27.1.14

"Blagoslovljeni bili" - značenje i porijeklo

U skladu s značenjem ovo izraza, želim vam svima beskonačnu sreću te vam se zahvaljujem što se posjetili moj blog. :)

Izraz "Blagoslovljeni bili" (eng. Blessed be) je najčešće upotrijebljeni izraz u neopaganskom i wiccanskom društvu. Često se upotrebljava kao pozdrav u ovim paganskim krugovima te među vješticama također.

Sam izraz bi vam mogao biti poznat i iz drugim duhovnih pravaca jer ih mnogo prihvaća pojam blagoslova, blagoslivljanja i sličnih ideja u svoje prakse. No što čini srž ovih riječi i izraza?

Blagoslov se definira kao čin odobravanja, (u biblijskom smislu) zazivanje nad nekim za moć plodnosti / života / materijalno obilje / društveni položaj, ili pak u kršćanskoj tradiciji kao čin kojeg obavlja posvećena osoba (svećenik) kojim se po zazivu Božjem, blagoslovljenoj osobi želi Božja zaštita na poseban način. Gledajući samo etimologiju, korijen riječi "blagoslov" se može naći u spoju riječi "blag" i "slovo". "Blag", u ovom slučaju znači "koji je dobre naravi/dobroćudan/mio/ugodan", a riječ "slovo" se odnosi na prigodni govor ili neki znak (obično se misli na pismeni).

Engleska verzija izraza glasi: Blessed be (/ˈblesɪd biː/) čija se osnova nalazi u riječi bless. Ona potječe od staroengleske riječi bletsian (koja se također piše bledsian) koja znači "posvetiti, učiniti svetim, zahvaliti se". Koristilo ju se u staroengleskim Biblijama za prijevod dvaju glagola: latinskog benedicere te grčkog eulogein koji znače "govoriti dobro o nečemu, slaviti/hvaliti". Ova su se dva glagola de facto koristila za prevođenje hebrejskog glagola brk koji znači "saviti (koljeno), štovati, slaviti, zazivati blagoslove". Čini se da je došlo do krive etimologije riječi jer ju se s vremenom poistovjetilo s engleskom riječju bliss (u prijevodu blaženstvo, uočite da se razlikuju samo u jednom slovu) s kojom zaista nema nikakve veze. Zbog ove je poveznice riječ bless uskoro počela značiti "proglasiti/učiniti nekoga/nešto sretnim". Engleska imenica blessing dolazi od staroengleske riječi bletsunga (ili bledsunge) koju se može prevesti kao dar Božji. U 12. je stoljeću pridjev blessed (izgovara se /ˈblesɪd/, u prijevodu znači "blagoslovljen" i tvori središte izraza kojim ćemo se danas baviti) značio "izrazito sretan" ili "posvećen" kao što sam natuknula u prvom paragrafu ovoga posta.

A sad kad smo završili s ovim dosadnim etimološkim dijelom posta (kojeg iz nekog razloga osobno toliko volim), vrijeme je da prijeđemo dalje na one najzabavnije dijelove! :D

Možda se pitate sljedeća pitanja:

"Kada je prikladno reći 'Blagoslovljeni bili' nekome?"

Ovaj je izraz postao ključni dio paganskih obreda, ali i svakodnevnice pagana diljem svijeta. U novije je vrijeme postao pozdrav kojeg se koristi jednako kao što biste koristili i izraze "dobar dan" ili "doviđenja". Neki su mišljenja da je ovo neprikladno te da se ovakvi izrazi trebaju rezervirati isključivo za rad unutar kruga, no ovo je individualno. Generalno govoreći, nitko se ne bi trebao uvrijediti ako ih pozdravite na ovakav način. 

Također, čak i ako vi sami niste paganin i ovo zaželite nekom paganinu, vaša će želja biti jednako srdačno prihvaćena. Dakle, ovaj izraz nije rezerviran isključivo paganima za upotrebu. :)

Mogli biste naići na kraticu ovog izraza koja glasi "BB" koju se često koristi na internetu. Ona također može biti skraćena i za engleski izraz "Bright(est) blessing(s)" (u prijevodu radosni/najradosniji blagoslovi") kojeg se koristi kao istoznačnicu izraza "blagoslovljeni bili" iako je mnogo mlađeg porijekla i ne dolazi od istog izvora.

U ritualima izraz "blagoslovljeni bili" igra uvodnu ulogu, ili se pak koristi u zaključcima (često za različite invokacije/evokacije). Često ga se koristi kako bi se otvorio, odnosno zatvorio grupni ritual čime se zapravo implicira davanje blagoslova i najljepših želja svim sudionicima u krugu. Kada smo se već dotakli teme rituala, smatram da je vrijeme da kažem nešto o povijesti ovog izraza.

"Odakle ovaj izraz potječe?"

Obično se smatra da potječe od rituala zvanog Spuštanje Mjeseca (eng. Drawing down the Moon) u kojemu Visoki svećenik zaziva Božicu u tijelo Visoke svećenice (pošto je prikladno da žena bude predstavnike Božice). O ovome sam ritualu detaljno govorila u prijašnjem postu o ritualu otvaranja, no reći ću još ponešto i ovdje.

U prvom dijelu rituala Spuštanja Mjeseca se nalazi manji ritual koji nosi naziv "peterostruki poljubac" (eng. Fivefold kiss). Ovo je zapravo pravi izvor izraza "Blagoslovljeni bili". Ritual sam po sebi služi kao simbolično štovanje, ili poštivanje Božice od strane Boga (iako može biti i obratno, no ovo je uobičajeno). Radi se o ritualnim poljupcima (ili sličnom simboličnog čina) pet dijelova tijela (zapravo deset pošto ih je većina u parovima). Ritual je opisan jako detaljno u prekrasnoj knjizi Janet i Stewart Farrar zvanoj The Witches' Bible (prijašnju verziju se može naći na internetu pod imenom Eight Sabbats for Witches), no ritual glasi otprilike ovako:
    Visoka svećenica stoji u
    Oziris pozi taman prije
    peterostrukog poljupca

    • Visoka svećenica stane leđima okrenuta oltaru, u desnoj ruci drži štap, a u lijevoj bič (ruke su prekrižene u tzv. pozi Ozirisa)
    • Visoki svećenik klekne pred Visoku svećenicu
    • Visoki svećenik ljubi redom Visoku svećenicu na sljedećim mjestima: desno stopalo, lijevo stopalo, desno pa lijevo koljeno, maternicu, desnu pa lijevu dojku i usne. Kada je on poljubi na području maternice, ona raširi ruke u pozi dobrodošlice (naprosto raširene ruke kao da ćete nekoga zagrliti). Jasno mi je da je ovaj dio dosta škakljiv za neke, ali ne brinite, uvijek možete smisliti drugu varijantu, npr. da umjesto direktnog poljupca, Visoki svećenik poljubi svoju ruku i onda je lagano prinese mjestu kojeg treba poljubiti (obično koristi samo kažiprst i srednji prst), ili može pak samo rukama lebdjeti iznad tog dijela tijela držeći ih gesti blagoslova. Ovako se i dalje vrši prijenos energije, a praktičari se mogu osjećati ugodnije. Ako niste upoznati s ovom terminologijom poza i gesta, možete sve potrebne informacije naći u ovom postu.
    • Dok Visoki svećenik ljubi spomenuta mjesta, nakon svake "skupine" (stopala, koljena, maternica, grudi, usne) izgovara sljedeće rečenice:
    "Blagoslovljene bile Tvoje noge koje su Te dovele ovim putem."
    "Blagoslovljena bila Tvoja koljena koja će klečati pred svetim oltarom."
    "Blagoslovljena bila Tvoja maternica bez koje mi ne bismo postojali."
    "Blagoslovljene bile Tvoje grudi koje su stvorene od ljepote."
    "Blagoslovljene bile Tvoje usne koje će izgovarati Sveta Imena."
    (Napomena: na Imbolc kada Visoka svećenica daje Visokom svećeniku poljubac, treba reći "falus" umjesto "maternica" i treba zamijeniti "stvorene od ljepote" sa "stvorene od snage".)
    Nakon ovog dijela rituala slijedi Spuštanja Mjeseca i druge kraće ceremonije o kojima možete više pročitati u prije spomenutom postu o ritualu otvaranja. No da se vratimo na glavu temu ovoga posta, zasigurno ste primijetili da se riječi "Blagoslovljeni bili" (u različitim varijantama) spominju pet puta samo u ovom kratkom ritualu. Ukratko, kada netko kaže "Blagoslovljeni bili", to implicira cijeli ovaj ritual. Naravno, to ne znači da se on izveo samim izgovorom ovih riječi već da su se samo blagoslovili ovi dijelovi tijela. Naime, navedeni dijelovi tijela predstavljaju cijelu osobu (dakle njihovo  fizičko i duhovno tijelo), ali i simboliku i implikacije koje ovi dijelovi tijela imaju (npr. maternica predstavlja plodnost pa time osoba podaruje plodnost osobi kada blagoslivlja ovaj dio tijela itd.). U slučaju da imate još neka pitanja vezane uz peterostruki poljubac, smatram da ćete naći odgovore na njih u ovome kratkom videu. 


