I love them, but never know quite what to do with them. I think I bought my first one as a decorative reading table accessory a few years ago, perhaps thinking of something to centre myself with before shuffling and dealing the cards. Or just something to anchor my spreadcloth. I then sensed that a wand deserves better than this, but I’m still in doubt as to what. A few wands on, I still ask myself the same question. I tend to keep them shut away, something to get out on special occasions; as if their energy will dry out – like a pen with the cap left off – if I leave them exposed. Getting them out of their boxes and pouches or off the top shelf in the bedroom (I keep them all in different places) feels like a centering activity in itself. The idea seems to be that they are a potent source of directed energy, or perhaps something that filters the energy out of ourselves and into the world. Or simply by dint of holding one I feel I have control over things. If I sit at my reading table and grasp it, look closely at the crystal tip, perhaps tap my cards with it, maybe this would be enough to imbue the cards with magic before they are called on to perform like circus animals. Or perhaps they are merely tacky, bejwelled fake phallic sceptres, that make us feel bestowed with special power, the special powers we read about as a child and dreamt – or still dream – one day of possessing. Despite not knowing what to do with them, I love holding and contemplating them, and yet of all the shiny New Age merchandise and glitter that tempts us, these are the things that I think longest and hardest before acquiring. Buying any old wand or picking up a random twig is not where it’s at. As a result, I tend to think I have few of them. All the ones that I have can be seen pictured below.
From left to right; the clear crystal unadorned point was given to me by an assistant in a crystal shop. It was kept behind the counter and she pulled it out to show me and when laid on a page like those long, flat-edged magnifying reading lenses, it duplicates the text, duplicates the image. Probably not an unusual phenomena but I liked the implications; a kind of prism for multiplying energy. She noted my fascination and gave it to me. Next to it is a wand I found at a crystal fair. I have never liked amethyst. It simply isn’t a rock that appeals to me but as soon as I saw this wand I loved it, loved the feel of it, with its broad spiralling effect, like a mannerist church column, and the metalwork and assemblage are impeccable. The fact that a hitherto disliked crystal could feel so right in my hand meant that I had to have it. I love the fact that it has what look like (and probably are) rust stains visible inside the crystal.
Commercially available wands which incorporate metal/silver and with added gems and a crystal ball fixed to the hilt can often look badly made when seen close up; there is nothing worse than attempted opulence done cheap. I always inspect a wand carefully before buying it and if I spot any sign of glue or assymetry I don’t want it. The wand next to the amethyst one was the very first one I bought; zoisite with tiny chakra stones along the shaft and which came from India. For ages I only had this one and made up a box for it with a collaged engraving which can be seen at the front of the photograph (which depicts sea god grasping dragon neck). The large wooden staff wand in the centre of the photograph was made by a friend out of hawthorne and is burned with the ogham symbol for hawthorne and with a viper coiled around it. This is my most treasured one, not only because I think it is the most beautiful but also because it was made specially for me and – I’ll be honest – wood appeals to me more than crystal (much as I love my others). I also prefer wooden pendulums to crystal ones. The next one has an unpolished granada set into the hilt and the crystal point is quite roughly chiselled and not quite regular (a detail I love) and it has silver threaded into the wood. Next is a twig I found on the ground and inexplicably liked. No other reason. It is quite weathered and was found by the sea and yet I have no idea what made me stoop down to pick it up as I wasn’t looking for a wand at the time. It simply called to me so I picked it up and kept it. I look at it and find it a bit ugly sometimes but something makes me hold onto it. Next to it in the photo is a wand made of Lapis Lázuli which I found at the same rock fair on the same day as the amethyst one. I cannot help but think of them as a pair. They feel that they were made by the same hand. The one next to this one is not technically a wand. It was sold as a “tarot pointer” and the idea is that you use it point to details in the cards when you’re doing a reading. Lovely idea, utterly unnecessary but it feels like a wand to me. I have no idea what woods are used (a lighter wood and a darker one.) It has a tactile quality which I like and the finish of the wood makes it feel like a smothed down chess piece to the touch. The very last wand is made up of chakra stones all perfectly slotted together to make a single wand. I like the juxtaposition of different colours. The craftsmanship is flawless and it is the kind of wand which has a rounded end so can be used for massages. Apart from this latter use, I’m not entirely sure what use I have for all the others. But I love them, which is enough I suppose (cont).
Whenever I think of directed force I think naturally of the Magus or Magician card and of one card in particular, that of Magic in the William Blake Tarot of the Creative Imagination by Ed Buryn. My favourite card in one of my favourite decks. It isn’t even The Magician anymore; the individual human element has been bypassed and it is the force alone that remains to be channelled. We see Anubis straddling the Nile, feet digging into the turf, drawing down the Dog Star, Sirius. He transforms stellar energy into earthly power. He doesn’t require a wand. Even his sistrum rattle has been discarded on the riverbank. He doesn’t require a wand since energy is directed through his clasped hands pointed skywards. None of us really require a wand to channel this magic, we ourselves are the medium, it’s just that – let’s face it – they can be so beautiful and irresistible sometimes.