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1. a thin rod carried as a symbol of authority
2. a rod used by a magician, water diviner, etc.
3. Informal a conductor's baton
4. Archery a marker used to show the distance at which the archer stands from the target
5. a hand-held electronic device, such as a light pen or bar-code reader, which is pointed at or passed over an item to read the data stored there
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A wand is magical tool used in Ceremonial Magic and in many traditions of Wicca. Associated with both air and fire, a wand may be used in much the same way as an athamé, directing power for consecrating a ritual Circle, for example. In many Witchcraft traditions it is used for "Drawing Down the Moon"—invoking the goddess to descend into the body of the High Priestess.

The royal sceptre, a symbol of power, is derived from the magic wand. The caduceus of the Greek god Hermes was a wand. Coins found at Cydonia dating from 250 to 267 BCE, show a nude Hermes carrying a wand. A Roman ambassador would always have a wand or staff with him when visiting a foreign country. If he drew a circle around himself with the staff, then that designated the area sacred to him and he was considered safe from attack within it.

As a symbol of power and virility, the wand is recognized as a phallic symbol. Some wands are actually carved with the likeness of a phallus at the tip, others with a pine cone, a frequent representation of the phallus. In magic the wand is a capacitor, storing energy raised in magical ritual, as well as a projector, sending out that energy when and where needed.

An anonymous fifteenth-century work, Errores Gazariorum, stated that a Witch receives a wand at the time of her initiation. In fact, in today's Wicca the Witch receives his or her personal athamé rather than a wand. Dr. John Fian of the Scottish witches belonging to the North Berwick coven stated that, while in jail, he was visited by the Devil, who carried a white wand. When Fian broke the wand, the Devil vanished.

In Ceremonial Magic, the various grimoires give a variety of recipes for constructing a wand. The choice of wood varies. It can be yew, rowan, ash, hawthorn, hazel, or willow. A wand's length also varies. Some grimoires say it must be the length of the magician's arm, measured from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Others say it must be exactly nineteen-and-a-half inches long, while others stipulate twenty-one inches. Most wands are straight, but some are not; the end may be forked or have a crystal set into it. Sometimes a symbol such as an ankh might be attached to the end. Many times the shaft is engraved with magical Words of Power and/or sigils.

The "rods" employed by Moses and Aaron, to divide the Red Sea and to cause water to gush from a rock, were magic wands. According to Eric Maple, Jewish legend has it that Aaron's rod originated with Adam in the Garden of Eden and was handed down through a long line of patriarchs. Maple also states that an early third-century portrait of Jesus shows him in a catacomb holding a wand.

Whatever the length and regardless of what wood it is made from, a wand is no good until it has been consecrated. This is what makes it special and also what ties it to the magician who will use it. Consecration usually involves sprinkling the instrument with salted water and holding it in the smoke of incense.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a wand?

A magic wand can represent a kind of power. It might also represent the male organ. Dreaming about a wand might be an allusion to the familiar expression about how one can’t solve a certain problem by “waving a magic wand” over it.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(computer science)
A hand-held device that contains an optical scanner to sense bar codes and other patterns and transmits the data to a computer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A wand is a handheld optical reader that is used to read barcodes as well as typewritten, printed and OCR fonts. Wands are used to capture product information for retail and warehouse applications.

Reading Text
To read text, the wand is waved over each line of characters in a single pass.

Reading Barcodes
Aiming the wand at a product and pressing the button on Amazon's Wand adds the item to the Amazon shopping cart. See Amazon Wand.
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