    Može se reći da su ritual Spuštanja Mjeseca, a time i obred peterostrukog poljupca uobičajeni dijelovi svakog grupnog rituala a time je i sam izraz "Blagoslovljeni bili" dio gotovo svakog rituala. No, nije nužno potrebno izvesti ove rituale kako bi se izgovorile ove riječi. Jednako se lako može njima zaželjeti dobrodošlica ostalim članovima grupe u krug. Također se može (i usput, ovo je jako uobičajeno) završiti zazivanje četvrti ili bilo kakvu drugu invokaciju ili evokaciju ovim izrazom. Ukratko, može ga se koristiti umjesto izraza "dobar dan/dobrodošli" i "doviđenja". 

    Gerald Gardner i peterostruki poljubac


    Neki tvrde da je Gerald Gardner zapravo bio prvi koji je upotrijebio izraz "Blagoslovljeni bili" u svome (navodno) fikcionalnom djelu High Magic's Aid. Ono je zapravo bila prva objavljena knjiga koja je otvoreno opisivala paganski ritual. Pošto su vještičarstvo i njemu slične prakse bile gotovo ilegalne u to doba (a uz to su postojale i mnoge druge restrikcije), knjiga je bila objavljena pod krinkom romana. No, ona je bila zasnovana na Gardnerovom osobnom iskustvu sa svojim tadašnjim kovenom. Također, nemojte se iznenaditi ako ne vidite Gardnerovo ime na naslovnici. Kao što sam istaknula, prilike tog doba nisu baš njemu išle u prilog pa je upotrijebio pseudonim Scire kako bi zaštitio sebe i svoju privatnost. 

    On u knjizi opisuje peterostruki poljubac sljedećim riječima:
    "Suddenly he was pulled to a stop, at the south side of the altar, where he stood swaying, his head reeling. Morven struck eleven strokes on a little bell, then knelt at his feet, saying: "In other religions, the postulant kneels as the priests claim supreme power. But in the art magical, we are taught to be humble, so we say
    (kissing his feet): Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways.
    (kissing knees) Blessed be thy knees that shall kneel at the sacred altar.
    (kissing phallus) Blessed be the organ of generation, without which we would not be.
    (kissing breasts) Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty and in strength.
    (kissing lips) Blessed be thy lips, which shall utter the sacred names.
    "
    Slobodni prijevod: Odjednom ga je nešto zaustavilo na sjevernoj strani oltara gdje se ostao njihati vrteći glavom. Morven je zazvonio jedanaest puta zvoncem te mu kleknuo pred noge govoreći: "U drugim vjerama novaci trebaju klečati pred svećenicima koji imaju vrhovnu moć. No u magijskom umijeću smo naučeni da trebamo biti ponizni. Stoga kažemo:
    (ljubeći mu stopala) Blagoslovljene bile tvoje noge koje su te dovele ovim putem.
    (ljubeći mu koljena) Blagoslovljena bila tvoja koljena koja će klečati pred svetim oltarom.
    (ljubeći falus) Blagoslovljena bila tvoja maternica bez koje mi ne bismo postojali.
    (ljubeći prsa) Blagoslovljene bile tvoje grudi koje su stvorene od ljepote.
    (ljubeći usta) Blagoslovljene bile tvoje usne koje će izgovarati Sveta Imena.

    Zamolila bih sve čitatelje koji nisu upoznati s paganskim ritualima da ništa ne vade iz konteksta. Možete pročitati cijeli roman na poveznici koja je poviše navedena. Ovaj citat možete naći na 183. stranici. 

    Uz ove primjere, izraz se uspio uvući u još jednu zanimljivu priču, odnosno mit:

    Legenda o silasku Božice

    Perzefona i Had: tondo 
    atičkog crvenofiguralnog kiliksa
    cca. 440.–430.g.pr.Kr.
    U središtu legende se nalazi simbolično spuštanje Božice u podzemni svijet koji predstavlja smrt). Priče poput ove postoje u grčkoj (mit o Demetri i Kori), egipatskoj (Izida i Oziris) i nordijskoj mitologiji (Odinovo vješanje s Yggrasila i gledanje u dubine bunara Wyrd/Urd) te u šamanskoj praksi (gdje lik Čuvara misterija igra važnu ulogu jer on treba pustiti pojedinca da prođe dalje i suoči se sa smrću). Ovi mitovi ne predstavljaju pravu smrt već suočavanje pojedinca sa strahom od smrti (kojeg se treba savladati). Može ih se također povezati i sa psihologijom Carla Junga i konceptima Anime/Animusa (koji su predstavljeni figurama nalik Čuvaru misterija) te Sjenke (sama smrt). 

