Wand Basics 101

As long as there have been Witches and Wizards, there have been magical wands. No part of Harry Potter’s magical heritage goes back further. The ancient Celtic Druids who lived in what is now called Scotland employed wands all the way back to 500 BC. As a matter of fact, “Druid” actually means “man with the wisdom of the wood”.

In those olden times, the Druids came to know a great deal about the magical qualities of each tree in their forests, many of the trees becoming sacred to them. For example, they came to believe that the ash tree is good for healing, cedar is the tree of life which can imbue you with energy, the strong elm tree can add power to a spell, and burning birch bark is a powerful love potion.

The Druids were also responsible for the keeping of the Celtic Calendar. They created a system of classifications for wood that is similar to horoscopes, a set of beliefs which are almost as old as man himself. To a special group of 13 magical trees, they identified the period of days that affects the personality and future of the person born during that period. This is the Celtic Tree Calendar:

BirchDecember 24 to January 20
RowanJanuary 21 to February 17
AshFebruary 18 to March 17
AlderMarch 18 to April 14
WillowApril 15 to May 12
Hawthorn May 13 to June 9
OakJune 10 to July 7
HollyJuly 8 to August 4
HazelAugust 5 to September 1
VineSeptember 2 to September 29
IvySeptember 30 to October 27
ReedOctober 28 to November 24
ElderNovember 25 to December 22

By the way, there’s no tree for someone born on December 23, because in those days they used a lunar calendar of 13 months with 28 days each, which makes a year of 364 days. But our solar year has 365 days, so these early peoples celebrated the “year and a day”, giving December 23 special significance. The winter solstice, the time of Yule, remains important to Witches and Wizards to this day.

As we know, Mr. Ollivander is fond of saying, “It’s the wand that chooses the Wizard.” But is that entirely true?

ollivander2
Mr. Ollivander in his Diagon Alley shop

We know from the Druids that wands made from the wood of certain trees would seem to be better suited to certain people depending on when they were born, and this wood also tells you something about the person. So, a wand made from the wood of your birth tree would usually be a good match for you. But there are also many other factors that make one wand more suitable for a particular Wizard than another.

We sometimes see that the size of the wand matches the size of the Witch or Wizard who wields it. For example, Dolores Umbridge is a squat woman with no neck, and her wand was also unusually short. Also, our big friend Hagrid’s original wand was unusually long, at sixteen inches. (This wand was broken in disgrace, but we now know that Hagrid turned out to be wrongfully accused.) So it would seem size and shape sometimes complement the wand’s owner.

Different kinds of woods also have characteristics that are beneficial to different magical activities. For example, Holly can protect you against evil, Mahogany is known to be a good wand wood for transfiguration, whereas Willow is good for charm work.

If you ask a master wand maker like Ollivander or Gregorovitch, they’ll probably tell you the most important ingredient that determines a wand’s characteristics is its magical core. Although almost any magical creature can be used, the most commonly used in Britain are dragon heartstring, which results in a wand that is good for hexes, unicorn tail hair, which make good wands for the pure of heart, and phoenix feather, resulting in wands more powerful than ones made from any other core.

It’s possible that other magical creatures could also be used for wand cores. Veela hair would probably produce a temperamental wand because of the volatile nature of the veela themselves. Leprechaun hair might be popular among Irish Wizards, and Hippogriff Talon could result in a wand that demands respect.

So, if your wand matches your birth wood or your physical or personal characteristics, it would seem that you had chosen the wand. But if the characteristics of the wood and the wand’s magical core are tailored to what kind of magic might be dominant in your future, something about yourself you most likely don’t know yet, say, if you were to become someone more interested in transfiguration than potions, then it seems the wand is picking you. Mr. Ollivander notwithstanding, I think we can see that it is a combination of both the wand picking the wizard, and vice versa.

But what does a wand do, and how does it do it? That question is equally as interesting.

Most Witches and Wizards think of their wands as indispensable. Having acquired the wand at age 11 and usually keeping the same wand all their life, most Wizards become very attached to their wands. Is the emotional bond most Wizards feel with their wand real, physically caused by the properties of the wand’s wood and its magical core? Or are these effects all in the Wizard’s mind, the result of the powerful symbolism of the wand’s materials? Or some combination thereof?

Many Wizards would feel lost without their wands, unable to do most magic without it. But we’ve also seen examples of when a Wizard has done magic involuntarily, out of fright or anger, and they didn’t need their wands then. In fact, powerful Wizards such as Dumbledore frequently do impressive magic with just the wave of a hand.

