Why Do Witches Ride Brooms? The History Behind the Legend

From pagan fertility rituals to hallucinogenic herbs, the story of witches and brooms is a wild ride.

The evil green-skinned witch flying on her magic broomstick may be a Halloween icon—and a well-worn stereotype. But the actual history behind how witches came to be associated with such an everyday household object is anything but dull.

It’s not clear exactly when the broom itself was first invented, but the act of sweeping goes back to ancient times, when people likely used bunches of thin sticks, reeds and other natural fibers to sweep aside dust or ash from a fire or hearth. As J. Bryan Lowder writes, this household task even shows up in the New Testament, which dates to the first and second centuries A.D.

The word broom comes from the actual plant, or shrub, that was used to make many early sweeping devices. It gradually replaced the Old English word besom, though both terms appear to have been used until at least the 18th century. From the beginning, brooms and besoms were associated primarily with women, and this ubiquitous household object became a powerful symbol of female domesticity.

Despite this, the first witch to confess to riding a broom or besom was a man: Guillaume Edelin. Edelin was a priest from Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris. He was arrested in 1453 and tried for witchcraft after publicly criticizing the church’s warnings about witches. His confession came under torture, and he eventually repented, but was still imprisoned for life.

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Little Pagan Acorns – Website for Pagan Children

[Not just for Pagan children that are homeschooled but for any Pagan child)

WHY PAGAN?

The world of homeschooling is dominated by Christians, and the majority of online resources are Bible-based. For someone who is Pagan, it gets pretty frustrating to find great printables that aren’t filled with Bible scriptures or Christian phrasing. So I wanted to create a resource for all of us who are parents and/or homeschoolers who are following other spiritual paths.

My purpose is to create pages that can be mixed in with other resources to add some Pagan terminology, ideals and history so that people can teach their children something that is uniquely Pagan.

I also intend to have selections of nature-based and generically “spiritual” material that could be used by folks who aren’t really Pagan but want an option away from the Christian materials as well.

I know that the term “Pagan” covers a huge range of faiths and beliefs, and I hope that I can properly respect them all here. My own path is more Wiccan and you’ll tend to see more material along that slant (lots of altars, Sabbats and pentacles!). I’d welcome any comments or suggestions from other beliefs so that I can accurately cover them. I apologize in advance if I have included anything that is inaccurate about other religions. Feel free to let me know.

So, welcome to Little Pagan Acorns and I hope that there is something here to help with your Pagan homeschooling and parenting!

Little Pagan Acorns – Website for Pagan Children

The History Of Modern Day Witchcraft In A Nutshell

The roots of Modern Day Witchcraft (like Wicca) have roots back to 25,000 BC. Female figurines, images, and pictures of been discovered throughout Europe… all supporting a theory of a “Great Mother Cult”.

Throughout the centuries there have been many attempts to put an end to worship of the Goddess… all in vain. Goddess worship has stood the test of time.

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Thoughts on Black Magick

Lady of the Abyss is has a way to teach us new things from the Spirit Plane by me reposting a post of hers done on October 2, 2111.

Thoughts on Black Magick by Sylvana SilverWitch

article

Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them?
Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

Black magick, the black arts, the left hand path_ the words conjure a reaction, a chill, raise the hair on the nape of your neck. I invariably imagine zombies, the voodoo walking undead or secret virgin sacrifices. I think, too, of dolls with needles stuck in them for malicious revenge spells, of death, injury and illness.

First, let’s examine magick; what is it precisely? There are numerous interpretations, and each person you ask will have their own. My favorite definition of magick is that of S.L. MacGregor Mathers, one of the founding members of the Golden Dawn. He characterizes magick as: “The Science of the Control of the Secret Forces of Nature.” I do like to commune with those secret forces, and to fancy I might have some influence, however small, over them. Ha, ha, ha!

Another explication is from the famous old grimoire, The Lemegeton, or The Lessor Key of Solomon. It states: “Magick is the Highest, most Absolute, and Most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will therefore be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.”

Old Uncle Al (Aleister Crowley, pronounced Cro-lee) had another one of the finest: “The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” This leaves a lot of room for doing what you please, but Uncle Al was especially big on free will anyway. I believe he would, even now, approve of black magick.