    Legenda o silasku Božice (eng. the Legend of the Descent of the Goddess) se izigrava za vrijeme inicijacija drugog stupnja u gardnerijskoj i aleksandrijskoj tradiciji wicce. Tijekom ovih "obrednih predstava", uloge su podijeljene na način da Visoki svećenik obično igra ulogu Smrti, Visoka svećenica igra ulogu Božice, a ostali se likovi odaberu po dogovoru (iako ovo nisu fiksna pravila). Također treba postojati i narator koji govori sve ono što nije u navodnicima. Na engleskome priča glasi: 
    Now our Lady the Goddess has never loved, but she would solve all the mysteries, even the mystery of Death: And so she journeyed to the Underworld. The Guardians of the portals challenged her: 
    “Strip of thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught mayest thou bring with thee into this our land.” 
    So she laid down her garments and her jewels, and was bound, as are all who enter the Realms of Death, the Mighty One. Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt and kissed her feet, saying: 
    “Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me; but let me place my cold hand on thy heart.” 
    She replied: “I love thee not. Why dost thou cause all things that I love and take delight in to fade and die?” 
    “Lady,” replied Death, “’tis age and fate, against which I am helpless. Age causes all things to wither; but when men die at the end of time, I give them rest and peace, and strength so that they may return. But thou! Thou art lovely. Return not; abide with me!” 
    But she answered: “I love thee not.” 
    Then said Death: “An thou receivest not my hand on thy heart, thou must receive Death’s scourge.” 
    “It is fate—better so,” she said. And she knelt and Death scourged her tenderly. And she cried, “I feel the pangs of love.” 
    And Death said, “Blessed Be!” and gave her the Fivefold Kiss, saying:“Thus only mayest thou attain to joy and knowledge.” 
    And he taught her all the mysteries, and they loved and were one, and he taught her all the Magics. For there are three great events in the life of man: Love, Death, and Resurrection in the new body; and Magic controls them all. For to fulfil love you must return again at the same time and place as the loved one, and you must remember and love them again. But to be reborn you must die and be ready for a new body; and to die you must be born; and without love you may not be born; and this is all the Magics.
    U slobodnom prijevodu:
    Naša Gospa Božica do sada još ne ljubi nikoga, no ona htjede objasniti sve misterije, čak i misterij Smrti; stoga ona otputuje u podzemni svijet. Čuvari portala ju izazvaše:
    "Razodjeni se, ostavi po strani svoj nakit; jer ništa ne smiješ ponijeti sa sobom u ovu našu zemlju"
    I zaista, ona se razodjene, ostavi po strani svoj nakit te bijaše vezana, kao i svi koji ulaze u Kraljevstvo Smrti, Svemoćnoga. Tolika bijaše njezina ljepota da i sama Smrt pokleknu pred njom, poljubi joj stopala i reče:
    "Blagoslovljena bila tvoja stopala koje su te dovele ovim putem. Ostani sa mnom; ali dozvoli mi da položim svoju hladnu ruku na tvoje srce."
    Ona odgovori: "Ne volim te. Zašto uzrokuješ da sve stvari koje volim i kojima se radujem iščeznu i umru?"
    "Gospo," odgovori Smrt, "to su godine i sudba protiv kojih sam ja nemoćan. Godine uzrokuju uvenuće svih stvari; no kada ljudi umru na kraju vremena, ja im dajem počinak i mir te snagu kako bi se mogli vratiti. Ali vi! Vi ste prelijepi! Ne vraćajte se; ostanite sa mnom!"
    No ona odgovori: "Ne volim te."
    Potom smrt reče: "Ako nećeš prihvatiti moju ruku na svoje srce, moraš primiti bičevanje Smrti."
    "To je kob - bolje je tako," reče ona. I ona poklekne i Smrt ju izbičuje nježno. I ona uzvikne: "Osjećam bol ljubavi."
    I smrt reče: "Blagoslovljena bila!" i dade joj peterostruki poljubac govoreći. "Jedino ovako možeš zadobiti sreću i znanje."
    I on ju poduči svim misterijima i oni se voliše i bijahu jedno te ju on poduči svim Magijama. Jer postoje tri velika događaja u čovjekovu životu: Ljubav, Smrt, i Ponovno rođenje u novom tijelu; a Magija im svima upravlja. Jer za postići ljubav se trebaš ponovno vratiti u isto vrijeme i na isto mjesto kao i tvoja ljubav, te ih se moraš sjetiti i ponovno ih zavoljeti. Ali da bi se ponovno rodio trebaš prvo umrijeti  i biti spreman za novo tijelo; a da bi umro se trebaš roditi; a bez ljubavi se ne možeš roditi; i ovo su sve Magije."

    Naravno, ovo nisu jedini tekstovi u kojima ćete naići na ovaj izraz, ali oni tvore osnovu shvaćanja njegovih implikacija. Možete naći na njega u mnogim drugim knjigama, ritualima te ga čuti tijekom rituala ili bilo kakvog paganskog okupljanja. Samo se nadam da ćete zapamtiti ono što vam treba iz ovoga posta te se sjetiti značenja i vrijednosti ovog izraza kada bude potrebno.

    Olakšanje mi je konačno vam moći reći sljedeće riječi znajući sa sigurnošću da u potpunosti razumijete ono što njima želim prenijeti:
    BLAGOSLOVLJENI BILI! :D

    23.1.14

    "Blessed be" - Meaning and Origins

    In line with the meaning of this phrase, I wish you all infinite happiness and thank you for visiting my blog! :) 

    The phrase "Blessed be" is the most frequently heard and spoken phrase in the Neopagan and Wiccan community. It is a common greeting among both the followers of these Pagan paths as well as many Witches.

    The phrase may be familiar to some of you from other faiths because many of them accept the terms "blessings", "to bless" and similar notions into their practices. But what lies at the core of these words and phrases?

    The root of the verb "bless" can be found in the Old English word bletsian (also spelt bledsian) "to consecrate, make holy, give thanks". It was used in Old English Bibles as a translation of two other verbs: the Latin benedicere and Greek eulogein which basically mean "to speak well of, to praise". These two verbs were, in fact, used to translate the Hebrew word brk which means "to bend (the knee), worship, praise, invoke blessings". It seems that a false etymology occurred because "bless" was connected to the word "bliss" (which is completely unrelated, although seems similar spelling-wise) and soon began to mean "pronounce or make happy". The noun "blessing" comes from the Old English bletsunga, bledsunge which basically means "a gift from God". In the 12th century, the adjective "blessed" (pronounced /ˈblesɪd/, which forms the center of the phrase I will be talking about) used to mean "supremely happy," or "consecrated" as I have indicated in the first paragraph.

    And now that we're done with the boring etymological part of the post (which I love so much for some reason), it's time to get to the fun part! :D

    You may be asking yourselves the following questions:

    "When is it appropriate to say 'Blessed be' to someone?"

    This phrase has become not only an essential part of rituals but also of everyday life of Pagans everywhere. It is now a greeting so you would say it to someone like saying "Hello" or "Goodbye". Some may find that this is inappropriate and believe that phrases such as these should be reserved only for rituals, but this is very individual. Generally speaking, nobody will take offense if you address them in this manner. 

    Also, even if you're not Pagan yourself, Pagans will equally wholeheartedly accept this wish from you too. These words aren't only reserved for Pagans. :) 

    You may come across an abbreviated version of the blessing: "BB" which is often used on the Internet. It can also stand for "Bright(est) blessing(s)" which is another version of "Blessed be" but is much younger in origin and doesn't come from the same source.

    In rituals, these words often play either an introductory role or serve as a conclusion (mainly to various invocations/evocations) and are often used to either open or conclude a group ritual where they imply giving blessings and wishing your best to everyone present in the circle. Since we're on the topic of rituals, I believe it's time to say a few words about the history of this phrase.

    "Where does the phrase originate from?"

    It is usually believed that it originates form the ceremony of Drawing down the Moon in which the High Priest invokes the Goddess into the body of the High Priestess (as it is fitting for a woman to be a representative of the Goddess). I talked about this ritual in more detail in my previous post on the Opening Ritual but I will say a few more words on the subject here as well. 

    The first part of the Drawing down the Moon ritual is the Fivefold kiss. Now this is where the phrase "Blessed be" really originates from. The ritual itself serves as a symbolic worshiping or reverence bestowed (usually) from the God to the Goddess. It is basically the ritual kissing (or another symbolic act) of five parts of the body (actually ten since they are mostly in pairs). The ritual is described in great detail in Janet and Stewart Farrar's wonderful book entitled The Witches' Bible (a previous version can be found on the Internet under the name Eight Sabbats for Witches), but this is basically how the ritual goes:
    The High Priestess standing
    in the Osiris position just
    before the Fivefold kiss
    • the High Priestess stands with her back to the altar, with a staff/wand in her right hand and a scourge in her left (her hands are crossed in the Osiris pose)
    • the High Priest kneels in front of the High Priestess
    • the High Priest kisses the High Priestess in the following order: right foot, left foot, right knee, left knee, womb, right breast, left breast, lips. When he kisses her on the womb, she spreads her arms in the welcoming position (simply outstretched arms as if you are about to hug someone). I understand that this part might be quite strange for some of you, but don't worry; there is always alternative. For example, the HP can kiss his hand and with it lightly touch these body parts (usually with two fingers), or he can place his hands in the blessing position and hover over the specific body part. This way, you can feel more comfortable, but the energy has still been transferred. If you're not familiar with the terminology used (for poses and gestures for example, you can find out more in this post).
    • While the High Priest kisses the aforementioned body parts, he says, after each "group" (feet, knees, womb, breasts, lip) the following sentences:
    "Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways.
    Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar.
    Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be.
    Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty.
    Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names."
    (Note: on Imbolc, the High Priestess gives the High Priest the Fivefold Kiss and she has to substitute "womb" with "phallus" and "made in beauts" with "made in strength".)

