One of the maxims I often tell my students is that s/he is the most powerful tool in their arsenal. If you’re in a pinch, you can use tools that you didn’t expect, provided you believe in them. The Witch’s Guide to Wands agrees with that statement, “to a point”. In other words, Gypsey Elaine Teague says that while the caster is an important part of magickal work, the power in the tools you use for said work are as well.

This book is a fantastic reference and really can help someone choose the right wand for them, although Teague believes, as J.K. Rowling does in the Harry Potter series, that “the wand chooses the witch.” Speaking of Harry Potter, if you’re a fan of J.K. Rowling’s book series, you will not be disappointed. Teague examines the different types of wands used in the books and discusses whether or not Rowling “got it right”. Wands play such an enormous role in the series that including this chapter was a very pleasant surprise. What was NOT a surprise to me is that Teague made convincing cases for nearly all of the wands chosen by Rowling’s characters. While this section is only a few pages long, it shows not only the depth of Teague’s knowledge of wands but also is a really fun way to showcase different types of wands and their uses.

Ms. Teague also has a theory about Severus Snape’s wand, which is not discussed during the book series. As much as I’d like to tell you what her theory is, I couldn’t possibly give away that spoiler.  You’ll just have to buy this book and see if you agree.

The author is a woodworker and presents a fascinating look at both the organic and inorganic parts of the wand. The “organic” portion is the wood— its genus and species names, where it is grown, what its nonmagickal uses are, its sexual energy (masculine or feminine), and correspondences with elements, astrological planets, and gods and goddesses are here for your edification. Beech, for example, is a wood that is used for smoking meats and cheeses, as well as malts for certain types of both German and American beer.

The “inorganic” parts of the wand are metals—royal, noble, and base metals in the book—and while there are some wands out there that are completely made of metal, most are a combination of wood and metal. These days, with the rise of the Internet and the Steampunk movement, many people are adding metal parts to wooden wands as well. Of course, some of these metals are extremely expensive, like platinum, but Teague presents all of them along with their correspondences.

If you like the legend and lore of wands combined with practical magickal information for selecting and using them, you will adore this book. While I have a few wands, I fear that after reading this book I’m going to need to buy quite a few more of them, and now, dear reader, you have been warned.

Highly recommended.

~review by John Marani

Author: Gypsey Elaine Teague
Red Wheel/Weiser, 2015

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