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History of Cane 4

Cane or Stick ?

In a short digression, let me clarify the difference between the words “stick “and cane”. Could the word “stick” conceivably be of rustic origin, be characteristic of the poor man, the philosopher or the prehistoric man?

Conversely is the cane a luxury item, ornately decorated, made by specialists? This could explain why, it appears only late in the history of man.

As Lubicz says: “man’s most primitive word is his stick; with it, he expresses his feelings and his nature. With it, he shows, threatens, punishes and measures up. On it, he leans and in the dark, he uses it to find his way. His stick expresses his strength; his cane demonstrates his function.

A good man can be naked as long as he has his cane. A man’s temper can vary, a cane does not. His cane restores harmony and imposes respect. If he sleeps, his cane watches over him; if he is tired it protects him; if he is tempted to forget his duty, the cane calls for his action.”


The stick, initially a primitive and functional object, became loaded over time with symbols, for exemple in Egyptian and Roman civilisations.

The cane is therefore nothing else, than a stick to which man has attributed a symbolic value : for instance, the shepherd stick, will turn into the crook of the pastor, guiding the flock. It also becomes a rallying sign, and a symbol of spiritual guidance, as exemplified by the tau-cross or the bishop’s cross.