What Wood is Best for Making a Wand, Part One

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

Choosing the wood that you want for a wand is 100% a personal decision. Many people don’t feel the need for a wand but for those who do, I hope I can give you some insights on which woods are best for which job.  I say this because most of you probably already have a personal wand which you use for the majority of your magickal workings, however, many people use a variety of wands depending upon what will give the most direct help to their spell work. So, this  will be a bit of a guide more than a blog and I hope you find it useful in helping make your choices.

The Holly King
Handcarved Holly wand by Isabella

Another point – no pun intended – in purchasing a wand is, when you buy a “hand-turned” wand from some manufacturers you are buying a wood block which has been machine turned.  Yes, they are beautiful, but anyone can have one just like yours [or Harry Potter’s!].  Wood is wood, many would say, however, it has always been my opinion that the branch of a tree is best for directing power rather than a block of wood from the trunk of a tree.  And many handmade wand crafters, me included, can make a wood branch look as though it were turned on a lathe.  Case in point, the Holly wand I created strictly by hand with a Stanley knife a few years ago.

On with the purpose of this blog.  I have listed several woods which I am most familiar with along with a short explanation of what their best attributes are as in a wand.  I hope you find this helpful.

Apple:  Female energy. Air/Water.  Apple wood is the wood Shaman and Bards once used for a staff with a bell attached in their travels. The Apple tree is strongly linked to the holy isle of Avalon, and it is also linked to Merlin.  It is one of the nine sacred woods.  It is a protective wood and excellent for keeping order.  A very good wood for any sorcerer.

Ash:  Male/Female energy. Fire/Air.  Most associated with Yggdrasil, the World Tree according to Norse mythology.  Druid wands were often made from Ash because of the straight grains.  Closely related to sea magick, this would be a good wand wood for a sea witch, but as importantly, for anyone.  Protective, healing, communication, and love divination are Ash’s best powers.  Good for beginning sorcerers.

Birch:  Feminine energy.  Water.  An American hardwood also found in the UK and Europe. One of the nine sacred woods, Birch is traditionally used as the staff of the witches’ besom/broom. It is a powerful wand for protection, healing, love, and purification.  A very diversified wood that would be a good wand in any sorcerer’s collection.

Blackthorn: Masculine energy. Earth/Fire.  Called “The Blasting Rod”, it is a fierce wood which is used in many cases to banish.  It is also loyal to its sorcerer and very protective.  Blackthorn is the balance between light and dark.  Both “good” magick and dark magick are easily performed by the holder of the Blackthorn. Divines well for strength and truth. Best for seasoned sorcerers.

Cherry:  Feminine energy. Fire/Water.  Cherry is an eternal life, healing, and longevity wood, making it perfect for a healing wand.  If you are so inclined to do healing work, Cherry is a very good choice. It can also be used in prosperity and protection work, but I feel it is best suited for healing.  A beautiful wood and recommend for seasoned healing workers.

Chestnut:  Masculine energy. Air/Fire/Water.  Chestnut does best for healing, love, and prosperity magick.  It is a very strong wood and  is considered useful in longevity magick and for banishing spells.  Best for those with experience and seasoned sorcerers.

Elder:  Feminine energy. Air/Fire/Water/Earth.  Called “Lady Ellhorn”, the Elder symbolises the Goddess’ roles as life-giver, death-wielder, and transformer.  Has been traditionally associated with death.  It is also a wood  associated with abundance, prosperity, healing, and a knowledge of magick. A light wood with a spongy centre, it is quite easy to set a crystal into.  Any sorcerer can use Elder with success, but always give respect to the Lady of the Wood.

Elm:  Feminine energy. Air/Earth/Water.  Elm is another wood associated with death but also with rebirth.  It is also associated with wisdom, intuition, empathy, grounding, and endurance.  It is a wood which will serve its sorcerer faithfully and I have no problem recommending to any serious sorcerer, no matter whether learning or seasoned.

Hawthorn:  Masculine energy. Air/Fire.  Along with Ash and Oak, Hawthorn is considered one of the Faerie Triad.  It is a very protective wood and whilst very strong, a bit less harsh than is the Blackthorn.  A good tree for wishes, used as a “Cloutie” tree with strips of cloth tied to it for villager’s wishes to come true.  One of the nine sacred woods.  In my opinion, it is a wonderful wood for beginner or seasoned sorcerer.  Along with Ash, it is a wood you can’t go wrong with.

Holly Keppen
Holly Keppen wand by Isabella

Holly: Masculine energy. Air/Earth/Fire.  Holly has a many storied past and is one of my favourite woods to work with as it seems to guide my hands in shaping the branches into wands.  Sadly, I only have no Holly wand in our shop presently.  It is a wood of courage, divinity, intelligence, guidance.  It also has been associated with death and rebirth [The Oak King and Holly King]. It is one of the Nine Sacred Woods in the Beltane fire.  It is the wood of the dark half of the year and evergreen.  It teaches rebirth. For all Holly’s strength, I recommend this wood to any sorcerer, beginning or seasoned, for I find it a gentle wood for all its strength still, it will be mighty when needed to be.

This concludes my synopsis of the recommended woods for wand-making this week, however, pop by next week for Part Two.  Keep in mind these are only recommendations and I’m not telling you what wand you must have because I know my Sisters and Brothers well enough that they will have what they want 😊 I always welcome comments and answer quickly.  Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Lady Ellhorn, the Magickal Elder Tree

Originally posted on 07/09/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

elder-tree
Elder tree ~ photo courtesy of Google images

She may provide a potent link with the Mother Goddess and facilitates contact with spirits of other trees. In a sense, she acts as a mother figure within the woodland. She carries the wisdom of the Crone, and is mistress of the deepest magic. ~ The Fairy Bible by Teresa Mooney

The Elder tree, or Lady Ellhorn, as we lovingly call her, is a tree of beginnings and endings, of birth and death, so the elder faery is a spirit of transformation and the crossing of thresholds. The Elder faery, seen as a crone, advises on what to cast away and what to take up.

In the Celtic Tree Calendar, The Elder is 13th month,  November 25 – December 21, and 13th consonant of the Ogham alphabet – Ruis. Elder marks the darkest time of year and so is associated with death and the Crone aspect of the triple Goddess. Indeed, funerary flints have been found in megalithic long barrows in the shape of elder leaves and in others, an Elder leaf-shaped portal has been carved out between two slabs of stone showing that its association with death goes back beyond the Celts into pre-history.

Elder Ogham Pendant from our shop

Born during the Elder month?

Elder archetypes among Celtic tree astrology tend to be freedom-loving, and sometimes appear to be a bit wild to the other signs of the zodiac. In younger years, you may have lived life in the fast lane, often identified as a “thrill-seeker.” At the time of your birth, the light of the sun was fast fleeting and so you take the same cue from nature. You are often misjudged as an outsider as you have a tendency to be withdrawn in spite of your extroverted nature. In actuality, you are deeply thoughtful with a philosophical bent. You also tend to be very considerate of others and genuinely strive to be helpful. These acts of assistance are sometimes thwarted by your brutal honestly (which you openly share solicited or otherwise). Elder Celtic tree astrology signs fit well with Alder’s and Holly’s. ~ Celtic Tree Astrology

Folklore

Like the Willow, Elder seems to have strong feminine associations. In Denmark, peasants would not cut down an Elder for fear of Hyldemor, the Elder-mother, who dwelt in its trunk. This belief is also found in Eastern England. In Lincolnshire until quite recently, it was important to ask permission of the ‘Old Lady’ or ‘Old Girl’. The correct way to approach the tree was to say: ‘Old Woman, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree.’ If this procedure was not adopted, ill luck could befall.  In Ireland, Elder was a sacred tree and it was forbidden to break even one twig.  In other parts of the British Isles, the Elder was less feared but still retained its magickal associations. If the eyes are bathed in the green juice of the wood, you might see faeries and witches. If you stand under an Elder tree at Samhain in Scotland, you can see the faery host riding by. Elderberries plucked on Midsummer’s Eve confer magickal powers. In the Isle of Man, Elders are the main dwelling-place for elves.

In Ireland, it was one of the magical trees carried in procession at Beltane. If you celebrate this merry month, let the EIder-Mother once more take her place in summer’s bouquet as this ancient Beltane song declares:

Holly and hazel

eIder and rowen

and bright ash

from beside the ford

Correspondences

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Symbolism: Judgment, Transformation, Death & Regeneration, Fate, The Inevitable

Sacred numbers:

Five: each elderflower has 5 petals, 5 yellow stamens, and 5 sepals which form a tiny green star.

Thirteen: Elder is associated with all superstition surrounding the number 13.

Stone: Olivine, Jet (Black Amber)

Flower: Dandelion

Birds: Pheasant, Raven, Rook

Colour: Black, Dark Green, Blood Red

Deity: Hel, Hela, Holda, Venus, Hilde, The White Lady

Folk Names: Alhuren, Battree, Boure Tree, Eldrum, Elhorn, Hylder, Lady Ellhorn, Old Gal, Old, Lady, Pipe Tree, Rob Elder, Sweet Elder, Tree of Doom

Medicinal properties:

Elderberries

Traditionally all parts of Elder are useful medicinally. The berries and the leaves are both rich in vitamin C. The leaves can be made into ear drops to treat pain and inflammation. The flowers make a tea that is good for treating coughs and irritable throats, as well as being made into a skin cleanser and lotion. The bark of the new small twigs can be made into a laxative. The bark, roots, berries and leaves can all be used as a dye.  And the berries are good for making jam, wine, vinegar, and syrups.

Magickal properties:

Exorcism, Prosperity, Banishment and Healing

The leaves and berries are used for protection and in breaking spells that were cast against you or to undo spells of evil intent. Growing an elder in your garden will protect your property from misfortune and harm. In Europe, they planted elder in cemeteries to keep away the evil spirits

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x