    This part of the ritual is followed by the actual Drawing down the Moon and other shorter ceremonies which you can read about in the "Opening Ritual" post. But to return to our main topic, you may notice that the words "Blessed be" are mentioned five times in this ritual. In short, when someone says "Blessed be", this implies the whole ritual. Of course, not in the sense that it has just been enacted, but that all of these blessings are given. The mentioned body parts symbolize the entire person (both their physical and spiritual body) as well as the symbols and implications these body parts carry with them (e.g. the womb is a symbol of fertility, so one bestows the blessing of fertility when saying "Blessed be" and so on). In case you still have some questions about the Fivefold kiss, I think this video will explain it nicely (and in a very short time too!).


    We can claim that the Fivefold kiss and Drawing down the Moon are a normal part of basically every group ritual and therefore, this phrase is a part of practically every ritual. Although, it isn't necessary to perform these rituals to be able to say the phrase. You can just as easily welcome the other coven into the circle by saying "Blessed be". You can also (and by the way, this is very common), end the calling of the quarters or any other invocations and evocations with this phrase. Basically, use it as a "hello" or "goodbye" in these contexts.

    Gerald Gardner and the Fivefold kiss

    Some claim that Gerald Gardner was the first one to use the phrase "Blessed be" in his (so called) fictional work entitled High Magic's Aid which was the first published book to openly describe a Pagan coven ritual. Since witchcraft and such practices were practically illegal at the time (and some other restrictions existed in addition to this), the book was published as a novel. Although, it was based on Gardner's personal experience with his coven. Do not be surprised if you don't see Gardner's name on the cover. As I mentioned, the circumstances at the time of publication were not really in his favor so he used the pseudonym "Scire" to protect himself and his privacy.

    In this book, he describes the Fivefold kiss as follows:
    "Suddenly he was pulled to a stop, at the south side of the altar, where he stood swaying, his head reeling. Morven struck eleven strokes on a little bell, then knelt at his feet, saying: "In other religions, the postulant kneels as the priests claim supreme power. But in the art magical, we are taught to be humble, so we say
    (kissing his feet): Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways.
    (kissing knees) Blessed be thy knees that shall kneel at the sacred altar.
    (kissing phallus) Blessed be the organ of generation, without which we would not be.
    (kissing breasts) Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty and in strength.
    (kissing lips) Blessed be thy lips, which shall utter the sacred names.
    "
    I would ask any readers who are not familiar with Pagan rituals not to take anything out of context. You can find the full novel on the link above. This excerpt can be found on page 183.

    This phrase has managed to find its way into another interesting story (actually, a myth):

    The Legend of the Descent of the Goddess

    Persephone and Hades: tondo 
    of an Attic red-figured kylix
    ca. 440–430 BC
    This myth is centered around the symbolic descent of the Goddess down to the Underworld (which represents death). Stories such as these existed in Greek (the myth of Demeter and Kore), Egyptian (Isis and Osiris) and Norse mythology (Odin's hanging on Yggdrasil and looking down into the Well of Urd/Wyrd) as well as in Shamanic practices (where the character of the Guardian of the mysteries plays an important role as one has to pass him in order to face Death). These myths don't represent actual death but rather a confrontation of the individual with the fear of death (which must be conquered). It can also be connected to Jungian concepts of Anima/Animus (which are represented by figures such as the Guardian of the mysteries) and the Shadow (Death itself).

    The story of the Descent of the Goddess is enacted during second-degree rituals in the Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions. During these rituals, the roles are assigned so that the High Priestess usually plays the role of the Goddess, the High Priest plays Death and the other characters are chosen accordingly, although this isn't a rule. There also has to be a narrator who speaks everything that is no in quotation marks. The story reads:
    Now our Lady the Goddess has never loved, but she would solve all the mysteries, even the mystery of Death: And so she journeyed to the Underworld. The Guardians of the portals challenged her: 
    “Strip of thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught mayest thou bring with thee into this our land.” 
    So she laid down her garments and her jewels, and was bound, as are all who enter the Realms of Death, the Mighty One. Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt and kissed her feet, saying: 
    “Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me; but let me place my cold hand on thy heart.” 
    She replied: “I love thee not. Why dost thou cause all things that I love and take delight in to fade and die?” 
    “Lady,” replied Death, “’tis age and fate, against which I am helpless. Age causes all things to wither; but when men die at the end of time, I give them rest and peace, and strength so that they may return. But thou! Thou art lovely. Return not; abide with me!” 
    But she answered: “I love thee not.” 
    Then said Death: “An thou receivest not my hand on thy heart, thou must receive Death’s scourge.” 
    “It is fate—better so,” she said. And she knelt and Death scourged her tenderly. And she cried, “I feel the pangs of love.” 
    And Death said, “Blessed Be!” and gave her the Fivefold Kiss, saying:“Thus only mayest thou attain to joy and knowledge.” 
    And he taught her all the mysteries, and they loved and were one, and he taught her all the Magics. For there are three great events in the life of man: Love, Death, and Resurrection in the new body; and Magic controls them all. For to fulfil love you must return again at the same time and place as the loved one, and you must remember and love them again. But to be reborn you must die and be ready for a new body; and to die you must be born; and without love you may not be born; and this is all the Magics.

    Of course, these aren't the only places you will come across the phrase, but they do form the basis of understanding the implications that go with it. You may see it in many other books, rituals and hear it during a ritual or Pagan meeting. All I hope is that you remember what you read here and recall the meanings and value of this phrase.

    I am relieved to finally be able to say this to all of you with the confidence that you fully understand what I mean:
    BLESSED BE! :D

    20.1.14

    Metle (Mogu li vještice zaista letjeti?)


    Vještice koje jašu metle - krajnji stereotip, zar ne? Ljudi su vidjeli ovu sliku toliko puta da su je naprosto prihvatili bez razmišljanja o povijesnoj pozadini, ili istinitosti ovog mita. Uz to je zahvaljujući pop kulturi ovaj prizor postao sinonim za vještice. A da budem iskrena, ovo mi čak ni ne smeta, zapravo mi je čak i simpatično. Usprkos ovome, smatram da bi se povijesna i religijska pozadina metle i njezina duboka povezanost s paganizmom i vještičarstvom trebala pojasniti.

    Metlu sam spomenula u nekoliko prijašnjih postova, uključujući onaj o ritualnom priboru te unutar teme združenja (eng. Handfasting) koju se može naći u postu o obredima prijelaza.

    U ovom ću postu nastojati objasniti kakve uloge metla igra u paganizmu i vještičarstvu (ipak je ovo paganski/wiccanski blog), objasniti njezinu simboliku te uporabu u modernoj ritualnoj praksi. No ponajviše ću se direktno baviti mitom vještičjeg leta.

