The Blasting Rod

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In the wee hours of the morning this morning….before the sun had even thought about waking up, I heard a small noise come from the kennel at the foot of the bed.   My ears perked….not quite sure what the noise was.  I heard it again….a soft and tragic sounding “Bowhooooooooo.”  I hadn’t heard Friz make that sound since he was a puppy and he realized that everyone had left the room and wasn’t paying attention to him any longer.

This morning was not a morning for sleeping in….he longed for the woods this morning…more than any other.  He has always patiently waited for me to open the kennel door snuggled deep into his blankets.  This morning he danced at the door.  I harnessed Friz up, packed up the blackthorn wand that I finished last night into my backpack, took some candles, my crow skull  and my cloak and off to the woods.

We marched along at a brisk pace this morning….knowing there was a purpose ahead of us.  Friz danced the whole way…almost giddy with anticipation.  Maybe there was a little more bounce in my step as we strolled along too.

We got to the woods and made our way inside.  The sun was still not awake yet and the skies carried that smoky misty feel that dawn always does.  The clouds were heavy with the threat of rain, but I knew it would hold off until Friz and I were done.  I settled down, set up the candles and lit them.  Friz decided today to nest himself a little farther from me.  I watched him as he made a nest under one of the trees.  I pulled out the blackthorn wand and placed it in the middle of the candles.  I placed my crow’s skull in front of it.

Over the past few weeks, I have become intimately acquainted with blackthorn.  When a friend told me that he wanted a blackthorn wand, I have to admit that I was a little naive when it came to the magickal attributes of that wood.  Granted, I had heard of blackthorn…with a grandfather who was Irish, you can’t escape the stories of the little people or learning the purpose of a shillelagh.

I delved into research of this wood.  A friend had sent me several long pieces from Ireland.  I liked the feel of the wood in my hand.  It was smooth and sleek.  It was strong…yet dangerous.  When I work on a magickal tool, I like to talk to the material I use.  As I talked to the blackthorn, I realized that with its strength came a protection like no other…an obligation.  This is not a wood with which to play.

In my studies of blackthorn, I found that this wood was used to make the wands of the cunning women.  The purpose was for protection, cursing, purification.  It represents the darker side of the Craft.  Blackthorn is sacred to the Crone aspect of the Goddess…..Often linked with warfare and the Morrigan.  It is representative of the waning and dark moons.  It is also known as the keeper magickal secrets.

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As I held it over the flames of the candles.  I asked the wand for protection to be its primary goal.  As I have said before….life is a balance of dark and light.  It will now be the responsibility of the new owner to embrace both.  This wand carries the power of wolf and crow.  Each have imparted their power to the magick of the wand.

As I sat huddled over the wand, I was given a vision of the cunning men and women of old.  They sat in the circle with me, conversing with me about the strengths and powers that the blackthorn wand held.  Memories of the blood that was shed during the carving of the wand were brought to me.  A part of myself was given in the creation of this beautiful tool of magick.  I picked up the wand and passed it to the ancients.  Each one caressed it and blessed it.  We called on the elements to imbue this wand with the power to draw strength and to repel negativity.

As I laid the wand behind the crow’s skull once again, I felt a small head against my leg.  Never one to be left out of magickal workings, Friz had made his way over.  He sniffed at the wand and then laid down beside me.  Of course my mind raced over the many aspects of blackthorn.  I am very much like this tree.  My life is often twisted and thorny, but it makes me no less strong. In fact, each trial and test that I face strengthens me.  Like the blackthorn, when the outer layer is taken away….my life shows the beautiful depths of color and striations that make it as incredible as it is.  The more the wood is carved and sanded…..even though it is difficult, there is a dark beauty that shows through.  I am just as capable of good or bad as the wand carved from it.  It is in the directing of power that brings the end result.  Everything I do has a purpose.  It is up to me to figure out that purpose and move forward.

I thought about what I had read about the blackthorn tree.  The tree’s leaves turn yellow and shed in the winter leaving a stark black skeleton…what better reminder of the turn of the wheel.  The fruit that the tree bears only ripens after the first frost.  It is after the first trial of winter that brings out the true sweetness of the berry.  In early spring, it shows its delicate flowers peering out from the harshness of the harsh diabolical thorns.  Such a terrifyingly complex tree….but known for its strength and magick.

Wouldn’t you like to be known that way?  Complex, but known for his/her strength and magick?  I hunger for that.  The weathered wiseman has been a long time in the making.  He is a culmination of all of my life’s difficulties and triumphs.  He exudes the wisdom of all of my life’s lessons learned, good and bad.  He has his thorns, but he also offers glimpses of beauty and sweetness.  As I walk more and more days lately with the dark/Crone aspect of the Goddess, and come to understand more and more the turning of the Wheel of the Year….I pull on that wisdom, that history, the magick of the cunning men and women before me…and pull on the power of those animal spirits around me, I find my own magick and power….that I may impart it to those who come after me.

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Blessed Be!

