Archive for the ‘Properties of Wood’ category

Into the Woods: Purple Heart, Yellow Heart, Birch

March 23, 2007

Frank, the wand maker, calls this wand “Triple Treat”.


I had no intention of getting another wand; it seems I’ve already got quite a collection. But when he said that it hadn’t found a home yet, I heard the words, but didn’t listen right away.

My guides, however, made sure I got the message later that day after I’d gone home. So I called Frank and asked about the wand.

I never thought I’d go for the real “exotic” woods, but apparently, the “heart” in purple heart and yellow heart is important for me right about now.

Interestingly, I’d ordered a few more cubic zirconia crystals way back in January. I’d almost given up on them arriving, but they finally appeared in last week’s mail. One is purple, another one yellow.

So what am I going to do with this “Triple Treat” wand and these pretty crystals? I have no idea! I just know that, somehow, they’re going to be used in combination.

I’ve only brought the wand home today, so I haven’t had a chance for it to reveal itself to me yet. But I’m looking forward to the discoveries.

I never realized just how many wands I had until I started this series of posts. I knew that I had to give each wand its chance, and I’ve learned a lot about them as I’ve gone from one to another, day by day being surprised by new ideas or recalling important lessons I’d learned in the past.

While I’ve enjoyed writing them, I also must admit that I’m looking forward to moving on to different subjects, and leaving the woods behind for awhile. Well, not really; I’m sure I’ll have one more post soon about what I’ve learned about purple heart, yellow heart and birch. But until then, as the trees give way to open sunlight, I walk a little faster, straighten my shoulders a bit, take a deep breath of the new wind blowing in, and wonder, “What will I discover today?”


Into the Woods: Japanese True Ebony

March 22, 2007

I’ve had this wand, already shaped, for months, and it’s still waiting for me to sand and polish it. Right now, it has a dormant feeling to it, as if the polishing reveals it’s true heart.

I already have an ebony wand, but this was wood that captured my attention, and I think, like the jin dai maple, that it will embody something truly magical when I finally get around to sanding it.

It’s not that I’m putting it off. I could have done it any time this winter. But I think I’d like nothing better than to sit outside on some spring or summer afternoon, soaking up the sunshine and sanding this wand.

Like everything else, I’m sure I’ll know exactly the right time to do it, just like I’ve known that it hasn’t been any time yet.

It’s heavy, dense wood, and I have a feeling that it will polish up to a formidable shine. I think, too, that it will be just as potent as the jin dai maple, but in its own unique way.

When I’ve sanded and polished it, I’ll come back to it and write about what was uncovered.

Into the Woods: Little Rosewood with a Twist

March 22, 2007

“You skipped one,” Ted said to me this past weekend when we were talking about the writing I was doing about wands.

“I did? Which one?”

“Rosewood with a twist,” he answered, but I couldn’t remember any such wand. I was sure he was right; he keeps good records on things like wands, especially if they’ve come from Japan, like this one was supposed to have done.

“Do you know where it is, because it’s not with the other wands I have, and it’d be there, I think,” I said. Unless, of course, it had never made it there. Things have a way of getting put in a “safe place”, the place we put them when we don’t feel like putting them in the right place. It’s the one we’ll definitely remember because it’s so out of the ordinary to put the thing there. Trouble is, it’s so out of the ordinary and so out of the way that we usually forget about any thing we put there, until, of course, we’re looking for it, and then, not surprisingly, we’re also not finding it.

The wand finally turned up yesterday.


It had been “put aside” on a coffee table, but because it’s fairly small and there were a lot of other things on the coffee table, it had escaped notice.

I’d said I didn’t remember the wand, but as soon as Ted gave it to me, I recognized it.

I think the spiraling effect that’s carved into it is a good reminder about integrity and interdependence. We have to have integrity, be true to ourselves, and not allow ourselves to get consumed by anyone or anything else. We must stay true to our own heart, not mindlessly follow someone’s else’s ideas about what we should or could be doing just to keep the peace, avoid growth in ourselves, or build up false self-esteem because of the way others think we live.