Another one of my favorites is that of a fellow, described by Doreen Valiente, who said in her book An ABC of Witchcraft: “Black magick can be defined as what the other fellow does!” Isn’t that the truth!? I have listened to this from a lot of people, who really can’t tell you what black magick would be – except a spell to kill someone – and I asked lots of people this question! They can’t describe it themselves, but it’s what “So and so” does! They know it when they see it!

When I sat down to compose this article I speculated, what would people want to apprehend about black magick? I would want to understand – what is it specifically? This is not always simple to define, the edges are blurred in some cases.

So, what actually is black magick? Is it all of these, or any of them? According to the Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft: “Magic is variously described as white, black and gray, but actually it has no color. Magic is neutral and amoral. It can be bent to good, evil or ambiguous purposes, depending on the intent of the practitioner.” “The distinction between white and black magic is fairly modern,” according to occultist A.E. Waite, “and depends upon sharp contrast between good and evil spirits.”

According to certain people, there is apparently no such thing as “black” magick. Other people have differing opinions, like The Modern Witch’s Spellbookby Sarah Lyddon Morrison has a whole section, along with the charms and talismans, love spells and potions, that describes black magick and its applications. It is complete with specific spells: “to torment, but not permanently injure,” or like “punishing a faithless lover,” or “to cause a lot of agony,” and “how to make a marriage unhappy.”

Wait, there’s more: “To maim and kill,” and detailed instructions on “how to dig up a coffin” to get your hands on some coffin nails (presumably for other weird spells). To Sarah’s credit, the chapter on black magick includes a segment about ethics and contains plenty of admonitions about what not to do, and how you should never render black magick in haste. It goes on to caution you about what happens if you’re not positively certain about your victim or whether they actually did what you think they did, or deserve the results your efforts.

So, I guess it’s okay with her, as long as you heed the instructions – this seems to be the theory of quite a few people outside the Northwest. Speaking of the Northwest, I have discovered that people here are inclined to be a bit more conservative (or politically correct), than they are ordinarily.

When I began in the Craft, it was much more permissible to use your art for advantage or protection or even for retribution: the sort of things that are, today, considered by many to be black magick. This whole thing about the politically correct manner in which to do magick, or whether it’s okay to work magick at all – positively annoys me! I say, “What variety of witch doesn’t practice magick?” I have known a number of them here in the Seattle area. Hmmmmmmm. Maybe that’s one of the distinctions between “Wiccans” and “Witches” – I am a Witch, with a capital “W.” I am not, however, a Wiccan, and that’s okay.

I remember when the domain of the witches was just that, the dark side. We were outside the edges of society anyway, and we knew we had power and we weren’t afraid to use it. People came frequently to implore me to work a spell for them: to bring back an errant lover, to get a particular job, to get back at a person who had harmed them. I usually sent them away with instructions on how to resolve the situation themselves, though in certain circumstances it was acceptable to do the spell for them. What happened? Why is it not okay anymore to exercise your power? Why has the Craft become so boringly P.C.?

“The driving force behind black magic is hunger for power.” So says Richard Cavendish in The Black Arts,one of the first books about magick that I bought when I was about sixteen, thinking that “this must be what it is.” Cavendish also says, “The magician sets out to conquer the universe. To succeed he must make himself master of everything in it – evil as well as good, cruelty as well as mercy, pain as well as pleasure.” This makes sense, right? According to almost everyone that I have talked to, those who have been in the Craft for over 10 years, they all started out in search of power. Or at least that’s what they thought at the time. Many began by practicing black magick and proceeded logically, after getting their butts kicked (proverbially or not), to the Craft as we now know it and what they ended up finding is their own power.

When I was younger, and did not know any better – I, too, believed any magick that would work was great. If you could get someone to do what you wanted or to fall in love with you, or whatever, you were a clever witch. It is much easier to do what is now referred to as black magick when you’re young; you frequently have a lot of emotion invested in it, so there’s no wonder a neophyte might be successful with it.

My personal definition of black magick, if there is such a thing, about which I am still ambiguous, is: working magick that is meant to hurt, harm or to cause the loss of free will or to hinder someone else or a situation. Further, it can be just pulling on someone’s energy without his or her permission, and knowledge. Sometimes this is not done maliciously or mean-spiritedly, for instance working love magick to get a specific person, or healing a person who maybe needs the rest that illness provides. So in my opinion, you should be very careful. It works – it works well so you better be very sure! There is so much negativity floating around in the atmosphere that it’s easy to gather that up and direct it without much effort or skill. Should you do it? I can’t tell you that, but I don’t recommend doing anything questionable unless you really know what you’re doing and are absolutely willing to suffer the consequences of the threefold law of return. Because the problem is, it will come back to you, and you should be ready to have your butt kicked by it.

