A Witches Wand - what is a wand?

A Witches Wand: How to Direct Your Inner Magickal Powers

What is a wand?

A wand is a tool used by Witches, Magicians, Wiccans and Pagans. It is a special tool to the practitioner, especially if you take the time to make your own. A wand should be thin and light in weight. It is traditionally made of wood but, it can be made from metal or crystal or any other materials that you wish to use. The woods used for traditional wands are made from fruit-woods or wood from one of the old sacred trees. These trees include: oak, holly or willow. Wands are phallic nature and therefore it is considered a masculine tool. The wand is also seen as an extension tool of your power and is also symbolic of intellect, communication and logic.

Remember: Different woods hold different energies so be aware of this when selecting your wood of choice.

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What are the Magickal properties of different woods used for making a wand?

You have a pretty good selection of different woods to choose from if you decide to make your own wand. Obviously, depending on where you live in the world and how you go about obtaining your wood will have an impact on the choices available to you. Now let’s take a look at the differences between the woods and their magickal properties to aid you in selecting the right wood for you and your practice.

NOTE: It is important to know that some trees should only be pruned at certain times of year, some trees shouldn’t be touched at all. Please make sure you do your research before diving in. Use your ethical judgement as a Witch when choosing the right wood for your wand, especially if the one you are considering is from a rare or vulnerable tree.

HOLLY TREE: This beautiful, evergreen Holly tree personifies both protection and peace. Holly wood is dense (making it a very hard wood), fine-grained and creamy white in color. Because the holly tree can endure the changing of the seasons and is therefore seen as a symbol of immortality. Other attributes of holly wood are physical strength and sacrifice. It is a symbol of the warrior who is spiritually aware and true of heart. It is an easy wood to find in urban and suburban areas.

Holly Tree

BIRCH TREE: The birch tree is known as the White Lady of the Woods. The Birch tree represents rebirth and fertility. The Birch makes an ideal wand for a new Witch/practitioner. The magickal properties of Birch include: adaptability, inspiration and fearlessness. In magick, Birch is also associated with inception, fertility, and sometimes purification because the Birch has natural antiseptic properties. Birch wood is used for protection (especially psychic protection!). The spirit of Birch offers courage and protection to those who dare to venture outside of the safe and norm.

NOTE: Birch is traditionally used for the Witch’s besom, Beltane fires, Maypoles and Yule logs. A traditional Wiccan rhyme goes like this: “Birch into the fire goes/In sign of what the Lady knows” .

The Birch tree has been linked to the Norse goddesses Frigg, Freya, Idunna, Hel and the white maidens (Faeries). The Birch spirit is a larger, older being. The Birch brings an abundance of potent, positive energy to magick, it is also very easy to work with.

Birch Tree

MAPLE TREE: This tree is associated with magic and mystery for the Great Horned Owl said to be its guardian. The life-giving sap of the beautiful maple tree infuses spells that celebrate the sweetness of life. This beautiful wood is best cut in Midsummer; this is the best time to cut fresh Maple branches because they won’t be too full of sap. The Maple tree gives you both sweetness and strength. It is a smooth, blond-colored wood. It is hard, but not excessively heavy or brittle.  If you want something a little different look for “curly” Maple. This type has some irregularities in the grain which form a beautiful wavy pattern. Maple wood makes a great wand travelers and for sending and receiving of various types of communication. Working with maple will allow you to touch on visions of beauty and can bring forth renewal of the spirit and can bring about more abundance and creativity. It’s a good one to help feed the soul. It is strong in both feminine and masculine energies. Maple represents transmutation and the natural cycles of death and rebirth. Focus through a wand made form maple can help you grow intellectually and, with your new knowledge, will assist you in making powerful changes in your life. Working will maple allows you to access a new sense of inner strength, allowing you to experience moments of personal empowerment as you work. It conducts and stores energy exceptionally well because of the high mineral content. Magickally, maple wood is versatile and forgiving.

