The staff is, for the Shaman, much more than a walking aid, it is a tool of great importance. I am interested in discovering how shamans in different cultures use the staff.
Here is a link to Nicholas Breeze Wood’s site with pictures including a Buryat Shaman’s ‘Horbo’ Horse Staffs used, for example, to support him when entered by the spirit:
And a selection of my own staffs, to which other item such as bells, mirrors etc. may be attached. The staff is used to mark out ritual areas, to act in place of (or with) bells and rattle, and for clearance. It is also used to guide and direct spirits, even to contain them for later release into the ground. It is always an extension of my personal energy, which is itself related to the form in which I am journeying.
The staff can also be an Axis Mundi at the centre of the 4 directions and the turning of the universe. Similarly it can act as the anchor point when journeying.
Most of mine are of Caribbean or African origin.
Click on the pics to enlarge them.
These days I tend to use the phurba/kila much more often, similar to the one shown in this picture, as well as the melong/toli mirror:
Sharing a cultural past with Shamans, the Tibetan Buddhists had a similar staff or club, the Khatvanga (aka Khatavanga):
A fellow shaman, Brian Higgins, created this staff with Ogham script in Irish Gaelic to depict the Huna Principles of Awareness, Freedom, Focus, Now, Power, Love and Good: