I got a call from a past client, who’s son had just finished the Harry Potter books. So, of course, he wants a wand. I had Matthew and his father come out to my shop to see my stock, but as I expected…most of my wands are more for adults or people who appreciate the wood used. SO … as usual I told him I would make him one. He showed me what which woods he liked and why, and I asked him what he likes to do for fun. After the interview I had a strong idea for what wood and what to carve. I corresponded with his mother for ideas and my choices for his spiritual needs.
I should explain that I am a Hedge Druid…which is why people come to me for their ritual tools. To use a classic archetype: I am that strange guy that lives just outside of town that people go to for knowledge about why the wheat is withering, when the rain will come, or why the birds fly south. I am a spiritual scientist… yes a seeming oxymoron, but LJs is not the place for this. In a nut shell, I study nature and find it inspirational in symbolic ways and use this for my clients benefit.
I chose Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry)
Jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril) also called Copal… is actually closely related to Black Locust found here in the USA. A tropical tree of the pea family (Fabaceae, a Leguminose family which fixes Nitrogen in the soil.) Endangered due to over harvesting the 80’s, Jatoba is now farmed and licensed for harvesting in South and Central Americas. Jatoba is an interesting tree… it is a competitive and pioneering tree surviving along high river banks in nutrient lacking soils. The roots have small cavities which they make home for a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen collecting and excreting bacteria. Like Black Locust, its roots are shallow and wide spreading, over lapping other species, but unlike Black Locust which uses a poison to force out competitors … Jatoba shares its space willingly and actually shares nitrogen and its own sugars to neighboring species. By entwining roots with other trees, the tree itself remains more stable and allowing it to grow higher than its neighbors. Tall (90-150ft) and strong, containing over 20 active medicinal chemicals which have been used by indigenous people for centuries. This gives the wood a very long grain structure of alternating softer and porous wet season cells, with hard and strong fibers cells of the dry season grain often using crystalized calcium oxalate for extra support. Thus in carving one not only has to pay attention to grain direction and soft spots, but the occasional hidden veins of crystals.
I chose this wood mostly because it uses only one tool for two survival defenses, and both are very passive. Jatoba, like its ancestors and cousins, secrete a resin like sap, which after a million years becomes Amber. Amber from South and Central America have been found to hold a wealth of dinosaur and other extinct life forms: e.g. insects and plants. Though the sap is anti-inflamatory, anti-bioltic, and anti-fungal… but its real use to the tree is to reflect the suns energy and express heat so it can regulate it’s own internal temperature similar much in the way we sweat.
So I take this and a ton of more information and distill it down into symbolic rhetoric. Fun, educational, and meaningful. And BTW: my knowledge base always has room for improvement, so if there is an error.. let me know! :)
The Wand ~ a Panther
I decided he needs a partner of individual strength, at first I thought wolf, but Matthew is so not a wolf.. so I went big cat. As he was looking at a book of symbols, I watched and he was fascinate by a picture of a panther..Done!
I start all my wands in clay, using a medium hardness non-hardening clay wrapped around a dowel.
Form this point on is all pictures, up to where the wand is now. Thanks for reading.
-- the sacrifice of one's ego is the greatest gift to someone you respect