Who's got a staff?

This forum is for discussions of all aspects and efforts to nurture Gaia - from gardening to tree and herb lore: from husbanding the forests to environmental activism and planting sacred groves.
Forum rules
If you find a topic of interest and want to continue the discussion then start a new topic under The Hearthfire with a similar name and add a link back to the topic you want to continue.
To copy a link just copy the url on the top left of your browser and then put in your post, highlight it and press the url button.
User avatar
Kima
OBOD Bard
Posts: 382
Joined: 18 Jun 2010, 15:14
Gender: Female
Location: Naria's lands
Contact:

Who's got a staff?

Postby Kima » 18 Jun 2010, 15:35

I am considering making a staff out of the branch of a young elm tree and would like to know more about the way others have done it. Can you describe your staff, the reasons why (and how) you made it, and what you use it for? I want to make sure that if I decide to go for it I will do every step thoughtfully
:a:

User avatar
Tynan Elder Oak
OBOD Druid
Posts: 737
Joined: 04 Feb 2006, 21:25
Gender: Female
Location: Warwickshire UK
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Tynan Elder Oak » 18 Jun 2010, 18:08

Hi there! Many Druids would consider a staff a necessity, and seek to get one sorted out as soon as they may. Most people would wait until a particular tree spirit 'calls' them and then start working on it. How one does that is totally up to the individual but usually it is considered a good idea to 'sit and talk' or share energy with the staff and develop a kind of a relationship with it before starting to work with it.

The actual working with it is quite practical in that most staffs need to have their bark removed, lovingly and then left to dry a little, time frames differ for each staff. Some woods like Hazel actually are able to keep their bark on as there is a really tight bond there, but others like oak or ash and birch have a loose bond and their bark would come off any way so it is removed.

Afte a period drying then the staff usually gets treated to some smoothing, knobbly bits removed, smoothed down. the staff as a whole may be lightly sanded to give a smoother finsih, to taste... then it is treated with sme kind of preservative to nourish and protect it. I prefer a really good few layers of nourishing wood oils and then finished off with a few layers of wax, buffed up but not too shinny... I like the natural grains of my staffs to shine through....If during the making of it you had a a scratch or slight cut that allowed a drop or more :boggle: of blood! All well and good, it wont need an armful but a drop or two deepens your connection with the staff.

You would need to reasearch what kind of oils or finishes would be good for the wood that has chosen you.

Then.... you might want to decorate it, with precious stones (they can be tricky as they need little notches to sit in to else they just fall, and you would also need something like an epoxy resin like araldite to really fix it well. Sper glue does not work! :cry: ) Speacial feathers or beads may also look good. Some people will use copper too.... copper bands on the bottom of a staff help prevent it from spliting, and if you can a feral and a copper band protects the bottom and reduces splits.... Now it is my experience that if your staff does not like or need a particular kind of embelishment it will fid a way of getting rid of it, no matter how many times you add it, so be sure to listen carefully.

When your staff looks and feels like it is pretty much complete, you might want to dedicate and smudge it. For this I would create a sacred circle, and have in it incense, for the east, a candle for the South water in the west and a small bowl of earth in the north. Salt in the centre is good too in my opinion but entirley up to you. Create your circle then bless your staff with each of the elements and 'cleanse' it with the salt if you choose to use it.

When you are rady, after blessing your staff, you might want to wake it up and dedicate it to your named diety/deities, and to wake up a staff you gently tap it thrree times on the floor with whatever invocation seems best to you. After this point you will feel the enrgy of your staff much more directly and powerfully.

Work with your staff often, sit and meditate with it, walk with it take it to circle and festival regualry and it starts to store up with oyur energy, which you can then direct in whatever manner is appropriate. Should you start to use your staff in a manner it doesn't like, it will withdraw itself from you and you will find the enregy bank is 'empty'. :???:

I hope you find this of use tehre will be other ways and means and hopefully others will comnvey their ideas to you too. Many blessings on your journey with your staff. /|\ :shake:

User avatar
Kima
OBOD Bard
Posts: 382
Joined: 18 Jun 2010, 15:14
Gender: Female
Location: Naria's lands
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Kima » 19 Jun 2010, 01:25

Thank you Tynan! Your explanations are very helpful.
Most people would wait until a particular tree spirit 'calls' them and then start working on it. How one does that is totally up to the individual but usually it is considered a good idea to 'sit and talk' or share energy with the staff and develop a kind of a relationship with it before starting to work with it.
There are specific reasons why I have chosen elm: one of them is that there used to be a very old elm tree in my grove which has now fallen, and its presence has always felt very special to me. It started to rot a couple of years ago and I'd love to plant a new one but the area is probably too dense for a young tree to grow. I have found younger elms in another area I really like and they have beautiful branches I could use. I also love how elm becomes white when it dries up - which is what gave the old tree some of its character - and the way its fibers are intertwined, plus there's something to the symbolism and my relation to it.