In my class, I teach that there’s no color to magick, that it all just is and it’s a matter of the intent that creates the Karma. I do my best now to avoid situations that might get me into a position where I’d be inclined to have to use my magick in such a way. I also teach my students personal responsibility, and I practice it myself. I would hope that all grown-up witches would do the same. That is the secret, in my opinion. There are not many people willing to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. I have heard many people complain about this and that, and how they wish it would be different to accommodate them. I say stop complaining and do something for yourself! Use magick if you will and remember to be mindful of your intent!

For Your Viewing PLeasure

Today, dear Sisters, Brothers and Guest, I leave you with this video…

14. Witchcraft and Magic

Some may find this video does not explain the history in witchcraft in England. I present it to you to decide if you learn anything new about witchcraft or if you feel it is all lies.

Description of video: Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts (HIST 251) In this lecture, Professor Wrightson discusses witchcraft and magic. He begins with the context of magic beliefs in this period, introducing the ‘cunning folk’ who had reputations as healers and were often consulted. He then considers the specific problem of witchcraft, the use of magic to do harm, and its identification by the late medieval church as a form of anti-Christian cult. He examines the distinctive nature of both witchcraft beliefs and the history of witchcraft prosecution in England (as compared with both Scotland and continental Europe), outlining the typical circumstances of a witchcraft accusation and what these might suggest about the rise and fall of concern with witchcraft. Finally he considers a number of unresolved problems in the history of witchcraft in England: the nature of the links between gender and witchcraft; the reasons behind the passage of the statutes defining witchcraft as a crime; and the exceptionally large number of trials conducted in the county of Essex. 00:00 – Chapter 1. Magic 08:56 – Chapter 2. Differences between Witchcraft in England and in Europe 19:26 – Chapter 3. Trials in England 35:05 – Chapter 4. Witchraft Statutes in Essex Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses This course was recorded in Fall 2009.

SHOW LESS

 

Blessed be

The Celtic Oak Tree Month June 6th to July 7th

THE OAK

symbol of the life force

The oak (quercus) is one of the wonders of nature. Its splendid appearance perfectly reflects the essence of this tree. With its strong, deep roots, thickset trunk, and elegantly swaying branches and broad, spreading crown, the oak withstands the centuries. All kinds of Mosses live on it, cling planets twine upwards around it It bears this placidly and forms very hard wood through out its life

It grows best and reaches its fullest height in soil that is slightly damp and rich hummus, but it holds it own just as well on rocky ground. Its roots force their way inexorably through cracks to find water. In some places it may only grow into a shrub, but that doesn’t matter. The main thing is it lives and produces leaves.

Old oak trees–they can be 150 years old, sometimes twice that–may be hollow or rotten inside, quite dead on one side and growing well on the other. If cockchafers or caterpillars eat away the leaves in spring, new bright green leaves grow again in June and July. Not even a fallen oak will give up. Its wood survives for generations, living on as wine or brandy barrels, as a table or a railway sleeper, the pier of a bridge or a ship afloat.

Wherever the oak grows there is always plenty of light for everything that grows around it and is sheltered by it. Perhaps the oak trees remember their own youth, when they enjoyed and needed the protection and shade of other trees. They are often, for example, planted near lime trees until they are big enough. Then their ‘foster mothers’ are cut down. The oak does not forget that. It ‘knows’ that everything big and strong starts life as something small and weak. That is why it doesn’t matter when a gentle wind caresses its leaves. Nor does it howl when a storm tears at its branches. The oak always proclaims its wholehearted contentment with life. Who wouldn’t want that as their native tree?

If you were born on 21 March you may, no you must, liken yourself to an oak. For you are endowed with the same indestructible vitality and strength of purpose. You like a fresh wind in every relationship and your vitality bursts into flames at any opposition. Your body may not live to be a thousand years old, but your soul lives on in your children and in your work. And if even the slightest drop of Celtic blood flows through your veins, then you will fear neither death or devil. So what matters to you is not how long you live, but rather how intensively and meaningfully you fill time.

