The Virtues of Woods for Working Staves
Alder: Of fiery virtue, Alder is Bran’s wood of fiery and divine oracular vision.It aids also workings of defensive magic and strength.
Ash: The Ash is of airy virtue. It is associated heavily in Cornish and West Country lore with healing and regenerative magic. As Yggdrasil, The Ash aids also workings of spirits, passage between the worlds, and drawing fourth the virtues of the six ways. Thus it is often the wood of choice for the Pellar’s main staff.
Birch: Also of airy virtue, and of earth, particularly when employed as the crush of the traditional Crafter’s broom. The Birch offers a wood that aids purification, the initiation of inception, birth and fertility.
Blackthorn: The feared and formidable Blackthorn is of fiery virtue. Associated within the Cornish Craft with Bucca Dhu, it is employed to aid workings of workings of blasting defensive magic, setting strong boundaries, toad magic and rites of the new moon.
Elder: Of watery virtue, Elder is of aid to working of protections, exorcising illnes and spirit conjuration.
Gorse: The Furze is of fiery virtue, it provides a wood to aid workings of purification, the conjuration of fair weather, and the discovering of useful information.
Hawthorn: The Whitethorn is of fiery virtue and is associated with the rites of May’s Eve and Bucca Gwidder. It aids also dealings with spirit folk and workings of fertility, but it is nit to be employed as a walking staff for it may invite ill luck upon journeys.
Hazel: Of fiery virtue: the Hazel is traditionally of aid to the practices of divination, and the acquiring of wisdom, inspiration and visions.
Holly: The dark holly is of fiery virtue, and is of aid to rites and workings of death and rebirth, and of exorcism, defensive magic, overcoming wrongdoers and fiery potency
Oak: Of fiery virtue; the Oak is of aid to Solar rites and magic, and to workings of strength, steadfastness, wisdom, power and potency. To the old Cornish the Oak is sacred to Taraner the Thunderer.
Pine: Of both fiery and airy virtue, of aid to the workings of healing, prosperity, exorcism, protection, wisdom, progress and the increase of power.
Rowan: The Mountain Ash is of fiery virtue and of aid to the rites of Candlemas and to workings of quickening, conjuring visions, lifting curses and the influence of ill wishing from people and cattle. A walking staff of Rowan provides protection from evil whilst journeying.
Willow: Of watery virtue; the Willow is of aid to rites and workings of the moon, emotional healing, love, fertility and intuition.
Yew: The revered Yew is watery in virtue; it is of aid to all rites of death mysteries, Ankow, atavistic wisdom, transformation, change and renewal.
- Gemma Gary, Traditional Witchcraft: A Cornish Book of Ways