Which is all good, but that's as far as I've gone! I'm going to spend some time with the younger elms and see what comes out of the experience.

I would love to see pictures of other druids' staffs if some of you are willing to share them. Accounts of the process you followed are also most welcome!

User avatar
Lily
OBOD Ovate
Posts: 3374
Joined: 13 Aug 2003, 10:36
Gender: Female
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Lily » 19 Jun 2010, 11:49

Mine is elm too. I found it where a hedgerow had been cut.
The bark reflects the moonlight, so I never stripped it.
If I did I would coat it in beeswax.

I do not use it often though.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


"You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into"
-Ben Goldacre

User avatar
katie bridgewater
Posts: 473
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 19:50
Gender: Female
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby katie bridgewater » 19 Jun 2010, 12:59

Hi Kima

there is already an excellent thread on staff making here:
http://druidry.org/board/dhp/viewtopic. ... lit=+staff
lots of practical advice and experience - it will save you waiting for everyone to post again!

User avatar
Kima
OBOD Bard
Posts: 382
Joined: 18 Jun 2010, 15:14
Gender: Female
Location: Naria's lands
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Kima » 19 Jun 2010, 13:08

there is already an excellent thread on staff making here:
http://druidry.org/board/dhp/viewtopic. ... lit=+staff
lots of practical advice and experience - it will save you waiting for everyone to post again!
When I click on the link, I get this message: "you are not authorised to read this forum"
I found another thread called "Wands - making and choosing". Is it the same one? :blink:

User avatar
Corwen
Posts: 1660
Joined: 14 May 2008, 09:46
Gender: Male
Location: East Dorset
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Corwen » 19 Jun 2010, 13:51

there is already an excellent thread on staff making here:
http://druidry.org/board/dhp/viewtopic. ... lit=+staff
lots of practical advice and experience - it will save you waiting for everyone to post again!
When I click on the link, I get this message: "you are not authorised to read this forum"
I found another thread called "Wands - making and choosing". Is it the same one? :blink:
Thats because it is in the Bards forum. Are you doing the course Kima? If you are you should go to your user control panel and request to join the Bards forum. If not it might be worth asking the Moderators to move that thread to a more accessible place, or give you permission to view it.

If neither of these things are possible say on here and I'll cut and paste my posts into this thread.
My Homepage, music, instrument making, articles, pilgrimage and more! http://www.ancientmusic.co.uk
My Blog: http://www.katecorwen.wordpress.com
My Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/KATEandCORWEN
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kate-Cor ... 840?ref=hl

User avatar
Kima
OBOD Bard
Posts: 382
Joined: 18 Jun 2010, 15:14
Gender: Female
Location: Naria's lands
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Kima » 19 Jun 2010, 14:50

No I'm not a bard yet, and in fact I've only just joined the forum! I sent Jingle a message and we'll see, but I suppose there are privacy issues involved that prevent threads from being published in other sections (just speculating here). Thank you for the suggestion.

*Off to the woods now*

User avatar
Corwen
Posts: 1660
Joined: 14 May 2008, 09:46
Gender: Male
Location: East Dorset
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Corwen » 19 Jun 2010, 16:57

Here are my posts from the other thread that you can't see:
IMO hazel, ash and chestnut make the best staffs, they all grow straight and strong. Crab apple is very good too, lovely colour and knobbly. Hazel and apple look best with the bark left on, chestnut with it taken off, ash either way. Birch and willow get rather brittle and long lengths of holly and blackthorn are hard to find, though they are very good if you can find them, likewise rowan, though a making a rowan staff will most likely mean cutting the whole sapling.

I like to put a ferrule on the bottom, I prefer a metal one though a rubber one might suit if you use it on concrete a lot. Without a ferrule the end will get worn, damp will get in if you walk with it and eventually the bottom will start to discolour and split.

If you want a twisty one find a wood where honeysuckle (woodbine) grows, as it grows round a sapling or straight branch it will strangle the wood and this makes for an interesting twisty shape.

Although you can find dead wood which isn't rotten, often dead wood has woodworm or fungi which you really really don't want in your house. For this reason I'd recommend cutting live wood especially if you aren't experienced enough to spot signs of worm or deathwatch beetle. Cut it with a small saw. Leave a clean cut, try not to tear the bark. A sloping cut which sheds water will be healthiest for the tree.

Dry for 3 or 4 months in shade in a ventilated shed or garage, dip the ends in molten wax if you can be bothered as this prevents splitting, though if you cut a longer length than you need initially then you can always saw off the few inches at each end if they have split. If you can, dry it in a horizontal position otherwise the top will dry out sooner than the bottom. If its bent or crooked you can straighten it by cable tie-ing it to a straight stick like a broomstick. Once it is dry it will stay straight

After its dry, if you are going to keep the bark on, give it a light rub with a damp cloth to remove greeny scum, use a knife to remove any little twigs or stubby bits, then smooth over the cuts with sandpaper. Sand the whole thing nice and smooth with a fine grit paper (240 grit or so). Then you can seal it with beeswax polish or a wood oil, like Danish oil, I wouldn't recommend varnish as its toxic and unnecessary.

