By Alferian Gwydion MacLir
Llewellyn 2011, $18.95 US
Review by Erin
When I requested this book I was expecting something somewhat different. I was expecting construction methods, information for Wiccans, and a lot of information from Harry Potter and so on.
Instead, I got a non-fluffy book with a lot of good info in it.
One of the first things you will learn, this book was written by a Druid of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. Keep that in mind since this information is written from a Druidic point of view. There is a lot of discussion about the trees themselves, the way the plants feel and more. This is all to the good in my opinion. The chapters discussing the qualities of different woods are almost the first thing you read.
Then there are discussions about stones, minerals, metals and all the items of needed to craft a wand.
Included are designs, their meanings, the various letters that can be carved on the wands. You’ll find out how construct them, what tools are needed and how to actually craft the finished product.
I didn’t see any “shortcuts” using pre-made dowels or pipes of any kind. The author assumes you actually want to carve it with a knife and use a wild-crafted branch for your wand. To truly create something in tune with you in a way an artificial or “bought” wand cannot. To me, this is the whole purpose of making a magical tool.
There are some points of concern for me, but I understand why the author included them.
In the section about the magic behind wand crafting, he includes a significant section on “magical cores”, the center of the wand, as in Harry Potter cores. Included in there are things like Dragon Scales, Phoenix Feathers, Griffon and Hippogriff feathers and so on. He spends time explaining how to insert these cores into your wand. This was my first “WHAT” moment.
The author goes on to explain that he included these not to seem “fluffy” or to try to capitalize on the Harry Potter craze (like so many other authors have tried to do). Instead, it’s to bring the essence of these mythical creatures into the wand, to help them operate.
He’s not saying that the Unicorn Hair needs or can be bought from a store here on this Earth. Rather, he urges the crafter to do a vision quest and talk to the Unicorn, Hippogriff, or other symbolic animal, in question and ask them to contribute a part of themselves to your wand, to help the wand and the wielder better express the qualities that the being has.
This was of interest to me since I do a lot of work on the Astral Plane myself. I could see what the author was after and how it should work in a properly crafted wand. I could understand how it was supposed to work and why it could be done. The author also says that it is not necessary for the wand to have this in order to work properly.
These revelations alone had me revising my review of this book several times. He acknowledges when he gets into territory that is “out there”, but he takes the time to explain these esoteric aspects in a way that make sense. In that alone, he is ahead of a lot of the people who write books like this.
I should point out to my readers that the author is a teacher at the Grey School of Wizardry. Long time readers will understand why I point this out, but for those of you who are new, let me explain this for a bit.
Since the Harry Potter books came out, there have been a lot of people trying to capitalize on that franchise, and it has caused a slow downward spiral in the quality of books dealing with esoteric topics.
The head of the Grey School has stated that I do a hatchet job on books that come out from that school, out of some vendetta I have towards him. I have told him multiple times that if he sent me good books, no matter if they were of use in the School, I would review them highly.
This is that book.
I am giving this book four and a half stars out of five. This is a book that I think could be very useful to many in the metaphysical community, and it doesn’t matter that it is associated with the Grey School.
It stands as a very good “how to” book. There is very little information in here that I think could have been omitted, and all the information I would have expected to see is here as well.
So, congratulations Mr. MacLir. You have produced something which most Pagans and those who will be making staffs and wands should have.