A Perspective on the Construction and Function of Wandes
- Thaddeus Balch
- Thaddeus Balch
The power begins in the white-hot spring, the thermae, the germia. It flows through the hand into the cellular structure of the cista mystica...which is why metal wont do....must be wood or bone, and builds in the flux of the alabastron, where it concentrates and explodes down the length of the omphalos like newly freed kundalini from the pineal chakra. - Constantine Balch
The Cista Mystica - Origins of Nomenclature
A cista mystica (secret casket) is a sacred object thought to have Egyptian origin, usually made of reeds (papyrus) and used in the Khoiak ritual of Denderah. Inside the box was a vase, and inside the vase was the head of Osiris, a canopic box containing the viscera of the dead god. Concrete evidence concerning the cista mystica of Isis is scarce. In Roman times, Plutarch gives an account of the pouring of drinking water into a golden casket inside the cista, while the congregation shouts “Osiris has been found.”
In ancient Greek mystery cults, the cista mystica were wicker-work boxes which seem to have contained a live serpent, as represented in numerous ancient images, including coins on which a cista is shown half-open with a serpent creeping out of it. These cistes were sometimes oblong, but more frequently cylindrical, for example, as represented in a statue of Silenus sitting on a large drum-shaped cista, holding a wine-jug in his hand. Cistra mystica were also carried in procession in the Greek festivals of Demeter and Dionysus—these boxes were always kept closed in public, and contained sacred items connected with the worship of these deities. The cista mystica was also known to be sacred to Bacchus, but similar cult objects were probably also affiliated with Isis. In the Bacchic mysteries, the serpent was carried on a bed of grape leaves and was used as a stand-in for the god. The characteristic form of the serpent was an important component of the symbolism, and classical sources note it shares its shape with “the forms of men.”
The Alabastron - Origins of Nomenclature
The Alabastron (Greek ἀλάβαστρον) of your wand is a small crystal vial that contains the essence of a magical creature, plant or mineral. They were originally crafted by Egyptian mages from alabaster (hence the name), a stone believed to resemble human skin and providing, it was believed, an external organ. It is fitted into an aperture in the Cista Mystica carved specifically for this purpose. It serves as the heart of your wand, acting as a foci by which the innate magical potentialities in yourself are magnified and given shape, intentionality, before being directed down the length of the Omphalos. Connection is made through the use of a rare substance given by some few Silverweed Cinquefoil (Argentina anserina). It is a waxy excretion containing pure argentum, silver, that the plant has leeched from the soils it finds hospitable.
Historically, in the mundane world, an alabastron is believed to be a small type of pottery or glass vessel used by the ancients
for holding perfume or massage oils. They are believed to have originated around the 11th century before their current era (which is ridiculous) in ancient Egypt (which is obviously correct) and spread via ancient Greece to other parts of the classical world. How anyone could miss the direct association with canopic jars (also often crafted by mages from alabaster and for the same reasons!) of much earlier periods is beyond me, and I think speaks volumes about the state of mundane science. Nevertheless, what is clear as an azure sky in the midst of summer, is that someone couldn't keep a secret, and that furthermore, the tenacity of mundane willful ignorance is a power unto itself.
The Omphalos - Origins of Nomenclature
The Omphalos (Greek ὀμφαλός) literally translates as "navel". In Greek lore, Zeus sent two eagles across the world to meet at its center, the "navel" of the world. Omphalos stones marking the centre were erected in several places about the Mediterranean Sea; the most famous of those was at Delphi. Most accounts locate the Delphic Omphalos in the Adyton, or Holy of Holies, near the Pythia, aka Oracle. The stone, when placed, was tethered by nets which were then incorporated into the stone itself, thus keeping the intensely magical object from wandering away. The hollow center, which widens toward the base, was carved to allow the intoxicating miasma of gases escaping the earth's interior through a fissure below, to funnel upward to the Oracle situated above. The trance like state thus achieved is the most intensely studied phenomenon in the entire field of Divination.
For our purposes, it is critical to understand that an Omphalos is a magical, most often but not necessarily, stone artifact, or baetylus, endowed with a life in its own right. In your wand, the wood species of your Omphalos, aligned with your own celestially determined periods of potency, quite literally becomes a living being, connected to you on very elemental levels. Wizards and Witches have reported deep understanding with their wands owing to this remarkable relationship. We cannot exactly explain how this works, though there are several theories, but the results are incontrovertible. It should be understood that you will not always agree with your wand, or it with you. Some wands are quite willful, others more malleable to the wielders will. The relationship between a Wizard or Witch and their wand is a friendship born of shared goals, outlook and purpose. Take the time to get to know your wand, listen deeply to its thoughts and feelings, and you will have trusted friend, ally and tool for the span of your existence.