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Orbs of Olde

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Forums -> General Info -> Orbs of Olde

Orbs of Olde
By:
Post # 1

In the olden times of midievil magicians, often one would see them portrayed with a staff that has a Magickal Orb topping it. Now, I have researched both online and offline on this topic, to my extreme dismay, I have found naught.

There seems to have definately been a difference betwixt the simply pouch of crystals one can top a staff with and the Magick Orb. My questions are these:

  1. Does anyone have information on what these things may have been?
  2. Does anyone know how one would go about making one?
  3. [If none of the above] Does anyone know where I could find more information?

Now, also note that:

  • I am IN NO WAY referencing the spiritual energy centers that are sometimes seen floating about and sometimes captured in photgraphs.
  • I am just wondering why I can find information on nearly everything else and its origin--even "Witch's Flying Salve"--but never on this topic.

The closest thing I have ever seen to these Orbs [in question] are balls of lightning (ball lightning).

Thank you all,

--THUNOR

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Re: Orbs of Olde
By:
Post # 2

One possible explaination I thought of, though have no idea if it is right or not, is that maybe these Orbs were metal balls that a Fluid Condenser was injected into, then attached to the top of a staff, possibly via a spike being driven into the end of the staff. It could have appeared as an "Orb", due to its strangness. Thoughts anyone?

--THUNOR

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Re: Orbs of Olde
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 3
This portrayal is more typically a somewhat modern rendition. I've never seen a medieval portray that actually displayed a full orb atop a staff.

The staff is somewhat of a symbol of authority, and was often held as such by those who were the head of governing bodies. Kings, emperors, those who oversaw the roman forum, and so forth. The orb itself is often a similar symbol, held in the opposite hand.

The scepter and the orb that many medieval kings are shown hold, for example, have much in common with the similarly rooted as the ankh and the flail (was that was it was? I forget) that Pharaohs are often shown carrying.

The modern depiction of a staff mingling with the orb is generally a fantasy interpretation of a gem or crystal or other such talismans used to accent and add to a staff.

At least that's my take on this. I haven't done a whole lot of research.
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Re: Orbs of Olde
By:
Post # 4

Thank you for your insight Awake. You said you really haven't done your research on the topic...that seems to be a major problem with this; no one I have ever talked to has researched this topic and has knowledge of it. I try to do research, but hit impassible "road blocks".

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Re: Orbs of Olde
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 5
That is mostly because the "orb on a staff" is generally rooted in modern fantasy. You'll see it all over in modern portrayals of wizards but it doesn't have much to do with any old magical traditions. In those ancient depictions you are far more likely to see Shepherd crooks or traditional symbols of royalty and authority than anything with a large orb on it.

There isn't much to research on this.

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Re: Orbs of Olde
By:
Post # 6

You do say this, but I to every legend there is a proper beginning. Why would a magician be compared unto a ruler? That would be like comparing a preacher to a mayor...

Why would the two be combined, and in that particular fashion and form?

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Re: Orbs of Olde
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 7
What you're referring to is definitely a sceptre.

I do remember watching a program about this a very long time ago. I think it was the history channel =)

If my memory serves me well, some royal magicians were theorized to have hollow glass for the top of their sceptres. As we all know, royal magicians were some of the first chemists, and would use concoctions to cause smoke, fire, etc (like bombs). This was thought to be "magic" by those who didn't understand the science. Later the art of magick and science/chemistry became known as "alchemy".

The royal magjcians were also big show offs, and containing a seemingly "glowing" liquid or gas inside of their sceptre was a way to elude to their "power". If they broke it, the likely response would be a small bomb, and they could demonstrate their magic this way to intimidate others and get themselves out of dangerous situations.

When magicians fought in wars they would use powders and potions (chemical warfare) which is why the legends speak of them causing fire, explosions, people's skin burning, illness, etc.

They depict this perfectly in the movie "300" when the Persian sorcerors were throwing bottles and causing explosions.

Royal magicians however almost always remained with the royal family, so their presence in battles were limited. They were too "important" for that.

What was at the top of the sceptre many times depicted authority or prestige...or plainly just wealth. So some had very fine jewels, that were cut so precisely that they glittered and shined regardless of the direction that the light struck it. These seemed very "magical" to the uneducated citizens of the kingdom who probably didn't even own a shiny spoon much less a perfectly cut gemstone.
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Re: Orbs of Olde
By:
Post # 8

Thank you for your insight into this! I appreciate it. I wish I could capture the ball lightning...but that goes into the real of the "impossible"! LOL

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Re: Orbs of Olde
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 9
I'm sure someone has made a lightening ball staff that runs off of batteries. But I'm sure it wouldn't be very good in magickal practice =) There aren't many naturally illuminative substances that are safe that I know of.

Your best bet is to find a perfectly cut piece of lead crystal. It won't be as expensive as gemstones, and it will refract the light into a rainbow of colors as long as you're in sunlight or strong artifical light. It may run you about $30-50 for a large enough one. But it sure would be pretty! And you could definitely add magick to it, especially if you charge the staff, and use wood with magickal properties that correspond to your work. A fire correspondence would probably be best.
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Re: Orbs of Olde
By:
Post # 10

lol, by "ball lightning", I meant the natural phenomenon that occurs with the weather! And as far as the crystals,I could just use Quarts crystal points, they are relatively inexpensive.

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