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Patti Wigington

Reader Mail: Can I Use This Wand in Ritual?

By February 20, 2014

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This is from about a year ago, but I got a similar email again today, so I wanted to share this one more time:

A reader asks, I got a wand at the Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. It's the only wand I have and I chose it because I thought it was very pretty and I identified with it. But I am unsure about using it in ritual. Would that be weird/wrong?

I think the question here is not so much whether it would be weird or "wrong" to use it -- with "wrong" being a very iffy term anyway - but would it be effective to use it? In other words, would a synthetic wand mass-produced and marketed to a general audience be a useful magical tool in ritual?

Typically, a wand is used to direct energy, and part of the way that is done is by using the attributes of the wand itself - whether it be oak, pine, cedar, or even a crystal - in the magical working. Most contemporary Pagans will tell you that a wand should be made of natural material, simply because it's going to work better for the absorption and direction of energy. Does that mean you can't use a synthetic wand? No, but you may be disappointed with the results.

The counterargument to this is that we can, in fact, use non-natural items in magical workings. I've done spellwork using everything from duct tape to old batteries to a floppy disc to packets of KoolAid to an ... er... adult pleasure toy. So the notion that all magical items MUST come from the earth is one that may apply in some traditions, but certainly not to all.

Honestly, if you identify with this wand, and feel a connection to it, I'm going to be the last person to tell you NO U CAN'T. In fact, I'd say consider it an exercise in magical theory - give it a try, and see what happens. Worst case scenario, you use it in a ritual and you accomplish nothing at all. Who knows, you might find that it does exactly what YOU need it to do - in which case, whether other people approve or find it weird matters not in the least.

Again, I'd say that the problem you face here is not that it's a Universal Studios Harry Potter wand (which is actually way cool), but that it's a synthetic object, which in *some* cases - although not all - is not conducive to spellwork. I'd give it a whirl and see how it works out for you.
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Comments
April 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm
(1) WhiteWolf says:

To each, his own. I’ve used a cheap replica katana as an athame in private ritual to great effect, mainly because it *felt* right for me at the time.

I still use it from time to time, and it seems to work well.

April 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm
(2) WhiteWolf says:

And, if you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear about the rite involving the pleasure toy… >:)

April 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm
(3) Aspen says:

Technically, any sort of “synthetic” tool is still composed of materials that come from the Earth. Everything comes from the Earth, including this computer I’m typing on. There isn’t some sort of alternate dimension or alien planet that we are harvesting for plastic. Plastic still comes from the Earth.

April 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm
(4) Meph says:

As a wandmaker myself, I’ve often told people pretty much the same as you’ve stated here. A wand is nothing more than a vehicle to help direct energy. But depending on what it’s made from, how it’s made, and what has been added to it, the wand can amplify and intensify that energy. No Harry Potter toy wand has a real crystal, a deosil spiral cut, or a herb chamber within. Oh, some of them have an LED tip, wired to a battery in the handle. Plastic is generally an insulator, but if you consider the wires from the battery to the LED tip, those wires can transmit a certain amount of personal energy too. If, in your mind’s eye, you see the LED as a (man-made) crystal of sorts, then yes, you probably do have the makings of a somewhat “normal” though “modern” wand there. However, I’d probably drill a hole in the handle and run a wire (or paper clip or even a thumb tack) into the battery compartment till it touches the battery. Coming up out of the hole, it will contact your hand when you hold it, thereby completing the energy path, from your hand to the LED tip. -And no, you won’t get electrocuted, or even shocked, from contact with the AA batteries! The wire or tack only has to touch the outer shell of the battery anyway.

Personally, I’m old school and will stick with natural woods and crystals. But if this is your choice, then all the best on it. Perhaps I’ll try it myself some day, if only out of curiosity! Thanks, Patty, for another informative article!

April 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm
(5) paganwiccan says:

Meph (4), thanks for your input from a wandmaker’s perspective!

patti

April 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm
(6) Rebecca says:

Long ago and far away, I found a branch on my deck to which I was drawn. I “felt” it was the wand I’d been seeking. I followed the dedication and cleansing of the wand, and used it a few times. Nothing. One day I left it on the top of a kitchen appliance on my way back into the house. A few minutes later, the wand was on the floor. Thinking nothing of it in particular, I placed it back on the appliance. 30 minutes later it was back on the floor. I felt it did not come to me as a wand, and I was, in fact, using something that did not wish to be used in such a way. Respectfully, I took the beautiful branch back out and placed it back on the deck where I found it. That was late one evening. The next a.m. it was gone. Of course any critter could have taken it away, etc. Instead of searching for the right wand, I simply use my right index finger – success every time.

April 12, 2012 at 8:16 am
(7) Kat says:

If it identified with you, then use it. I think anything that calls to you has a place in your life and rituals.
Harry Potter may be fictional, but it seems that a lot of the concepts and rituals have a sound research background, so perhaps this wand will work.
I never let a gift from spirit sit idle. Perhaps you are being tested and this wand is there until you prove you can handle a “naturally crafted” one.

April 17, 2012 at 8:50 am
(8) DocRocks says:

Remember from Harry Potter, “The wand chooses the witch (or wizard)”. I have seen the wands in SkyMall when flying commercial and thought they were cool. I would purchase one for a display but not for ritual use. But that’s just me. If it works for you- go for it.

