Monday, 1 April 2013

My Home-Made Staff From Beachcombed Flotsam


A staff might not be strictly speaking one of the witch's essential magical tools, but it does seem like an accessory that every witch should have - along with a broomstick, cauldron, wand, athame and chalice. I've been looking for the right one, and although I've seen some really beautiful staffs on sale at pagan stalls at festivals, they have either been out of my price range or just didn't seem quite right.

Over the Easter weekend I've been on holiday by the Sussex coast. While I was strolling along the beach I saw a piece of driftwood that seemed as though it would be the right size and shape for a staff. It had a mass of dried seaweed, bits of fishing line, old rope and even the ribbon from a child's balloon caught up around it. I tried to remove the tangle of stuff, but fishing line is designed not to break easily and so I had to carry it home as it was (pictured top)

My initial idea was to just cut off the mess and clean up the wood, but then I realised that I could use much of it to decorate the staff. So, I carefully untwisted the bits of weed, twine and ribbon then used some of the strands to redecorate the staff, keeping a few lengths of fishing line to use to tie on more decorations later.

I think my staff serves as a reminder of the dangers to the environment of things human beings discard into the sea. That fishing line, rope and balloon ribbon could easily have got just as entangled around the legs of a bird. Many die that way each year. It is up to us to be more careful about recycling our refuse, and helping the environment by collecting litter from time to time - especially from our beaches.

All staffs need a ferrule on the tip to stop them wearing down. I used a wine bottle cap nailed in place - so more recycling at no cost.

As to the question about whether a witches staff has a knob on the end, the answer in this case is "no". The more I look at it, the more the head of my staff looks to me like a long face with tufty hair, overgrown eyebrows, a flat nose and a big open mouth. Quite a character!

I know it is April Fool's Day today, and you could be thinking that this staff really is a bit of a joke, but I prefer to think of it as a gift from Aphrodite, goddess of the sea-foam.

I intend to go back to the beach later today and maybe I will find some shells, hag-stones and other pieces of interesting flotsam and jetsam to decorate my staff further.

Previous related posts
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/05/oysters-pearls-and-treasure-from-sea.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/03/spring-tides-and-beachcombing.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2011/11/review-sacred-stones-and-crystals.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2010/02/magical-uses-for-apple-wood.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/08/three-broomsticks.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2013/02/shopping-engraved-pewter-chalices-and.html

4 comments:

Betty said...

That looks like a great staff. I enjoy making my own tool also. I like the eyebrows and hope you don't smooth them too much.

badwitch said...

Thanks! I like the eyebrows too :)

James C. Wallace II said...

I don't own a staff, but I have a magic wand that I've owned since 1970. It was given to me by Duke Stern himself. When I cross the Shifting Sands and join Dad someday, my eldest child will perform the Broken Wand Ceremony with that very wand as I did when I performed the same ceremony for Dad back in 1992. I wonder if my Buffalo Penis cane would serve the same purpose as your staff? And yes, I do own a Buffalo Penis cane!

badwitch said...

James - I had to look that Buffalo cane up on Google to see what it looked like. How very unusual!