    Terminologija: metla / besom

    Žutilovka (eng. broom plant,
    lat. cytisus scoparius)
    Još jedan popularni naziv za metlu (pretežito u engleskom jeziku) je besom (čita se /'bi:zm/). Ovaj se termin u početku koristio za označavanje bilo kojeg predmeta koji služi za metenje. Engleski naziv za metlu je broomstick. Etimologija te riječi potječe od škotske biljke žutilovke koja se na engleskom zove broom plant (lat. cytisus scoparius). Hrvatski glagol mesti vjerojatno dolazi od praslavenskog glagola mesti koji znači "metati/bacati". Od žutilovke se uglavnom radila drška metle dok su četku sačinjavale grančice i/ili zelenilo koje se vezivalo na jedan kraj drške. Besom se razlikuje u materijalu od metle jer upotrebna žutilovke nije bila obavezna; za metlu se moglo iskoristiti vrijesak, ili brezu, a za četku slama, sušeno bilje, ili bilo kakve grančice. Prema nekima, tradicionalni besom danas treba imati dršku od lijeske (a ponekad je prihvatljiv i jasen), a četku od brezinih grana koje su vezane za dršku vrbinim granama. Metlu se može ukrasiti lišćem i cvijećem, a često i drugim predmetima poput kristala, simbola, vrpca (iako su posljednja tri ušla u praksu tek nedavno). Naravno, pošto su obična metla i besom bili slični po izgledu i upotrebljavati za iste svrhe, njihove razlike su s vremenom postale nejasne pa su se ova dva termina počela koristiti naizmjenično. 

    Neću u detalje govoriti kako se moderne metle izrađuju, ali ću pokušati objasniti u kratkim crtama. Praktičar bi trebao otići u šumu i naći materijale za izradu samostalno. Nakon što je pronašao odgovarajuće drveće/grane/grmlje, praktičar im se prvo treba zahvaliti na njihovom daru i tek onda može odsjeći granu koja mu treba. Kao zahvalu se obično ostavlja neki maleni kristal, kovanica, kamen, ili bilo što drugo od značaja praktičaru. Vrlo je jednostavno napraviti metlu kao takvu. Jednostavne upute možete naći ovdje. Nakon što je metla napravljena, treba ju se prvo pročistiti i posvetiti prije nego što ju se može upotrijebiti u krugu. Vrlo "vještolika" tradicija uključuje ostavljanje metle da ispusti višak energije na raskrižju (često na noć punog Mjeseca). Naravno, ovo je sve danas postalo neobvezno zbog mnoštva hobby dućana, trgovina i eBaya koji prodaju metle (i mnoge druge predmete) po prilično niskim cijenama. Kako god da bilo, ja vam svakako preporučujem da radite vlastito oruđe kada god možete jer će ovo unijeti mnogo više energije u samu alatku (a time i u ritual).

    Simbolizam i praznovjerje

    Metlu se obično veže uz žene i domaćinstvo (pošto su žene uglavnom one koje obavljaju sve kućanske poslove). Povezanost između žena i njihovih ljubljenih metli je bila toliko jaka u jednom trenutku da se na metle gledalo kao na simbol žena; domaćice su ih ostavljale naslonjene na vrata kuće kada bi izašle (na taj su način štitile ulaz), ili ih pak gurale kroz dimnjak tako da se vide izvana ako su živjele u kolibi. Od tu potječe i mit o tome da vještice lete kroz dimnjak vani, a prvi je put spomenut u knjizi Flagellum Maleficarum koju je napisao Petrus Mramor 1460. godine.

    Francesco Parmigianino -
    A Witch Riding on a Phallus
    (cca. 1530.g.)
    No, simbolika metle je mnogo dublja od ovoga. Ona je u osnovi simbol plodnosti u kojemu drška predstavlja falus, a četka stidnicu. Spajanje ovih dvaju dijelova je očita metafora za spolno sjedinjavanje i plodnost uopće. Zbog ovoga su se metle često koristile tijekom vjenčanja (iako je ovaj običaj ostao i do dana današnjeg čak i u nekim nepaganskim zajednicama). O ovome ću reći još nešto kasnije, no za sada bih se voljela držati simbolike metle. Njezina je seksualna simbolika igrala te i dalje igra veliku ulogu u paganskim ritualima. Plodnost se slavila jer su se pagani oslanjali na plodnost zemlje kako bi preživjeli, ali i jer su na taj način slavili i svoju plodnost i života uopće. Metla je odlično utjelovljivala ove osnovne zahvalnosti. Falički simbolizam metle je i više nego očit u jednom gravuri manirističkog slikara Parmigianina u kojoj je prikazana kako doslovno jaše jedan veliki falus. 

    Francisco de Goya -
    Pretty Teacher (1797.g.)
    Htjela bih odmah pri početku posta napomenuti da su najstariji opisi i prikaz vještica koja jašu na metlama znatno drukčiji od onih na koje smo mi danas naviknuti. Naime, četka metle je trebala biti sprijeda tj. ispred vještice (kao što je prikazano na Goyinoj grafici). Hollywood je ovo obrnuo vjerojatno iz estetskih razloga. Naprosto je ovakav sistem bio logičniji jer četka predstavlja ženski spolni organ i razumski je trebala stajati bliže spolovilu. Također, drugi izvori navode da metle nisu bili jedini predmeti koje su vještice jahale. Zanimljiva varijacija na temu su konjići (eng. hobby horses). Radi se o igrački koja je u osnovi štap, ali ima kotačiće na jednom kraju, a (najčešće plišanu ili drvenu) imitaciju konjske glave na drugom. Naravno, konjska glava je u ovom slučaju ekvivalenta četke na metli (barem vizualno). Pošto je konjska glava uvijek stajala sprijeda, isti je običaj prešao i na četku. Ovakav način držanja metle je vjerojatno bio i mnogo praktičniji zbog ravnoteže.

    Doreen Valiente ističe nešto što je iz lingvističke perspektive jako zanimljivo. Ova seksualna simbolika metle se odrazila na engleski jezik u kojemu se pojam "broom" (metla) koristio kao sinonim za ženski spolni organ. Nepotrebno je uopće govoriti da je termin "broom handle" (drška metle) označavao dildo. Izraz "to have a brush" (doslovno prevedeno "očetkati se") je logički značio "imati spolni odnos".

    Dok smo još na temi seksa, metlu bi se također moglo povezati sa seksualnim položajima u kojima je žena na muškarcu (to jest, ako se metlu uzme primarno kao falički simbol). Ove se položaje cijeni u paganizmu jer se smatra da pružaju moć i kontrolu ženama. Iz istog razloga nisu omiljeni u kršćanstvu (de facto, Adamova prva žena, Lilit, je odbijala biti ispod supruga tijekom seksualnog čina; inzistirala je na tome da bude poviše i odbijala samo ležati na leđima. Zbog ovoga ju je Bog prokleo i stvorio Evu koja je bila dobra, poslušna žena).

    Naravno, nije sva simbolika seksualne prirode. Metlu se može povezati s vjenčanjima i plodnošću ikakve vrste, kao što sam prethodno objasnila. Mnogo simbolike se pretvorilo u praznovjerje pa tako u nekim zemljama postoji vjerovanje da će osoba imati nesreću ako prekorači metlu, ili ako joj ispadne iz ruku. Također se vjeruje da je nesretno donijeti staru metlu u novu kuću (pošto je metla simbol čišćenja prašine i drugih prljavština, kako na fizičkoj, tako na mentalnoj i emocionalnoj razini). U nekim se područjima također vjeruje da će neudana žena, ako prekorači metlu, imati vanbračno dijete.

    Pošto je metla simbol čišćenja, često ju se koristilo kao vrstu talismana protiv zlih duhova. Ako je ovo bio slučaj, onda bi ju se objesilo iznad vrata kuće (u hodniku) s četkom okrenutom put vrata.

    Neki povezuju metlu s pojmom arbor mundi (Drvo Svijeta) poput germanskog Yggdrasila (možete ovaj pojam pogledati u pojmovniku). Četka metle bi u ovoj situaciji trebala predstavljati duboko korijenje ovog drveta.