No matter how powerful the magical core of a wand is, in the hand of someone non-magical (a muggle or a squib), the wand is just a useless stick. However, the very same wand in the hand of a Wizard can be a formidable force. So this would mean that the wand gets its magical energy from its user.

Many think a wand is a “magic amplifier”, but I think its actually more technically correct to say that wands function as a “magic focuser”. In the same way a convex glass can focus sunlight enough to create a small fire, a wand focuses the magical energy of its user, not necessarily increasing the magic power, just making it more intense. Sparks shoot out the end of a wand being held by a Wizard who has been surprised or upset. No spell to produce sparks from the wand tip is issued, in fact, no spell involving sparks in any way at all. However, the Wizard’s magical energy, normally being focused by the wand, is channeled out the tip of the wand when the energy unexpectedly increases. (This is a good reason not to store your wand in your back pocket, as Professor Moody is fond of reminding us.)

The energy being focused by a wand is not physically apparent during most magic. For example, if a Wizard is using the leviosa charm on something, you see their wand move as they point at it, and you see the object move, but you can’t see the energy involved. However, the wand energy focusing effect is most obviously illustrated by a spell that even the youngest Witch or Wizard can perform. When a Wizard performs the lumos spell with his wand, his magical energy is focused through his wand and emanates out the tip of the wand as a bright light.

When a Wizard does magic, there are undoubtedly so many things involved that they must keep track of at the same time. When doing a spell, a Wizard must remember the incantation and proper wand movement, set upon a subject (or victim, depending on what kind of spell is involved), summon a proper emotion, conviction and memories, envision the magical energy, and so many other factors. Wands assist with this process by taking care of some of the focusing for the Wizard. It’s much easier and faster to hex someone by pointing your wand at their face than trying to imagine their face in your mind’s eye. (Beyond Hogwarts does not condone the indiscriminate use of hexes.)

So, we can now see how, just like a glass with the correct properties can focus light, a wand with all its magical properties, the kind of wood, its complementary size, its magical core, and even the emotional bond the Wizard forms with the wand itself, all combine to help Wizards in a very personal way to perform their everyday magic in ways they usually don’t notice, but would surely miss if they didn’t have a wand in their hand.

If you’ll pardon me, I need to go now and give my wand a good and proper polishing.

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David Haber
David Haber

D.S. Haber (known to his friends as Dave) is a professional muggle computer programmer and web designer and lives in Los Angeles. He is proud of the fact that he is a new-blood wizard with no (apparent) previous magical blood in his family. His favorite Quidditch team is the Falmouth Falcons, who's motto is "Let us win, but if we cannot win, let us break a few heads." He is also a West Ham United (Hammers) fan.

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Mary
Mary
17 years ago

Hey article is really cool! I love your new website! It is very updated! I always wanted to know what kind of wand I would have! An I am a Birch wand! Thanks BeyondHogwarts!

Lauren
Lauren
17 years ago

I was wondering what happened to a wizard’s wand when they die? You never find out what happened to Dumbledore or Sirius’ (supposedly dead!) wands when they die. Do they disappear or go back to the shop they came from- like a used wand shop. It would be interesting to see what happens to them.

Sharon
Sharon
17 years ago

In the case of Sirius I beleive he was still holding his wand when he passed through the veil so it was lost with him. I am not sure about Dumbledore’s, but the impression I get from the books is that when you leave the wizading circle whether by discrase or death you wand is snapped in two and in the case of death usually berried with you.

Stephanie
Stephanie
17 years ago

are you sure about those trees? because running a search on “druid astrological tree signs” produced a much more in-depth result, which included different trees for differnt dates.

Dave Haber
Dave Haber
17 years ago

Oh, sorry. The article wasn’t clear in that respect. It’s really the Celtic Druid Calendar that I was referring to. The article has been updated to reflect this. Thanks.

Andrew
Andrew
17 years ago

This is wrong Voldermorts wand is Yew he was born on new years eve (31st december)

David Haber
David Haber
17 years ago

That may be true. However, nowhere in the article does it say that a wizard’s birth wood is definitely the wood that would make up his or her wand. It’s just one of the possible contributing factors for picking a wand (or a wand picking you).

Poojitha
Poojitha
17 years ago

Wow! This information is great! Now even I know what wand I’m destined to get!

