77 – Egg Wand

Physical description:
Witch's wand with the end split to form a cup-shape holding an egg.
Museum classification:
Working Tools
Information:

There are numerous notes on this one object in the Museum's archive.

Cecil wrote the card (below) to be displayed with it in the Museum.

 

The full text reads: 'Delightful example of a west country witch's wand. The spirit force hand, in which it holds the egg of life, the great ovum.The country witch of the western shires makes use of naturally found things for her magic-making - eggs of all sorts from those of owls to frogs' eggs. All have a part to play in the workings of acts of witchcraft. Reason - the symbolism of the life within the shell. For the witch the same holds good for all types of nut, for they too have the outer protective shell for the germ of life within which, when released, will be productive of a new life form. This simple egg-wand was used by Betty Coles who lived in the Umberleigh area. She made use of these wands to combat attacks of fowl pest - that was in the mid 1920's.'


It is mentioned in Doreen Valiente's description of the exhibits at Cecil Williamson's 'House of Spells' at Polperro (Transcripts from Doreen Valiente's Diaries 1959-1966, in the museum library (133.43 VAL), pp.29-34).


Fowl pest is a term applied to various serious viral diseases of chickens. There was a major outbreak of one of these diseases, Newcastle disease, that started in Newcastle in 1927.


Another card from the Cecil Williamson Object Label Collection, no. 9222 states:

"Witches Wand of Life

This split-ended wand of hazel, holding an egg stained red, was used at a ceremony performed at the rollright circle, Warwickshire, at Dawn on may 1955."

 

Document Number:10259 describes it as "The egg and cleft hazel wood wand"

 

In 2018, this wand was framed for display in the exhibition "Dew of Heaven: Objects of Ritual Magic."  It was displayed with the following text:

When researching Ancient Egypt, Cecil made notes from“Egyptian Magic” by E A Wallis Budge (see below - this is taken from a booklet labelled WITCHCRAFT in the Museum's archive/library collection.  It contains Cecil's handwritten notes and was published in full in Steve Patterson's Cecil Williamson's Book of Witchcraft (Troy Books).  Beneath the information on the ankh, he wrote the following:  “The Witches Wand of the Egg” (with a picture of the cleft stick and egg in it)” and, “The Witches Symbol of the act of union used for the Great Act or Rite.”  (with an upside down ankh next to it).

 

Cecil read about the Ancient Egyptian symbol and he saw parallels in the magic of the witches of the West Country.  Finding out about so called “high” or “learned” magic helped him to understand the so called “low” or “folk” magic he witnessed in this area.  In fact, he saw that the principles and ideas of the egg are present in both. 

In this one note we see Cecil attempting to understand ancient magical practices and symbols, connecting them with the practices of the wise women he met and showing an understanding of modern witchcraft rites.  Although he definitely had his preferences, it seems that Cecil did try to “love them all”!

 

Resource:
Object
Materials:
Wood
Copyright ownership:
Copyright to The Museum of Witchcraft Ltd.

There are numerous notes on this one object in the Museum's archive.

Cecil wrote the card (below) to be displayed with it in the Museum.

 

The full text reads: 'Delightful example of a west country witch's wand. The spirit force hand, in which it holds the egg of life, the great ovum.The country witch of the western shires makes use of naturally found things for her magic-making - eggs of all sorts from those of owls to frogs' eggs. All have a part to play in the workings of acts of witchcraft. Reason - the symbolism of the life within the shell. For the witch the same holds good for all types of nut, for they too have the outer protective shell for the germ of life within which, when released, will be productive of a new life form. This simple egg-wand was used by Betty Coles who lived in the Umberleigh area. She made use of these wands to combat attacks of fowl pest - that was in the mid 1920's.'


It is mentioned in Doreen Valiente's description of the exhibits at Cecil Williamson's 'House of Spells' at Polperro (Transcripts from Doreen Valiente's Diaries 1959-1966, in the museum library (133.43 VAL), pp.29-34).


Fowl pest is a term applied to various serious viral diseases of chickens. There was a major outbreak of one of these diseases, Newcastle disease, that started in Newcastle in 1927.


Another card from the Cecil Williamson Object Label Collection, no. 9222 states:

"Witches Wand of Life

This split-ended wand of hazel, holding an egg stained red, was used at a ceremony performed at the rollright circle, Warwickshire, at Dawn on may 1955."

 

Document Number:10259 describes it as "The egg and cleft hazel wood wand"

 

In 2018, this wand was framed for display in the exhibition "Dew of Heaven: Objects of Ritual Magic."  It was displayed with the following text:

When researching Ancient Egypt, Cecil made notes from“Egyptian Magic” by E A Wallis Budge (see below - this is taken from a booklet labelled WITCHCRAFT in the Museum's archive/library collection.  It contains Cecil's handwritten notes and was published in full in Steve Patterson's Cecil Williamson's Book of Witchcraft (Troy Books).  Beneath the information on the ankh, he wrote the following:  “The Witches Wand of the Egg” (with a picture of the cleft stick and egg in it)” and, “The Witches Symbol of the act of union used for the Great Act or Rite.”  (with an upside down ankh next to it).

 

Cecil read about the Ancient Egyptian symbol and he saw parallels in the magic of the witches of the West Country.  Finding out about so called “high” or “learned” magic helped him to understand the so called “low” or “folk” magic he witnessed in this area.  In fact, he saw that the principles and ideas of the egg are present in both. 

In this one note we see Cecil attempting to understand ancient magical practices and symbols, connecting them with the practices of the wise women he met and showing an understanding of modern witchcraft rites.  Although he definitely had his preferences, it seems that Cecil did try to “love them all”!