    Naravno, postoji još mnogo mitova i praznovjerja koje se vezuje uz metlu, njihove magične moći i vještice. Najpoznatiji mit je zasigurno onaj o vještičjem letu na metlama kako bi došle do odredišta za sabat.

    "Red letenja" - povijesna strana mita

    Usprkos popularnim vjerovanjima i protivno većini slika, grafika, crkvenih tekstova i narodnih priča, vještice zaista nisu letjele na metlama. Ovaj je mit postao općeprihvaćen u moderno doba, a kao posljedica se vještice gotovo odmah asocira s metlama. Zanimljivi podatak je da ovi mitovi ne spominju vještičji let samo na metlama, već i na viljuškama, lopatama, motkama i velikom broju životinja. Čin letenja na metli se u literaturi naziva transvekcija (eng. transvection). 

    Ulrich Molitor - De Lamiis
    (1489.g.)
    Vjeruje se da je najraniji likovni prikaz ovog mita gravura Ulricha Molitora koja nosi naziv De Lamiis u kojoj su tri vještice sa životinjskim glavama umjesto ljudskih prikazane kako lete na običnoj grani (ne metli!). Ove glave daju još jedan nadnaravni element cijeloj sceni. Raniji prikazi nisu baš mogli postojati jer je najranije priznanje leta na metli dao 1453.g. Guillaume Edelin koji je bio župnik crkve St Germain-en-Laye blizu Pariza (uočite da se radi o muškarcu!). Najraniji spomen vještičjeg leta uopće se može naći u pjesmi "Le Champion des Dames" francuskog autora Martina le Franca iz 1440. godine.

    Trebam također napomenuti da je mit o letenju postojao među građanstvom i prije ovog priznanja i pjesme iako se ponešto razlikovala u formi. Već se u 14. stoljeću spominje manija plesa koja se širi Europom. Simptomi ove manije su uključivali plesanje do besvijesti, pjenjenje iz usta, govorenje u jezicima itd. Naravno, ovo se nije dogodilo tek tako; morao je postojati uzrok. Naravno, postoji razlog i da, može ga se povezati s vještičjim letom. Dozvolite mi da ovo pojasnim. :)

    Ergot - smrt ili ekstaza?


    Sve do 15. stoljeća (kada su počeli progoni vještica), većina je ljudi jela raženi kruh, a ne pšenični kao što smo mi danas naviknuti. Glavni problem raži je bio taj što je mogla lako biti zaražena bolešću (tj. gljivicama) koju danas poznajemo kao ergot. Raž se također mnogo lakše uzgajala od pšenice pa ju je stoga bilo lakše i jeftinije kupiti. Ali čak i ako niste jeli raž u ovo doba niste mogli biti sigurni u svoje zdravlje jer je ergot lako mogao napasti i druge vrste žita (uključujući pšenicu). Bolest koju je ova gljiva uzrokovala se danas naziva ergotizam. Uzrok bolesti je otkriven tek 1670. godine, čemu možemo zahvaliti francuskom  liječniku po imenu Thuillier. Upravo su ergotizam i njegove halucinogene posljedice uzrokovale prije spomenutu plesnu maniju. 

    Jean Francois Badoureau - Hysterical
    Epilepsy (cca. 1876.g.)
    Ovdje možete pročitati detaljnu povijest ergota, no ja ću cijelu priču skratiti malo. Ukratko, ova je gljivica funkcionirala tako da bi zamijenila zrne žita na određenoj biljci. Kod raži se dogodilo da je boja zaraženog zrna bila slična boji zdravog zrna, a bolest je uz to bila jako rasprostranjena pa ljudi uopće nisu uočavali ovu razliku. Dakako, nije ljudima trebalo mnogo vremena da shvate simptome bolesti i da nauče njima manipulirati. Ergot je u velikim količinama bio smrtonosan (prilično očit simptom), no ljudi su otkrili da u malim dozama i ako se pravilno konzumira ergot uzrokuje jake halucijancije pa su ga počeli koristiti kao drogu. Čak je i kad ga se u malim količinama konzumiralo oralno mogao uzrokovati smrt. Ali, ljudi su voljeli eksperimentirati s drogama još u to vrijeme (kao što i danas vole) pa su uskoro shvatili da sve negativne posljedice poput mučnine, povraćanja iritacije kože i, u najgorem slučaju smrt, nestaju ako ga se konzumira kroz kožu. Neke druge negativne posljedice uključuju grčenje (zbog čega se ergotizam često povezuje s opsjednutošću demonima i sličnim fenomenima), ili čak simptome gangrene. Dakle konzumiranjem ergota kroz kožu se osoba mogla nuspojava vrlo lako riješiti, bez oduzimanje halucinogenog učinka.

    Stjecajem prirodnih okolnosti su pazusi i ženske genitalije dva dijela ljudskog tijela koji su najosjetljiviji na ovu drogu (neki uključuju tabane i čelo). Pazuh je bio posebno receptivan zbog velikog broja znojnih žlijezda koje se tu nalaze, a ženske genitalije zbog žlijezda sluznica. Kada bi se droga primijenila na ove dijelove tijela, kroz žlijezde bi ušla u krvotok i "obavila svoj posao".

    Žene su bile posebno osjetljive na ovu drogu upravo zbog poviše navedenog razloga. Ovo je jedan od razloga zbog kojih se muškarci gotovo nikada nisu prikazivali kao vještice niti bivali suđeni za vještičarstvo. Očito, ženama je bilo praktično nanijeti ovu drogu na genitalije koristeći se nekim pomagalom koje je obično bila - drška metle! Dakle zamislite ženu koja nanosi na ovaj način drogu na svoje genitalije; zar vas malo ne podsjeća na brojne prikaze vještica u letu?

    Naravno, ergot se nije mogao aplicirati trljanjem obične raži o osjetljive dijelove tijela. Kao i svaku drogu ga je bilo potrebno preraditi. Ovako su nastale masti za letenje (u hrvatskim zapisima također poznate pod nazivima "vilonjska mast" ili "vještičja mast").

    Vještičja mast

    Vještice se najčešće prikazuju kako jašu metle, ili kako se mažu nečim (ili čak kako ih netko drugi maže nečim). Pretpostavljalo se da su mazale tzv. vještičju mast na sebe koja im je omogućavala let do sastajališta svoga kovena. Narodne priče (a ponekad čak i crkveni dokumenti) tvrde da je glavni sastojak ove masti bila zapravo mast koja se dobivala kuhanjem nekrštene djece, što nije bilo ni blizu istine. Ako se išta koristilo, to je onda bila svinjska mast koja se i dan danas koristi kao baza/nositelj većine masti, a često se koristi i u kulinarstvu.

    Ostali sastojci su uglavnom bile halucinogene biljke poput onih iz roda aconitum (npr. jedić), roda conium (npr. kukuta), ili poput velebilja (također poznata kao bunika). Neki izvori na ovaj popis dodaju i tatulu (lat. Datura stramonium) te mandragoru. Naravno, ne smijemo zaboraviti i ergot. Postoji mnogo navodnih recepata za ovu mast. Navedene recepte možete naći u knjizi Raymonda Bucklanda The Witch Book.

    Upozorenje: Ne preporuča se isprobavanje recepata ni njihova primjena. Sastojci su opasni i mogu uzrokovati ozbiljne nuspojave. Navedeni podaci su namijenjeni isključivo za informacijske svrhe.