If you are going to take the bark off how easy this is varies with the tree, but usually a sharp knife, followed by sandpaper does the job. Some trees are really easy to peel when they are green and awkward when dry (like willow, pine or hazel), though the wood will dry more evenly and be stronger in the long run if it dries with the bark on. Once you've peeled it and sanded it you'll need to seal it in some way, with wax or oil, otherwise the wood will absorb dirt where you handle it and be vulnerable to worm etc. These oils etc will darken (fire) the wood, if you want a light finish then a lime wax will be best.

Thickness is a matter of taste, for me, for a walking stick length one anything thicker than your thumb seems overkill, for a full length staff an inch to inch and a half in diameter seems plenty to me otherwise what you have isn't a staff, its a log!
Coreylee wrote:
Ok, I've come pretty far along on my staff, but now I've run into a few questions. I was wondering if anyone reccomended putting a crystal on the end of the staff and if so how is such a thing done it's giving my fits. I was also wondering about putting symbols on it. I was thinking of staning the want painting what symbols I wanted to on it, and then putting polyurythane over that, but I have no idea how that's gonna turn out.
Personally I don't like the use of crystals (a very good souvenir of the rape of the earth as Paul Mitchell sings), unless of course you found it yourself on the beach or something. A nicely shaped beach or river pebble, or a bit of antler could look splendid though. Anyway it is very difficult simply to stick something non-porous like a crystal or a stone to something porous like wood, and not have it fall off the first time it gets knocked. You either need to set it into some sort of socket or insert a tenon or rod to connect the two. If the staff top isn't big enough to carve a socket into perhaps a bit of copper tube which fits over the top of the staff and also allows the crystal to fit into it would do. The best glue to use for this sort of thing is a two part epoxy adhesive (like Araldite in the UK).

Antler, horn, bones and pebbles can be drilled to accept a piece of threaded rod, the easiest way is to drill in (it is possible to drill into stone with specialised masonry bits, antler, horn or bone drill easily with any HSS bit) then screw a long bolt into the antler/bone so that a good length of thread is still visible (ie the bolt isn't all the way in) then hacksaw the head off the bolt leaving the thread. Drill a hole in the top of the staff, cover the threaded rod in epoxy glue and then screw the two parts together. Since many bones are naturally hollow cutting one end off may also make a socket which could receive the top of the staff, though you might have to enlarge the hollow in the bone or carve a tenon into the top of the staff. A thick enough piece of antler could also be carved to make a socket, the marrow like core to an antler is easy enough to remove with a knife, file or drill, and the strong bony outside would make a good socket to receive the top of the staff. Both antler and bone can be carved easily enough to take symbols etc, since obviously you can't burn designs onto them. Antler especially does have a strong grain which makes it easy to carve along its length and hard to carve across the grain, so practise on a scrap bit first!

There are lots of wood stains available, spirit stains work best but aren't very earth friendly and you need to wear gloves and work outdoors. Better is a water based stain with low VOC (volatile oil content). Polyurethane varnish coats wood in a layer of plastic, and it looks like it too. A wax or oil based finish is much more natural and less environmentally damaging. Pyrography (wood burning) is an easy way of marking symbols onto wood, you can buy special pyrography irons but a soldering iron or even a screwdriver heated up in a flame will do the job.
My Homepage, music, instrument making, articles, pilgrimage and more! http://www.ancientmusic.co.uk
My Blog: http://www.katecorwen.wordpress.com
My Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/KATEandCORWEN
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kate-Cor ... 840?ref=hl

User avatar
Kima
OBOD Bard
Posts: 382
Joined: 18 Jun 2010, 15:14
Gender: Female
Location: Naria's lands
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Kima » 19 Jun 2010, 17:43

Thank you very much Corwen, this is a very thorough explanation. I had no idea it would take several months to dry. I might as well start now if I want one for the Autumn Equinox!

oaktree

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby oaktree » 29 Nov 2010, 15:30

I have a holly staff with some little animal heads carved up the stem.

BB

Shirley

User avatar
Huathe
Posts: 628
Joined: 13 Sep 2010, 03:42
Gender: Male
Location: Asheville NC USA
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Huathe » 29 Nov 2010, 18:49

My staff is an ash one. Stripped of bark, except a little of the inner bark at the top, sanded down and coated with polyurethane. A rubber foot has been added at the bottom. It is 5 1/2 feet tall. I later added a small Congaree National Park metal logo at the top.

