Another of my articles has appeared on the Jung Society of Utah blog today. Since I always have limited space on the blog there, I decided I'd write a little bit more about my sticks here.
|. . . and part of the plum walking stick.|
I'm particularly pleased with the plum: it came out looking like a walking stick I might see at a gift shop in a park (except that I finished it with oil and beeswax instead of polyurethane or something like that). It wasn't complicated to make at all: just took some time and care. That's the best thing about working with sticks, I think: you don't have to be a master craftsman, you just have to take time and care, and I think it especially helps to be in tune with your inner child.
When I was a boy, I loved whittling sticks. That was part of their appeal: with a pocket knife I could not only shave away outer layers of bark and grime to let the beauty of the wood shine through, I could also sharpen a stick to a crude spear point, and I had a weapon that has cost me nothing. When you're a child on a camping trip, in woods that might be full of cougars, bears or (especially) monsters, this gives a tremendous sense of security.
I think it would be a cheap and nasty dismissal to assign some kind of crude phallic meaning to this fascination with sticks (although I'm open to the idea of symbolic resonance of that sort in wands and scepters). I don't want to get into a rationalistic picking apart of this fascination with sticks in an attempt to explain it. There are some things that it is well to explain, but others it does your soul more good to just do.