    Jedan recepte iz Gardnerove Knjige sjenki glasi:
    • 100g masti
    • 5g hašiša
    • jedna šaka cvjetova konoplje
    • jedna šaka cvjetova maka
    • prstohvat korijena kukureka (u prahu)
    • prstohvat smrvljenih suncokretovih sjemenki (isto u prahu)
    Upute kažu: "Treba se utrljati u kožu iza ušiju, na vratu duž crta karotidnih arterija, u pazuhe, lijevo od simpatičkog živca, na stražnju stranu koljena,, na tabane i na pregibe ruku."

    Drugi recept preporuča sljedeće sastojke:
    • 3g "anamtola" (eng. annamthol)*
    • 50g ekstrakta opijuma
    • 30g ekstrakta betela
    • 6g biljke Potentilla arenaria
    • 15g bunike
    • 15g velebilja
    • 15g običnog kukuta
    • 250g indijske konoplje (Cannabis Indica)
    • 5g kantaridina
    • gumasta sluz tragant
    • šećera u prahu
    *anamtol je čvrsti talog (uljana tekućina) koji se dobiva destilacijom ricinusovog ulja; ako se nastavi proces zagrijavanja, dobije se kristalna masa.

    Sastojke bi se trebalo izmiješati s uljem (npr. čistim maslinovim) ili s kremom (npr. lanolinskom). Smjesa se smije nanositi samo izvanka!

    Nešto moderniji recept glasi:
    • 1 posuda kreme za ruke
    • 1 žličica biljnog ulja
    • 2 žličice bunike
    • 3 kapljice tekućeg deterdženta
    • 2 žličice soka jedića
    Ove se sastojke može potom izmiješati s mirisom po izboru korisnika.

    Moram napomenuti još jednom da su ovi recepti namijenjeni ISKLJUČIVO za informativne svrhe te da bilo tko tko ih proba snosi posljedice vlastitog djelovanja. Ja ne mogu garantirati da je ijedan od ovih recepata siguran.

    No, da se vratim na temu, Gerald Gardner vjeruje da su se ove masti koristile za zadržavanje topline. Ovo je bilo potrebno jer se smatra da su vještice svoje obrede izvodile nage pa su stoga trebale zadržati tjelesnu toplinu dok ne stignu do sastajališta (ali i tijekom obavljanja samog rituala). 

    Čini mi se da su prije navedeni razlozi uvjerljiviji. Doista, halucinacije koje su uzrokovale ove halucinogene biljke su bile opisane poput letenja tj. senzacije leta, osjećaja da ekstremiteti plutaju (a ponekad čak i cijelo tijelo). Hajdemo onda još nešto reći o ovoj senzaciji letenja i nekim njenim metaforičkim interpretacijama.

    Jesu li vještice zaista letjele?

    Odgovor na ovo pitanje bi glasio: "Ne, barem ne fizički". Letenje je, kao što smo ustanovili, bila posljedica halucinacije koje su bile uzrokovane brojnim halucinogenim biljkama (koje su bile ukombinirane u razne masti te namazane na određene dijelove tijela). Prve priče vezane uz letenje se mogu naći još početkom 15. stoljeća. Ove priče ne govore ništa od konzumaciji droga, već pričaju o snovima u kojima je sanjar letio. Prepričavanje dojmova sljedećeg jutra su obično uključivala opise sastanaka na udaljenim mjestima. 

    Interpretacija u kojoj je metla astralno vozilo, a masti katalizatori je također bitna teorija. Još jednom mora ponoviti da ovo ne znači da su vještice zaista letjele, no astralna putovanja su uključena u ovu teoriju. Astralno putovanje označava promjenu stanja svijesti za koju se obično vjeruje da može odvesti praktičara u druga stanja bivanja/druge stvarnosti/dimenzije. 

    Astralna putovanja i tehnike ekstaze su bili prisutni i u šamanskoj praksi koji tobože prethode one prakse o kojima smo do sada pričali. Opće je poznato da šamani nisu koristili metle kako bi dostigli ove trenutke ekstaze, već su jahali konjiće (tzv. hobby horses, kao što su i vještice po nekim pričama). Jahanje konja je samo po sebi simbol snage, izdržljivosti i opstanka. Šamani su bili mudraci čija je primarna uloga u društvu bila putovanje u druge svjetove (u ovom slučaju na metaforičkom konju) te donošenje informacija i vijesti. Kao što je rekao Mircea Eliade, stručnjak o šamanizmu, ovo je bilo simbolično jahanje koje je predstavljalo napuštanje tijela; šamanovu "mističnu smrt". Još jedan primjer ovakvih teriomorfnih (u obliku životinja) vozila se može naći u ritualima altajskih šamana. Jedan od ovih rituala uključuje figuru guske (svojevrsnog strašila) koju bi se postavilo pred šamanov šator (jurt). Šaman bi trebao zajahati ovu gusku, mahati rukama kao da leti  i pjevati određene pjesme o letu. Ovaj je čin sam po sebi bio tehnika ekstaze i time vrlo sličan vještičjem "letu". Vrijedi naglasiti da šamani nisu koristili ikakve oblika masti tijekom ovih rituala. Dio šamanske tradicije je konzumiranje pejotla (vrsta kaktusa koji također ima psihoaktivne učinke). 

    Gwydion, još jedna zanimljiva figura na području magije, paganizma i sličnih tema, tvrdi da ovi prikazi vještica u letu dokazuju "očigledno nerazumijevanje magijsko-poetske šifre koja ukazuje na šamansku ekstazu i vizionarski let duha". Takvi "letovi" (ili bolje rečeno plesovi i rituali) su bile metode kojima se stupalo u kontakt s božanskim te kojima se dostizalo ekstazu i trans.

    Još jedna interpretacija leta se čini nešto više doslovnom i ritualističkom. Prema nekim pripovijetkama, vještice su znale činiti obrede plodnosti u kojima su jahale metle kao konje te plesale, pjevale i slavile plodnost uopće. Moguće je da je sve ovo skakanje u zrak i plesanje bilo zamijenjeno za let u nekom povijesnom trenutku ili s vremenom ili pak da su se vještice, pod utjecajem navedenih droga, osjećale kao da lete dok su izvodile ove obrede. Ovo nas dovodi do sljedećeg naslova.

    Obredi plodnosti

    Kao što sam već rekla, vještice i pagani oduvijek slave plodnost, bila ona ljudska ili zemljina. Postoje priče u kojima vještice odlaze u polje i ekstatično plešu na svojim metlama/ konjićima/raznim drugim predmetima te skaču u zrak. Vjerovalo se da će urod narasti onoliko visoko koliko se može skočiti. Time se može zaključiti da je ovo očito bio oblike neke suosjećajne/imitativne magije. 

    Douglas Hill predlaže da je ovo također jedan od prije spomenutih oblika psihonavigacije i tehnika ekstaze.