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble…

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The weather this week has been damp. Everything in Atlanta is lush and green….you would almost think you were transported to the countryside of dear old Eire…if it weren’t for the concrete and traffic and buildings and smog. Add to the damp air the beauty of the summer cold….sniffling, snorting and hacking…I refused to be knocked out by this. I had too much to accomplish. So where did I head to in the midst of all of this…yep, that’s right….the woods.

Mosquitoes have been horrible during all this rain and I have been eaten alive. So first and foremost, I let the old hedgewitch come out in me. It was time to make my concoction of a bug repellent. I combined lavender essential oil with rosemary and citronella with a base of jojoba and combined it with a melted beeswax base. Into a tin it went and I had my own version of a bug repellent/ointment. I was the best smelling creature in those woods….best of all, not one mosquito bite! I wore my cloak….the damp just did not appeal to me…and of course the folks around here think I am different anyway. Some of the neighbors embrace my witchiness and others are repelled by it….kinda like coming out all over again. As I was walking Friz one night, a big storm started brewing….a neighbor called out to me over the thunder, “Did you call this in? I laughed and told her that I didn’t do it this time.

Wednesday night, I lay in the bed hating the coughing and snorting….my head pounded and I finally drifted off to sleep. The whole night, I dreamed about being in the woods with the wolves and crows. In the dreams, the wolves were teaching me to hunt and howl….the crows were teaching me to fly. If I close my eyes now, I can still see the faces of each wolf and crow. I remembered recognizing the two leading the shenanigans as the wolf who accompanies me to the woods and Mama Crow. “Get reacquainted with my wild side?” I remember in the dream dancing with my wild friends skirting in and out of the moonlight as the night overtook us….golden eyes shining back at me from behind trees….the rustling of wings in the air.

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When I woke up Thursday morning, I already felt a hundred times better. Maybe all I needed was a little wild time and some animal medicine. Who better than wolf and crow to walk me through the healing of playing in the woods. I got Friz harnessed up and ready for a little trek out into the woods. Even though the clouds above were quite ominous and you could smell rain in the air, it was evident that we both craved this time. With a misting of rain escorting us into the wooded area beyond the condos, we both had a renewed energy about us.

I have been working on a new project lately. It is a wand made of blackthorn wood. It was something that deep in my spirit I felt compelled to do. I have worked with many woods before, but never with blackthorn. I did my research before receiving the wood from a friend in Ireland. I understood that it was a hard wood….and I mean hard. The wood itself has received many drops of my own blood. I researched the history of the ‘blackthorn wand.’ Blackthorn is a very magical sacred wood to Druids and the ancient Celts. Its magical qualities include protection, purification and the ability to repel all negative energy from both your home and your life. This wood has long been associated with the dark aspect of the Goddess, and also represents the waning and dark moon. It also has a strong significance with spirit work.

In preparation for the jaunt to the woods, I had packed the blackthorn wand and my knife into my backpack. Where better to work on this mystical wood than in the same type of element it was born into? As I shaped the wood with my knife and felt the knobs and places where sharp thorns had once been, I pondered over aspects of my own character. Yes, there are still quite a few thorns protruding from me, as well as the dents from storms that have come and gone….but I have become just as strong….just as powerful as the wood my fingers caressed. As I carve and smooth and mold this piece of wood into a magickal tool, I imbue it with all the protection, purification and power against negativity that I can push into it. I quietly laid this tool at the feet of wolf and crow watching them impart their magick into it….wisdom, cunning, and the mysticism that followed the shamanic ancients. I bundled up this treasure, put it in my backpack and picked up Friz and covered him in my cloak as we made our way back to the condo in the rain…..a soft steady rain. Every few steps a small black nose would peek from beneath the cloak just to get a whiff of the dampness.2013-07-05 11.21.27 HDR

When we got inside, I quickly changed into my pajama pants and a tshirt and Friz and I curled up on the sofa. He falls back onto me so that his stomach can be properly rubbed. He is so funny….not so much like a chihuahua, but in many aspects just like a wolf…a very small…likes-to-have-his-belly-rubbed wolf. He never questions the magick, but always relaxes into it….a lesson he is teaching me more and more with each trip to the woods or pond.

These four days I have had off have been very strong magickally for me. I have been making tinctures and tonics and wands and staves. I have felt the power and strength of bonds from miles and miles away. Today, I could have sworn I felt the arms of a dear friend or two wrap around me as I carved and sanded. I have very much felt the power of the ancients with me today. As I walked the complex this evening, I could hear the voices of the old ones in the trees. The frogs welcomed me as I moved toward the pond. I could feel the heartbeat of the earth beneath my feet.

In these hours as the sun goes to sleep, I will light a small fire in my cauldron, apply my flying ointment and journey. Where? Only my heart and spirit knows. Right now….I sit writing, watching a little blue dog asleep in the chair…my chair…the one I bought for reading but rarely get to use. He is tuckered completely out. This week has been full of magick for both of us….now is the time to rest in it. I am one contented witch.

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Blessed Be!