By Amber K
Folklore gives us many ways to protect and bless our homes, from a
sprig of rowan fastened near the entryway to the brightly colored
hex signs of the Pennsylvania Dutch, to the inverted horseshoe
nailed above the door to “catch the luck” and hold it. The “Witch
Ball” is one more protective device.
A Witch Ball is a hollow glass sphere hung at a window, or in a
corner of a room near the ceiling, that averts or traps evil before
it can bring harm to the occupants of the home. It may only a couple
of inches in diameter, or large as a pumpkin.
Some writers have said they were called “Witch Balls” because they
were made to protect a home from Witches. It is just as possible,
however, that the balls were used by Witches to ward their own
homes, and those of their clients.
No one knows exactly when these talismans first were used. The
manufacture of glass and the ability to make blown-glass vessels are
very old skills; the Roman Empire had a lively trade in glass two
thousand years ago. We know that Witch Balls were used in Old
England, but whether this was a legacy of the Roman occupation or a
later custom is uncertain. Certainly Witch Balls were common in
Many witch balls were coated inside with silver nitrate. It was said
that these reflected the “evil eye” or any negative spell back on
the sender. Also, any demon seeing his face reflected in the silver
ball would be frightened and flee, or maybe seeing the world
reflected in a curved, distorted way was enough to confuse him.
Other balls are created with slender threads or pillars of glass
inside to catch any evil spirit that ventured within. Yet others
were simply the glass balls, clear or green or blue, used by
fishermen to float their nets. Perhaps these were reflective enough
to work the same way as the silver balls.
Witch balls have also found their way into the garden as a form of
the large “gazing globes” on pedestals that adorned many Victorian
gardens and are still seen occasionally today. If a flower garden is
a place of beauty and serenity, a refuge from the cares of the
world, certainly it deserves protection as much as the house itself.
Another place where Witch balls turn up is on the family Christmas
tree – or more accurately the Yule tree, as the custom of dragging a
tree indoors is doubtlessly Pagan in origin. The tree may be a
variant on the Yule log, which was originally a huge dead tree (and
phallic symbol), conveyed to the manor house by the men of the
village with much singing and ribald horseplay. Their one end was
placed in the great hearth, and a fire kindled. Over several days of
feasting and festivity the Yule log was gradually pushed into the
fire as the end was consumed.
The Yule tree may also have been a representation of the World Tree
of old Northern Europe. The whole universe was imagined as a great
ash tree, called Yggdrasill. Its roots reached down into the Norse
underworlds, Niflheim and Muspelheim; its crown stretched up to
Asgard and the halls of the gods; and in its branches deer and other
wild creatures browsed. This great tree is akin to the Tree of Life
of the ancient goddess civilizations of the Near East.
On our Yule trees today we place lights and stars and candy canes,
carved animals and elves and Santa’s and – of course – little glass
spheres. Witch Balls. Gold for the reborn Sun god, and silver for
the Moon Goddess, whose blessings and protection we ask for the
coming new year. In Ancient Ways, Pauline Campanili suggests that
the “shiny glass balls catch the light of the new born Sun and send
it back as a magical means of enhancing the Sun’s energy.”
You can have your own Witch ball up year ’round. Buy a large and
beautiful Yule ornament, or seek out a glass fisherman’s float in an
antique shop, or look in a catalog of garden statuary such as
Toscano’s for a “gazing globe.” Give it a special place of honor in
your home or garden, invoke the gods of your choice, and consecrate
it to its protective purpose. Dust it frequently to remove any
negativity from its surface. Perhaps it will make your home that
much more of a safe have.
How To Make A Protection Witch Ball
glass ball or Yule ornament with an opening
bottle of silver paint
a spool of read thread
few drops of frankincense or patchouli oil
Cover you working space with newspaper to protect against spills.
Take the metal cap off the ornament. Carefully pour a little of the
silver paint inside the ball and swish it around until the inside is
completely covered with the silver. Set it aside to dry.
When the paint is totally dry, cut the red thread into three inch-
lengths. Carefully poke this thread into the open end of the ball.
Continue cutting and putting the thread into the ball until the ball
is nearly full. Put in a few drops of oil. Then put the end back on
the ornament. If it has no end, seal it with candle wax.
When you hang the protection ball, chant:
“Symbol of the Moon, symbol of the Lady divine,
Reject all negativity, defend this home (car), me and mine”.
This protection ball can be hung in the window of your home or in
your car. Any negative thoughts or ill wishes directed against you
are reflected back to the sender. You can also decorate the outside
with appropriate designs. You can put them onto wreaths or make them
part of a dried flower arrangement. Programmed for protection, these
little Witch balls do a very good job.