Rauchstock: This is the stick that I use in my smoke rituals, they have many other names, such as ‘Recaning Sticks,’ and so forth. They aren’t used like regular smoke sticks, well, not the way I use them anyway. Typically, I use three types – locally grown sage, local juniper, as well as pine from the tree that grows in my neighbor’s yard. In truth there’s very little I actually buy from Pagan stores, I tend to make my own due to my own strange personal tastes, but I digress. These are used together to purify and ‘ready’ the space for work, and their combined prowess make it also a good medium for fumes with wet sticks on charcoal. Fumes are excellent way to directly speak with spirits and Ancestors – it gives a physical medium to aid in communication.
Fire is an important part of my practice, not only because I’m a metalworker and blacksmith; but because fire plays such an important role not only in my own practice, but in my own humanity in and of itself. Fire in my belief is a tool used to change, transmute, as well as purify. Fire has the ability to transport us as well as what we place into it into the other-worlds. The bubbling cauldron on a fire is an old image – and one linked with cooking, brewing, and with that link to the worlds beyond.
Rubbing two sticks together to create fire dates back eons. This is a fire that is born of man, as a gift of the Gods. This fire is sacred, it took hard work to conjure it – but don’t forget the fire that is passed from one to another… This fire ‘grows’ it’s own sacred nature, hence many cultures take great care in cleaning the hearth, and tending the fire. As a metalworker, I give great stress on this, and will take ample care to make sure the fire is passed and cared for. I also mention the modern solar-started fires, very potent indeed! Bringing the fire in the sky to earth is a very real, and truly felt ritual that we can have in our urban world.
When I lived in the city (albeit briefly), I used the solar method to light the candle used as the ceppo at Rauhnacht (since I could not use a traditional log), as well as other candles, paper to make charmed ash, and more. It was done in the privacy of my own apartment, and I recommend it within SAFE circumstances; it can be just as sacred, and just as potent without the woodpile that many can’t have.