Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Staff

Note that this is a discussion of the generic witch's staff. It is not to be confused with the Blackthorn Staff or the Distaff, both of which are different tools with distinct characteristics. These tools will be discussed in future entries.

Witches' staves
The staff is a straight stave cut from any wood.  It can be of any length, usually ranging somewhere from waist height to just slightly taller than full height of the witch who will be using it.  There is no specific type of tree that is chosen for a staff, rather, the witch will wander the woods at will, communing with the spirits there, and feeling for a young tree that is willing to give its life for the creation of a magical tool.

You may already have a piece of dead-fall or a walking stick which you wish to use for a staff.  If you do not, you should seek for a young tree in a copse of other trees.  This will encourage the tree to be straight, and will leave less impact on the forest. Raise the power and send it coursing into the potential tree. Tell the tree in your own words what you are seeking and then ask it if it is willing to give itself to become your staff. The tree must give consent before proceeding.

You will need to make an offering to the tree.  The traditional offering is, as always, a piece of silver.  Birdseed and fertilizer are also good choices, especially if you choose to make ongoing offerings to the tree over a course of time.  When you are ready to harvest your staff take the offerings to your tree along with a mundane handsaw that has been consecrated for this purpose, the shelg, bottled water, and a first aid kit.

Confirm a final time that the tree agrees and desires to be your working tool.  Lay a compass to hold the energy in the grove. Make your offerings to the grove.  Ask the tree to send its life force down into its roots. Cut the tree down with the handsaw, concentrating on the purpose of your task.

When the tree falls use the shelg to cut your palms.  Hold the tree and let your blood and spirit fuse with the wood. Consecrate the wood in the name of any deities and powers that you wish.  Clean your wounds and bandage them well. Use the handsaw to cut your staff to the length you desire.  Cut any “scrap” wood from the tree that you wish to use for besom handles, wands, etc.  Scatter the remaining wood and branches throughout the grove, leaving as little trace of your work as possible.

If you are working from a piece of dead-fall wood be certain that it has not been compromised by rot or insects, then proceed to blood the wood just as you would with a newly felled tree.

You may choose to adorn your staff however you wish.  You may remove the bark, or leave it on.  Your staff can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, and it may evolve in style and decoration as you grow and change in the Craft.  Some witches choose to keep their crane bag hanging from their staff.

One thing that must be done before the staff is used formally in ritual is the shodding of the staff.  You may choose to do this during a consecration ritual for the staff.  To shod the staff you need only to drive a nail up into the bottom end of the staff.  This seals the staff as a weapon in the name of Qayin, and creates it as a properly iron shod steed.

The staff may now be used to cut the boundary of the river of life and death when laying the compass.  It can also be ridden both as a gandreigh and a tool for treading the mill.

The staff is a truly personal tool of a witch. It is not passed down as a kuthun to students or family.  It is best if the staff is destroyed upon a witch's passing, or that it is given back to earth, water, or fire with the witch's remains.


  1. I have a staff made from a fallen piece we (me and my ex) found in a pine wood/forest and worked on it (my ex-father-in-law had a kind of carpenter's workshop). The result was awesome, but I've never wanted to show it to anyone - I'm glad I was right, since it's a very personal tool indeed. I didn't know about having to destroy it when we pass away, it's good to know.
    Love your blogs!

  2. ArtemisMelissa, you'll notice that only one of the staves in the photo is not obscured. That was intentional, as we're not comfortable showing off our staffs either! ;) I'm so glad to hear you are enjoying this blog. I'm loving sharing it!


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