Finding a Storyteller’s Staff

Guest post by Ken Shapley

There is something inherently magical about a staff. As part of a tree it connects Heaven to Earth in and of itself. If you can find a naturally twisted one, it’s even more special. The tree is rooted in the Earth. The sap rises and falls with the moon and with the seasons…more flow in summer, less in winter. The honey suckle, which will eventually pull the tree down, winds itself around the tree in a sunwise fashion and the combination of these forces results in a glorious spiral twist to the staff. It mirrors the movements of the Earth around the Sun as the Sun travels around the galaxy, connecting you to the story of the cosmos.

So how to find one? Well, there are many ways. I like going for a drive in the country while singing my intention:

“For today I go a wandering,

I find a magic staff,

I’m guided by the world tree,

I feel so ha..a..ppy.

The spiral tree the spiral tree

The spiral tree is found

It always grows where magic flows

Where a unicorn’s horn touched the ground.”

Just make it up as you go along with the happy feeling of finding one. Follow your instincts and you’ll arrive at the right woodland. Walk into the wood and find a majestic tree. Now it’s time to ask for help. I favour giving the tree a good old fashioned hug and I’ll chant a little magic word I learned from The Druids when I was initiated as a bard. It’s a Welsh word, “Awen”, the inspirational poetic flow, the dawn light shining feeling. I sing it – “Ahhhhh Ooòòooooweeeen” – three times and it feels like the tree and yourself are now in communion. I’ll ask to be shown a “story stick”, the most magical one possible. Then it’s off into the flow of the forest…which way…just go…sense it…spread your arms out, turn around and let your arms point to the right direction…have fun with it! One of the best ones I ever found was after an hour of walking through pretty hard off the beaten track woodland, when I chanced upon an amazingly beautiful spot. A grove of hazel high above a river with golden Beech trees in full autumnal glory all around. This is the spot, I thought, as I closed my eyes sang my “Awens” again and said out loud, “Will you grant me a wizards staff?” I opened my eyes and right there to my right was a perfect one literally hanging down from a tree in a mass of honeysuckle. I’d not seen it before I was so swept away by the beauty of the spot. That will do nicely. I reached out to it and just pulled…a seasoned silver birch staff with three spirals at the top, tall as myself! Magic.

To fashion it you’ll need a sharp knife and about 10 to 15 hours of stripping off the bark and digging out the honeysuckle from the twisted wood. Then sanding, or you may just like to leave it as it is, maybe decorate it with found objects. Smaller ones are amazing for making a talking stick, an object passed around a circle. Whoever holds the stick, they talk and everyone else listens. A great way to resolve any problems, or create a story.  I make and sell about a dozen each year. If you would like to go on an adventure to find your own one please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.

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