I’m writing in response to the question included in the Recent Classics section, “What’s the deal with witches and broomsticks?”
I’d like to clear up several misconceptions. While Cecil’s information is for the most part accurate, one must bear in mind that many “witches” made statements under duress and that the Church and the Inquisition altered policy and the Bible itself in order to be more able to prosecute those whom it believed consorted with the devil. One example among many was the accepted policy that a plea of innocence was in actuality an admission of guilt. Another note is that while the broom is a phallic representation, it was never used as such a “tool,” if you catch my drift. At least, not by any true follower of my chosen faith.
Now, speaking as a practicing Witch (or, to be more politically correct, I should use a term with less negative connotation, Wiccan) I would like to give Cecil and the Teeming Millions a more informative answer to the correlation between a Wiccan and a broomstick.
First, I’d like to establish that when referring to such things as magick and the like that any true Wiccan (those witches that cut themselves and others in bloodletting rituals and threaten people with hexes, curses, and what-have-you are horribly misguided and misinformed people) has a number of basic rules and guidelines to follow. We don’t practice evil and believe in no devil–evil exists but to give it a name is to give it power.
Now, to the point of the topic. In times long past, the broomstick was a riding and dancing pole (though pole dancing has become significantly more obscene and perverse in modern times) and was disguised as a normal household object for purposes of security when the Church arose and more corrupt members whose priorities were far out of order in that they wanted to expand the Church’s clientele and power base, if you will, rather than worship Jesus and God, chose to begin the systematic rooting out and execution of witches. Aside from its use as a symbol of witchcraft and a phallic representation (sexuality is an important aspect of the craft in the sense that it is widely responsible for the continuity of the human race However, yet again, misguided folk tarnish the reputations and good names of true Wiccans by holding mass orgies in the name of witchcraft), the broom was used in crop fertility rites where witches would run around fields on broomsticks and jump in the air. This was done for a number of reasons pertaining to sympathetic magick, and is most likely widely responsible for the misconception of witches flying on broomsticks–no amount of magic can evelate a Witch, or any other person for that matter, on a broomstick and propel them around wherever they should please. Honestly, you’d think you’d see more of it if it was true. Or at least, more people trying it if anybody seriously believed it had premise.
So, not to dispute with Cecil, but this is why you see so many representations of witches riding around on broomsticks. Why Halloween? Halloween was originally known as All Hallow’s Eve, during which rites were, among other purposes, conducted to ward off evil spirits. It was widely known as a time of peak witchcraft (even though at seven other points through the year similar rituals and celebrations are conducted).
I don’t wish to rant and rave, or preach for that matter, but I do wish to dispel misinformation and let people in on the true nature of Witchcraft. If anybody has some sort of rebuttal, question, comment, or any other sort of reply, I’d truly appreciate hearing it. Just keep it short of a religious debate, as this isn’t the proper forum for it from what I have seen, and please, no damnations to hell. I’ve recieved enough from devout Christians who, while having my best interests in mind by trying to save my soul, fail to notice that when the Bible says to, in short, dispose of those who practice Witchcraft it was actually an alteration by the Spanish Inquisition, where the original text states that all those who act in a hostile manner towards loyal Christians are to be properly informed of their act of blasphemy and therein have their souls saved. That sounds a bit like a sarcastic remark, but it isn’t, so please don’t take it negatively.
In closing, if you’ve read this far, thank you for your time and please take some more of it to issue a proper response. And Cecil, I know you’re a busy fellow, but any response from you would be much appreciated.
Edited to provide link to column – CKDH