Watched a few episodes of the Harry Potter series last night on TV and got to wondering where the idea of magic wands came from, and I have a theory that while unprovable, is just as good as anyone’s and better than most, because I say so.
The first spears were long pointed sticks, and when skillfully and strongly thrown, will travel a good long distance with accuracy and will pierce clear through a man and most animals. No sharpened stone is needed, just speed and a good sharp point. So pointed sticks would have become highly important in the life of Early Man. They were much superior to a thrown rock.
Then there’s fire. A stick with one end on fire would light the night, let a person find their way around in the dark and help to dispel dangerous animals and scary things, evil spirits and the like. So it’s not hard to see how a belief in spirits led to a belief in magic, and the usefulness of a stick in both attack and defense.
Then there’s staffs. Walking sticks, or staffs, were apparently prevalent accessories in ancient times. Probably most men carried them. There’s the story of Moses throwing down his staff before the Egyptian pharaoh, which then turned into a snake, and that crossed staffs were symbols commonly associated with the Egyptian pharaohs. Staffs would be symbols of power, kings always had scepters, which are just fancied up staffs, but could also be thought of as wands.
I can imagine ancient staffs all carved up with symbols and decorated with animal parts, bits of leather and feather, to imbue them in the owners mind with spiritual powers.
The idea of magic wands has been with us probably millennia longer than we will ever really know, and it’s no coincidence that we developed rifles that look like big wands or spears instead of some different form of attack weapon. We always wanted wands that would smite enemies and bring down game from a distance, and when spells from magic wands don’t do the job, and even an arrow can’t go far enough, a bullet certainly does the trick.
I think rifles aren’t the limit to our search for a better magic wand. Lasers are looking more promising all the time. What a magic wand that would be, that shoots out a magical beam that can smite our intended victim from great distances. Magical indeed.