American red Oak, White oak, and Figured English Oak.
The Oak tree symbolizes the growth energy of the Earth and Sun, Royal Majesty, and the force of Truth. It is the tree of the Kings of the Gods- Odin, Zeus, Jupiter- all thunderbearers; perhaps because the Oak’s roots reach so deep, it tends to draw Lightning. In Celtic traditions, the Oak is the tree of Lugh the god of Sun and light, and the Queen of the celtic goddesses, Brigid.
The Oak is, of course, closely connected with the Druidic Tradition. It is the sovereign tree of England. There is a tradition that no king of england will be legitimate unless he sits on an Oaken throne. The great Druidic magician, Merlin, and the later Magus John Dee, both wielded Oaken staves and wands. Oak is a grounding wood, and I like it for Children’s wands, for that reason, offering the gifts of stability and strength to the child as he grows.
If you are born in the month of May, an Oak wand might be just right for you. Oak people are determined, self-motivated, enthusiastic and responsible. They are gounded people, who can stay calm in a crisis. Although serious minded, they are cheerful and optimistic in the face of opposition, and do not give up easily.
Oak comes in nearly as many colors as there are trees. Its reactive nature can be exploited by an old alchemical process, which creates an magnificent rich black color. This is not a stain, but a chemical change within the wood itself; Every detail of the grain is visible, in all its intricate beauty. A careful, meditative look at your wand will reveal streaks of black, brown, even pale yellow, in the darkened wood
Ash is a big grained, generally light colored, yellowish wood. The fibers have a peculiarly translucent quality, that at times seem opalescent. I look for the whitest pieces for this reason, but Ash can also be a warm, dusty brown.
The Ash tree symbolizes the Solar forces, Health and Strength, flexibility, and justice. Ash trees grow exceptionally high, and their roots go very very deep. For this reason, Ash links the Three Minds; the concious, Subconcious and Superconcious. The Nordic World Tree, Yggdrasil, is an Ash tree.
Birch is a beautiful tight-grained hardwood that cuts cleanly and is wonderful for whittling, if you are inclined that way. Magically, Birch is the Queen of the Woods, Beloved of Freya. The heartwood can be very dark red, while the lumber wood can be very white.
Symbolically, this wood is The Maiden and Mother. The sap of the tree can be tapped and fermented into birch-wine, the milk of the Great Mother. The Birch is the protector of childbirth, the Cradle of The Child and keeper of peace.
The Rune “Beorc” symbolises birth, and beginnings of all sorts. I like to use Birch wood for wands for young children, for this reason, especially the Prism wands.
But this wood is not for women and Children alone. The great Thunderer, Thor, made the handle of his hammer from the Birch tree. For men, Birch becomes the helper, the hilt of the sword. It creates an interface between the magician and his tools.
This wood comes from several varieties of fruit trees; Flowering Cherry, Fine cherry, ChokeCherry. The wood is finegrained, somewhat soft to carve, with wonderfully variegated grain showing many shades of red, from foxy to cinnamon, Rose to Burgundy. American Cherry wood is deeply associated with the particular energies of the North-eastern American continent and the histories of the nations upon it. This lovely tree is one of the first to flower in the spring, and symbolises the health of the earth, and the joy and bounty of nature. The rich color of these woods will continue to deepen and grow richer as the year goes by. Cherry, like any flowering and fruiting tree, is beloved of the faery folk and so is eminently suitable for wish making; This wood just buzzes with joyful energy!
The evergreen trees- Pine, Spruce, and Fir- are naturally associated with immortality. The essential oils and resins from these trees are incredibly useful medically, and add the magical property of purification. The tall shape of the growing tree gives it the magical association of male fertility. Its elements are Earth and Air, dieties associated with it are Mars, Pan, Dionysus, Sylvanus- Masculine, woodland energies
My fir wood comes from the salvaged beams of a house built 120 years ago. Back in 1880, the trees being logged for lumber were Old Growth- the tree might have been four or five hundred years old when it was cut! The reddish color is natural, and will deepen over time.
Spruce and Yew branches are available from time to time. This is, of course, the tree most associated with the Winter Solstice, or Yule- Christmas trees!
