Is there beyond the silent night
An endless day?
Is death a door that leads to light?
We cannot say.
– “The Devil” , Robert G. Ingersoll
Part one in the Magical Tools series
No other symbol evokes magic in the popular imagination like the wand.
Did you know that nearly every culture has a wand-like tool used for magic and ritual?
The Egyptians left a circular wand-like tool for the dead’s ba [soul] to use in the afterlife. The ancient Norse used a gandr. Hermes uses a caduceus. The Zoroastrians use a wand called a barsom, which is made from a bundle of metal wires.
As for the origin or symbolism of the wand, the most popular interpretation is the wand as a phallic symbol. But this is only one interpretation among many – and it’s a simplistic one as well. Especially in Siberia and Central Asia, the wand could have developed from the drumming stick; shamans would have used the wand/drumming stick and the drum to enter altered states of consciousness. I suspect the association with power comes from the fact that wands [a stick providing leverage] were the earliest tools, not from phallic symbolism. [Phallocentrism invades even paganism!]
Crafting Your Own Wand
If you want to make your own wand, your options are only limited by your imagination. Follow traditional correspondences if you wish, or do something different.
They are typically associated with the Elements of Air or sometimes Fire. Use your wand to raise energy, cast a Circle, or direction the flow of energy during ritual or prayer.
Wands can be made of metal, stone, bone, wood, and perhaps even plastic, fabric, or paper. Twisted beach wood, a fallen twig, natural branching stones [like selenite or kyanite], antique spoons, flowers, antlers, horns, stone points, and more can all serve as wands. If you use twigs or other living matter for your wand, ask before taking, and always leave a gift behind. [Pure, blessed water is a good choice for plants.]
Wands need not be straight. In fact, historically, many were not.
Wands can be twisted, curvy, or v-shaped. V-shaped wands seem popular with those who want their wand to have yoni symbolism. They can be shaped like a spine, like the Japanese ruyi. They can even be completely circular, like the ancient Egyptian wands mentioned above. Staffs are a variation on the wand.
Some people name their wands. Names can be divined by asking the wand itself.
As far as decoration goes, wands can have stones, ribbons, fabric, glitter, flowers and more affixed to the tool. Names of power, runes, sigils, and emblems can be carved, painted, burned, glued, or sewed to the wand. I’ve seen people hollow out their wands and stuff crystals inside. My first wand, an oak branch, was carved with symbols I was given in a dream. Periodically, I re-consecrated it by rubbing it with sweet-smelling frankincense oil.
After creation, dedicate your wand to whatever force seems appropriate to you. This could be the Elements, your higher Self, a deity, or anything else that helps you with your magic. Charge it on a day of power, perhaps the full moon or a stormy night.
However it is created, wands are conduits of energy and life-force. They channel power from inside the magician to the external world, and from the Upperworld to the magician. Because of this, they, perhaps more so than other tools, become living totems. Treat yours with respect and enjoy a long journey together.
Do you have a wand? Tell us about it in the comments.
- Crystal Wands (soulascendency.wordpress.com)
This is one of my favorite songs by this band. It brings back a lot of good memories for me, memories of being with the one I love.
What songs bring back good memories for you?
Every so often, a demon child is born to the isolated farming people of Kera-Dul. Shalana Kaloia was one such child: she arrived as a newborn with wide open eyes as black as obsidian, rim to rim, and without screams. She possessed on her forehead a protuberance like a blood opal, long webbed fingers, smooth periwinkle skin, and filamentous gills on her neck. She suffered on land, but beneath the waves, she was unmatched. But neither her fishing prowess nor her graceful swimming — not even her propensity to detect coming storms — could save her when, one cold misty morning, the people of Kera-Dul voted unanimously to cast her out.
“All in favor of casting out Shalana Kaloia, raise your hand,” said the village chief. One by one, all two hundred people lifted their hands skyward. The village shaman, the teacher, all the hunters, every blacksmith — all of them people Shalana knew — raised their hands. Her mother, perhaps reluctantly, raised her hand too. Then finally her father. But one hand remained unraised.
“The decision must be unanimous,” said the chief. Shalana’s friend, Ymon Yrala, hadn’t yet voted. She alone held Shalana’s fate. But then Ymon’s small shaky hand was raised as well. A jungle of condemning hands and arms rose through the mist.
“Then we are agreed. Shalana Kaloia, for your crime of being demon-born, we take your name. You are now Shalana Ksemoi and we cast you out.”
She was only ten summers old. She had no time to say goodbye to her family or to her goats. She had no time to gather items to assist her survival. They chased her from the village. They carried torches, knives, maces, pitchforks, shovels. They chased her through the iron gates of Kera-Dul, the place that was once her home.
Kera-Dul was only a few short miles from the sea. Shalana knew the way by heart. The air burned her lungs, but the warm brine was a balm. She slid into the water. She hid among the green rocks, seaweed, and urchins.
Suddenly a blue-grey shape materialized in the water. She could smell it: a dragon. It too had periwinkle skin, webbed digits, and a strange crimson jewel on its forehead. It too had large black eyes. Yet it had features she did not: wings, for one, and a heavy club-like tail. Armored plates jutted from its back like a row of knives. But the similarities were undeniable. She didn’t flinch when the creature brought its face against hers. A red light issued from the dragon’s jewel and washed over Shalana. Then the images started, kaleidoscopic and fleeting:
Baby aquatic dragons played on the seafloor.
Family groups constructed homes. They manipulated technology more subtle than the humans’.
Expanses of underwater forests rose and ebbed with the tides of the moon.
Most amazingly, people just like her participated fully in dragon society. They weren’t demons. They raised children, protected the oceans, and lived under the waves, away from those who condemned them.
The creature extended to her an invitation to freedom.
Shalana the outcast stretched out her webbed hands and joined the dragon on a journey into the deep.
Tasting from the Tree of Transformation: an Alternative Interpretation of Eve
Part one in the Biblical Goddesses series
Most see Eve as the Christian Pandora who brought death to humankind, a plague, a thoughtless being subservient to her husband Adam. But this is not the true Eve. Her story has been shrouded by centuries of dogma and doctrine. What do religious myths such as the creation story in Genesis really mean? I feel this is a question each seeker will have to discover for her/him/zemself; what follows is just one interpretation. Names can reveal a lot about mythological and religious characters. What does Eve’s name reveal about her?
She has many appellations: Barbelo [or Arb-Eloh, the embodiment of the Feminine Principle in Gnostic Christianity], Hawwa [“wife”], Hiywa [“Source of Life”], Chava, Light Maiden of Sophia, Zoe [“life”], Mother of Life. Her name is possibly related to that of the Hurrian goddess Kheba [Hebat], who was worshipped during the Bronze Age. Kheba’s name in turn may be derived from the name of the first female king, Kebau, of the Third Dynasty of Kish. In the Tyndale translation of the Bible, Eve is the name Adam gives to animals; he calls his wife Heua. The word eve itself means “dawn” or “beginning.”
Here’s an interesting connection: Another name of the Goddess Asherah is Hawwa/Chawah; she was also commonly depicted as a nude woman with a serpent. Asherah is mentioned more than a few times in the Bible.
Sophia is a feminine aspect of God in the Gnostic Christian tradition and is associated with wisdom. It is my opinion that Eve and Sophia are one in the same – she is, after all, called “The Light Maiden of Sophia.”
As can be seen from these alternate names, Eve was associated with wisdom and life. She ate the magical Fruit and was awakened, filled with god-like knowledge and wisdom. This is when her elevation to Goddesshood began.
Eve is the brave Mother of humanity – much like Mary, who is sometimes called “the second Eve.” She was never actually directly forbidden from eating the Fruit; God only forbade Adam: “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” [Genesis 2: 16 – 17] At this point it is debatable whether or not Eve was even created; once before it is mentioned that a womon was created [Genesis 1:27], but it’s not until 2:22 that she is mentioned directly [and not until much later that she is named]. This brings up another point: nowhere is it written that Eve was even told that Adam could not eat of the Fruit – reading the story, it sounds like no one told her anything about the Tree. [No one, that is, except the Serpent.]
It sounds to me like Eve went through a shamanic transformation.
At Genesis 3:22, God sounds like a child protecting his favorite toy, but once again he refers to Adam, not Eve: “And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’” As an aside, who is this “us” God speaks of? It is well-known that Elohim [the Hebrew word translated as God] is plural [this has been explained as a “royal we” but I’m not buying]. It is not so far-fetched to think that the “us” God speaks of is himself and Sophia, that is, Eve.
Eve became a Goddess through the divine magic of the Fruit, but was cursed because she shared the Fruit with Adam, a mere mortal who was not yet ready for shamanic transformation.
As for Eve being saddled with the label of “helpmate,” created solely as an afterthought to assist Adam – this is blatantly wrong. The word “helpmate” is ‘ezer, and it is used often in the Bible to refer to God! Furthermore, Eve is depicted as autonomous and independent, while her husband is surprisingly passive.
Eve, one goddess among many in the Bible, has been much maligned throughout history. It was believed that women were inferior because of the Original Woman’s stupidity, that women had the same careless, stupid nature as Eve. This was used as justification for the subordination of women up until fairly recently. An example of this is the use of pain relievers during pregnancy: even after ether was discovered as an analgesic, doctors refused to use it on laboring women because the curse of Eve was that women would suffer the pain of childbirth. [As an aside, this is just one example of the sickening trend of doctors — thinking they are infallible — going against the wishes and consent of female patients.]
Eve was maligned like this perhaps because she represents the power people can obtain for themselves by refusing to be passive, much in the same way that Lilith represents freedom. It has been my experience that Eve is very responsive to those who seek her.
An Eve-centric Ritual
photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc
If you are interested in inviting Eve into your life, you might find her energies to be very gentle, yet quite palpable, much as I did. Information on this forgotten goddess is hard to come by, but here are the correspondences that worked for me:
Color: vibrant blue
Stone: blue lace agate
Symbols: light, wisdom, fruit, transformation
Tool: chalice or cauldron
An idea for a simple Eve-centric ritual could be something like this:
Set your altar or ritual space with a white cloth, blue candle, and an offering of fruit.
Clear your mind and banish as you typically do. Enter a meditative state by doing pranayamas, counting exercises, or anything that works for you.
Evoke the goddess: “Eve, who of old was called: Barbelo, Hawwa, Mother of Life, and Light Maiden of Sophia. You are the brave Mother of wisdom and the beating heart of Sophia. Through your curiosity, humanity was blessed with wisdom and courage. Come, for you are welcome here.”
Meditate on this thought: Eve, our lady of the Fruit, is wise and brave. She reigns over shamanic transformation. Light the candle and say, “Eve lights my path.”
Offer the essence of the fruit to Eve. Close as you typically you do.
“The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects” – Barbara G. Walker
“The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” by Leonard Schlain
“The Goddess Eve and her Dirty Consort Adam” – web article