Pliny and Apuleius both attest to their use. Homer (in the
11.14ff) and Virgil both describe thearchetypical sorceress, Circe, as using a magical wand. The relevant passage in Virgil was noted by Agrippa inhis
Book 1, chapter 41. It is also cited by Eliphas Levi
Key of the Mysteries
, part 4, chap 1.Betz' collection of Greek and Demotic magical papyri has examples of spells which include the use of awand or staff. The spell PGM I.42-195, for example has the magician "hold a branch of myrtle ... shaking it,[and salute] the goddess." (Betz, p. 5) Similarly PGM II.22, II.65 (Betz p. 13, 14)
Iamblichus (c. A.D. 250-325), one of the more important Neoplatonic philosophers, discussed magic ingeneral in his
On the Mysteries
. In it he mentions the prophetess holding a staff or wand, invoking the divinity.(
Mysteries of the Egyptians
, chapter 7.) Agrippa also cites this passage in OP3.48.
Early manuscripts of magic (grimoires) have many references to the use and importance of the wand inwestern magic. There are two similar ritual implements commonly described in magical literature: The staff (Latin
; Italian bastone; French
Le baton, bâton
) and the wand (Latin
; In French manuscripts this is sometimes called
viere,baguette, baguette magique, baguete
, also translated as rod). The staff is more the size of a walkingstick; the wand is smaller and tapered:
The staff and the wand from Ad. 10862 (the "Zecorbeni" manuscript), fol. 164v
According to the
Key of Solomon
(Book 2 chapter 8): "The staff should be of elderwood or cane, and thewand of hazel or nut tree, in all cases the wood being virgin, that is of one year's growth only. They shouldeach be cut from the tree at a single stroke, on the day of Mercury (i.e. Wednesday), at sunrise. The charactersshown should be written or engraved thereon in the day and hour of Mercury." (Mathers tr. revised by JHP)
The magical symbols for the staff and wand according to Ad. mss. 10862, fol. 122v
According to the
Sworn Book of Honorius
(Chap CXXXII), the magician's wand or staff is made of laurel or hazel, likewise of one year's growth ("magister tenens baculum lauri vel coruli illius anni..."). Moredetails are provided in chapter CXXXIX: "But the wand should have four sides. On one side should be written'
'; on the second side '
'; on the third, '
'; on the fourth '
.' On the middle of thewand, make the pentagon figure of Solomon, and where the wand is held, a cross, and thus it will be preparedfor sacred and wonderful works." (My translation, not in Royal ms).