The stereotypical image of a Druid often includes a knotty, weathered, walking staff. Of course, it is implied that this is a magical item used perhaps in ritual. Today many modern Druids also create a staff. Today’s staff might be used just as a walking stick or perhaps like a wand to create a magical circle. It might also be a grand art project expressing the Druid’s love of a specific tree or place. I’ve long wished to create my own staff to be used mostly as a walking stick but also one that could be used as a magical tool when needed.
At the end of this past Winter as the water cress was just beginning to grow, Brad and I went walking in my favorite spot in the Madison Arboretum. The Arboretum fades into the neighborhood and almost touches the edge of Vilas park. In this area stands a grand Beech tree that is guarded by the most loving neighborhood cat (who always seems to come to get petted when we approach the tree). This tree has a wonderful spirit and is a neighborhood favorite. It suffered some disease problems this Winter and many branches were laying beneath it. Brad and I found two wonderful walking sticks that showed off the curves and beautiful coloring of the tree among these branches and appeared to be disease free. We hadn’t intended to find walking sticks but were glad to!
I’ve let this walking stick dry out in the months since. I’ve also taken it with me when on a few neighborhood walks. Sometimes a walking stick appears to be a good fit doesn’t actually work well while walking either because it’s too heavy or just an awkward size. This one happened to work quite well. It even has a lovely curve right where my hand needs to rest. When I wasn’t using it, it rested in our pantry area waiting by our coats and shoes.
This week I felt inspired (actually, I have felt so inspired I have about 6 or 7 projects waiting to be finished). Awen was flowing and my walking staff needed to be finished. I sanded it down a little using a rough piece of 150 sandpaper. Then I followed this with a coat of Linseed Oil. I did three coats of oil and used 100 sandpaper in between each coat to create a lovely finish. The wood is quite a bit darker than it was originally, but I was pleased with this color change. It feels more mysterious somehow now. I also attached some magical stones. Beads of lapis lazuli, amethyst, and turquoise were wrapped in wire spirals and attached by leather string to right below my hand hold. The stones now swing and sway when I walk. When they hit the edge of my stick it adds a nice note of percussion to my walk.
Finally, I finished the walking staff by consecrating it last night in sacred space. I won’t be sharing the details of that ritual because that’s just too personal for me. However, I will say that it was lovely and surprisingly powerful. I’ve never had a magical tool respond quite the way that this staff did. I’m really looking forward to using it in my neighborhood walks from now on and in any outdoor rituals. In the future I might add some Buff Geese feathers. It will always be a more simple walking staff, though. Fancy adornments just are my thing.
If you’ve made any walking sticks or magical staffs, I’d love to hear about the process for you in the comments!