Apple is symbolic of peace, plenty and joy, and sacred to Venus. It is a relative of the Rose and I use it for any correspondance that calls for Rose wood (Not Rosewood, that’s a different tree)
Elm is a beautiful and much loved shade tree. Our trees are affected by a blight now, that has decimated the biggest trees across the continent. It does not kill the roots, however, and shoots spring up from the trunks of the trees- regenerating itself. Once the shoots and saplings reach a certain height though, the blight attacks them again. Elm is considered a Border Tree that marks the boundaries betwen this world and others, and, because of the blight that affects it, is associated with death and rebirth. Elm can protect against danger from unknown directions and shadow the user against discovery. Elm is not commonly cut for lumber. My wood came from a small tree that was bulldozed by a construction company- I made the workers drag it to my backyard! After a year of drying, I am able to present this interesting and poignant wood.
Native California Walnut, cut in the D’Orsay style, leafed with 23 carat gold
Fine Walnut, Black Walnut; My wood comes in lumber from various parts of the globe, and I have branches of our native California Walnut at this time: Golden to dark Chocolate brown;
Walnut is sacred to Diana. It symbolizes abundance and growth and learning. The dark color of the wood allows a link with the subconcious, while the fruiting tree signifies prosperity and abundance- so this wood is good for a tap into the creative mind.
(almost always branches scavenged from stricken trees)
The willow I can get is too soft to turn, I can only use it in the whole branch. There are varieties that can be worked- In England, Cricket bats are made from it. My willow is corkscrew variety, so the wands are serpentine and irregular. Willow is the Lunar wood of choice, water element, feminine energy.
THE TREES OF NORTH AMERICA
are understandably, unremarked in the European Tradition. The information I give here is based on the little I find relative to Native American traditions, and my own work in correlating the tree’s characteristics with other energies and smbologies.
This delightful wand is cut from North American Butternut wood. This is an uncommon wood, and I don’t know when I’ll see more of it. The Butternut is a close relative of the Walnut, with it’s Dianic and Mercurial associations, but the golden color gives it a solar, rather than Lunar correspondance. This particular wood came to me from an orchard in Minnesota, where the trees were well over 100 years old. The boards are so light they surprise me when I pick them up, and the wands are exceptionally light in the hand. The first magic wand I made from this wood was for a woman with wrist damge, who didn’t want to tire her hands out! The grain of this wood is finely drawn in gold, tan and black- looking like the hairs of a tabby cat. Not all butternut looks like this. I have, therefore dedicated this particular tree, and the wands that come from it, to Bast, the Cat Goddess of the Egyptians. Bast, or Bastet, is a goddess of Maternity like her ferocious sister Sekhmet, but represents love, pleasure and joy rather than the fierce guardian .
Fiddled Maple Magic Wand cut in the Myrrdin style, its whitness enhanced with Silver leaf
The Maple tree gives us delight. For many peoples ts sweet sap was the only source of sweetness, And the radiant colors of its Fall foliage are a joy to the eye. I say that the Maple is Mother Nature’s skirt of many colors, and so it symbolizes the beauty and bounty of nature.
The wood is very regular in density, and light in color. The grain can be regular and straight, or it can be wildly idiosyncratic. A wonderful varient is caled “Tiger” or “fiddled” Maple, with spectacular shifting rays of satiny grain This wood is often almost paperwhite. This particular wood looks more like Starlight than anything else. I correspond this wood to the energies of the Morning Star.
Maple wood can be enhanced by an old process that is NOT a stain- that gives Early American artifacts their “maple sugar” color.
Some Nut Trees;
The Almond tree blooms while the snow is still on the ground, and is known as the Tree of Life. It is the pre-eminent symbol of the Masculine force in its creative aspect, and a wand of Almond wood can be used for creative work of a masculine nature, such as business ventures. It is very apropriate for a Priest or Circle leader. The almond nut represents the seed of the universe, and Almond milk is a symbol of the Generative Principle. It is associated with the Father Gods, notably Ahura Mazda, the Persian creator god. It can be used in work involving Thoth, Jupiter, Ouranos, Hermes, and the Rod carried by Aaron, the biblical hero, was made of Almond Wood. Carry an almond nut in your pocket to find treasure- because it symbolises Generation, you may also find yourself happier, healthier and more prosperous.
My own wand! This Myrrdin style wand is cut from a hickory Sapling, with no enhancements but a tumbled aquamarine in the butt.
The wood is pale cream to dark gold in color, sometimes reddish, sometimes a colder brown… This wood I consider especially potent for us north Americans, as it is so much a native tree. Prized for its great strength and flexibility, Hickory is well-known for its use in a magical tool of another kind- Baseball bats. Humble tools like hammers and brooms rely on the endurance of Hickory wood. This hero among trees gives us gifts also- the oily smoke that flavors our barbeques and preserves dried meats, and the hard-to-crack hickory nut. This native of our continent is especially suitable for American born wizards! Known even in American vernacular lore as a tree of strength and abundance, and therefore ruled by Mercury, Hickory represents the storm energies; Driving Rain, Strong Wind, Lightning and Thunder. It symbolises the “brainstorm” type of thought and learning, that seems to hail down upon you from above.
