Well folks i placed this thread in order to try to address questions members may have, not all questions will be addressed in this thread but i will try to target some of the most common and unique ones.
Question: What spell should i cast first?
Answer: Spells should not be the first magickal thing done at the beginning of your journey. If you are casting it is recommended that you understand exactly what you are doing and take precautions etc. You should learn your basics before beginning anything.
Question: I keep hearing about "learn
your basics" what is this basics you keep talking about?
Answer: The basics are simply parts of magick that make your foundation, it gives you the ability to move upward in magick and practice more advanced skills, advanced skills are simply more complex versions of these basics and if you can't complete the basics (which you will with practice anyway) you won't be able to move on hence we stress so much on these basics. I will now go into detail about these basics.
Meditation is needed cause it is mental training, it helps you learn to focus your energy and practice controlling the flow of it so you can do any other energy task in general. Here is my personally written meditation guide that will explain more in detail and even give you a meditation!
- Meditation Exercise
Coven members enjoy
Why do you need meditation?
whether you have just started the craft or you are filled with years of knowledge it is always good to refresh and clear the mind from incessant chatter.
What did i mean by that?
Meditation helps us to have control over our own mind, there fore we can influence anything outside and around it. By clearing the mind from all that activity that you unconsciously do (yes you do it) you don't give your self chance to really think on what is important. Who am i ? where did i come from ? where am i going?
These are some of the questions that show themselves when you have cleaned your mind, when you have created mental silence.
by practicing daily to train your mind (meditation is mental training) you gradually gain skills required to do certain magickal acts such as: Conjuring an energy ball, shielding, scrying, healing. All these arts start with the mind. Without the mental consciousness of what you are doing it will never work cause in the mind there is a procedure.
its like trying to enter into a room, the door is not locked but you cannot enter through any windows, and breaking the walls down is not an option.
How do you enter?
key word - Unlocked
the door was not locked, meditation is like a door way and all you have to is practice it to open that door into your mind. If you don't practice it you can't open the door.
Some comments from people: I find if hard to meditate, i don't think i can do it
of course you can!
Think about it, think about a time when you were either playing a video game or thinking about something, just doing some activity that you were do engrossed in that you were unaware of your surroundings like when someone calls your name and you don't hear.
what did you think that was?
Focus!, now i am not saying you are supposed to be dead to your surroundings but think of it this way, if i can focus that much and meditation will require a effort that does not require you to be unaware of your surroundings then this should be a piece of cake!
Take your time
Don't rush meditation, do it slow and gradual, if you are truly ready to speed up any thing then all is fine but sometimes slow moving slow is the key- just think of the tortoise and the hare
and tai chi, slow sturdy movements of energy.
so lets try a simple meditation exercise to get started shall we?
1) You can either lie on your back or sit in lotus position. take slow deep breaths. visualize your self in a quiet and dark void. -await further instructions from this guide
2) The way we are taught to breathe is quite shallow in not very healthy as stale air can settle at the bottom of your lungs, try inhaling while allow your stomach to expand or push outward like a balloon, then let it deflate as you exhale. Feel the difference in how much air you can intake? do you feel more energized with this breath? Most likely your answer is yes cause now you are getting all the energy that is needed.
3) Follow this ''new breathing'' by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, in your mind, feel your self becoming relaxed and free. Let your body become lighter and more energized.
4) see a white light form at the top of your head, see it change into the shape of a white florescent bulb. See this light move slowly down from your head to the base of your spine, let it move like a scanner cleansing all negative and blocked energy.
5) see your self covered in a red aura which gives you a sturdy and grounded energy.
see your body covered in an orange aura which layers on top of the red aura which gives you a vibrant and energetic mood
see a yellow aura which strengthens your willpower and love for life
see a green aura which gives you a calm sense of love and peace
see a blue aura which gives you sense of communication, you are connecting to everything around you
see an indigo aura, which gives you divine wisdom, see your self being filled with knowledge and insight
see a violet aura, that unites all auras seen before and feel a sense of oneness and bliss with universe.
open your eyes and relax, you may want to record your events in a journal
Grounding as another part of your basics you will need, but i shall explain what grounding is first.