Maple Tree

APPLE TREE: This tree was very sacred to the Druids and was their wood of choice for wands which they would use to aid them in the development of the arts of high magic. Apple tree wood is very durable and sweet-smelling. It is an ideal wand for the loyal and heart-centered Witch. This wood provides a stabilizing force when you are seeking visions or when you wish to see yourself and the world with new eyes, different perspective. The apple tree is associated with the Goddess Venus/Aphrodite. Apple tree wood is infused with the energies of love, harmony, beauty and passion. It is a great choice for a wand for when you practice any kind of love magick. Also, Apple tree wood amplifies peace and can therefore assist you in tuning things around and allowing the flow of well-being, harmony and beauty come into your live. Apple wood embodies the feminine aspects of the Divine and is traditionally used for healing and love magick.

NOTE: Many Witches have used apple tree wood wands to enter the realm of Faerie and if you can’t access apple but can get your hands on pear wood, this is also great, as pear wood has very similar physical and metaphysical properties to apple wood.

Apple Tree

ASH TREE: This is very powerful wood and has been used for wands for many hundreds of years. This is another tree very sacred to the Druids who considered the ash tree to be the most magickal of all trees. Wands made of this wood open doorways and assist in traveling between the worlds. They hold great magical potency and are good tools for: focusing dreams into reality, finding balance, performing spells of protection, transformation, healing and prosperity. Ash wood has long been associated with noble sacrifice and wisdom. The wood of the Ash is quite hard and resilient and can bends to resist shattering.  The wood itself is pale beige to medium brown with a wavy grain that somewhat resembles Oak.  An Ash wand will amplify and enhance your magick of any kind including: Protection, justice, prosperity, love, power. wisdom and knowledge. You can come by the ash tree in the wild or from a store quite easily and is tough and less expensive version of Oak making it a very popular choice for wands!

NOTE: Ash is part of the Fairy Triad of Oak, Ash and Thorn. It is believed that whenever these three trees grow together, you can be sure fairies live close by. In Norse mythology it is called Ygdrassil or the ‘World Tree’ and it is believed that from the Ash tree, all other worlds came into being.

Ash Tree

PINE TREE: There are very many Witches & practitioners out there who use pine wands because it is the most easily accessible wood and, is available at craft and hardware stores. Pine does not make the most durable or powerful wand possible. Instead, it is a wood that rewards creativity and spontaneity with its low cost and flexible energy. Magickal properties of Pine include prosperity, purification, and protection against negativity. Even though pine is one of the Celtic Ogham woods it is not a traditional wand wood because pine is soft and resinous, dents easily and the sap can gum up tools used when crafting your wand.

Pine Trees

CEDAR TREE: The Cedar is the Grandfather of trees and is one of Earth’s oldest beings, unchanged since the primeval forests. Cedar magickally corresponds to wisdom, longevity and protection. A wand made from Cedar is perfect for cleansing, warding, and creating sacred space for magickal learnings. Cedar can be a difficult wood to work with because of its irregular grain and varying hardness. It is however a very beautiful wood with swirling patterns and delicious spicy fragrance. A Cedar wand can be a beautiful and unique tool encompassing the archaic disposition of this ancient tree.

Cedar Tree

CHERRY TREE: Cherry tree wood has a distinctive light reddish color and beautifully figured grain. All fruit-woods are sacred to the Goddess with cherry being especially harmonious with feminine energy. Cherry wood is a good choice for healing, love magick, unity and community. A Cherry wand will not react badly to being shared, so it’s a good choice for teachers and covens. Other properties of cherry wood are: divination, medium ship and the detection of magick.

Cherry Tree

HAWTHORN TREE: The hawthorn tree has twisted branches and sharp thorns but this wood is strong and creates very hot fires. Because of this, it is associated with the fire element and strength. A wand made from this wood is a very powerful tool. It would be a good choice of wood for a wand to be used for protection spells, inner journeying and inspiring creativity. A hawthorn wood want can help you achieve opening of your heart, light hardheartedness as well as bringing hope, prosperity and happiness. It is also good for detecting the presence of magic. A Hawthorn wand is traditionally used for love and fertility spells. Hawthorn branches are a variation of white to yellow with a small, twisted darker figured grain. This wood is not often found commercially in stores. Hawthorn wood is both a magickal and medicinal healer of the heart as well as a tenacious protector of its occult secrets. To work with Hawthorn requires patience, tolerance and a keen sense of discovery.

IMPORTANT: The hawthorn tree is sacred to the Faeries, so you most always ask permission and wait for an response before taking branches from this tree.

