Probably used first as a weapon, the cane took on the symbolism of strength and power and eventually authority and social prestige. Spiritually, it also came to signify self-flagellation. Because a cane also represents pliability, we may be trying to achieve a balance between our willingness and our unwillingness to accept a situation. Because many people associate the cane with some form of punishment or sadism, it can represent self-punishment or masochism. It is more likely, however, that we are trying to come to terms with some form of childhood trauma. Also consult the entry for Staff.