Grounding is the process of connecting to the earth/nature energy to clear and neutralize fragmented energy that builds up over time in your practice. Your subtle body/energy body needs to be maintained, just like your house needs cleaning from time to time. As you practice your craft and continue your work you will begin to realize your energy may seem to be affected. Well that is simply because you need to ground yourself, in reality when you say you are "grounded" you are actually being like a tree, being rooted into nature and cleansed of all negative energy, so that when you cast you will have no hindrance.
I hope i have not confused anyone but feel free to ask questions.
If you can get out side into a place like a small park or simply your back yard, anyplace affiliated with nature is the best place to do grounding but you can do it anywhere you choose, i only told you this so you can have the least energy interference as possible. I am literally meaning negative energy, this in a room can actually interfere with your concentration thus resulting in a poor meditation experience.
sit in a lotus position or stand with your knees slightly bent, and visualize your body growing roots and growing into the ground, allow any negative energy to neutralize and remove from your body. Visualize a red colored energy rooting yourself, Take some time and allow your self to adjust to the energies of nature, let yourself be a tree, rooted in the ground strong and fully healthy.
* If you need to cleanse a room full of negative energy that can cause you to have an unpleasant experience you can burn dried sage ( i prefer white/silver sage) this action is called smudging
Balancing is a another part of meditation just like grounding, which serves the purpose to balance the energy in your body, basically your yin and yang dual energies. In everyone has a yin and yang sides of energy in them, Yin and Yang energy are complete opposites in energy working as a whole non better than the other, yin energy is spiritual based and feminine, is tends to be a watery energy and affiliated with the element of earth and all other feminine elements. Yang energy is a masculine energy that is based on a more physical structure, it is mainly affiliated with the element of fire. Both elements must be evenly distributed throughout the body in order to maintain a healthy energy/physical system. More knowledge in these aspects are more developed when one does healing which is in fact a more intricate practice.
Sit in a lotus position and visualize the yin yang symbol, feel all the opposite energies of your body slow down gradually(with the slow breathing learned from the meditation guide) and begin to behave as though they are waiting for your instruction. Then in your mind visualize them being balanced on a scale, see all the opposite come into being and let none of them have a larger mass of energy than the other. Let the left side or your body contain yang energy while the right side contain yin energy. In the end exhale and let your self feel balanced.
Centering is an exercise that goes hand in hand with balancing, while balancing is managing the proportions of the energy in the body, centering arranges the alignment and co-existence with your energy and the self (your self). With centering you are removing any separation between the relations of energy this is the actual part of where your energies to work hand in hand with each other to move into unity.
get into a relaxing position but not one where you would fall asleep, and see your self in a dark void, now slowly see all the energies around you, and see your self affiliated and harmonized with all the energies around you ( do not embrace anything negative) but not immersed within one energy source. Let all your energy sources link to you via thin strong roots that are proportionate. Open your eyes and relax, feel the difference in your body.
Creating an energy ball.
Creating an energy ball is your first step in actual production of energy and manipulation, this exercise is much needed since everything you do in the craft is manipulation of energy. whether you are scrying, healing etc that is all under energy manipulation. Note before coming here you may have been confused by many people who call themselves teachers and confusing you with telling you that psi, chi, ki ,prana etc are all different energies when they are all the same. These different terms are just names that came from different cultures.
chi or qi- A Chinese based term for life-force energy which is absorbed by our chakras from the universe.
Ki- A Japanese based term for life force which literally translates as wood, since wood is the only "living" element, wood is a sub element of earth which is well known for the sustenance of life.
Prana - A Sanskrit/Indian
term which relates to life force in such a way which refers to the breath- like what chi translates to and spiritus in Latin. The indians go into further depth of explaining the breath in term called pranayama (pranic breathing)
Psi- Psi is the most common term seen now especially on YouTube tutorials which i do not recommend very easily, be careful who you get your information from. People like lady silvervixen. Psi is a term used by the western world.
get your self into lotus position, while resting your palms on your knees, focus on moving your energy to both of your palms, Visualize a red energy moving from the base of your spine to your hands. And slowly move your palms together and focus shaping a ball in the palm of your hands. Take deep breathes and all this energy to build, take your time. To know when you have successfully created your psi ball you will feel a magnetic feel of energy in your palms, yes it will be physical manifestation of energy although you may not see it.
If succeeded practice this repetitively and try the same technique in one hand, then try moving it to other parts of the body individually and then try it simultaneously when you have a proficient control over your previous subsets of this exercise.
