I work at a magic store. On the counter sits a bucket of magic wands. These look like the traditional magician’s wands. They are black plastic tubes with white, silver or gold tips at either end. Children love these. They wave them around, and point them at things and people. When a child asks “why doesn’t the wand work?” we always tell them that the magic is in the magician. It’s never in the wand. Unless you know how to do the magic, the wand is just a stick.
The other day, I had a new question. A beautiful and well-behaved six-year old girl asked a very earnest question. She wanted to know, “Are magic wands real?” What’s a magician to say? I know the truth. Magicians, like myself, sometimes use magic wands. There are lots of magic wands that are designed to help create magic. Most are just sticks of one kind or another which could be replaced with a pencil or a chopstick. I did not want to tell her that. I did not want to lie, either.
I let her know that I’m a real magician. I use the phrase “real magician” with children. With adults, I will say I am a “professional magician.” If pressed, I tell people I specialize as a “lady magician for little girls’ parties.”
Then I showed her some other wands we have in the store. We have wands made out of plastic, out of metal and out of wood. We have some that look like long tubes with different color tips on the ends. We have some that look more like the wands in Harry Potter stories. Some of the wands are very plain. Others are very beautiful. Her favorite wand was a burgundy colored anodized-aluminum wand with black tips. I like that one, too. My favorite is a heavy wood wand that has brass tips. It unscrews in the middle like an expensive pool cue.
I also told her that there are other people who belong to religions that use wands for special rituals they do. She did not understand ritual, so we talked about things she sees every week in church. She is Catholic, so we talked about what the priest does. Then we talked about how not everyone does the same thing because people go to different churches. She understood that. She understood that some people believe in magic wands and use them for real.
In the end, she has made up her mind. She does not believe magic wands really do magic. She did learn a trick she could do for her friends without a magic wand. I gave her a magic wand anyway. (One of the black and white plastic ones. I wish I could afford to give away the aluminum ones.) We need more lady magicians in the world, and I wanted to encourage her to study more magic.
As a “real” and “professional” magician, I believe there is magic in the world. It’s not all just illusion. If we look carefully, we’ll find the world is full of wonder and of wonderful things. Magic wands can sometimes help you find the magic.