There is no tool more readily identified with magick than the wand. During rituals the wand serves to channel, amplify and project energy. In the process of crafting a wand you project your will into it and create something which is uniquely your own. The connection you have with your wand will aid the flow of energy during rituals.
The process for crafting a wand is surprisingly straightforward. It can easily be adapted for creating a staff, which is essentially just a wand large enough to serve a practical purpose as an aid to walking.
There are many materials from which a wand can be created including quartz, bone and iron. The advantage of wood is that it is easily worked without the need for specialist tools or skills. It shall therefore serve as the best example in this instance.
A wand begins life as a branch fallen from the tree. Even if you are not a Pagan whose spiritual beliefs require you to avoid hurting trees, it is prudent to take a branch from the ground rather than cut one down. A branch which looks perfect on the outside may inside be green (because it is a new growth) or rotten. In both cases the wood will be too soft for use in a wand. You are looking for dry, dead wood which does not bend easily. Essentially if it would make good firewood, it will make a good wand.
You will be required to select the type of tree which shall supply your branch. Various powers have been attributed to different woods over the years and this may well influence your choice. Ash is associated with wisdom, birch with cleansing, hazel with creativity, and oak with stability.
Remember, however, that you are crafting your own wand in order to produce something uniquely your own. I would therefore place greater value upon a personal connection. Does your Viking ancestry suggest ash, or do you have fond childhood memories of the old oak tree? I live on an island surrounded by the sea so I naturally chose a piece of driftwood. This means that my wand is forever linked to the water which defines so much about my home. When I use my wand to cast a protective circle it reflects the way the sea has always protected the island from attack.
The length of your wand should measure from your elbow to your index finger, and be as wide as your thumb. This creates a wand which is weighty enough in the hand to give a feeling of power without being unwieldy.
You can select a branch which is longer than required and cut it to the correct length. Remove any protrusions with a sharp blade, strip the bark, and use coarse sandpaper to create a flat surface at each end. You can sand down and polish the shaft, but I feel you retain more of the character of the wood if you leave it rough.
A stone can serve like a capacitor, accumulating the power you channel into your wand and releasing it when the time is right. As with the choice of wood, you can select a stone which resonates with you personally. Amber, amethyst, obsidian and quartz are all worthy of consideration. If negative emotions tend to disrupt your rituals amber will help to convert that negative energy into positive. If you lack focus amethyst will aid clarity of thought and purpose. Obsidian is fast acting and powerful, ideal if you do not like to wait for results. Quartz is a great amplifier of energy and is arguably the most balanced choice.
Your first wand should be an all purpose tool. If you later wish to create a second specialised wand, such as a wand for healing, the stone you select will help to define its role. For my own wand I opted for a beautiful piece of obsidian chosen, I confess, because it is always favoured by fantasy villains.
There are various options for attaching your stone. If you have the patience and manual dexterity you can wrap wire around the end of your wand to create a cradle. Copper wire is good for this purpose because it is affordable and aesthetically pleasing. As a chaote I am always looking for the easy way of doing things. Two part epoxy resin is the stuff of alchemists’ dreams. It may not be cheap but I promise you it is effective. It consists of two gels which when mixed together form a cloudy substance which will set after ninety seconds. Apply some of this substance to the end of your wand and some more to your stone. Then hold the two together until they form a permanent bond.
You will now want to cap the other end of your wand. This will serve to prevent the power being channelled into it from simply leaking out of the bottom. I like to take inspiration from the magick of other cultures. In China coins are often incorporated into talismans designed to bring good fortune. If you can find a penny from the year of your birth (easier for some than others), this is another opportunity to personalise your wand. Alternatively, should you be willing to sacrifice it, a coin of notable age or rarity will of course add to the potency of your wand. If you would prefer something organic, disks of antler are sold by many craft shops as buttons. These are ethical when made from the antlers which are naturally shed as part of the deer’s life cycle. The resin you used to attach your stone will here once again prove its worth.
Now is your chance to embellish your wand. Let your imagination run wild. You can stain or even paint your wand. Good colours for an all purpose wand are white, black, purple, blue or yellow. Each of these is in some way associated with the mind. An old belt can be cut up and the leather wrapped around the first third of the want to create a handle. A keyring can be threaded through a hole drilled near the end of the wand with all manner of things hung from it.
If you wish to inscribe something on your wand such as runes or a sigil I would recommend the use of a pyrography pen. These resemble soldering irons and are used to burn shapes into wood. In my experience the cheaper ones are not worth their money because they lose their heat too quickly. As I am a man of simple tastes I have in fact left my own wand as it was. On my staff I have used a pyrography pen to inscribe the entire Anglo-Saxon Futhorc runic alphabet.
I well remember the satisfaction I felt the first time I cast a circle with my hand crafted wand. If you decide to replicate the steps I have described, then I wish you every satisfaction with yours.
Image credit: Jlhopgood.