* For those of you in question as to why i let the students use the root chakra to base as a foundation in making their psiball is because that, most people are more connected to personal chakras rather than universal chakras and i tend to let them tap into which ones are most open at the time. However they will be guided into opening their other chakras.
Shielding is practice of using your energy to create protective barriers for self defense against negative people, spells etc. shielding is one thing that you will need in your daily life especially when going around places and beings you do not trust a shield is needed. although you may have seen many practitioners boast about not shielding its an unsafe practice. I personally shield even though cause of my experience, my aura is so strong that i can be resistant to a less experienced person's spell, yet it is always good to be level headed an invest on your protection.
only attempt this when you can successfully create a psi ball, for reasons that i don't want you make yourself a beacon. ( A beacon is a person that will rapidly attract all kind of entities to them)
there is no need to fear at all, as witches spirits general sense our high energy and want to stay around us knowing that we are their mediums of communication and a sense of home. But not spirits are good and not all should be welcomed, thus i go into our shielding exercise.
Get into a relaxing position, and produce and energy ball, now take this energy and expand it over your body, if you can expand it over your house then even better, let this sphere have a blue colour and layer it (thicken it) take your time, the more focus you put into the shield the stronger it can become. Next visualize a shining white light that burns out anything negative that tries to enter the shield. Own your space and know that you are protected, blessed be.
*This is a basic shielding exercise, not that more complex shields can be made for people who are more proficient in their production of energy.
Moon phases are another thing you will learn in your journey, this simply guide you on what days/nights the energy the moon produces in reference to spell casting.
This is the moon that decreases into the last quarter, this moon phase produces energies that favor the removal of things. Thus curses can easily be removed on these days.
the waxing moon is the moon that increases into a full moon or new moon. This moon favors energies for gaining things such as money, or luck.
The new moon is a moon that represents a fresh state, this is why it favours things such as cleansing.
The full moon is a dynamic moon which favors all energies during that period thus anything can be done easily.
The Dark moon also known as the moonless night favours, hexes, darkness and generally anything negative.
An eclipse is a special event in which the energies of the sun and moon come into a perfect convergence and because of that it significantly amplifies any spell even stronger than a full moon. Some spells are known to delay at an eclipse since the energies of the earth are being re-booted during this time.
*note for the sake of beginners we list this as part of your curriculum since you will need help from the universe, since when just starting you will not be able to project energies strong enough on your own just yet. But you can cast spells on anyday, they may not be a favored though.
There is also moons named for evey month such as the blood moon for october but i will leave this more wiccan based aspect for ladysilvervixen to explain best since she is much more knowledgeable in the wiccan arts than myself.
Days are another thing you must learn, days have particular energies which favour certain things just like the moon does.
When planning magical workings, consideration needs to be given as to when the work needs to be performed for best effect. We need to ascertain the best time or day for when to perform it.
Days have their own magickal associations, which are similar to and connected with the other tables - Candles, Colour and Incense. Thus they create harmony while generating power, when all are working together. Days are associated with and influenced by the Sun and six of the Planets.
Below is a list of the days and their corresponding associations. For other associations and correspondences see:
Incense / Candles / Colours / Stones and Gems / Tools of a Witch / Elements and Elementals
Sunday - Is associated with the Sun and the colours of - Yellow, Gold and Orange.
Sunday is the best time to deal with such matters as: Health, Success, Careers Goals, Ambition, Personnel Finances, Advancement, Drama, Fun, Authority, Figures, Law, Fairs, Crops, Totem Animals, Volunteer and Civic Services, Promotion, Mens Mysteries, Children, Buying, Selling and Speculation. Also used for Physical Strength, Achievement, Healing Energy and Divination.
Monday - Is associated with the Moon and the colours of - White, Silver, Grey and Pearl.
Monday is the best time to deal with such matters as: Psychic Pursuits, Psychology, Dreams, Astral Travel, Imagination, Women's Mysteries, Reincarnation, Short Trips, Women, Children, Public, Domestic Concerns, Emotions, Fluids, Magick, Spirituality, Nursing, Full moon magic, Purity, Protection, Truth, Meditation, Peace, Sincerity, Justice, Warding off Doubts and Fears, Anything to do with Water and Bodies of Water, Antiques, Trip Planning, Household Activities, Initiation, Astrology, New-Age Pursuits, Archetypes, Totem Animals, Shape-shifting and Religious Experiences.
