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The Witch's Broomstick


With her trusted broomstick, the Halloween witch is off to celebrate Samhain. Besides the jack-o-lantern, is there an image that best conjures up Halloween than a witch and her broomstick?


Ever wonder how the broomstick became associated with witches?   And if by some magical powers she could fly, why choose a broomstick as a vehicle?  Well, in hopes to answer these questions, we have discovered the following:

  • The broom is considered a phallic symbol and was used by female witches in fertility rites, and it is from this that the idea of the Halloween witch riding around on a broomstick may have materialized.  The sweeping end was usually made of the European broom herb, a feminine herb.  Thus the broom was complete as a representation of the male and female together.*

  • It is also known that witches used certain hallucinogenic herbs in their magical practices, such as mandrake root, jimson weed and belladonna (actually very poisonous!)  The witches would anoint themselves with a sacred ointment, or flying ointment that may have gave them the feeling that they could fly. So was the witch's idea of flying actually a drug-induced hallucination? Maybe.

  • The broomstick is actually called a besom. And in the Middle Ages, and today, it is used for magical practices. Witches use the besom to start their rituals by sweeping out negative energies, and to bring in good energy.  Also, it is believed if placed in front of the house, the besom will serve to protect its owner. It is considered one of the witch's most magical and scared tool.


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