A. Slaughter
A. Slaughter
17 years ago

I know this a bit off the subject, but it bugs me; Ollivander is missing in Half-Blood Prince, and he made LV and Harry’s wand and they conflicted in Goblet of Fire. Either he has dissapeared of his own accord, or LV is working on a way to circumvent the difficulty of brother wands conflicting… curious, hhmmm?

Koby
Koby
17 years ago

It is all really interesting. The article suggested that perhaps the wizard does in some way choose the wand. Which means Harry chose a wand very much like Voldemort, signifying their bond. Bit off topic, but Lily Potter had green eyes. JK is very much into color clues, and we know Voldey has scarlet eyes. Green:SLytherin, Scarlet:Gryffindor. The book never tells us what house Lily Potter is in. JK did say there would be a revelation on Lily Potter…..

AJ
AJ
17 years ago

Ollivander tells Harry that a phoenix “gave” one other feather (besides the one in Harry’s wand) & that feather resides in LV’s wand. I find it very curious the selection of the word “gave.” This certainly implies an even greater significance of the role that Fawkes will play – certainly gives him a more human quality – or at least an ability for much higher thinking. It also connects Fawkes & Ollivander – as they would have worked together to make the wands. So, where is that Ollivander!

Stijn
Stijn
17 years ago

Well, back to the point of what happens with a wand when a wizard dies:
Some wizards have it passed down. Neville, for instance, said it was his dad’s wand. Even thought his dad was still alive, he did get it. The same goes for some of the Weasleys with their second-hand wands.

Back to the subject at hand.
I think there are indeed multiple factors that play a role when you ‘choose’ your wand (and otherwise, your wand ‘chooses’ you.) Then again, I don’t think that the theory of the sort of wood is correct, since this has been proven false at some wizards; while others have it right, that can also be coincedence.

Maybe wands have the ability to know everything (including future!) about a wizard once he touches them, and ‘chooses’ them on that base?
It could be possible, but then I wonder how wand makers would give them this impressive ability.

Clair
Clair
17 years ago

I am fascinated by the wands, when Harry duels with Voldermort and the “Echoes of people killed by LV” as DD says come out of the tip they are actually aware of their surroundings and can communicate, does this mean that those people could return to offer assistance again and where are James and Lily Potters wands? Did their wands have brothers? Does Ollivander have them or DD?

mrcrister
mrcrister
17 years ago

In response to the bit about the wand being a focus, I think this may be more accurate. In another fantasy series about magic, the “wizards” use crystals to “focus” theis magic it is a bit different though. In the series “The Magickers”, the “magickers” focus their magical powers through the crystals but they are not “born” magickers. Their parent are completly normal people but they can do things that are seemingly impossible. I think this is a very interesting approach.

Phillip
Phillip
17 years ago

When it comes to the wood of a wizard’s wand, it’s possible that a wand of the wizard’s wood-type would allow him to focus energy easier. However, compatibility could be easily outdone by the magical properties of the ingredients. Perhaps Voldemort’s wand was better for him rather than one of his wood-type because it had a phoenix feather. It’s also possible that Yew wood itself has some magical properties that outweigh compatibility. The power of such a wand was better fitting to Voldemort because he wanted such power, not necessarily a wand that would be compatible with him.

Daniel Blom Paulsen
Daniel Blom Paulsen
17 years ago

J.K. has stated that in the books, only Harry, Ron and Hermione have the wood types in their wands that corresponds with their birth dates. And I have personally had the same theory of wands, that they are magic channellers rather than magic items themelves, before I read this article. And how delighted I was to find out I wasn’t the only one.

Dave Porter
Dave Porter
17 years ago

I think Olivander was kidnapped by LV to make another wand to avoid the “priori incantatum”, but this will still work against LV. In HBP Dumbledore’s wand is not recovered arter his death, but I think Harry will end up with it. In the 1st book, Olivander states he remembers every wand he has ever made. I think he will make a “new” wand for LV that is the same as the one Dumbledore had, and the inability to fight Harry will come into play again. This may give someone else the chance to step in & help Harry finish off LV, perhaps even Snape.

Janis
Janis
17 years ago

I always find it interesting to reflect on the anagram that can be made from “Ollivander.” If we rearrange the letters, we get “An evil lord.” Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Ollivander we know is evil, but he could have had an evil ancestor with some significance to the story.