But, even though we are true and individual beings, we are seamlessly incorporated into the fabric of humanity. This starts with family and extends outward to community. Before you can coexist with others, you must be able to exist on your own. But once you are your own person, you must also fit, to a certain degree, within the bounds of family and community. Sometimes, you’ll lead, other times, follow, and still others, do neither of these. In all situations, even if it’s uncomfortable at the moment, the large picture has to remain intact: We must maintain integrity and interdependence.

Those are good lessons for me, a person who hates asking for help. I’m learning, though, and this little rosewood wand will certainly help.

Into the Woods: Sequoia

March 21, 2007

The most businesslike of the wands I have is a big sequoia wand.


To me, sequoia embodies collective wisdom acquired over hundreds or thousands of years. Looking out on the world with that kind of long lifespan, a sequoia doesn’t get caught up in all the moment-to-moment things that characterize life on the human time-scale. We live moment to moment. As children, an hour is an eternity. We are pulled in the contradicting directions as we grow older of seeing life as very long and very short. We can easily take things in stride because we have already experienced so much, or we can become frantic to do many things because we feel like we don’t have much time left.

Anyway, the unique thing about this particular wand is that it has a piece of goethite in the handle. Goethite is a stone that forms in such a way that its crystal structure looks like the pipes of a pipe organ. It is supposed to be excellent for accessing the music of the spheres.

One other note about sequoia. Whenever I see the name of this tree, I am powerfully reminded of Sequoyah, the Cherokee chief who gave his people a written alphabet. So the sequoia, for me, is also tightly bound up with ideas of speech, communication, expression and passing on stories and lessons from generation to generation.

This wand is clearly a “working wand” for me. I don’t go looking for it when I want something light and fun (that’s lilac). I don’t pick it up when I want insights into my overall journey through this life (that’s jin dai maple). And I don’t seek it out when I’m trying to sort through my own mix of emotions (that’s rosewood).

But if I’m working on “Soul Essence” pieces, or if I’m preparing for a piano recital, sequoia is an invaluable tool. Last night, thinking about writing this post, I put it under my pillow before going to sleep. In the only dream I can recall, I was in a hotel room. It was the morning after one big recital I had played and I had another one that night. Nothing else, just waking up in this hotel room and being aware that I was suspended between two concerts of my own.

I’m sure “Soul Essence” composition will be beginning soon, most likely in April. My guides have been sending musical fragments again. It’s not as if they’re saying, “OK, enough rest! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” It’s more like, “Just reminding you that you’re going to need to start working on these again soon, so be sure to pay attention to what you need.”

So this wand will be set aside until April, when I will certainly need its teaching again.

Into the Woods: Japanese Boxwood

March 20, 2007

My next wand arrived from Japan. The woman who had sent the jin dai maple included it in a package she sent us and said it was for me.

It’s the smallest wand I have, and like the maple, it is associated with dreams. The night before the package arrived, I dreamed about a little wand with an interesting spiral in it. I really was fascinated by it in the dream, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when Ted handed me the little boxwood wand and I immediately recognized it as the one I’d held in my dream.


I love the size of it. I’d tried, only half successfully, to carry my first lilac wand in my pocket, but it had a habit of stabbing me at inopportune times and in rather uncomfortable places, so I gave up. I tried with the walnut, but it was too long, so I let it take up residence with my other wands on my nightstand.

But the boxwood was just right. It’s smooth to the point of being satiny, and I love running my fingers over the little carved spiral at its center.

It’s a “quiet” wand, in that it’s primary use so far for me has been redirecting my mind in a more peaceful, productive direction. I find it comforting to carry it with me if I’m going to be really busy teaching or doing other things, and I can slip my hand into my pocket and touch it for a second or two to keep myself from getting caught up in whatever is flying around.

I had been thinking of doing it after the jin dai maple became a phoenix feather, but after the boxwood arrived, I was certain I would send a “Soul Essence” song back to Japan. It seemed like a natural way of expressing my deep gratitude. To the best of my knowledge, it was well-received.

Into the Woods: Rowan

March 19, 2007

The second wand I polished myself was made from more wood from Japan. At first, we thought it was Japanese wild pear, but it turned out to be rowan instead.


