Many Pagans and Wiccans use a magical staff in rituals and ceremonies. The staff is more commonly used in Shamanic or shamanic-based traditions and it's not a required magical tool in Wicca, but it can come in handy.
The staff is typically associated with power and authority, and in some traditions only the High Priestess or High Priest carries one. In other traditions, anyone may have one. Much like the wand the staff is traditionally considered symbolic of male energy, and usually is used to represent the element of Air (although in some traditions, it symbolizes Fire).
Like other Magickal tools, the staff is something you can make yourself, with a little bit of effort. A staff is essentially a large wand, it can be made and decorated in a similar fashion.
- Do research online about staves, staffs, stangs etc. Understand the difference in each magickal tool and the differing purposes for which they were traditionally created.
- Take your time on this project - plan it out carefully, let the choice of wood, carvings or paintings, decorations, etc., be speicifc and more importantly, deeply meaningful to YOU. Dont' worry about how pretty it is as that won't be its function (unless of course you want it to be highly decorative so you can 'show it off' at the local Medieval Faire.) having said that, just because a staff is function magickally doesnt mean it can't be gorgeous!
- Ensure you have plenty of time and lots of space to create your staff, take a lot of time in the creation of your staff, it is a wonderful tool that will be a great enjoyment to create and own! Collect together all the materials you have decided to use. You can choose to consecrate and charge each item before it goes onto your staff, and then again when the staff is complete, or you can leave the consecration and charging til the end.
- Once you've chosen your wood, (or as it sometimes happen once your piece of wood has chosen you), shape it or sand it until you have the basic design. Most traditions say that a staff should be equal height to its owner ("your measure") - which make sense since your staff will be an extension of yourself, often in Pagan practices one's measure is often used in the creation of magickal and Ritual Items (the wand 'should' be from wrist to top of middle finger in length; the cords of initiation 'are' knotted in one's measure; the sword 'should' stand from ground to hip, are some examples of traditional 'measures')
- Once you've got the staff shaped and sanded, you have a couple of options. You may want to drill a small hole at the top so you can insert a leather thong -- this comes in handy when you're waving your magical staff around in ritual, because you can put the thong around your wrist and reduce the chances of accidentally flinging your staff across a room. If you like, you can also decorate your magical staff by carving or burning the symbols of your Tradition into it, adding crystals or beads, feathers, or other charms into the wood. (Finally, remember gaudy does not equate with power or usefulness. Make your staff unique as you'd like but don't go overboard where everytime it slips and falls down or you happen to drop it - which will happen, guaranteed! - something falls off.... lol)
- It's generally not considered necessary to use a polyurethane finish on the staff, and in many traditions it's believed that to put a synthetic finish on a staff will block the magical energies. However, some people choose to oil their staff to give it a light shine - if you do this, use an oil that is plant-based, rather than petroleum-based, such as linseed oil, or bee's wax.
- Very often the bottom of the staff was tipped in iron or steel. This could traditionally make the staff a potent weapon to ward off baleful animals or people trying to accost you. However there are those that argue that this would interfere with magick that involves the Fey, so think carefully about this choice for yourself. (Personally I'd be more likely to tip mine in brass or copper, if I was to tip it at all).
- Once finished you should consecrate your Staff. The consecration ritual can be the most important part of the construction as it will culminate in all of your efforts and tapping into each glyph, seal, sigil, carving, bauble, and dedication to whatever Deities and/or Elementals you work with.
- Charge your Staff, obviously the staff already contains various energies from the wood, the crystals and whatever other materials,symbols etc you have made a part of your wand, it has also gathered energies from your handling of it during the construction, however charging it now will draw all that energy together and fill the whole staff with the combined energies invested into it during its creation as well as your own intent.
Now your Staff is ready for use, you can use a staff in place of the Sword, Dagger & Wand. Use it to draw a circle; to draw pentagrams and other Occult signs in the air or on the ground; Use it to banish and to summon; use it as a stand-in for someone when performing a healing; etc.
You can also choose to make a staff by any of the same methods used for making a wand, you dont have to make it from wood there are some very nice, Staffs made from polymere clay can look awesome, just remember you need to make it smaller or as part of a larger staff as the clay needs to be baked and a staff wont fit in the oven ;)