I also think that one of the unknown Horcruxes is Ravenclaw’s wand and that Ollivander may have had it in his window. His family is old enough to have made the wand for Rowena Ravenclaw–perhaps it was returned to his family when she died. In any case, he would be someone capable of authenticating the wand’s history, which may explain why he’s missing.

beki
beki
17 years ago

i suspect olivander has been kidnapped by voldermort as he wants an explanation of the “echo” as voldermort doesnt know that he and harry have “brother” wands.

we are aware that one of them will have to use a different wand in order for them to fight each other or they will just create another “echo”.

in harry potter books we are told that a wizard will never get results as good with someone else’s wand, so whoever doesnt use their own wand will have a disadvantage, i think that this will be the main factor between harry and voldermort’s final showdown

Alicia
Alicia
17 years ago

JK Rowling looked at the Celtic tree calendar as a way of assigning wand woods to the characterS. However, she put her own ideas into the selection of the wands as well. Go to her website, jkrowling.com to look at this. It is in the extras section and is pretty interesting, if you really want to know what went into selecting the wood. Enjoy!

Samantha Hom
Samantha Hom
17 years ago

Responding on the comment posted from Koby of NJ: In book 6 slughorn tells harry how he said that he used to tell Lilly Potter that she should have been in his house(slytherin), and how Lilly Potter would get annoyed. This implies Lilly Potter is not in Slytherin. she just happens to have green eyes.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
17 years ago

I like the idea of Ollivander being kidnapped for information. It makes perfect sense, but there is another possibility. My suspicion is that Ollivander has gone into hiding. The ice-cream parlour owner, Florean Fortescue seems to have been attacked, but Ollivander’s shop is simply closed with no sign of a struggle. Does that mean he went willingly? Given that Ollivander wrote to tell Dumbledore straight after Harry bought the wand, it seems more likely to me that he’d be in hiding, than that he’s gone over to Voldemort. If Voldemort wanted information about WHY his wand didn’t work properly against Harry, then Ollivander would be the obvious source. He probably wouldn’t have known whose phoenix gave the feather, certainly he wouldn’t have known what was in Harry’s wand. Harry has never told anyone. So unless Ollivander confirmed it, then Voldemort isn’t going to find out for sure. He might not understand what happened at all. After all, Sirius was no fool and he had to ask Dumbledore what would happen when a wand met its brother. Dumbledore did say that it was a very rare effect. What happened might even have been heightened by the other connections between Harry and Voldemort.
Am I correct in recalling Voldemort’s wand as being made of yew? Yew is a wood often associated with dark magic, which suggests a real conflict in Voldemort’s wand anyway with the phoenix feather as its core.

Bill
Bill
17 years ago

good thought but how would a wand be able to preform a spell when not in the hands of a wizard/witch?

mary
mary
17 years ago

Voldemort’s wand was 13.5 inches and
made of yew…
YEW
Also known as English Yew and European Yew. Another important tree to the Winter Solstice and the deities of death and rebirth. It is a beautifully smooth, gold-coloured wood with a wavy grain. The Irish used it to make dagger handles, bows and wine barrels. The wood or leaves were laid on graves as a reminder to the departed spirit that death was only a pause in life before rebirth. All parts of the tree are poisonous except the fleshy covering of the berry, and its medicinal uses include a recently discovered treatment for cancer. The yew may be the oldest-lived tree in the world. Ancient yews can be found in churchyards all over Britain, where they often pre-date even the oldest churches. There are some convincing arguments for it being the original ‘World-tree’ of Scandinavian mythology. The Yew may be used to enhance magical and psychic abilities, and to induce visions.

Patty
Patty
17 years ago

I was wondering if anyone knew what Neville’s wand is made of? Maybe it is significant that he is using his father’s wand. Maybe he would get better results with a wand specifically chosen for him, although he does show improvement in Dumbledore’s Army.

Ashley
Ashley
17 years ago

Neville still has his dads wand when he was in the DA, it didnt break until they were in the Department of Mysteries.

Orlando
Orlando
17 years ago

Neville has now got a new wand – one of the last Ollivander sold before he disappeared. Neville’s wand is made from Cherry and Unicorn hair.

This is not from his birth month or it would be the same as Harry’s (wood that is not core).
Perhaps Neville has that wand which was sitting on the purple pillow….

