably been handling them as I walk. Same deal with a small river pebble or something.)

4) Put the offering down. Do the internal check to make sure I feel comfortable with the action, still. (a couple of deep breaths)

5) Do whatever harvesting stuff is needed. Do a final thank you, and go away.
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« Reply #12: April 03, 2008, 11:07:03 am »

Any help appreciated, thanks in advance.

I've made a few wands, one for a friend, one for myself and one still waiting to find a home as well as a few staves.  Yeah, I like working with my hands when I can.

When I made the wands I'd already had a little experience trying to use a length of wood and I found it really unsatisfactory.  Primarily because I couldn't get the materials to match the image in my mind.  In retrospect it probably had a great deal to do with using the wrong size piece.  So, I went with copper tubing.

I choose copper tubing because 1) I really like copper and 2) it's easy to use and obtain.  I picked up 3/8" copper tubing at the hardware store and a few 3/8" to 1/2" couplings.  The dimensions I selected were predicated on the fact that the crystals I wanted to use fit inside a 1/2" copper tube fitting but I didn't want to use the 1/2" tubing itself.  It was an aesthetic thing.  Fitting the crystals to the couplings also allows me to remove the crystals if I felt that was necessary without damaging the wand.  In this manner I could create a single wand body and switch out crystals if I felt others were better suited to a particular working.  Not something you can do if your crystals are glued in place.

I cut the tubing to 9" lengths, just because it felt right.  With the couplings in place at either end,  I used some dyed suede leather I had and wrapped it at a 45° angle to the body.  The leather was glued to the copper using just some plain craft glue, IIRC.  I cut the ends of the leather off with an Xacto knife so that they fit flush with the couplings.

I then wrapped copper wire around the body over the leather.  I think I used 10ga copper wire.  I wrapped it a couple of times around the head of the wand behind the coupling and then followed the seam of the leather down the wand.  This had two purposes: 1) it hid the seam from view and 2) it gave me a nice even spiral down the wand.  The effect of the copper wire against the dyed leather was quite beautiful.  I then fit the crystals into the couplings.

That was pretty much it, really.  Looking back over what I've written it may sound rather straight foreward and pretty much unremarkable.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Making my first wand in this manner was a stream of consciousness working.  I later found that the crystals I selected for my first wand, and the one I still use today, perfectly complemented each other even though I had no idea of their properties at the time I was creating the wand.  The second wand I made I was going to use a rainbow flourite crystal for the tip.  As I was fitting into the coupling it sheared in half on an internal fracture.  I was actually able to ue both halves, one at the tip and one at the base.  That wand pulled together energetically so well it was as if the flourite ran the whole length of the wand.

The only difficulty I've had with this design is cleaning the copper.  It will patina over time and needs to be cleaned to bring back it's luster.  Because it's wrapped over leather you can't use conventional polishes.  I've found that a copper polishing cloth works best.  It has the added benefit of giving you the opportunity to spend some non-ritual time with your wand.


As far as finishing the wood on your wand here's a few tips:

For one of my staves, I used fire instead of stain.  I employed a hand held butane torch with the flame spreader attachement.  I was able to scorch the surface of the staff and then sand it down gently so that it left varicolored streaks in the wood from black to a light beige.  Afterwards I oiled it down with linseed oil.

For another staff I was able to obtain an almost glass like finish by sanding it with progressively finer grit sand paper (I got up to around 800 grit and then switched over to fine steelwool) and then wiping it down with a damp cloth.  Using a damp cloth like that had the effect of swelling fibers in the surface of the wood but in a random fashion so that not all the fibers swelled simultaneously.  I'd let the staff dry for about 15 minutes between wipings and then sand it again.  So, sand it down, wipe with a damp cloth, let it dry and sand it again.  Afterwards, I again finished it with linseed oil.  I had a large can Smiley

That's about all I can think of at the moment.  Here's hoping you find something of use/interest there.
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« Reply #13: April 03, 2008, 06:08:32 pm »

It's not about the money (a penny would be totally inappropriate in that case: that's an insulting offering if we're talking about money as money). I think it's mostly about having a simple physical object you can anchor the energetic offering to. Just dumping it on the tree seems rude, the same way that dumping it on someone else would be: by transferring the offered energy to a secondary object nearby, it's like sticking it out on a plate: the tree can use it or not.
I've got the same sort of grumpiness about penny offerings, as they seem to usually be done in Pagandom, as Grymdycche (which includes what you said about them being insultingly small), and do strongly prefer making energy offerings.  I haven't had any problems with just giving it directly - might be an animist thing; it's all part of the ongoing negotiatory conversation, for me - but you've given me another way to look at the whole thing.  Good for teaching students (who may not be animists, or may not have facility conversing with things, or whatever); good for times when I have trouble having a clear convo.

It makes more sense to the "flavor" of my path to go with hair; also, I have some idea (not sure where I got it and know nothing of details, so it might be BS) that not everything pennies leech is beneficial to all plants.  Which could be true of my hair, too, I suppose, but OTOH I shed several strands a day anyway, so it's out there in any case.

New tool for the toolbox!

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« Reply #14: April 03, 2008, 06:19:45 pm »

When I made the wands I'd already had a little experience trying to use a length of wood and I found it really unsatisfactory.
Do you find there's a significant difference in energy/what sort of tool they are (that's really hard to frame in words; poke me with questions if it's not clear enough) between the copper-based wands and wood-based staves?

And, while I'm asking questions, what's rainbow fluorite?  Is that just when both the green and purple coloration are evident, or are there more colors involved?

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