Halloween Is Fast Approaching......
Soon, our streets will be crawling with terrors. Shadows will stretch across the landscape, masking the approach of ghouls and vampires. Clouds will part to reveal the moon, and under its pale blue glow innocents will transform into werewolves. Science experiments gone awry will give birth to Frankenstein-like monstrosities.
Suddenly, the crisp autumn air will be split by a hideous cackle. Shivers of fear run down your spine. Dogs bare their teeth, their fur rising on its hackles. The queen of Halloween, the scheming witch, has arrived to ensnare you in her web of magic.But listen well, for it might save your life: the witch derives much of her power from the broom she carries; deprive her of it and you deprive her of her ability to terrorize.
In popular imagery, witches are often depicted silhouetted against the glow of a full moon, riding a broom across the sky with a black cat perched effortlessly on the end.This representation, or variations of it, has been a part of our culture since the 1440s. But why? How does the broom tie in with the myth of potion-brewing hags?The origins of the association go back much further than the 15th century, into the dark recesses of history, when pagans worshipped openly across Europe. In this early religion, brooms were powerful symbols of fertility. In addition, before important ceremonies brooms would have been used to sweep out an area of worship, both physically and mystically.
By the Middle Ages, the pagan belief system had been all-but eliminated in most of Europe and the last remnants, persecuted by the church and branded as devil-worshippers, were the witches of popular mythology. Folklore also held that witches avoided persecution by disguising wands, the focus of their infernal powers, as common and inconspicuous brooms. Brooms might also be used as a receptacle to harbor spirits. Obviously, brooms held no real power, but witches in fact used them as a symbol of their faith.
One pagan ceremony that remained in use through the Middle Ages, for example, saw individuals jumping up and down while straddling a broom in the belief that doing so would encourage crop growth. As well, since Halloween festivities were held during rainy seasons, brooms might be used to assist in vaulting over puddles and swollen streams.Of course, it has also become a symbol of Halloween. No doubt, many young hags will be armed with them come Halloween Eve, prepared to hex your home should you refuse them candy.