Making A Gandr (Runic Wand)

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How to select and prepare a wooden branch to create a wand.

1) Select a wood with the qualities you desire. Here are some suggested woods and their corresponding magical qualities

Alder-The "battle witch" of trees, it represents truth, as in purification
by fire.

Ash-The "guardian tree," dispenser of justice. The first man was an ash. The world tree, Yggdrasil-synonymous with the yew-is commonly referred to as an evergreen ash. Ash bark is deadly to snakes.

Beech-Tree of the Three Norns, its bark is also deadly to snakes. Runes were written on thin beech boards.

Birch-Called the "birth-tree," and associated with the Mother Goddess, it has been used in healing and for magical besom brooms. It also symbolizes the return of spring. Traditionally you consecrate it to Thor. The birch protects you against lightning.

Elder-The "thirteenth tree," represents the Great Goddess and is associated with Berkana.

Elm-In the Northern Tradition, the first woman was shaped from an elm. This tree also is associated with the Mother Goddess, the light elves, and healing.

Hazel-The tree of wisdom, the hazel cuts away impurities to see the self honestly.

Laurel-The oracle tree of Delphi, this tree represents victory and honor.

Oak-The "Forest King" of endurance, tree of the Norse god Frey, and the primary wood of the sacred fire of the Goddess, the oak is associated with fertility, ancestry, and love. Its fruit, the acorn, is a symbol of the Goddess.

Pine-Representing the cycle of life and rebirth, the pine is called "Tree of the Manifest," the sun. Pinecones are its fruits and symbolize the Goddess.

Rowan-Called "Tree of Runes" and "Wood of the Sorcerer," the rowan's pliability is thought to aid in magic. The tree branches are tied with red thread to protect your home or property from enemies.

Silver Fir-The fir is associated with the Moon, representing feminine rebirth.

Willow-The traditional tree that wands are fashioned from, the willow is flexible and excellent to use for magic and enchantment. This tree draws its power from water.

Yarrow-Also called Milfoil, this is a popular wood for divining wands. It is also a healing herb called "the medicine of life."

Yew- Yew is a poplar wood for runic talismans and wands. It is also a tree of death and rebirth and is associated with Yggdrasil, Odin, Ymir, Uller, and the Valkyries.

2) After choosing the type of wood to use, locate a living tree from which to cut your wand.

3) When you find the tree, communicate with it. Sit under the tree and feel its bark supporting you. Touch the tree with the palms of your hands. Look up at the canopy and notice how the branches weave out from the trunk.

4) Walk around the tree three times sunwise (clockwise), asking if you may have a branch from its body. You will receive some sort of feeling at this point, whether or not to proceed with cutting the wand. If it is positive, the tree will help you select the best branch. if you feel a negative response, find another tree and repeat the procedure.

5) Dig a small hole in the ground at the base of the tree and make an offering such as mead and bread or plant food, and then thank the tree. Say to the guardian, or "wight," of the tree:

Hail to thee, wight of (insert tree name),
I pray to thee give this branch of your body!
Into it send thy speed,
To it bind the might of the bright runes.
(insert the names of the runes to be used on your wand)

Then cut your wand, while chanting ot toning the runes, preferably on a day of the new moon or during the waning moon. Timing the cutting in this manner will ensure the proper amount of time-an entire moon cycle-for "curing" the wand. Traditionally, wands were snapped off the tree, not cut with metal blades. Staffs are larger and are usually cut. If you are going to cut the branch with a metal blade, use your magical knife or sword, and take appropriate safety precautions as you proceed. Protect the tree by painting the cut area on its trunk or branch with a small amount of bituminous paint or seal it in another way.

6) Once the wand or staff is cut, thank the tree wight for its magical gift by saying:

Wight if (insert tree name), accept my thanks.
Henceforth may your might be in this branch!
Magically bound to the bright runes (insert rune names),
Working my will with speed and wisdom.

7) Begin to shape the branch's personality. Use your knife to strip off the bark, collecting and keeping the bark shavings on a cloth or piece of newspaper. Sometime during the next 28 days (a moon phase), go back and sprinkle the bark shavings around the base of the tree in a sunwise (clockwise) circle. While doing this, touch the tree with the palms of your hands and thank it again. Create a simple blessing song or chant for the tree, and sing it as you walk around the base of the tree three times sunwise.

Leave the stripped wand in the sunlight and moonlight for an entire moon cycle, while working with it each day to perfect its shape.

9) After the wands skin has dried, you can paint, write, or burn runes into the surface, but ideally cut them into the wand. When carved into the wand, the runes infuse the tool with supernatural and divine strength. The "ristir," meaning "cut," is an extremely sharp wood carving tool customarily used for the cutting of runes. You could also use a knife.

The cutting of the runes into different materials is an act of magic, one requiring your full attention. Call in the appropriate divine energies as you work, making an effort to sense the rune before you cut it. State the purpose of the rune and sense the direction of the energies. This will help you decide where to start the cutting. When in doubt, use your intuition. Chant the runes or the corresponding Galdr song with each rune that you cut into the wood. If the wand has a magical name, carve it on the shaft. Besides cutting runes on your wand, you can also use consecrated oil or the ashes of burned runes to trace the symbols.

Take time to think carefully before marking the tool irrevocably with the runes. Be sure the runes match the tool's intended use. The purpose of putting runes on the tool is essentially to bless and dedicate it to a specific task. The runes make the tool's at- tributes purer, stronger, and more reliable.

10) After carving them, the next step is to redden the runes. Traditionally, "Tiver" extracted from the madder plant, is used. As an interesting side note, the word tiver means "magic," and the color red symbolizes magic and active energy. Red runes stimulate the circulation of the blood and the senses. You can also use red ocher, minium (red lead), dragon's-blood resin, or another reddening substance. These reddening pigments are ground with linseed oil, in a sacred manner, while you are chanting, "Laukaz, Laukaz, Laukaz," before you begin. Laukaz invokes the fertility of nature. To apply the red dye to the runes, a special tool called a "galdrstaf" is customarily used. Inscribed with the appropriate runes, it is a small veneer-thin piece of wood cut into the shape of an isosceles triangle that can easily be held in your hand. Chant or sing the runes as you redden them.

11) Use consecrated oil or beeswax to seal your wand. Match the magical qualities of the oil to the intended purpose of your wand. For example, a wand sealed with honeysuckle oil would give it qualities of protection, abundance, and strength.

12) Complete your runic wand with natural materials like silk ribbon, feathers, and shells, or mount a quartz crystal in the tip. The hinder (bottom) end of the gandr is rounded or blunted.

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