Ashley
Ashley
17 years ago

I was about to say that the way the Zodiac is divided Nevilles birthday could fall under June, and therefore be Cherry. Only problem with that brilliant theory is that Neville was born at the end of July. Maybe i have to re-read the purple pillow part.. i dont remember that at all

Patty
Patty
17 years ago

I wonder what cherry wands are good for. Cherry is not listed among the Celtic wands. I don’t know that cherry trees grew in Ireland when the druids were making wands so they must be from another country’s traditions. Unicorn hair is associated with innocence, which implies the absence of evil. I see that as being a powerful weapon in the fight against Voldemort.

Orlando
Orlando
17 years ago

Patty

Cherry is associated with innocence and virginity. So put together with the unicorn hair the wand is for someone of pure heart.

Ashley

The wand on the purple pillow is just mentioned in PS/SS in the description of Ollivander’s.

karen
karen
17 years ago

I think it is strange that Nelville’s wand was made, and when Harry went in for a wand, his was already made. It says that he disappeared right after MAKING Nelville a new wand.

Karishma Vakta
Karishma Vakta
17 years ago

got to admit one thing Mr. Haber has got one hell of a sense of humor. Could not help chuckling to myself as i read the end of his article. a very intelligent and amusing article.

Dvin
Dvin
17 years ago

wow this was really cool, im a vine:-) i actually ordered an authentic replica of Harry’s wand with something i got when i bought the 4th movie on DVD. It’s very cool actually, and sometimes, just sometimes, when i wave it at something…i could swear…something magical happens;)

Ashley
Ashley
17 years ago

No flippin way! I made my mom buy me a pink umbrella and now i wave it at random objects. Mom thinks shes funny when i do a Summoning Charm and she carries whatever im summoning towards me.

VN
VN
17 years ago

Heh, I really wish magic was real… Of course it may be, to the seeking eye… Anyway, this article was fun to read!

smk
smk
17 years ago

i do have a doubt regarding wands..if Harry had to try out manyt wands before he found his match how do people like Voldemore use other’s wands?(he used Morfin’s in HPB or so Dumbledore says)

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
17 years ago

Harry was quite young, only just 11 when he bought his wand. He wouldn’t have had the experience to get someone else’s wand to work for him. Ollivander uses the wands of all four champions in GoF to test them. It can be done. Perhaps it’s a bit like using someone else’s musical instrument – you do become very used to your own and switching to another is quite hard. You have to learn the individual instrument to get the best out of it, and musicians often find that a particular maker simply makes instruments that suit them better than any other.
Same with horses. The best rider in the world wouldn’t expect to take an unknown mount around an Olympic course and do well. And some horses and riders just clash. Maybe wands are the same. A skilled musician or rider will still get a response from another horse or instrument – just not as good as they would get from their own.

Emilio
Emilio
17 years ago

Elizabeth from Australia, I like your analogy, it is one I can relate to.

smk, We have seen our heroes use other wands before, in POA (at least on the movie) Harry used Hermione’s wand in the Shrieking Shack.

mrcrister from Lakeport, You mentioned “The Magickers”, which I have not read, but there is another series of books in which “Mental Abilities” such as telekinesis, telepathy, and others (which can be considered magic by some) are ENHANCED through the use of certain crystals, to which you have to key yourself into at a young age to make them work. The series is based in a planet called Darcover and is masterfully written by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Devanshi
Devanshi
17 years ago

“If you’ll pardon me, I need to go now and give my wand a good and proper polishing.”

ahaha, that one made me laugh. =]

Dante
Dante
17 years ago

I have a replica of the wand Harry uses in the first Harry Potter movie. It doesnt have holly and a phoenix tailfeather from Fawkes, though…

Michael Kraemer
Michael Kraemer
17 years ago

What kind of wand whould be perfect for a person who work with magical creatures, such as Charlie Weasly?

Monkeeshrines
Monkeeshrines
17 years ago

Michael – I’m unsure of Charlie�s current wand, but his old wand (the one passed down to Ron) had a unicorn hair core, while the wood is not mentioned. According to his birthday, it should be elder, but, for personality I would compare to Hagrid, who’s wand is oak, which Jo chose because of what it symbolizes, rather than his birthday wood, which is also elder. Hagrid�s core is not mentioned. (I would guess dragon heartstring.)

Ashley
Ashley
17 years ago

The magical cores on Harry and Voldemort’s wands are made from Fawke’s feather right? That’s why their battle at GoF resulted to Priori Incantatem..

Just curious, you said that the wands could also choose their wizard/witch handlers.. do the wands’ choices vary only for ability? or did Fawkes had a choice to whom he wanted he give his pieces of feathers?

