The Beginning and Some Background
I had never thought of a staff before.
I am reacquainting myself with the dragon that has been with me since I was a child. He has stayed with me all this time even though I didn’t talk with or listen to him for years. I guess he thought I was worth waiting for and I am glad he did.
I call him Puff – his idea not mine. He reminded me that when I was little, I would play on the swing set, sitting on the top and “riding” Puff. Yes, it came from the song, I loved Peter, Paul and Mary as a kid I still do! I remember that all my friends wanted horses, I wanted a dragon.
When I began work at TMCS Puff came back to me full force. I started reading books about Dragon Magick and that is when I noticed that he was reading over my shoulder. It was startling at first. He would let me know what he agreed with in the book and what he didn’t. At the time we had a small dragon that was hanging out with us. I had borrowed an I-ching and Oracle card set from the Witch store in town. When I open the box to look at the set the little one scared the bejeebers out of me. At first, he looked really happy and then he looked scared and then angry. I tried to work with the I-ching set but I never was able to get comfortable with it or the dragon that protected it. I found out later that the woman who had it before had given up all of her craft items because her new husband didn’t like them. I never found out the little dragon’s name, he mostly stayed in the box. The night that Puff was reading over my should the little dragon came out and sat with us but the poor thing was so uncomfortable that he couldn’t concentrate. I think he tried but I don’t know enough to make him comfortable and happy. The I-ching went back to the store. Maybe someday I will try again.
As I was reading the book the staff came up. I had never thought of a staff for magickal use. Puff seemed very interested in the staff and we read it a number of times. Puff never tells me what I need to do but he is good about pointing out what might help me, a staff would help me.
Every couple of days I fill the bird feeders that I have in the mulberry tree in the yard. When filling one bird feeder I would always balance myself by touching a branch by the feeder. Sometimes it was just a light touch and others it was a hang on because I was afraid that I might fall. Russell told me that he was going to have to trim some smaller branches from the tree as he was afraid, they were causing some problems for the larger branches. He is in charge of the trees; he has done the research and they are his project. My job with the trees is to sit under them and collect leaves in the fall. I went to do some errands, when I got home, I saw the branches on the ground. It always makes me sad when we have to take the branches from the trees. I started helping Russell pick up the branches to put in the truck so that he could take them to have mulch made when I saw a stick. I knew the stick was my stick and I had to keep it and figure out what it was.
The Walk Through
The first thing I did with the stick is to hold it and try to figure out why I had to have this stick. I took out Russell’s belt knife and began to take the bark off. I took off the small branches and some of the nubs. I worked on the stick every night for a week taking the bark and nubs off. Every night when I was finished, I laid the stick on a silver tool chest and let it soak up the moonlight, during the day it stayed on that tool chest to dry in the sun’s light. It took me a month before I started sanding. My stick was drying nicely. Now I had to look up how to make a staff, walking stick or whatever it was going to be.
I sanded the stick every night for a month. The grain is very small in Mulberry trees so the stick doesn’t have a texture like hard wood, it is a beautiful yellow with a very light brown grain. I began the sanding with a medium grit sandpaper to get all of the rough off the stick. I went to a fine sandpaper and then to a very fine sandpaper until my stick was silky to the touch.
At this point I began with the tung seed oil. To preserve the color and the grain. Tung oil also has a natural property that keeps wood from rotting and keeps the moisture from staying in the wood, so warping won’t happen. As you can see from the photo my stick is a bit bent but the curve works for me! It took two weeks to do the tung seed oil properly. It was hard to find pure tung seed oil. I had to order it from the Internet as there were not any stores that carried it in my area. When you use tung seed oil you have to mix with a solvent such as mineral spirits. The mineral spirits help the wood to dry and the tung oil to penetrate the wood better. I started with a 7 to 3 ration of mineral spirits to tung oil. Every two days I would take the mineral spirits down and the tung oil up until I got to 100% tung oil. I used the pure tung oil for three days before calling it good. I sanded the stick one more time with an extremely fine sandpaper and then began to embellish the stick. It was also at this time I decided I couldn’t just call it stick. It is a beautiful shade of yellow but yellow stick didn’t seem right either. So I looked up yellow stick in Gaelic and the stick’s name became Bata Bui (bawta bwe).
Mulberry is a very special wood. It is gender fluid, it can be female then male and back to female again. There can even be male and female flowers on the same tree! This makes for a very complicated tree and wood. The correspondence of the Mulberry tree include but is certainly not limited to, divination, wisdom, wholeness, healing, comfort and the will. I took this all in to consideration when deciding how to embellish Bata Bui. Puff had a few things to suggest as well, bells there had to be bells! There are three bells and four strings of beads that are shades of purple. Three of the bead strings also contain one owl each. The fourth bead string has a bead that my daughter gave me when she was a child.
Bata Bui is my beautiful staff that is full of energy from what it is and what I have given it. We are becoming very close as it stays on my headboard when not in use. I always wondered why a straight stick got that bend. I know now!
I will be blessing and consecrating Bata Bui at the next full moon, to give it the power of moon magick as well as its other properties.
Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement, Tung Oil: Debunking the myths, Author not listed, http://www.canadianwoodworking.com
The White Goddess, Table of Trees and Their Correspondences, author not listed, http://www.thewihitegoddess.co.uk
Project Fey, Magical Properties of Wood for Pagans, author not listed, http://www.projectfey.com