The magic staff is a really primal, ancient magic tool; it goes back to the very roots of human evolution. Even though it's really just a big stick, that's what makes it so cool and useful, powerful, in energy magic.
Where magic wands can be made of all sorts of materials, crystal, stone, silver, and combinations thereof, a magic staff is made from wood simply because if you made it from iron, it would become way too heavy to carry and work with. A sword is a descendant - a very long way down the line! - from a magic staff in that way.
Also, most people who use a staff will celebrate its primal nature by selecting a piece of naturally grown wood rather than say cutting and routing a perfect broom handle from a plank or such.
This is our step 1 -
Often (but not always) magicians will choose an entire young tree to make the staff from.
This is because there's a lot of life force running through young trees, plus you get "a whole tree" - you're holding an entire oak, birch or maple tree in your hand. This immediately gives your tree a personality of its own; it is a complete magical entity in its own right.
Which brings us to the choice of tree. Different trees are thought to be holy to different gods and spirits and there's a mountain of folk lore surrounding each and every type of tree and wood producing bush on Earth.
In energy magic, we simply go to what you are drawn to the most, what you like, and sometimes, what is in your environment.
If you are new to magic, spend some time looking around where you are and get to know some different kinds of trees. Don't just look at them. Touch them, feel their energy. Rub the bark, the wood, the leaves and get to know the scent. Study their shapes and become familiar with them. You'll find something that speaks to you personally and that would make a good magic familiar to be working with in the future.
A real magic staff should be the same size as you are, probably a little taller but that again comes down to the wood and your personal preferences, as well as what is there to choose from in your environment. However, it should be strong, substantial, and capable of withstanding being beaten hard into the ground, either in a downward smashing motion, or by being stomped downwards on a hard surface with both hands and all your might without splintering or breaking.
There is a really *physical* side to a magic staff that has to do with strength and power.
It should feel substantial when you hold it in your hands, it should feel like a presence, a weapon, something that could be used in a fight in a physical way. It should make you feel stronger holding the magic staff or the piece of wood that will become your magic staff, too, more prepared, more powerful.
- Making a magic staff is a very unique magical experience. Don't rush it, take your time. You won't be making thousands of them, they're not like wands. Indeed most magicians only have one at a time, and will replace an old one altogether with a new one rather than keeping two magic staffs around.
The next step after you have found "your" special piece of wood is to bond with it and to get to know it.
We do this whilst we are preparing the wood - taking off the bark, taking off sub-branches, smoothing it with sandpaper. (If you are working with green or fresh wood, you need to let the wood dry out for some time inside your house first, also to make sure it doesn't crack or split in the process.)
It is really important all the time you work on your magic staff to be very aware that you are engaged in a magical activity that bonds you and the staff so you can work together as a team. All physical activities of sanding and shaping the wood have to be done carefully, mindfully, lovingly. Let your thoughts flow gently and easily, seek to get to know the staff and have the staff get to know you.
Think about the name of your staff (you never tell anyone what that is going to be, that's between you and your magical staff only!) and once you have the name, you can start to talk to it, converse with it, engage with it.
When it is all silky smooth and feels absolutely wonderful and vibrant in your hands as you touch it, we're ready for the next step which is decoration and dedication.
In movies, magic staffs often have crystals on the top; I advise against that because crystals are fragile and a magic staff is a physical thing that will be used to stomp, beat and even throw on occasions. We want to be able to move freely with it and be able to trust that it is strong and will stay strong; a fear of breaking the nice crystal at the top is of course very counterproductive to that end.
Let the staff be the staff; but you can shape a top part, round it off so it has the resonance of a crystal ball on the top if that's what you want.
Any symbols or motifs you want to draw on your staff has to be done before oiling or varnishing the wood, and you want to use the sort of paint that isn't going to run when later on, a varnish or an oil is applied. Try some different things on a spare piece of wood so you get a sense of how your staff will react to the application of different pains and varnishes in combination.
Again, take your time on this.
Look and feel the shape and energy of your staff and always ask, "Is this really going to make it stronger?" before applying any symbol or decoration to it. With magic staffs, less is more most of the time so put the symbols of your choice on it carefully, sparingly and make every single one really count.
I am not a great fan of carving the staff; but as in all energy magic doings, that's your decision. Just watch out that the carving doesn't break the flow of energy through the staff, and doesn't weaken it structurally in any way.
Some people like to embed metals and gemstones into their staffs; again, I'm not a fan of that, being a bit of a purist. This is old, primal magic and the simpler we keep it, the more powerful it tends to be.
Above all, please yourself and if in doubt, ask the magic staff if it wants that decoration or if it would be freer, stronger, more powerful without it.
By the time you have finished your last piece of decoration and after all the time you spent working with the staff, a powerful relationship and the energy of the staff has already grown and grown along the way.
It is ready for that threshold shift which activates the magic staff, wakes it up, makes it into a powerful magical tool for you to wield.
This is a very personal thing, like a marriage (which is why few magicians have more than one staff); and as with a marriage, you should consider carefully where, when and how this activation ceremony is going to take place.
The concepts and ideas for the ceremony will have naturally come into being whilst you were working on the magic staff throughout the journey from thinking about which tree to choose, sanding, preparing, naming, painting and varnishing.
Think in terms of a real marriage ceremony that terminates in the equivalent of, "I now declare you man and wife - and you may kiss the bride!" as the bells start to ring and the new couple makes their way into their new lives to cheers and much confetti.
"I (your magical name) take you (your magic staff's name) to be my magic staff, to work with me, empower me, and let my will be done in love and light." for example, and resonantly banging the magic staff on the ground once, three times, seven times or however many is right just for you and it on this one occasion will make for a wonderful activation.
You can surround this ritual with music, angels, flowers; do it in a magic circle or at a sacred site; at home or in nature. As you would plan your perfect wedding, you plan this ritual and then conduct it according to plan.
The same goes for setting a date that is right and meaningful to you - and so now you and your staff can go on to make good magic happily ever after.
Due to the sheer size of a magic staff and its not inconsiderable weight, this isn't for desktop magic or small spaces.
You really *wield* a magic staff, not just hold, point or handle it.
And you really need to make one and play with it to get the idea of how it feels and what to do with it.
Many female magicians are uncomfortable with magic staffs and the whole concept of handling power in this direct and primal way; but a magic staff is empowering and something for all humans, not just old male wizards at the top of their game.
I would suggest that once you have it, you spend some time just dancing with it, playing with it, interacting with it. Discover how it feels when you do movements with it; how it feels and sounds when you tap it on the ground. You can also take it into Sanctuary and communicate with the spirit of the staff to discover ways of using it you didn't know about before.
There is an example of how to use a magic staff in an energy magic ritual here.
A magic staff is an extraordinary magic tool, quite wonderful and definitely empowering. If you haven't used one before, it really puts a whole new spin on, "As I will, SO SHALL IT BE!" and can significantly enhance your output/power levels, which in turn feeds back on all your rituals and spells, even on the meek desktop variety.
More than being primal, empowering and educational, a real magic staff is also a *friend* - someone to lean on, someone to help you get what you want, and add a sturdiness and certainty to your magic, give it some oomph, give it some backbone.