Tuesday - Is associated with Mars and the colours of - Red, Pink and Orange.
Tuesday is the best time to deal with such matters as: Passion, Partnerships, Courage, Swift Movement, Action, Energy, Strife, Aggression, Sex, Physical Energy, Sports, Muscular Activity, Guns, Tools, Metals, Cutting, Surgery, Police, Soldiers, Combat, Confrontation, Business, Buying and Selling Animals, Mechanical Things, Repairs, Gardening, Woodworking, Hunting and New Beginnings.
Wednesday - Is associated with Mercury and the colours of Purple, Magenta and Silver.
Wednesday is the best time to deal with such matters as: Wisdom, Healing, Communication, Intelligence, Memory, Education, Correspondence, Phone Calls, Computers, Messages, Students, Merchants, Editing, Writing, Advertising, Signing Contracts, Siblings, Neighbours, Kin, Accounting, Clarks, Critics, Music, Editors, Journalists, Visual Arts, Hiring Employees, Learning Languages, Placing Ads, Visiting Friends, Legal Appointments and Astrology.
Thursday - Is associated with Jupiter and the colours of - Blue and Metallic Colours.
Thursday is the best time to deal with such matters as: Business, Gambling, Logic, Social Matters, Political Power, Material Wealth, Publishing, Collage Education, Long Distance Travel, Foreign Interests, Religion, Philosophy, Forecasting, Broadcasting, Publicity, Expansion, Luck, Growth, Sports, Horses, The Law, Doctors, Guardians, Merchants, Psychologists, Charity, Correspondence Courses, Self-improvement, Researching, Reading and Studying.
Friday - Is associated with Venus and the colours of - Green, Pink and White.
Friday is the best time to deal with such matters as: Romantic Love, Friendship, Beauty, Soul-mates, Artistic Ability, Affection, Partners, Alliances, Grace, Luxury, Social Activity, Marriage, Decorating, Cosmetics, Gifts, Income, Gardening, Architects, Artists, Beauticians, Chiropractors, Dancers, Designers, Engineers, Entertainers, Fashion, Music, Painting, Poetry, Courtship, Dating, Household Improvements, Planning Parties, Shopping, Herbal Magick, Luck, Fertility, Physical Healing, Balance, Prosperity, Courage, Change, Material Things, Peace, Harmony, Relationships and Success.
Saturday - Is associated with Saturn and the colours of - Black, Grey, Red and White.
Saturday is the best time to deal with such matters as: Binding, Patience, Stability, Neutralization, Material Gain, Protection, Karma, Death, Manifestation, Structures, Reality, Laws of society, Limits, Obstacles, Tests, Handwork, Real Estate, Dentists, Bones, Teeth, Farm Workers, Sacrifice, Separation, Stalkers, Murderers, Criminals, Civil Servants, Justice, Maths, Plumbing, Joint Money Matters, Wills, Debts, Financing, Real Estate, Discoveries, Transformation and Relations with Older People.
magickal days sourced from controverscial.com
Magickal planetary calenders
This is a calender that specially gives the actual time and planets
check these two links
herbs is another part of your craft you must know, you simply can't exist without it, so i got a herb list to educate you on minor uses of various herbs.
Casting a circle is used basically for rituals and to keep your energy from dispersing while keeping negative energy out. We recommend circles especially for newbies cause they do not yet have an energy level of an experienced caster and need to preserve as much energy as possible not wasting any at all. So the circle will improve your spell work significantly. Not only newbies used it but advanced practitioners as well when we perform special ceremonies.
here is a wiccan based article on casting a circle.
Although some practitioners will tell you they serve no purpose i beg to differ, for everything in the universe has a purpose, Nothing is here by chance or by favour there is always a reason and structure. With that said here is a link to which i found properly explaining colours.
Chakras are energy centers in the body which regulate both the physical and subtle body, working with them dramatically improves not only your magickal life but your physical life as well.
Here is a site i personally love to read from: http://www.swamij.com/index-yoga-meditation-meditation.htm
Note: it is an indian based site so terminologies from that culture will be used, but the theories remain the same.
This thread may updated periodically depending on the needs of its readers.
Wands are one of the main tools that we use in the craft, although tools are not a detrimental thing to have, it can help in your process.
What is the function of a wand?
The main function of wand is to direct energy, and since energy is with in nature using a wand can help improve the quality of how you direct energy.
