When I was 15 years old I read a little novel called Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. It was a mind-blowing experience for me, being as it was my first exposure to the Law of Attraction and a lot of other ideas that struck me at the time as crazy spiritual and enlightened. Today I think of it as typical 1970s New Age hippie-dippie nonsense, but I still have affection for the book.
The basic idea – which we now popularly call Law of Attraction – that you could “vibe in” things by focused intention was a powerful one to me. I set out to try it, and I used the example given in the book of meditating on a blue feather, imagining it coming into my presence, surrounded by a white light. “The feather is on its way to me. It is mine.” I repeated that to myself.
The next morning, while opening the garage door, I found beneath it a blue feather, lying there right in front of my face, plain as day, perfect, unmissable. I kept it. I still have it. It was a big moment in my life, seeing my will influence the universe in such an inexplicable way.
Fast forward to today. I have been reading about shamanism, and was thoroughly enchanted by a blog post about the stang. Until I read it, I never felt like I needed a stang. I associated it with the Horned God or the stag, a deity (and animal) with whom I’ve never felt a close affinity.
This post focused on the stang as a representation of the World Tree. As I have been drawn more and more toward hedgecrossing, reading about the stang’s “horns” reaching up into the upperworld, the “foot” into the underworld, resonated with me deeply.
Also, I have never felt right with a wand in my hand. I have a lovely hand-carved oak one, given to me as a gift. It feels good to hold and I like everything about it, but a wand feels too delicate and light for me when casting a caim.
This morning I felt drawn out of the house toward a park nearby. This is weird for me, because it’s hot, and when it’s hot I stay inside.
Also, I live in the (sub)urban jungle so I have to search for pockets of wilderness. (I am counting the days til I can move to the woods.) There is one in particular, a few miles away, that despite being right off the freeway service road is quiet, empty, secluded, and full of great gorgeous oak trees.
I put the dog in the truck and headed over. No one was there, as usual.
As I said, it’s strange for me to go outside in the daytime in the summer. It’s usually over 100 F, and today was no exception. Of course, it was cooler in the shade of the trees.
As I started walking I suddenly realized I was there to find a stang.
I walked to one felled branch, but it was still covered in leaves, would have taken a lot of trimming, and didn’t feel right. So I walked another 50 feet and there it was: almost 7 feet long, two perfect “horns,” already dead and fallen to the ground but free of insects and rot.
I picked it up, and sticking straight up out of the ground – tip in the dirt – was a blue feather. The black-striped blue with the white tip. A bluejay feather, just like the one I found that day in my garage.
I knew not only that this was my stang, but that this stang would take me places.
I thanked the nearest tree, thanked the Old Woman (profusely), put the feather in my bag, and headed home.
I have virtually no experience in woodworking, but I’m learning. I do have sharp knives and some handy tools. I spent a couple hours stripping the bark. I used a handsaw to cut a few inches off the base and each horn. I used my knife again to whittle off some of the branch nubs. After about 3 or 4 hours of work I had the makings of a gorgeous stang.
I’ve just started going over it with the coarse sandpaper. I will continue sanding until it’s nice and smooth, then rub it all over with linseed oil. There is a large recess in the front that I will inlay with semi-precious stones. It will need this and a few other little touches – such as a certain blue feather – before I am ready to cleanse, consecrate, and use the stang.
On days like today, when I am given clear signs and great peace, I know my path is true.