Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Magic Wand in Fantasy Literature

In Celtic lore, what your wand is fashioned from is determined by your date of birth. As in astrology, the alignment of the stars has a great effect on your personality and energies within your being, all of which need to be in proper alignment when selecting a wand. The magical power does not come from the object itself; rather, it is drawn from the one wielding the wand. Magic is the art or science of drawing upon the complex energies of the universe.

December 24 - January 20 = Birch Relatively light wood, Birch is considered the first tree, tied to spring and youth & all things new. It also holds great ability to purify & discipline

January 21 - February 17 = Rowan Also known as Mountain Ash, Witchwood and Sorb Apple has long known as an aid and protection against enchantment. Sticks of the Rowan were used to carve Runes on. Rowan spays and crosses were placed over cattle in pens and over homes for protection. Its lovely red berries feed the birds in winter. The berries have a tiny pentagram on them and are especially poisonous. The pentagram is the ancient symbol of protection. The Rowan tree indicates protection and control of the senses from enchantment and beguiling. The Rowan was sacred to the Druids and the Goddess Brigit. It is a very magical tree used for wands, rods, amulets and spells. A forked Rowan branch can help find water. Wands are for knowledge, locating metal and general divination.

February 18 - March 17 = Ash Fairly heavy, Ash is a traditional wood & represents Ygdrasill, the World Tree and is one of the three of the Fae Triad (Oak, Ash, Thorn). It is especially good for spells of protection (esp. from drowning) holding great sea-power and is excellent for absorbing sickness.

March 18 - April 14 = Alder Lightweight. Alder protects against drowning & acts as a shield against death curses and ill-omens & destructive emotions; cultivates visions of inner & outer worlds; bridging above and below

April 15 - May 12 = Willow Pale, genial wood. Willow is light as air to hold & sensitive to emotion, intuition & associated with Awn (sacred Druidic word for inspiration).

May 13 - June 9 = Hawthorn Cream hue, Hawthorne wood is sacred to Aquarius and is a tree of defense with the power of lightning. Some say it has the power to detect magic as well. Attuned to the violet spectrum it is good for strengthening one’s magic powers and spells of warding and control.

June 10 - July 7 = Oak Oak embodies wisdom, strength & represents stability and protection. It teaches persitence and endurance. Noted for enhancing durability against counter-spells and increasing spell longevity. Oak is suited to the magic of kingship, personal sovereignty & authority.

July 8 - August 4 = Holly This is one of the whitest woods available, fine-grained & hard w/masculine energy and is the wood used by the famous Harry Potter. Associated with holiness, protection from evil spirits & poisons helps with business endeavors and progress, used in consecrations.

August 5 - September 1 = Hazel Wands made of this wood symbolize white magic and healing. Forked sticks are used to find water or buried treasure. If outside and in need of magical protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. To enlist the aid of plant fairies, string hazelnuts on a cord and hang up in your house or ritual room. Magically, hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom and poetic inspiration.

September 2 - September 29 = Vine Vines in general are symbols of both joy and wrath. This month marks the vintage season when the Grape crop is harvested and so is a good time to do any and all rituals associated with the harvest - in fact, the Autumn Equinox (called Harvest Home or Mabon) is celebrated during this month. The month of Vine is also a good time to do magic associated with inspiration, imagination, poetry and imagery. The Grape has applications in magic done for Faerie work, garden magic, joy, exhilaration, wrath, mental powers, rebirth, happiness, fertility, inspiration, prosperity, and binding. The leaves and fruit from Vines can be used in spells to overcome inferiority complexes and to enhance ambition. The Grape Vine also symbolizes resurrection because its strength is preserved in the wine, that magical elixir that's known for its ability to dissolve the boundaries between us, allow us to mingle more easily, and relax with others.

September 30 - October 27 = Ivy This is the symbol of resurrection. Ivy has attributes of restraint of fear and dealing with Emotions. Ivy grows in a sacred spiral, which symbolizes reincarnation, from lifetime to lifetime, and from minute to minute, day to day. Ivy travels everywhere - it spreads happily and thrives in many places where no other greenery could survive - its determination to reach through obstacles toward light and food is well known, and therefore Ivy symbolizes strength.

October 28 - November 24 = Elm/Reed Ancient, feminine & wise. Elm is tied to the godess in her crone phase & heralded by the bard Taliesin as steadfast in battle. Elm is connected to elves & faerie mounds as Kipling warns: "Ailim be the lady's tree; burn it not or cursed ye'll be".

November 25 - December 23 = Elder Also known as Ellhorn, Elderberry, Lady Elder. Sacred to the White Lady and Midsummer Solstice. The Druids used it to both bless and curse. Standing under an elder tree at Midsummer, like standing in a Fairy Ring of mushrooms, will help you see the "little people." Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms. Music on panpipes or flutes of elder have the same power as the wand. Remember the words of the Rede. Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be!

The wand is an instrument of invocation. It is sometimes used to direct energy or to draw magical symbols on the ground. To some, the wand represents the element of air, and it is sacred to the Gods. The size of the wand is up to you, whatever size feels comfortable in your hand - your wand should feel like an extension of your own arm. Any reasonably straight piece of wood can be used. The Great Book of Saint Cyprian gives step-by-step instructions on how to make a magic wand.

Magical wands are commonly found in works of fantasy as devices for casting spells. There is a great deal of diversity throughout literature in what magic can be cast by a wand, this can probably be best explained by the fact that the power is drawn from the owner of the instrument and its capabilities are directly tied to its owner.
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Helen Ginger said...

Very interesting. I know nothing about Celtic lore, let alone wands. I, of course, had to first scroll down to see what my wand was. This makes me want to look for my wand and hold it in my hand.

I awarded you the Humane Award today. You can pass it on or not; it's up to you. But I gave it to you because each time I come here I learn something new - like today.

Straight From Hel

Karen Walker said...

Wands are also used in real life by those who follow the Wiccan path. I'm going to have to get me a willow wand!!

Marvin D Wilson said...

Now if I could just get a magic wand that I could wave over my 3 WIP's and they'd be all done and polished and ready to pub!

The Old silly

Karen K Brees said...

I claim Rowan. Fascinating information here, Nancy. I also found some cool stuff I can incorporate into my mystery novel.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Interesting info here! I'm protected against by my wand (which is good. That would be an awful way to go!)

Hey, how was the new Potter film? Hoping to take my son tomorrow...

Mystery Writing is Murder

N A Sharpe said...

Helen - hi. I've been doing some research lately on Celtic lore and came across the info about the wands. I thought it was pretty interesting how it corresponds to your birthday. Oh wow! Thank you! That is so cool - I appreciate that!

Hi Karen - my wand would be willow too! I wish I knew more about Wiccans - it sounds fascinating. A lot of folks associate them with Satanists and such but from what I have read this is definitely not the case. From what I have read the religion is very much at one with the earth and nature.

Marvin - I hear you! I wish I could find a wand for that too!

Karen - cool! I like stumbling on something that can help with a WIP too!

Elizabeth - glad to hear it! Actually, I didn't end up seeing the Potter movie as planned. My son, nieces, friends and cousins-in-law (grin) were all going and somehow they ended up one ticket short. Since the kids (all late teens/eary 20's) don't get as many opportunities to get together as they'd like and they all grew up on Harry Potter, I volunteered my ticket so they all got to go to the sold out shows. I'm going to try to go tonight unless it is sold out too!

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This is so interesting. My want is elm/reed? You come up with the neatest stuff.


N A Sharpe said...

Hi Bev! You never know what you're going to come across when you start researching!

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

Patricia Stoltey said...

My wand should be willow. That's nice to know. Very cool post.

N A Sharpe said...

Thanks Patricia - I'm a willow too!

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

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