It makes a good druid's staff and wonderful hiking stick!

Ken Wilden, a friend of my dad, made it for me.
James E Parton
Bardic Course Graduate - Ovate Student
New Order of Druids

" We all cry tears, we all bleed red "_Ronnie Dunn

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/
http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145
http://www.burningman.com/

User avatar
Cosmic Ash
OBOD Druid
Posts: 535
Joined: 25 Sep 2004, 22:57
Gender: Female
Location: NW UK
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Cosmic Ash » 29 Nov 2010, 20:45

My staff came out of a skip. It's beautiful hazel wood, straight with a forked top and as tall as me. It was taken out of a barn that was being on converted and thrown in the skip by the builders. My partner saw and thought it was too good to throw out and brought it home for me! It is lovely and it doesn't matter it once belonged to someone else - I like old things anyways. I've spent a lot of time with the trees around the building - I did most of my Ovate work up there - so I do feel that connection with it.
:cloud9: :coll:

User avatar
Vapour Trail
Posts: 129
Joined: 28 Jun 2008, 21:38
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Vapour Trail » 01 Dec 2010, 17:26

Hi,

I have a beautiful ash staff with a forked end. I found it battered and scraped on the floor of a forest trail as I was walking one day. It was already cut to size so I didn't need to cut it again. I picked it up and immediately knew that I had discovered a new friend.

At home I stripped it of bark carefully, then let it dry out a bit. Then I sanded it down lovingly to remove the worst of its scars, rounded off the sharp nodules, and smoothed it out with fine sandpaper until it felt smooth. it was like stroking a kitten.

Finally, I smothered it in natural beeswax until it shone like the reflections from a full moon, and now we are inseparable. Once I left it at the base of Snowdon in a cafe, and somehow it was still there a week later when I recovered it.

I use it for stability when climbing to reach sacred places in Britain, for magickal work (casting circles, clearing spaces, collecting forces). It also acts as a handy sight for measuring distance and height, marking places, or framing pictures.

I will always be seen out with it at stone circles, day or night. It's my new nickname for myself: "Gwas Ashenstaff". ;-)

VT.
Positive energies.

Vapour Trail
...and then he was gone...

Image

http://www.hedgedruid.com : The dowsing and druidry blog

User avatar
Greenwood
OBOD Bard
Posts: 15
Joined: 22 Mar 2011, 21:23
Gender: Male
Location: derbyshire, England
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Greenwood » 28 Mar 2011, 22:30

Hi,

I have a few staffs, one is made from a fallen Rowan sapling, is quite tall and is used mostly for ceremonial purposes.

The others i have are mostly Ash or Hazel. I tend to look at the raw wood and decide if i should leave the bark on or not? If it has interesting colouring/markings, it seems a shame to remove them?

As mentioned before, Holly is a very hard, pale almost white wood, but its hard to fine a fallen piece that is big enough (Holly was used long ago to make cudgels out of!)

I tend to treat mine with regular applications of beeswax, just a personal preference really.

Bright blessings.

User avatar
Cosmic Ash
OBOD Druid
Posts: 535
Joined: 25 Sep 2004, 22:57
Gender: Female
Location: NW UK
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Cosmic Ash » 28 Mar 2011, 23:54

Hi Greenwood!
Nice to meet you :shake:

Do you treat the staffs with bark on with beeswax, if so how do you apply it? I've never treated mine with anything, but maybe I should?

CA

User avatar
Greenwood
OBOD Bard
Posts: 15
Joined: 22 Mar 2011, 21:23
Gender: Male
Location: derbyshire, England
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Greenwood » 29 Mar 2011, 18:59

Hiya Cosmic, nice to meet you too - yes, i treat staffs with and without bark with beeswax.

I just apple beeswax polish with a cloth, leave it to soak the wax up, then buff with a soft, lint free cloth :old:

User avatar
Cosmic Ash
OBOD Druid
Posts: 535
Joined: 25 Sep 2004, 22:57
Gender: Female
Location: NW UK
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Cosmic Ash » 29 Mar 2011, 20:25

Thanks Greenwood!
I think my staff may be in for a bit of a treat on payday!

User avatar
Explorer
OBOD Druid
Posts: 2507
Joined: 10 Jul 2004, 22:54
Gender: Male
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby Explorer » 30 Mar 2011, 09:59

What is a staff for?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

Image

User avatar
DJ Droood
OBOD Druid
Posts: 5558
Joined: 02 Feb 2003, 18:52
Gender: Male
Location: North Eastern North America
Contact:

Re: Who's got a staff?

Postby DJ Droood » 30 Mar 2011, 11:28

What is a staff for?
take messages, make coffee, type up reports.
Image
2010 LI
2011 LI
2013 BS
Image
12/10-Ancestors
"If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe."
Kerry Thornley


Return to “Greening Gaia”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest