Monday, January 13, 2014

The Sword & The Staff

The Sword

It represents fire and is used for many of the same purposes as the knife. Its
main use is for casting the circle. All authors agree that the sword is
optional, and that a replica is appropriate. Most suggest that some part, either
the handle or an inscription be added to make a purchased sword more personal.
All agree that if it is possible the sword should be made by the owner or a
coven member, but unless you are a blacksmith you are unlikely to be able to
manage the blade. The handle could be made or at least decorated however. There
are a number of suppliers of fine replica swords that cater to the SCA and Renn
Faire groups, keep your eyes open and you may find just the one for you. They
are also readily available at occult supply stores, often of lesser quality, but
also lesser price.

The Staff

The staff or stang is commonly included among the tools of Traditional witches
as well as Wiccans. It represents air and is, in effect, a long wand. It should
be made out of hardwood, equal in length to the height of the owner, and
decorated with feathers, leather, crystals, carving or engraving according to
Buckland. The staff has little practical use being largely ornamental. Farrar
and Cunningham do not mention it. A staff or walking stick can be a very
personal accessory since there are so many options for decoration. One can affix
any number of items to leather cords to dangle from the top, and it can be
carved with symbols, runes, the owners magical name - any meaningful words you
like. I recommend putting a rubber cane tip over the bottom to provide traction
and avoid marring floors.

Valiente tells of her traditions use of the Stang, a type of staff. It serves as
an emblem of faith and walking aid to and from meetings, a sign one is of the
craft, and a personal altar. The stang is forked at the top. It is of ash, cut
during the full moon with your knife. A small coin must be left with the tree as
payment for taking the branch. The stang must be shod with iron by driving a
nail into the bottom of it, the purpose being to hold the magical charge within
the stang once it is consecrated. Garlands and arrows are hung on the coven
stang for the four major rites. In some traditions the stang rather than being
forked at the top has a forked antler or even a whole skull with antlers of a
deer or similar animal. It may be decorated with fur, feathers, crystals or
other objects as well.

*author unknown

-The Crafty Witch

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