Magic is a subtle matter. It’s about what is inside of us as much as any external tools, words or rituals. We form a strong internal image of what we want to happen, and transform this image into some part of the external world, using both mind and physical items. One traditional tool for transformation is the magic wand.
In Greek myth, the god Hermes created the first wand from a simple wooden walking stick. One day he came across two snakes fighting in the road, and threw his wand/stick between them. Not only did they immediately stop fighting, the two of them twined their way up the stick in a double helix pattern, forming a special kind of wand we call a caduceus. This wand harmonized opposing forces, so that Hermes was able to use both types of power in tandem for the greater good of mankind.
Not that wands are limited to any one culture. The zen master has his walking stick, the Welsh bard carries his staff, and the early American goodwife had the stick she used for stirring her pot. Even the magic wands we see as toys symbolize transformation; the star at the tip of the storybook “Fairy Godmother Wand” can represent astral travel and magic, perhaps through the “magic” of a shooting star connecting us with the heavens.
Although the form of a ward is less important than the user’s ability to direct energy and conduct healing power, the form of the wand enhances the user’s power by harmonizing with tradition. The materials wands are made of–whether wood, stone, clay, metal, or bone–all have historical meanings and associations. Some users–healers, for example–may to use several wands they associate with different purposes. On the other hand, someone who works with only one wand will choose one that fits their overall personality and purpose.
Wood wands represent the magic of biology. A living tree performs a wand-like transformation when it brings the shadow energy of the earth up through its roots and trunk, while pulling solar energy down through its leaves and branches. In terms of energy, the wood is doing the same thing Hermes did with the snakes–taking two opposite energies and harmonizing them so that they work together. For wand-making, beech, birch and olive wood have the longest tradition, followed by oak and willow. Other woods, like elm, have become popular more recently. Each type of wood has its own associations: ash for journeying, maple for change, elm for containing, walnut for illumination, oak for wisdom, birch for purity, and willow for uniting.
Metals are famous for their powers to transmit. It’s possible to represent their different energies through symbols:
- Gold as the sun, a strong and sustaining source of energy, good for practical uses such as abundance and healing;
- Silver as a river, fast-moving and transient, a good association for psychic and dreaming abilities;
- Copper as a bridge, a way of crossing barriers, a strong conductor of energy, including healing energy.
Crystal wands range from natural mineral formations to hand-carved works of art. Crystal healers may use small wands in grids for healing and magic, or in energy work such as aura cleansing. Selenite and Quartz wands are excellent for this. Round-ended massage wands can be useful for body work.
Because it’s so great for directing energy, quartz often forms at least a part of a magic wand. A wand may feature a quartz point at the tip and a ball of it at the pommel end. If crystal also forms the main shaft of the wand, another type of stone may be used as well; the properties of this crystal will give the wand its essential character and unique magical properties. Wands designed for chakra work also have a series of chakra stones running the length of the shaft.
Wands made of clay or bone are rarer. Clay is an easy material to work into intricate carvings or to hold inset stones, but the clay itself is a fairly neutral material. Bone in infused with the spirit of the animal the material comes from. It’s hard to find real bone wands, probably because of popular culture “evil” associations. (Traces of Voldemort, eh-hah-heh!)
Mimosa carries wands of the other types, though, including beautiful wooden wands handmade by Solitaire Wolf like the one pictured above. If you want to make your own wand, we also carry the very informative book Wandlore by Alferion Gwydion MacLir (which I relied on heavily for this article). And once your wand is ready, don’t be surprised when your wishes start to come true!