I recently found some branches that had fallen from an oak tree. I purchased a wood rasp, acquired some sandpaper and got my beeswax furniture polish out of the cupboard. After several hours of stripping the bark from the oak, sanding, polishing and embellishing with embroidery thread, I had two - not bad for a first attempt - talking sticks. I had never heard of talking sticks until I read about them in Glennie Kindred's book of Sacred Celebrations. She explains how to make a talking stick in the chapter on preparations for the Autumn Equinox. The purpose of a talking stick is to facilitate discussion by passing it around a group of people. Whoever holds the stick is the only one who can speak and must not be interrupted. When he/she has finished speaking, it is passed on to the next person who wishes to speak.