Tools: Magik Staff
- General History
- A magik staff has many names; a spirit staff, a walking stick,
a travelers weapon, a weary wanderers companion. It has been
used as a carved record of ones long journey, a symbol of authority,
a support for an exhausted traveler and a weapon. It's an extension
of one's own arms and reach; as a pole to vault over creeks,
deep ditch. Travelers used the staff to carry their traveling
packs over one shoulder, or heavy loads across both their shoulders.
It's been used to defend against attack, or even to gain an upper
hand in a battle.
- In the Orient, many peasants were band from possessing weapons.
But developed methods and learned how to use their common every
day tools in lethal ways for both protection and battle. The
staff is one of these many weapons and is used in various forms
of martial arts.
- In ancient Egypt, the staff can be seen in the hands of various
royals, and politicians. Many hieroglyphs depict people of importance
walking with a thin staff. Some topped with additional symbology
to define the importance of the person or the office that person
held within Pharaohs realm. It's also a symbol of authority to
Pharaoh. And can be found in his hand with a decorative head
piece. Often a symbol representing an Egyptian God, such as Isis.
- There are many Biblical references to the staff as well.
The mostly commonly known of these is the staff given to Moses
to rule over the snakes and desert. Later used in Pharaohs palace
to swallow up the snakes of Egypt, laid upon the Nile to curse
the waters and to part the sea so that Israel could escape Pharaoh's
chariots. The staff with hook on the top is often associated
with the shepherd, and the 'every-man' or children of God. Again
showing how a headpiece can define the position of the bearer.
- Keeping a record of events in the carvings of a staff can
be traced to the ancient Norsemen. Carving runes to tell a story
or tale along it's shaft was a practical and common practice
amongst these travelers. It
was also used to "skor" numerical information for the
length of a measurement, a journey or trade. This method actually
carried into modern day and we use it to keep 'score' during
a game. This method of carving isn't unique to the Norse however.
- Celtic Shamans used a staff as both a symbol of authority,
leadership and as a tool for spiritual journey. Often carved
with mystical symbols, Celtic runes, or animals. These were the
Shamans tool to help guide the path of his/her workings as well
as the clan they administered too.
- Druids used carvings as a method to record stories of the
Gods, the history of Ireland and mythical tales of beasts and
- Native American Shamans also used their staves to record
tales. We might think of a totem pole as a large example; but
the same type of totem carvings can be found in smaller versions
too. From tall walking sticks to smaller talking sticks. These
were used to record a journey or a great battle.
- In all of these various cultures, a staff is often decorated
as well as carved. Topped with the antlers of a deer, decorated
with leather, feathers and/or stones or beads. The staff is unique
to it's owner and their position in the world. Giving special
meaning to that person's life and their usage of the staff.
- Today you can find many different types of staves. From spiritual
usages to simple walking sticks of a hiker. Some Craft traditions
require a person to be initiated as a priest/priestess before
creating or possessing a staff. Other traditions see the staff
as a tool used upon one's journey into the spiritual world or
as a tool to help guide your steps along the spiritual path.
Personally I think if you want a staff and feel connected to
this kind of tool; then make or find yourself one.
- Making Your Own Staff
- It's important to note that you don't have to make your own
staff. You can easily find a woodcarver who has created some
beautiful works of art and purchase one. Take it home and decorate
it as you desire. I have both home made staves and purchased
ones. My most favorite was purchased and decorated by me at home.
So in some way's it's a combination of both.
- A staff is typically made from wood. Depending on what energies
you want to associate with your staff will depend on which wood
you choose. There have many different types to choose from. Oak
and Ash are the most commonly used on the pagan paths. Because
of their spiritual reference to these two trees. But white pine,
maple and apple are also popular choices. You might review the
Tree Associations page for more
information to help you decide.
- But consider some other interesting alternatives. An Osage
Orange tree (found around the US), is a beautiful light colored
wood that gets darker as it ages, until it turns black. Crape
Myrtle is a lovely white and very hard wood, and makes a wonderful
- Sometimes the best way to choose a staff is to take a long
walk through the woods and ask the GreatSpirits to guide you
to the staff that's meant for you. Be it fallen from a tree;
a branch off a living tree, or a young tree just starting it's
growth. In either case; make sure you ask permission from the
tree to have this gift; and thank the tree spirit and your guides
for giving itself or part of itself to you. If you choose a stick
that has fallen; make sure it's not rotten or infested with bugs.
- Take your staff home and clean it up. Decide if you're going
to peal off the bark or leave it natural. Set it aside for about
30 to 60 days in a dry place. A shed or in the corner of the
garage are often good places. Lay it or hang it flat; don't stand
it on one end. You want it to dry out evening.
- After it's dry, the hard part begins. What are you going
to do with it? You can carve one end as a head piece. You can
take it to a wood crafter and ask them to carve a head piece
like the one pictured here on the left. You can carve runes into
the sides. You can decorate the staff with feathers or fur, leather,
silk ribbons, yarn, beads, and just about anything else you find
an association with. You can brand or burn runes or personal
sigils in the shaft as well.
- If you use a metal or stones to decorate your wand, make
sure you understand the properties of that item on the wand.
Just like wood, metals and stones have their own magikal traits
as well. You might review the Stone
Energy page for more information to help you decide which
crystals or stones might work best for your intent.
- Or you can even just leave it plain in it's natural beauty.
Nothing wrong with nature, or being minimal. The two staves pictured
here (the wolf and the hawk) belong to my husband and myself.
I decorated the wolf with leather, feathers, beads and shells
consistent with a Celtic Shaman's view. Where as my husband decided
to leave his staff plain and simple. So it's really up to you
which way you decide to go.
- Many people like to cleanse their staff before they work
on it. Others perform a ritual and bring the staff into a circle
before any carving or decorating is done. These two methods allow
you to clear the energy of the staff from sitting around outside,
in the garage or store. And to add or imprint your own energies
upon the wood. It's also a chance to have your guides and the
Gods/Goddesses come to work with you in the creation or decoration
of the staff.
- These methods are by no means set in stone. You can work
on the wood and decorations and then take the staff into circle
for clearing and cleansings. No matter which way you chose; the
last thing you should do before actually using your staff is
a consecration ritual. You want to imprint your desired use for
this tool upon all the elements of the tool.
- For instance, if this is to be used as your guide on the
spiritual path of knowledge and experiences; and your staff has
an animal headpiece; you might ask the GreatSpirits to give spiritual
sight to your wolves eyes; or your hawks vision so that they
might guide your steps upon your spiritual journey. When you
take your staff out; you can imagine the gaze of your animal
helping you to see the direction you should take, and the decisions
you have to make.
- Additional Reading
- Magikal Tools
- Tool Symbology
- Clearing, Cleansing & Protecting
- Cleansing & Consecration for
an object or space
Source: 1, c3,