NOTE: The hawthorn is connected in myth to the Norse god Thor and the Greek god Zeus, and wands made of this wood are infused with the power of lightning. Hawthorn wands are therefore also good for weather-working.

Hawthorn Tree

DOGWOOD TREE: Dogwood is a pale, soft, gentle wood which makes dogwood an excellent choice for a wand. This wood will reflect your best qualities. Confident yet easy-going natures will be amplified by a wand made from this type of wood. A dogwood wand will be sturdy, trustworthy and strong. It is a perfect choice for channeling primordial fire because this wood wand reflects the passions and desires of the Witch/practitioner. It is used for focusing in and to help you realize your true passion and desires. A great choice for fire magic spells, to bring warmth to the heart, hearth, comfort, protection and healing.

Dogwood Tree

ASPEN TREE: An aspen wood wand will support your creativity. It is a highly regarded wood known for its harmonious combining of suppleness, strength, sureness and flexibility. It is perfect for someone who is bold in their thoughts, and innovation of ideas and imagination. When a wand made of this wood is held with confidence in the right hand, it can help bring into focus something that you are determined to bring into existence. It can bring flashes of insight and new ways of knowing. It is a good tool for balancing the mental and the physical as it amplifies the deep quiet of inner stillness. Wands of aspen wood connect the Witch/practitioner to the magick of the earth. It is light in weight and conveys a lightness of heart to the Witch/practitioner who uses it. This wand will support intuition and being in a state of grace. When held in the left hand with your focus turned inward you can experience the mesmerizing effect of this wand which will assist you with divination and clearly hearing the whispering of intuition.

Aspen Tree

HAZEL TREE: The Hazel tree is a tree of wisdom and learning with it’s forked branches representing decision-making. It is believes that meditating beneath a Hazel tree will bring clarity in any dilemma. A wand of Hazel wood brings inspiration, increases psychic abilities and helps put you in touch with the wisdom of nature. Hazel wood is attributed to Mercury. In Celtic magick, Hazel is one of the most traditional trees for wand-making and t is sacred to Brighid. Hazel wood is hard and close-grained and finishes very beautifully.

Hazel Tree

ELM TREE: This type of wood brings great power to protective magick. It has a grounding energy and brings with it a feeling of stability, balance and comfort. It has a feminine energy that can be directed towards love spells and magic concerning fertility, cycles and transitions. Elm draws its energy from the Earth so a wand made from this wood will bring great focus and will help you to connect deeply with nature and the wisdom that only nature holds. Elm is the Elven tree—strong, practical, and magickal all at once. Elm is both an earthly protector and a gateway to the Other-worlds. It is also a medicinal plant and an emblem of death and transformation. The Elm spirit is an impartial observer and arbitrator with it’s elements being Earth and Air. An Elm wand puts the energies of love and protection into balance. Its magickal uses are very diverse. Uses can include protection, counter-magick, attracting love, and connecting with nature spirits. This choice of wood for a wand is ideal for an advanced or beginner magickal practitioner. There are many Elm varieties which vary greatly in color and texture. It’s not very pleasant to work with because of its coarse, porous, and fuzziness (also, the green wood has a strong pee-like odor which is quite unpleasant). However, Elm trees are gentle in temperament and usually do not mind being pruned for their branches. It is best to harvest Elm branches in the early growing season ONLY (this is before the Spring Equinox) to avoid exposing the tree to any disease.

Elm Tree

WILLOW TREE: Willow wood is infused with the energy of the moon. A wand made from willow wood will allow you to go with the flow more, and, to be at ease within cycles of change. The willow tree loves water, and so it is very watery in nature. This allows you to be fluid with your thoughts, get deep with your feelings and be comfortable with expressing your emotions. Willow has been known since ancient times as a Witch’s tree, or tree of enchantment. The willow is connected to the heart and the power of love. Therefore, it is used for healing and fertility spells. It can assist with intentions for receiving inspiration in the dream state. It is receptive in nature and connects you to the power your intuition (allowing you to trust its voice). A wand of willow is often used as a tool for divining water sources on land and therefore is good for divination in general. The Willow has flexible branches, but very deep roots. One of the lessons of Willow is to hold fast to the Earth, but to bend with the breeze. Willow’s “weeping” stance reflects its association with changing emotions. Willow’s main magickal uses is for healing, the wood is believed to increase psychic sensitivity. A Willow wand is an ideal choice for poets, healers and seers. This wood is non-durable and vulnerable to rot, so it’s rarely available as a craft wood. Willow wood needs to be dried thoroughly and protected from insects and warping if you are going to choose this wood as your wand wood.