Pecan Isis wand, showing some of the lovely bark, and leafed in 23 carat gold (lumber, branches; At this time, I have none)
Pecan is also called “Papershell Hickory” and is a close relative. In the lumberyards, Pecan and Hickory will be sold interchangeably, but I keep mine seperated. Pecan trees grow much taller than Hickory, they are truly majestic. As the nuts are so much more abundant, and the wood is a trifle softer, I consider Pecan a “Yin” (feminine) counterpart to Hickory, sharing all other symbologies.
(almost always branches scavenged from stricken trees. I have several branches, which are drying now. They will not be ready to cut untill August)
The Eastern tree is consecrated to Hera, the Great Queen of the Greek gods. I see no reason not to continue the tradition here in the U.S. It’s not the easiest wood to work with.. but what woman is? its color ranges from paperwhite to a rosy color that fades over time.
Exotic woods have a secondary magical correspondance that overlays any other; that they are exotic. Symbolising the rarified heights, the search for Wisdom, the fruits of Endeavor, the successful Quest, woods such as Ebony, Mahogany, PurpleHeart, and Teak all have their extraordinary beauty and virtues.
PURPLEHEART, OR AMARANTH
Adhara Purpleheart magic wand, set with an Amythest and embellished with 23 carat gold leaf
Yes, that delicate violet shade you see is the natural color of this wood. It is as beautiful as a fairy tale- and as strong as a factory beam. What a potent combination for magical workings! Called Purpleheart here in the states, it’s also called Amaranth in Central America, where it comes from. Amaranth is very heavy, dense and strong and in Mexico it is often used for the beams in bigger structures, like factories. So, Purpleheart denotes a will of steel, hidden behind a delicate facade, like Cinderella, or Joan Collins- or Prince Andrew. Willpower lightened with elegance, grace under pressure- an excellent wand for a prince, princess, or diplomat. You must take care with this wand, and put it away out of the sun between uses. The color will fade in UV rays, turning mahogany brown- a lovely color but not nearly as magical as the violet of the fresh wood. I slow this process down considerably with a UV protectant finish.
“Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright…” This golden striped wood comes from the Burmese jungels, homeland of the glorious Tiger. A tough wood with a great deal of natural oil, it is highly prized by shipbuilders. Oddly enough, though, the wood is so dense in its green state that it will not float! The lumbermen have to girdle the tree and wait for it to dry naturally. Only then is it cut down. When treated in that way, the cells are empty of liquid and light enough to float.
mahogany Magic wand, Ziggurat style. The Solar energy has been strengthened with 23 carat gold leaf
There are some interesting magical correspondances for Mahogany. It’s possible that the Celts knew about the new World. They spoke of a land called Hy Breasil “The land of the red-dye-wood”. Brasil may be named for this Celtic myth; the center device on the Brazilian flag, a circle with a channel across the center, is the symbol for Hy-Braesil on early maps. Let me tell you, Mahogany can really dye things red! So, I feel that Mahogany is perfectly suitable for anyone with Celtic leanings….
Rosewood magic wand, cut in the Adhara style- waiting for its leafed embellishment
(Rosewood is available very rarely as recycled wood. It can be purchased as lumber, but there is no proof that this wood is being managed in any ecological fashion, and I’d rather not contribute to its rarity.)
Rosewood is the name of a large group of trees, not all of which are species related. They all are known as “rosewood” for the sweet smell of their flowers and leaves, and also the wood itself, a warm sweet scent like Pipe-tobacco. Rosewood Oil is prized in Aromatherapy as an anti-anxiety medicine.
The wood is extraordinarily beautiful. When first cut it shows as a variety of tones, from pearly white to black. It changes color nearly before one’s eyes, first turning sunflower yellow, then orange, and it continues to darken and intensify. Old Rosewood is deep red, brown and black in color. This process takes a while- from several months to several years, and I know of no way to hurry it up or stop it. As you can imagine, Rosewood corresponds with the Queens among the goddesses; Venus/Aphrodite, Hera/Juno.
(can sometimes be had in lumber form, sometimes I’ll have branches)
At this time, I have Spanish Cedar, the type that cigar boxes are made from.. The aromatic Cedar is known from the earliest days, as a powerful conduit for Spiritual Energy, both for Gods and Goddesses. I especially like to use it for Isis tradition tools.