It was perhaps as different than the blue ebony I’d just done as I could have gotten. It’s soft, light wood, and in its polished form, it’s almost white. The wand itself is also much thicker and longer than the blue ebony.

I enjoyed polishing it, too. I love seeing just how smooth I can make the wood, although part of this is paying attention to how smooth the wood itself wants to become.

But while I enjoyed the sanding and the polishing, I have always felt that this wand is not mine. I still feel this, although now, I think I know who it’s destined for.

That knowing is nice, too. I don’t like keeping things I’m not going to use, and while I’ve played with the wand occasionally, it hasn’t been in the regular rotation of the ones I return to often.

In order to let the recipient have first experience of it before I say what I think the wand is like on a metaphysical level, I’m going to leave this post on a bit of an ambiguous note. Maybe I’ll write more about it after the wand has reached its rightful owner.

Into the Woods: Blue Ebony (“But I Don’t Wanna Be a Chopstick!”)

March 18, 2007

When Ted first met Frank, the wandmaker, it seemed that anything and everything Ted touched that was made of wood could and might be made into a wand.

There’s a Chinese restaurant here called Dragon Buffet. It has the usual all-you-can-eat Americhinese items, like chicken chow mein, pizza, won ton soup, chicken fingers, egg rolls and French fries. But it also does a “Mongolian grill”; you put whatever raw ingredients you want into a bowl with your choice of sauces, then pass the bowl to a man who cooks it on a huge stir-frying surface. Also, on Friday nights, they have really good soup, made by an old man, and you know it’s good because all the Chinese people are lined up to get it. (Of course, the other thing the Chinese like is that it’s relatively cheap, but we Americans and Japanese like that, too.) They sometimes have pretty good sushi, and their desserts run the gamut from ice-creamlike non-dairy totally-artificial sweetly-flavored polymer (one of Ted’s favorites) to pineapple “tidbits” (yes, that’s really what they’re called on the can).

But back to the wands. About the time Ted first met Frank, Ted and I went to Dragon Buffet for dinner. We enjoyed the meal, but Ted also discovered that the restaurant had very high-quality bamboo chopsticks that he shaped into a couple of wands. I’ve still got mine, although bamboo technically is a grass, not a wood.


Anyway, months later, someone from Japan sent us two pieces of blue ebony that could be shaped into very fine chopsticks. It was beautiful wood, dark and smooth and shiny even before you polished it.

So, Ted took it to Frank’s and asked if he could use Frank’s power tools to shape the basic chopstick shape from each piece, to which Frank said sure.

While shaping the first piece, though, the wood had other ideas apparently, and instead of applying the sander to it, Ted applied it to his finger. He had to cancel clients for a day and complained that he wouldn’t be able to swing a sword. Maggie and I, trying not to seem too mean, kind of laughed because we knew the wood didn’t want to be made into a chopstick, at least not that piece, anyway.

Even after going home that night, his finger scraped and swollen, Ted mourned the loss of a perfectly good potential chopstick, especially since now there was no way he’d ever have a matched pair.

I took the piece of shaped wood in my hands. I decided I’d be the one to polish it. So Ted gave me sandpaper in various gradations of fineness (from 80 grains per square inch all the way down to 10,000 grains per square inch), and, following the instructions he’d gotten from Japan, I sanded, ran under water, oiled and sanded some more until I had a glassy smooth wand in my hand.


Every time Ted looks at it, he still sees “chopstick”, and, truth be told, it’s a rather suggestive length and thickness. But to me, it’s a wand, and it was the first one I polished for my own use.

Polishing wood takes time, so it’s a great way to clear the mind and quiet things down. You can’t be in a hurry when you’re doing it, and the only limits on how smooth you get the wood are those afforded by your patience and willingness to go over the same small area countless times.

Anyway, people seem to think that ebony is the obsidian of woods. I’m not really sure what I think. All I know for sure is that the story behind this blue ebony wand is fun to recall and fun to tell. Perhaps when I polish my next ebony wand, which never had any inkling of the possibility it might become a chopstick, I’ll get more insights into what the wood has to say. As for this little wand I’ve made, all I get when I pick it up is deep gratitude. Certainly that’s a good reminder to me.