The Universe is God’s plaything. You very happily agree to join the game. You put failures behind you and will seize the first favorable opportunity to prove yourself in new enterprises.

Of course, you can’t help behaving like the farm lad who made a pact with the devil. ‘You can have my soul when this oak no longer has any leaves’, he said. The devil agreed, but he waited in vain. FOr many oaks keep their old leaves over the winter, until the new buds burst into leaf in the spring. Don’t you do the same thing? You prefer to cling to the old, well-tried methods until you have a clear understanding of the new, above all in ‘winter’ time. Or are you the sort of person that invests when the coffers are empty, and saves when they are over-flowing? Be careful these trick questions intended to provoke you. You like that, don’t you?

You may be quite different from the sketch I have given here. Each human being is unique individual. And not just people. Every oak tree is different, whether it is an English oak, a holm oak, a red oak, or a swamp oak; each one seizes a unique opportunity to become what it is.

The Celts associated the strength to be oneself, which is latent in every person, with the oak. The truly strong man is he who has travelled a lone way on the road to himself. Utterly dedicated, of his own free will he serves mankind, a cause, an art, responsible only to himself and the full of joy of the living. He sees himself as the living instrument of God’s power and does not lose himself in human reason, which thinks itself so dreadfully important.

Probably two or three thousand years ago there were relatively few people in whome the fire of the oak burned. But this is not the reason why the oak gives its name to only one day, like the beech, the olive tree, and the birch. On the contrary, this limitation of time should make it stand out from the ranks of other trees. It has been chosen to remind us, at the time of the vernal equinox on 21 March, that we should kindle a fire in ourselves that will allow us to find ourselves.

Native of the oak: Johann Sebastian Bach.

Gem Stone: The ruby, which express a love of life.

Number: 3

Motto: Moderation in all things.

The Celtic Tree Calendar Your Tree Signs and You  by MIchael Vescoli Copyright 1996 and for English 1999 Pages 30 – 35

 

Dragon Knowledge and Craft Project for Any Age

To show us your Paper-plate Dragon please send it as an attachment to covenlifescoven@gmai.com Please include only your first or pagan name. You have until Saturday, February 13th to email it to us to be included in the post.

The Witches Correspondences for Monday

Moon Vampire
The Witches Correspondences for Monday

Day: Monday ( Moon-day)

Planet: Moon

Colors: Silver and White and Grey

Crystals: Moonstone, Pearl, Aquamarine, Silver, Selenite

Aroma: Jasmine, Lemon, Sandalwood, Moon Oil, African violet, Honeysuckle, Myrtle, Willow, and Wormwood
Herb: Moonwort

The sacred day of the Moon, personified by such goddesses as Selene, Luna, Diana, and Artemis. The Moon is ruler of flow affecting the changeable aspects of people. If a full moon falls on a Monday, its powers are at their most potent.

Magical aspects: peace, sleep, healing, compassion, friendships, psychic awareness, purification, and fertility

Monday is ruled by the moon – an ancient symbol of mystery and peace. Monday is a special day for mothers as the cycle of the moon has long been associated with the female menstrual cycle. Those wishing to conceive a baby would be wise to try on a Monday as the magic of motherhood is strong and pregnancy is in the air.

This is the proper day of the week to perform spells and rituals involving agriculture, animals, female fertility, messages, reconciliation’s, theft, voyages, dreams, emotions, clairvoyance, home, family, medicine, cooking, personality, merchandising, psychic work, Faerie magic, and Goddess rituals.

A Page of Bind Runes for Your Book of Shadows (Printable)

What is a curse, Hex, Jinx?

  • What is a curse, Hex, Jinx?
    A hex is generally a spell or bewitchment. It is derived from “hexe”, a German word for “witch”, and comes from the folklore of the Pennsylvania Dutch. In folklore it can be good or bad, but now is generally known by its negative connotations. Hexes can be made for hire, with the witch being able to be paid for both inflicting a hex and for removing a hex.A jinx is the continual or repeated bad luck. It is usually the result of a fatal accident. One of the more famous jinxes comes with the Hope Diamond. In the 17th century Madame de Montespan, the mistress of King Louis XIV, owned the diamond and it is during this time that the stone is said to have become jinxed. She was believed to have conducted so called “black masses”. Over 100 years later, King Henry the XVI gave the Hope Diamond to Marie Antoinette. Ms. Antoinette loaned this piece to her friend the Princesse de Lamballe. Not only did both Princesse de Lamballe and Marie Antoinette get executed, but every other owner of the Hope Diamond has suffered a tragic demise.A curse is a malevolent spell that is purposefully done to inflict harm upon another. It has been a part of magic and alchemy since the beginning, and can also be done by Catholic priests. It is derived from “cursein”, an Anglo Saxon worse meaning “to invoke harm or evil upon”. Curses can be both spoken and written. Cursed objects can affect people with bad luck, misfortune, ill health, and even death.

Correspondences for Monday

 

Correspondences for Monday

 

Day: Monday ( Moon-day)

Planet: Moon

Colors: Silver and White and Grey

Crystals: Moonstone, Pearl, Aquamarine, Silver, Selenite

Aroma: Jasmine, Lemon, Sandalwood, Moon Oil, African violet, Honeysuckle, Myrtle, Willow, and Wormwood

Herb: Moonwart

The sacred day of the Moon, personified by such goddesses as Selene, Luna, Diana, and Artemis. The Moon is ruler of flow affecting the changeable aspects of people. If a full moon falls on a Monday, its powers are at their most potent.

Magical aspects: peace, sleep, healing, compassion, friendships, psychic awareness, purification, and fertility

Monday is ruled by the moon – an ancient symbol of mystery and peace. Monday is a special day for mothers as the cycle of the moon has long been associated with the female menstrual cycle. Those wishing to conceive a baby would be wise to try on a Monday as the magic of motherhood is strong and pregnancy is in the air.

This is the proper day of the week to perform spells and rituals involving agriculture, animals, female fertility, messages, reconciliation’s, theft, voyages, dreams, emotions, clairvoyance, home, family, medicine, cooking, personality, merchandising, psychic work, Faerie magic, and Goddess rituals

Halloween in Ireland

Terrifying tales and frightening facts from the home of Halloween

Halloween – a time for thrills, chills and scaring ourselves silly. But did you know that everyone’s favourite fright-filled holiday began in Ireland? Trace Halloween right back to its origins and you’ll find yourself in the mists of pagan Ireland over 3,000 years ago – a time when the ancient festival of Samhain was celebrated in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East to mark the beginning of winter.

It’s said that at Halloween the boundary between our world and the Otherworld is at its thinnest, allowing spirits and demons to easily pass between the two. So come with us on a strange and spooky journey as we experience Halloween in Ireland.

Halloween in Ireland

Beltane – Bealtaine Traditions in Irish Folklore

Beltane is the anglicised version of our Irish word Bealtaine – still in use and meaning ‘the month of May’ in our own language. Bealtaine is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature, and it is associated with important events in Irish mythology.

Irish folklore still holds the legacy of the traditions and customs associated with this ancient festival. Bealtaine and Samhain are the original two turning points for the ‘wheel of the year’ in Ireland. That’s May Eve and Hallowe’en, in case you’re not familiar.

These major Irish Pagan Festivals were pivotal – literally – times of upheaval of change for our ancestors over 8,000 years ago when the Hunter Gatherer societies moved from their Summer to Winter camping grounds at these seasonal turning points, and they still resonate through the landscape and the Irish communities to this day.

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Beltane: (Bealtaine, Valpurgis)

Incense: Lilac, Frankincense
Decorations: Maypole, Flowers, Ribbons
Colours: Green

The Fire Festival of Beltane

This festival is also known as Beltane, the Celtic May Day. It officially begins at moonrise on May Day Eve, and marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year. It is celebrated as an early pastoral festival accompanying the first turning of the herds out to wild pasture. The rituals were held to promote fertility. The cattle were driven between the Belfires to protect them from ills. Contact with the fire was interpreted as symbolic contact with the sun. In early Celtic times, the druids kindled the Beltane fires with specific incantations. Later the Christian church took over the Beltane observances, a service was held in the church, followed by a procession to the fields or hills, where the priest kindled the fire. The rowan branch is hung over the house fire on May Day to preserve the fire itself from bewitchment (the house fire being symbolic of the luck of the house).

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Beltane by The Goddess & The Green Man

Sunset to Sunset.

Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. On May Eve the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand. The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage. It is about sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. And about conception. A brilliant moment in the Wheel of the Year to bring ideas, hopes and dreams into action. And have some fun…..

Traditions of Beltane…

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