What woods can i use to make a wand
There are many woods and the ones i list here is not limited to this only.
This tree was sacred to the Druids. The pith is easily pushed out of green shoots to make whistles. Several shoots bound together by cordage, can be trimmed to the desired length for producing the note you want and used to entice Air elementals. The old superstition of "whistling up the wind" began with this custom.
Another sacred tree to the Druids. It is said that you may cut an apple into three pieces, then rub the cut side on warts, saying: "Out warts, into apple." Then bury the pieces and as the apple decays, the warts will disappear. Use apple cider in any old spells calling for blood or wine. Apple indicates choice, and is useful for love and healing magic.
A Druid sacred tree. Druid wands were often made of ash because of its straight grain. Ash wands are good for healing, general and solar magic. Put fresh ash leaves under your pillow to stimulate psychic dreams.
Known as Lady of the Woods, Paper Birch and White Birch. Carefully gather strips of the bark at the New Moon. With red ink, write on a birch strip: "Bring me true love." Burn this along with a love incense, saying "Goddess of love, God of desire, Bring to me sweet passion's fire." The specific name of a god/goddess may be added. Or cast the bark into a stream or other flowing water, saying: "Message of love, I set you free, to capture a love and return to me." ***Remember*** It is unwise to use this incantation and ritual directed toward a specific person as that would violate the rule. If a love is to come to you, it must be of that persons free will to do so.
Blackthorn is a winter tree. Its white flowers are seen even before the leaves in the spring. It is black barked with vicious thorns and grows in dense thickets. The wood is used in the cudgel shillelagh and Blasting Stick. Its thorns are used to pierce waxen images. Blackthorn indicates strong action of fate or outside influences that must be obeyed.
Also known as Scotch Broom or Irish Broom. It can be substituted for furze (gorse) at the Spring Equinox. The Irish called it the "Physician's power" because of its diuretic shoots. Sweep your outside ritual areas with it to purify and protect. Burning the blooms and shoots calms the wind. Be cautious if you plant Broom however, it will quickly multiply....
Also known as the Tree of Life, Arbor Vitae, Yellow Cedar. Ancient Celts on the mainland used cedar oil to preserve the heads of enemies taken in battle. To draw Earth energy and ground yourself, place the palms of your hands against the ends of the leaves.
Also known as Ellhorn, Elderberry, Lady Elder. Sacred to the White Lady and Midsummer Solstice. The Druids used it to both bless and curse. Standing under an elder tree at Midsummer, like standing in a Fairy Ring of mushrooms, will help you see the "little people." Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms. Music on panpipes or flutes of elder have the same power as the wand. Remember the words of the Rede. Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be!
A slightly fibrous, tan-coloured wood with a slight sheen. Elm is often associated with Mother and Earth Goddesses, and was said to be the abode of faeries, explaining Kipling's injunction; "Ailim be the lady's tree; burn it not or cursed ye'll be". Elm wood is valued for it's resistance to splitting, and the inner bark was used for cordage and chair caning. Elm adds stability and grounding to a spell.
Fir is a very tall slender tree that grows in mountainous regions on the upper slopes. Fir cones respond to rain by closing and the sun by opening. Fir can see over great distance to the far horizon beyond and below. Fir indicates high views and long sights with clear vision of what is beyond and yet to come.
Also known as the Birth Tree. The needles are burned at childbirth to bless and protect the mother and baby.
Also known as Gorse, Whin. Its golden flowers are associated with the Spring Equinox. Wood and blooms are burned for protection and preparation for conflict of any sort.
Also known as May Tree and White Thorn. Wands made of this wood are of great power. The blossoms are highly erotic to men. Hawthorn can be used for protection, love and marriage spells.
Wands made of this wood symbolize white magick and healing. Forked sticks are used to find water or buried treasure. If outside and in need of maigckal protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. To enlist the aid of plant fairies, string hazelnuts on a cord and hang up in your house or ritual room. Magically, hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom and poetic inspiration.
A beautiful white wood with an almost invisible grain; looks very much like ivory. Holly is associated with the death and rebirth symbolism of winter in both Pagan and Christian lore and is important to the Winter Solstice. In Arthurian legend, Gawain (representing the Oak King of summer) fought the Green Knight, who was armed with a holly club to represent winter. It is one of the three timbers used in the construction of chariot wheel shafts. It was used in spear shafts also. The qualities of a spear shaft are balance and directness, as the spear must be hefted to be thrown the holly indicates directed balance and vigour to fight if the cause is just. Holly may be used in spells having to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death. A bag of leaves and berries carried by a man is said to increase his ability to attract women.
