I found this two days ago in the grove, very near where I found mine. It’s much shorter than mine at about 3 feet, and more substantial, with thicker branches. I’m excited to get started stripping the bark off. It’s been on the front porch for a couple days, probably confusing the neighbors.

Three-tined stangs are particularly “lucky” as they mimic the shape of humans. This one will be a nice handheld size.

A stang is a multipurpose ritual tool and can replace both a wand an altar. Think of it is a shamanic Leatherman. If you have one of these puppies, you need no other tools to cast a caim.

I’ve been experimenting with a dremel tool. Today I found a piece of scrap wood and tried out the various bits. I used one – a round sandpaper-feeling one – to smooth out a few knots and rough places on my stang.

(I still don’t have a bit that will cut stone, so my rune project remains on hold.)

I have now spent several hours on my big two-tined stang and have decided I’m done with the blade and moving on to sandpaper only. If I keep fussing with it, it’ll end up being too thin. I’m a perfectionist at heart so I keep finding little spots I can make better. The point of course is not that it is perfect but that I pour my care and attention into making it glorious. I have boiled linseed oil standing by when it is smooth enough. I left the tines thick at the top so I can inset quartz crystals.

I have only just begun working with wood but I adore it. I have never been the hands-on type – more of a thinker, writer, debater, entertainer, speaker, philosopher – overall a wordsmith, a communicator. But I find peace when I’m working with the wood. It relaxes me, calms my mind. I’m not a yoga or meditation type, but as I work with the wood I feel clarity, timelessness.

I’ve been retreating from the world in the past couple months. Being a semi-public figure did not suit me. I don’t mind the speaking part of public speaking – it doesn’t bother me. It’s the rest of it – meeting tons of people, making small talk, the anxiety of traveling all the time. Business travel is very different from traveling for pleasure. You’re on someone else’s dime and mindful of it. You feel obligated to be available, obliging, cooperative. You can’t relax and do what you want. You’re constantly “on.” It’s quite exhausting.

If I had been doing something I truly loved I may have felt differently. But I was continuously and completely aware that was not truly where I belonged.

After a few months of that I had to hibernate for a while. Went back to work part-time at the bookstore. Enjoying the hell out of that. Yes, customer service is a bitch, but it’s a pretty relaxed store. And I get to look at books all day, think about books, dream up ideas for my book. There is a lot of tidying and straightening, which I love. I enjoy restoring order. The staff and management are, for the most part, helpful and agreeable. I don’t mind going there, and it feels good to be back on my feet moving around for four or more hours a day, four or more days a week.

The semester is starting soon. I’m going to concentrate on learning, making good grades, writing, my herb garden, and my projects, especially the woodworking. I have taken myself out of politics and social issues. With the election coming, it’s going to be an ugly year. I don’t want to be a part of it.

Luckily, the grove will provide a good supply of staves. I have a few earth-friendly colored stains in mind and a pyrography tool in my Amazon wish list. This time next year I’ll be starting my last semester of my bachelor’s degree and figuring out what to do next. Maybe I’ll focus on entrepreneurship. Maybe I’ll be further in my writing career. Maybe I’ll be looking at MFA programs.

But more than anything I am concentrating on my spirituality, on exploring the nature of reality. It has always been of great interest to me to see beyond the veil, to prove to myself that this is not all there is. It is the most important question, isn’t it?

If this new little three-tined stang turns out well, I may offer it for sale in my new shop (coming soon). Perhaps it will make some traveler happy.