Ashley R.
Ashley R.
16 years ago

Ashley from Baguio City–
I think it is unlikely that Fawkes knew who was going to end up with his feathers. I’m also not sure it was recently that Fawkes gave his feathers to Ollivander, because Ollivander has been in the business since (1919?) I don’t remember off the top of my head but it has been a considerable amount of time. Those wands, which choose the wizard they want to be handled by, have been waiting for the right person whom they have been created for.

Coincidentally, this would mean that Fawkes is extremely powerful, even for a phoenix. Think about it: he gave two feathers. One went to the most evil sorcerer ever to exsist, and the other went to the wizard with the power to destroy the evilest sorcerer ever to exsist. That’s a lot of power. I think the wood and the style of the wand (James: made whippier, Hagrid: made bendier, ect.) have something to do with it, but because they have two different types of wood and they are equally powerful, I think it has a lot to do with the phoenix who gave the feathers to make the wands.

Dave Porter
Dave Porter
16 years ago

Ashley & Ashley;
Here is another take on why Harry and Voldemort ended up with the 2 phoenix feather wands. Phoenix are reborn from their ashes and Voldemort is reborn from his horcruxes. Harry is mortal and represents a single life progression and will not be reborn. Mortality vs. Immortality. Kind of a Yin & Yang thing. Harry will have to find a way to inflict his mortality on Voldemort.

Graham B
Graham B
16 years ago

I like to think of a wand less of focusing a persons magic but more of a tap.

The magic being in the person themselves, like a unlimited reservoir, the wand just lets the magic out, and the spell determines what form it is in.

The magical core and the wood it is made from would still be very important as to better tap into this persons magic.

Since spells seem to be control alot by emotions and thoughts a wand better suited to a persons personality does make alot of sense as to better tap into the magic within them.

This would mean that wizards or witches with larger magic reservoirs in them would obvioudly need a more powerful core at the centre of their wand to better control the flow of magic.

Emilio
Emilio
16 years ago

Graham B from Cumbria,

I understand what you mean about a more powerful core for a more powerful witch or wizard, but I also think of them as focusing or targeting devices.

Imagine that magic is water, and that the witch or wizard is a fire hydrant. If you open the fire hydrant then you can have a lot of water (magic) going in all directions, but if you add a hose (wand) you can direct and concentrate the water (magic) to the right target.

If the hose is very flexible it can be turned more easily but if the hose is more rigid it can hold more pressure (but needs more strength of the user), so depending on the type of use it would be the type of hose (wand).

Ashley
Ashley
16 years ago

Dave Porter from New Mexico-

I like your take on Fawkes giving rebirth to Voldemort and Harry. Since Voldemort was reborn through horcruxes, perhaps harry was also reborn as the “boy who lived” or the only one who survived the killing curse. right?

Jeremy Davis
Jeremy Davis
16 years ago

I have always wondered if the spells they say are pre-programmed into the wand. And do all wizards everywhere speak Latin spells? Even Chinese wizards or African wizards? Seems strange that every wizard in the world speaks a language thats only a couple thousand years old. What did they use as a language before that?

Monkeeshrines
Monkeeshrines
16 years ago

Jeremy, you know, that’s a very good question. We see very few foreign wizards – who we never see performing magic – and Jo has said that she didn’t want to just put them in for the sake of putting them in, so this question may never be answered. I would think, though, that spells in countries with a non-European based language would probably have spells in an archaic form of their own, i.e. Japanese wizards would possibly speak some form of Ainu for some of their spells.

As for what they spoke before Latin – the earliest known use of Latin was in the 6th century BCE, and we know wands were used as early as the 4th century BCE (how long the Olivander family has been in the business.) We also know that the Anceint Egyptian used some pretty nasty curses on their tombs, which date back as far as 3100 BCE (“Before the Common Era”, a more politically correct version of BC), and the pyramids at around 2700 BCE. Magic may not have been organized in the same way back then, and use of a wand may not have been necessary or practiced until closer to the 5th or 4th century BCE.

Perhaps the wand merely focuses or creates an outlet for magic within the witch or wizard, meaning that the spell is an utterance intended to help the witch or wizard concentrate on what she or he intends to do, and there is no magic within the wand. In Ancient Egypt, �spell� meant simply �words to be spoken� (as found in such texts as the Book of Coming Forth by Day, aka The Book of the Dead). If this is the case, then it does not matter what the person says really, or in what language.