NOTE: Willow wood is associated with immortality because if you cut off just one branch and place it in water, it will eventually grow new roots so that it can be planted in soil to grow into another tree.

Willow Tree

OAK TREE: The strong and hardy Oak tree has been known as an ally of humans for millennia. Its watertight properties make Oak historically valuable. Oak has long been regarded as one of the most sacred trees and is sometimes referred to as the “Lightning Tree,” because the Oak tree is associated with sky Gods. The oaks magickal qualities include: wisdom, truth, personal sovereignty, focus, authority and leadership. White Oak is light to medium beige, with an olive-yellow cast. Red Oak is a slightly softer wood that comes in shades of reddish tan. Oak wood has a strong, friendly energy that is comforting and empowering to the Witch/practitioner. Oak grows widely and there are many excellent varieties that should be available to you.

ROWAN TREE: The rowan tree is also called Mountain Ash (although it is not a true Ash). Rowan is a smallish, high-dwelling tree with red berries that grow on it. It has a long folkloric association with witchcraft. In Scottish tradition Rowan wood was used to make dowsing rods and walking sticks for protection with non-magickal uses of the wood were forbidden. Rowan wood is associated with protective magick, with wands made from this wood being excellent for warding, banishing and commanding spells, insight, inspiration, persistence, and Faery blessings. Rowan branches are thin, the wood is light-colored and is good for hand-carving. You can find Rowan wood mostly in Europe and England. You can seek out specialty craft wood suppliers to purchase Rowan in the US. Bundles of Rowan twigs are occasionally found as a rustic décor item.

How long should my wand be?

Below is the most commonly used and recommended length for your wand to be:

  • 18 inches or,
  • The length from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger

What is a wand used for?

Wands represent the air and fire elements. A Witch’s wand is used to channel and direct magickal energy. A Wand is thought to contain gentle power which can be used to invite and encourage (not command) energy and/or spirits during your spell work or rituals. Your wand can be (and is often used by Witches) to cast circles in preparation for their rituals & spell-work. When placed on an altar, the wand should be placed on the south side. 

How do I choose my wand?

The best way is to create your own! You can make your own wand by first choosing which type of wood you want to use (from the information provided above as a guide), then select a small branch or stick. You will “know” the right one for you because it will “call out to you“. Once you have your selected branch/stick, take it home to smooth & shape it.

Some believe that wands should only be made from fallen branches but others believe that wands cut from living branches are the most powerful (obviously you must observe the proper permissions & offerings to the tree spirit, with each different tree spirit has its own customs/prohibitions/preferred offerings so make sure you know this!) with many Witches preferring to use wood from a tree they visit often, or are looking after.

NOTE: It is perfectly ok if you wish to purchase a particular wood to work with from a store of online.

If you can’t find one on the ground you can respectfully cut a branch from a living tree. Again, find a branch that “calls to you“. Touch the branch and ask the tree if you can have it for your wand. TRUST YOUR INTUITION. If the tree’s reaction feels negative, thank the tree, & move on to find another tree. When you do find the “right” tree, cut the branch off gently. Leave the tree a parting offering (leave behind some of your hairs or fingernails as a gift of yourself to the tree in gratitude for its sacrifice).

NOTE:  Take some time to study and meditate on the ruling spirit of the tree you are thinking about using for your wand. Be creative with your offerings – here are some examples: a gift of your energy, blood, milk and honey, hair, nails or fertilizer.

When you get home, shape and smooth the branch with your deepest respect, cleanse it and commit to it. You can also perform a consecration ritual. This will help you form a bond between you and your new wand, In turn, this will help you cast more powerful spells. You don’t have to leave your wand in it’s natural form (although it is perfectly ok to do so), you can decorate your new wand with anything you wish (for example: crystals, stones, metals, paint, colored ropes, ribbons etc.) and form the wand into something that feels powerful and even more sacred to you. This will also increase power & intention when used in your spell casting and rituals.

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