April 17, 2012 at 8:51 am
(9) Faith says:

I use an all steel kitchen knife that I found while looking for an athame.It is all one peice with no break for a handle. works like a charm!

April 17, 2012 at 10:13 am
(10) Zm says:

When it comes down to the base of things, we don’t “need” any tools at all. They are psychologial props and not much else. What makes a ritual or rite successful is the person and the focus and strength of intent. Its not candles or robes, incense and bells. Its not so much the wording of our prayers and petitions but the sincere desire behind it all.
Our workings do not depend on our physical world since what we do transcends the physical. I know several pagans who hold ritual in their minds as tightly focused meditation. It works just fine. However, I also know some who need objects to help tap into their own energies.Nothing wrong with that, either.
If you are comfortable with using an item for a tool, then whose to say it won’t work for you? Its you and not the tool that causes change. Blessed be.

April 17, 2012 at 10:17 am
(11) Ariel says:

I really really really want Dumbledore’s elder wand. That aside, I believe that everything I own from my computer to my plastic Yule tree comes out of the earth in some way. I have a glass crystal and gold-plate ceremonial bowl that I use in spells. Some practitioners of the Craft might look down on that bowl because it isn’t rock crystal. I don’t and I have found that it works for me because I treat it as though it will. Trust your feelings and your wand…wherever it came from.

April 17, 2012 at 10:49 am
(12) Cinaed says:

@Zm: Do you realize your comment sounds a little dogmatic?

April 17, 2012 at 11:21 am
(13) Kennie says:

I was actually slightly amused by this article and there’s a reason why. I too use a Harry Potter wand when working high rituals. Granted, mine doesn’t come from Universal Studios, but it is one of the original limited edition wooden (in this case cherry) wands marketed back when the books first became popular.

I use it because it was given to me by a dear friend many years ago around the time that I read in one of my many books that a witch should never buy her tools. I don’t know if that’s true or not, as I’m too frugal to test the theory, but I can report great success in using my Harry Potter wand to cast spells.

April 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm
(14) Meadowhawk says:

I am extremely fortunate to have a wand ritually grown to be a wand by someone I greatly respect. And like Olivander, I believe the wand chooses the wizard. I had many raw cut branches and thin stems to choose from, some of which I was visually drawn to, but my hand just wouldn’t go to any of them. I was “chosen” by a slender stem that had ideas of it’s own. I fashioned it into a wand myself from there. That’s what seemed energetically campatible and magickally powerful to me.

If the HP wand has called to you, then use it! Maybe you will bond with it and use it forever. Maybe it is here to serve until you find your true wand.

April 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm
(15) Meadowhawk says:

I am extremely fortunate to have a wand ritually grown to be a wand by someone I greatly respect. And like Olivander, I believe the wand chooses the wizard. I had many raw cut branches and thin stems to choose from, some of which I was visually drawn to, but my hand just wouldn’t go to any of them. I was “chosen” by a slender stem that had ideas of it’s own. I fashioned it into a wand myself from there. That’s what seemed energetically campatible and magickally powerful to me.

If the HP wand has called to you, then use it! Maybe you will bond with it and use it forever. Maybe it is here to serve until you find your true wand.

April 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm
(16) Fourge C. says:

I’d say Aspen is right here. Shoot, even following the law of conservation, “energy cannot be created nor destroyed; it can only change form.” Anything and everything that is “man-made” came from the Earth, and thus in my definition is natural. Is it raw material? Certainly not. Is what is “man-made” not natural? Unless your a robot, I’d disagree. Humans are just as natural as the next intellectual pig rolling in the mud, despite us using our brains to build the vast cities like we have and unlike any other creature.

Right on, Patti! An exercise in magical theory! I love doing these… I just wish I could discover something that wasn’t already discovered! I don’t think I’d mind being the next Victor Anderson, or the next Plato!

April 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm
(17) Kyrja says:

When “Rupert’s Tales: Rupert Learns about Making Magick” comes out, here is a bit of what you will read concerning exactly this question:

“When directing energy,” said Mom, “use whatever works or makes you feel good,”
“An anthame made of steel, the finger from your hand, or a wand made of wood.”

“What about the wand I have at home with glitter and a star on the end?”
“Can I use that one, too,” asked the little girl, “or is it just for pretend?”

“Remember, your intention is what makes the difference in how things are done,”
“If you use respect and love in what you do, then you can use either one.”

“It’s the same,” Mom explained, “no matter how or what we use or do,”
“You need to know what’s most important is what is inside of you.”

So, I’d have to agree with our furry friend and what he learns: the focus of your intention is what is most important. =))

April 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm
(18) Winterswan says:

I say try it out! You might find it works well for some rituals better than others, or maybe it will be something you use all the time. My wand was created from an old brush I used to paint with (as in artistic painting as opposed to house painting).I wrapped pretty glass beads around it, blessed it, and it works wonderfully. As an artist, the idea of directing energy with a paint brush really resonated with me. Great article, Patty! I love your site.

April 18, 2012 at 3:10 am
(19) elle says:

A friend of mine, who is a scientist and pagan, recently reminded me that synthetic materials were at one point animals, be it millions of years ago. Therefore, if it feels right, use it, it is a tool after all. What really counts is your intention.

April 18, 2012 at 11:15 am
(20) Marjorie Blegen says:

Whether you use natural or unnatural items in ritual, as long as you have cleansed it and use it with Right Intent, anything will do or nothing at all. Your Will and Intent are the most important tools to use when performing any ritual.

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