My creation process is based upon Druid principles of love and peace, working in cooperation with the dryad spirits of the trees. I shape, carve and smooth the wood to bring out its spirit as well as its beauty. Only hand tools are used. Fine oil finishes are applied with hand rubbing and polishing. The the process is laborious but worthwhile, and to my mind a necessary factor in transforming a branch into a magic wand. The creation of a wand should never be rushed. It will be done when it wants to be done.
When I am engaging with a branch, the work uses not only my hands, but my subtle senses, to communicate with the dryad of the tree, to understand what the branch desires, as well as what my client desires. Carved leaves of oak, holly, ash, or ginkgo; spirals patterns, sigils, fire motifs that symbolize the higher will of the wise; helical vines or ribbons carved with inscriptions in Norse runes or bardic ogham fews - all these are thoughtfully and carefully executed.
Clients are encouraged to suggest designs and to discuss them with me. On the other hand, some clients prefer to leave everything to my creative intuition. You can do so without qualm because your satisfaction is completely guaranteed. If the wand is not right, return it and we can start over. My aim is for you to be overjoyed with your new magical partner. See YOUR UNIQUE WAND for more.
The process of wandmaking does not end when the oil or varnish goes on. Following the woodcrafting stage, comes enchantment and that will depend on the stars, the moon, and the seasons. Read more on ENCHANTMENT
Works of fiction have been somewhat misleading in how magic works. Wands do not "do magic" by themselves. No more than a hammer does carpentry by itself. The effectiveness of magic always comes from the wizard or witch, not just the wand.
Magic is the use of imagination and the higher will to effect changes in the natural world. Druidry, additionally, seeks to effect changes that are in harmony with the spirits of nature. A wand of magic helps a wizard or witch focus her intention and direct it mentally, through the will applied to the astral spheres of existence.
My book Wandlore (on the right) is a comprehensive guide to my approach to magery and wandmaking. It also gives suggestions in how to make and dedicate your own wand, and in how to use it. There I also discuss how to interpret a wand's qualities based on combining the vegetable, animal, and mineral parts you may include.
Click on the Image to the right to purchase Wandlore through Amazon and the many other booksellers they list. Or contact me directly and I can autograph a copy and send it to you for $20 (including shipping).
What is the difference between a druid wand and a witch's wand? Nothing really. The difference only comes in the particular rituals done in different magical traditions. Some traditions stipulate very particular types of wands. Ceremonial Magicians, for example, may follow the teachings of their Order, which ask the student to make wands for each grade using simple materials and paint.
Witches may follow the tradition of a particular witchcraft lineage, or may have their own preferences for wood or some other material. There are professional wandmakers who produce beautiful creations of metal and crystal, stone, or even clay, all of which are perfectly good materials for a wand. You can learn about many witchcraft traditions from books today. If you are new to the Craft, I suggest perusing the catalog at Llewellyn Worldwide for recommendations and reviews. Click on the image at right to check out my other book, The Witch's Wand, part of Llewellyn's Witch's Tool Series.
Druids tend to particularly like a tree branch, and especially from one of the sacred trees used in the ogham alphabet of the Irish bards. But in fact, every tree has magical properties and when they are pruned, they are often surprised and happy to contribute a branch to become a druid wand. There are many different druid orders as well. I myself am a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, which has an excellent distance-learning program.
I'm Dr. James Maertens -- druidically known as Alferian Gwydion MacLir. I live and work at Bardwood Lodge in the small urban village of Linden Hills, Minnesota. In 1993, I received a doctorate in English from the University of Minnesota, and subsequently taught English and Humanities. Now, I am a full-time writer of fantasy, a practicing druid, and a wandmaker, and seeker of adventure.
I've studied magic since 1979, and was initiated into the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids in 1997. I also study philosophy, history, magery, folklore, and literature as an independent scholar.
In 2007, I was named the Mt. Haemus Lecturer by the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. That lecture, "Entering Faerie: Elves, Ancestors and Imagination," is available to read on the OBOD website.
I have published under both my given name and my nom de plume. As Alferian MacLir, I have written two books on magic wands for Llewellyn Worldwide (see above).
Under the name James Maertens I've published the first trilogy of an ongoing series called The Celydon Saga, which involves the misadventures of a girl entering a druid prep school on her way to becoming a Bard. At Four Hallows Academy, Emily discovers the real world of the Druids, the leaders of society in the land called Prydein. School is difficult enough without the strange family she never knew she had, half of whom seem to be missing. I like to say it is maybe as if Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope wrote magic school novels. Check the links to my novels below! A blessing comes with every one you buy!
HOUSE OF GLASS
First novel in this trilogy. Emily discovers she is about to be shipped off to France for school, and then the Druids intervene and she has to make a choice. Does she want to enter their world on the high Tor of Celydon? Does she want to learn magic? And will her grandmother eat her? Read the Reviews.
FIRST TERM AT FOUR HALLOWS
In the second novel of the trilogy, Emily finds herself saddled with two magical objects from her lost grandfather's attic trunk. Classes are fun where there are almost as many animals as people! The tutors all have familiars and so do the upper school students! But surviving as a lowly neophyte is going to be a challenge!
The Alchemist's Secret
Emily has to do cleaning work for the college and meets Professor Krislock under sulfurous circumstances. As punishment for her rule-breaking, she is also consigned to the school sewers and furnaces. Emily and her friends carry on with their neophyte year at Four Hallows, yet something funny is going on. What is the professor of alchemy hiding? And is he trying to murder Emily?