Beaver Sticks


I have been facing a few health challenges recently, which has stopped me from working on my writing over the last couple of days whilst I concentrated on some new protocols and diet changes I have had to implement. I feel as if I am on top of everything again now and ready to get back to work. I wanted to write about sigils today and especially those that inspire us from nature and prompt us to move back to the origins of things. I want to start with the simplest sigil of all – an ur -sigil extraordinaire – the straight line, club, baton or wand à la Harry Potter. The one sign that can affect change at a very elemental level: the pointing finger, the rod, the raised staff, the poised pencil, signifying the masculine root of power and action. This is one of the easiest marks to make with the finger tip and one that can be made with ease by a child. It is also one of the 28 standard glyphs used in the cave art of France. The straight line seems to be found everywhere that humans have been and although the curve and circle were more predominant in our early history, we find the straight line taking precedence more and more as humans became ‘civilised’ and industrialised.


As people have become more mobile, more left-brained and more patriarchal, the simple straight line has come to the forefront: it is ‘going somewhere’, ‘doing something’, getting from one place to the other – from A to Z along the shortest route, making a beeline or as the crow flies. It deals with cause and effect, with intention and manifestation; it is everything that the feminine counterpart is not – it does not move in the round nor does it signify nurturance, repetition or return. Today, in our result-orientated culture, we have been infused with the straight line and the circle has all-but died away. It is important therefore, that we not forget the more mystical meaning of the simple ‘up and down’, ‘back and forward’ movement that we can make with the a straight line.

Well, you may say that a line is just a line, a stick is just a stick; very easy to miss in its natural state; on the cave wall or out in nature for instance. Because of this, people in history have tended to make their sigil-sticks into something a little more special, carving them with notches, runes or other marks to give them hidden meaning. When my daughters were going through their Harry Potter stage, we went to Hamleys in London to buy them each a wand, they chose Ginny’s and Hermione’s and I loved it that each one was individualised with patterns and intricate workings, a little jealous how the girls would run around casting petronases all over the place, infused with infinite power and control of the elements. I am not in the habit of casting magic spells myself but I do have many of my own wands in my possession, acting more like tokens and talismans for me. I made a tall wicker basket a few years ago, which now holds my collection of sticks, collected from my wanderings along the shores of my local river. These sticks have also been customised – by beavers. The one above, straight and thin, just like the perfect sigil, has been stripped by beaver teeth to leave wonderful patterns on its surface; truly individual and magical. The animals ‘flesh’ the bark off the sticks during the winter and if they are not used for repairing their dams and holts, the sticks can be found like driftwood on the banks of the rivers where they live.


The beaver is project-based, result driven, the perfect construction animal built for for results. They can repair and replenish whole ecosystems with their architecture. They are, I feel, more than any other animal, charged with intention and action as they carve their own kind of runes straight into the branches with their teeth, giving meaning to the trees they harvest. Perhaps beavers even use their sticks for divination, as a form of alphabet or for spell-making. If only we could do the same. It is important not to forget the mystical in our straight-lined buildings, in our straight roads, in our straight timelines and in our straight and linear thinking. When we imagine going from A to Z, we are using our imagination and intention to project ourselves into the future and ‘will’ the result of our project into existence; no different from Ginny or Hermione pointing their wands and affecting change on an elemental/quantum level. We must never forget the magic in even the simplest tasks requiring a certain outcome; even the simple act of pointing a finger in a particular direction and walking to the place that we point to is an act of alchemy. Raise that to the level of making a notch on a stick to remind us of the days that have passed, the results we have already seen and we are implementing magic at a very deep level.

Right now, I am writing a book. I am deeply engrossed in the linear, in outcomes, in storylines and beginning, middle and ends. The beaver sticks stay with me to remind me of the alchemy in this process. I do believe that my story is coming from the unseen lands, where inspiration blows through on puffs of fairy dust. The stick-sigil helps me catch these wafts of inspiration and my pencil helps me to pin them down on the page, line after line, in order to work their magic into something that other people can be inspired by. I extend the magic gratitude of the straight line into everything I write, for there is alchemy in the craft of the wordsmith manipulating the unseen forces at work within the plot. I see the road ahead of me straight and true, all the way to the finished book I will one day be holding in my hands, thanks to the diligence of the beaver, beavering away at his own alchemy out on the banks of the nearby river.