Monday, September 30, 2013

Lightning Struck Wood

Lightning struck wood is a powerful curio within Hoodoo and Native American traditions. It is typically hard to come by, but I am fortunate in that we live in the High Desert. When the monsoons come, the lightening is abundant and you can see it strike the trees at the top of the mountains. We have ready access to the trees that are lightning struck, and go and harvest some of the wood and offer it for sale at Creole Moon.Lightning struck wood can be added to any magick work to increase its power. It is particularly good for commanding spells, sex spells, and spells of destruction, which draw on its fire energy to destroy. Fire also has a dual nature to transform; hence, its ability to be used in positive works as well.

The temperature of lightning is around 30,000 degrees C or six times as hot as the surface of the Sun. It is believed that sap is one reason trees are common targets for lightening because sap is a better conductor of electricity than air. When lightning strikes a tree, the energy is discharged through the tree turning the sap into steam, which causes the bark to split apart.

Trees that are struck by lightning are not always burned and do not always catch on fire. When harvesting lightning struck wood, we do tend to try to get some of the wood that has been charred.

Our lightning struck wood is from juniper, cedar, and pine trees. We climb up the Granite Mountains -  which is among our locations - over the top and to the other side where we know trees that have been struck by lightning await. We then make an offering to the tree and the Thunder Beings in the Native way, gives thanks, harvest some of the wood, load up our backpacks and make the journey back over the mountain and down to the bottom. It takes several hours to accomplish, but it is well worth it, and our customers know when they order lightning struck wood that they are getting the real thing that is harvested according to appropriate ritual protocol.

These are the mountains we climb to get out lightning struck wood. It is on the other side where it is harvested.

Part of the way up looking down. 

Getting near the top.

Here is my son, ahead of me, of course.

And on the other side where the trees are located.

Different cultures have different beliefs about trees that have been struck by lightning. According to Navajo beliefs, for example, it is not wise to burn lightning struck wood as a source of wood burning fuel as it can cause illness and bad luck. Lightening struck wood is considered the property of the Spirit of Lightning and so it is avoided.

In Chinese folklore, a special divination system called lingqijing uses lightning struck wood as the material from which to make the divinatory objects. The word lingqijing consists of three characters – ling means 'magic' or 'spirit' or 'supernatural', while jing is simply 'book' or 'classic'. Traditionally, the disks are made from wood taken from a tree that has been struck by lightning, and prepared over a 60-day cycle in a rather involved ritualistic process, with the characters being inscribed with a cutting tool and then filled with red pigment. Lightning-struck wood would indeed be ideal, since lightning is powerfully yang and wood is powerfully yin, and in Chinese mysticism lightning-struck wood is regarded as good for expelling ghosts and malevolent spirits (2003-2006-2011, Yijing Dao).

To consult the Lingqijing you need 12 flat wooden disks. Four are inscribed with the Chinese character shang, meaning nothing more complicated than 'above', four with zhong, 'middle', and four with xia, 'below'. The backs are left plain. You throw the 12 disks to the ground all at once and arrange the fallen disks into a trigraph of three rows, according to their inscribed positions, of which there are 125 possible combinations. (The term 'trigraph' was brought into usage by Ralph D Sawyer, to avoid confusion with the three-line figures associated with the Yijing, the 'trigrams'.)

In Southern Hoodoo, wood from a tree that had been struck by lightning can be used in uncrossings. Find a white oak that has been struck by lightning and get 9 splinters. Follow the person suspected of laying the trick and put one splinter in each of nine of their tracks. Wish, or pray, that if this person does indeed mean to do harm the trick will turn back on them.

Lightning struck wood can be added to mojo bags and gris gris, and it can also provide a serious boost to candle magick. There are two ways it can be used with candles. One way is to take splinters of it and stick it into the candle wax, each splinter representing a specific magickal point in the candle burning. The second way is to grind some of it down to a powder to dress the candles by sprinkling the tops of glass encased candles or rolling altar and offertory candles in the powder.

Lightning struck wood can also be used to enhance sexual nature, particularly with men when combined with 2 High John the Conqueror roots and a pair of lodestones in a mojo bag.

Creole Moon's lightning struck wood comes in two sizes: a small 2x3 bag for $9.95 and a large 4x6 bag for $19.95.  I haven't gotten the curio section of the site completed yet, so if you are interested in purchasing some, email me at orders(at) or leave a message on the comment section below. And as always, there is free shipping, every day at Creole Moon!



Article and photos are copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado, all rights reserved worldwide. Do not copy without asking me first.