Its berries were used with thyme in Druid and Grove incenses for visions. Juniper grown by the door discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung and hung in the house to attract love.
Also known as Birdlime, All Heal and Golden Bough. It was the most sacred tree of the Druids, and ruled the Winter Solstice. The berries are poisonous! Bunches of mistletoe can be hung as an all-purpose protective herb. The berries are used in love incenses.
Oak has been considered sacred by just about every culture that has encountered the tree, but it was held in particular esteem by the Celts because of its size, longevity, and nutritious acorns. The oak was the "King of Trees" in a grove. Magick wands were made of its wood. Oak galls, known as Serpent Eggs, were used in magickal charms. Acorns gathered at night held the greatest fertility powers. The Druids and Priestesses listened to the rustling oak leaves and the wrens in the trees for divinatory messages. Burning oak leaves purifies the atmosphere. It can be used in spells for protection, strength, success and stability; the different varieties will lend their own special 'flavour' to the magic.
The Pine tree is an evergreen, its old title was "the sweetest of woods." It was known to the Druids as one of the seven chieftain trees of the Irish. Mix the dried needles with equal parts of juniper and cedar and burn to purify the home and ritual area. The cones and nuts can be carried as a fertility charm. A good magickal cleansing and stimulating bath is made by placing pine needles in a loose-woven bag and running bath water over it. To purify and sanctify an outdoor ritual area, brush the ground with a pine branch.
Also known as Mountain Ash, Witchwood and Sorb Apple has long known as an aid and protection against enchantment. Sticks of the Rowan were used to carve Runes on. Rowan spays and crosses were placed over cattle in pens and over homes for protection. Its lovely red berries feed the birds in winter. The berries have a tiny pentagram on them and are especially poisonous. The pentagram is the ancient symbol of protection. The Rowan tree indicates protection and control of the senses from enchantment and beguiling. The Rowan was sacred to the Druids and the Goddess Brigit. It is a very magical tree used for wands, rods, amulets and spells. A forked Rowan branch can help find water. Wands are for knowledge, locating metal and general divination.
Also known as White Willow, Tree of Enchantment and Witches' Asprin. Once of the seven sacred trees of the Irish, a Druid sacred Tree. The willow is a Moon tree sacred to the White Lady, Its groves were considered so magickal that priests, priestesses and all types of artisans sat among these trees to gain eloquence, inspiration, skills and prophecies. For a wish to be granted, ask permission of the willow, explaining your desire. Select a pliable shoot and tie a loose knot in it while expressing what you want. When the wish is fulfilled. return and untie the knot. Remember to thank the willow and leave a gift.
Also known as English Yew and European Yew. Another important tree to the Winter Solstice and the deities of death and rebirth. It is a beautifully smooth, gold-coloured wood with a wavy grain. The Irish used it to make dagger handles, bows and wine barrels. The wood or leaves were laid on graves as a reminder to the departed spirit that death was only a pause in life before rebirth. All parts of the tree are poisonous except the fleshy covering of the berry, and its medicinal uses include a recently discovered treatment for cancer. The yew may be the oldest-lived tree in the world. Ancient yews can be found in churchyards all over Britain, where they often pre-date even the oldest churches. There are some convincing arguments for it being the original 'World-tree' of Scandinavian mythology. The Yew may be used to enhance magical and psychic abilities, and to induce visions.
How to make a wand
When searching how to make a wand you meet a numerous versions and methods some based on one's tradition, i will give you my version this is how i made my wand.
1) look around for branches on the ground do not raid trees for branches, look for one that calls to you ( one that attracts you) make sure the branch is not infected with any kind of fungus
2) When you get your branch leave it for 3 nights under moon light, then after that process offer it to the elements, here is a ritual i used
Cast your circle relax while holding your wand say to the elements: Forces of the east element of air, forces of the west element of water, forces of the north element of earth, forces of south element of fire. Come forth i invite thee bless my wand i ask of thee. Purify this tool of direction, cleanse it to perfection for my work that is before me so mote it be.
Close your circle and continue to treat your wand with what ever special oils you have if you have one. You can stick a crystal on it if you like.