    Uporaba metle u ritualima

    Najstarija uporaba metle u ritualima je bila za čišćenje ritualnog prostora. Metle se i dan danas koriste u ovu svrhu, ali se na njih više gleda kao na oruđe namijenjeno za energetsko čišćenje nego za zbiljsko fizičko čišćenje. Unutar paganske zajednice su postale simbol čišćenja, istjerivanja, odstranjivanje staroga (koje je često i "prljavo") te stvaranje mjesta za sve novo (koje se obično percipira kao "čisto"). Zbog ovoga mnoge vještice pripremaju svoj obredni prostor tako da ga prvo pometu metlom, ili pak tako da označe krug tako da šetaju po njegovom obodu s metlom u rukama (tako da je četka okrenuta prema podu; zapravo se krug samo naznačava pa metla uopće ne mora ni dotaknuti pod već može samo prolaziti malo iznad njega). Dok se ovo radi, obično se obavlja i jedna vizualizacija u kojoj praktičar zamišlja da metla za sobom ostavlja bijelo/plavo svjetlo na tlu (u obliku crte) kako ju se povlači po krugu. Smatram da ovaj kratki video jako lijepo opisuje primjenu metle pa vam preporučam da ga pogledate. :)

    video

    Dakle, u ovom scenariju čišćenja kruga, metla zapravo igra ulogu athaméa (koji se obično koristi za označavanje kruga). Metla ga može zamijeniti u još jednoj situaciji; pri ulaženju/izlaženju iz kruga. Ponekad se može dogoditi da netko treba izaći iz kruga nakon što je već konstruiran (a potom se i vratiti u njega). Ova osoba ne može naprosto izaći je to može stvoriti energetsku neuravnoteženost. Kada bi koristila athamé, osoba ti nacrtala vrata na obodu kruga te, nakon što bi izašla iz kruga, ponovno ih nacrtala (ali obratno, kao da ih želi "zakopčati" athaméom). Kada se koristi metla, potrebno je samo "pomesti" maleni dio one svjetleće plave/bijele crte koju se zamišljalo tijekom stvaranja kruga te je ponovno ucrtati metlom. Naravno, ovaj se proces treba ponoviti kada osobe opet želi ući u krug.

    Kao što se metlu nekoć koristilo kao simbol zaštite u kućanstvu, tako ju se može koristiti s ovom svrhom i u ritualima (dakle kako bi se istjeralo bilo kakve negativne energije ili entitete).

    Kako je metla ujedno i simbol plodnosti, često ju se koriti pri vjenčanjima tj. združenjima (eng. Handfastings). Ova se ceremonija ubraja među obrede prijelaza koji označavaju trenutke važnih promjena u životu pojedinca. U ovom se slučaju radi o novom početku s voljenim partnerom. Kako bi se simboliziralo ovo združenje, mladi par obično preskoči metlu (često se držeći za ruke). Neki na ovaj čin sam po sebi gledaju kao na ritual plodnosti jer preskačući metlu par praktički moli da brak bude plodan (tj. da dobiju djecu). Ovaj je običaj preživio sve do danas (čak i van paganske zajednice). Na primjer, mladi parovi u Walesu često ulaze u novu kuću preskačući metlu koja stoji na pragu (no ne smiju ju dotaknuti jer se inače brak neće smatrati važećim). Obrnuto od združenja (eng. Handfasting) je razdruženje (eng. Handparting). Brak se u paganizmu ne smatra neponištivim (zapravo, par se zavjetuje ostati skupa dok se god vole, a ne "dok ih smrt ne rastavi"). Kako bi se brak poništio, par naprosto treba unatrag prekoračiti/preskočiti metlu.


    U današnje je doba nekoć primarna funkcija metle za utrljavanje masti na kožu davno zaboravljen jer su otkrivene mnogo sigurnije i jednostavnije metode ulaženja u trans. Trebam naglasiti da je korištenje droga u današnjoj paganskoj praksi vrlo rijetka pojava, iako je upotreba droga bila prisutna u mnogim kulturama i dobima čovječanstva kako bi se dostigla prosvijetljena stanja i kako bi se praktičaru pomoglo na putu do božanskog. Stoga se ne morate brinuti da će vas itko prisiljavati konzumirati ikakve droge na ritualima; nitko nikoga ne prisiljava na ništa!

    Kada bih htjela sažeti ovaj cijeli post i odgovoriti na pitanje koje sam postavila kao njegov naslov, rekla bih sljedeće: vještice zaista ne mogu letjeti. Iako su neki percipirali njihove aktivnosti kao letenje, što se vjerojatno dogodilo u stvarnosti jest da su se vještice okupile slaviti jedan od festivala (koji je obično bio fokusiran na plodnost) tijekom noći punog Mjeseca usred nekog polja. One su bacile krug, namazale mast na dršku metle ili konjića te jahale taj predmet dok im psihoaktivne tvari nisu ušle u krvotok. Nakon što su ušle u ekstatički stadij, one su plesale i pjevale i podizale energiju rituala do vrhunca te, u ovom procesu, dosegle duhovno uzdignuće i astralno putovanje. 

    I to bi vam bilo to. Možda ste naučili nešto novo i zanimljivo iz ovog posta. Ja svakako jesam dok sam istraživala ovu temu. :)
    Ovo je bio moj treći post za Pagan Blog Project, a sljedeći će jako uskoro doći. Stoga se čujemo opet uskoro.
    Vaša Witch's Cat

    17.1.14

    Broomsticks (Can Witches Really Fly?)

    Witches riding brooms - the ultimate stereotype, isn't it? People have seen this image so many times that they've simply come to accept it and don't even think to question its historical background or verity. So, thanks to pop culture, this image has become synonymous with witches. And to be honest, I don't even mind it that much; I actually find it cute. Despite this, I still believe that the historical and religious background of the broomstick and its deep connection with Paganism and witchcraft has to be explained. 

    I have mentioned the broomstick in several previous posts, including the one on ritual tools and on the subject of Handfasting i.e. marriage (which can be found in the post on crossing rituals).

    In this post, I'll try to explain what role the broom plays in Paganism and witchcraft (after all, this is a Pagan/Wiccan blog), explain its symbolism and uses in modern rituals, but mainly, I will try to confront the stereotype of flying witches head on.

    Terminology: Broomstick/Besom

    The Broom plant/shrub
    (lat. cytisus scoparius)
    Another common name for the broomstick is a besom (pronounced /'bi:zm/). This term was used to name any sweeping tool. The term "broomstick", on the other hand, got its name from the Scottish Broom plant (lat. cytisus scoparius) from which the broomstick's handle was made. The actual sweeping part (a.k.a. the bristles) was made up of twigs and/or leaves which were tied to one end of the handle. The besom also differs in material since the use of the broom plant wasn't mandatory; one could also make a besom out of heather or birch and the bristles could have been straw, dried herbs or any old twigs. According to some, a traditional besom broom nowadays has a hazel-wood handle (sometimes an ash handle) and birch twigs for bristles (the two are usually tied together with willow branches). The broom can be decorated with leaves and flowers and often other objects like crystals, symbols or ribbons (although the latter three are a slightly newer practice). Of course, since the two objects were similar in appearance and were used for the same purposes, the distinctions became blurred with time and the two terms started to be used interchangeably.

    I won't go into detail on how modern besoms are made but I will try to put it as simply as I can. The practitioner is supposed to go into the forest and find the materials him/herself. I already noted these before so I won't repeat myself. Anyway, after finding the appropriate trees/shrubs/plants in general, the practitioner is supposed to thank them before cutting off anything and leave a gift of thanks (a small coin, crystal, rock, something of meaning to them etc.). It is very simple to make the broom itself. You can find simple instructions here. After the broom is made, it has to be consecrated and cleansed before it can be used in the circle. A very witchy tradition includes leaving the broom on a crossroads to "let out" any excess energy (often on a night of the full Moon). Of course, all of this is optional now what with so many hobby stores, markets and eBay selling broomsticks for small amounts of money. All the same, I recommend you make your own tools whenever possible since this will add to the tool's (and ritual's) energy.

    Symbolism and Superstition

    The broom is usually connected to women and the household (since women were and still usually are the ones who do the chores). The bond between women and their beloved brooms was so strong at one point that the broomstick was used almost as a symbol for the woman alone; it could be left standing against the door of her house when the woman of the house wasn't in (guarding it in a way), or perhaps stuck in the chimney so it could be visible from the outside if the woman lived in a cottage. This is where the myth of witches flying out of their chimneys comes from. This myth was first mentioned in a book entitled Flagellum Maleficarum by Petrus Mramor in 1460.

    Francesco Parmigianino -
    A Witch Riding on a Phallus
    (about 1530)
    But the symbolism of the broom is much deeper than this. It is essentially a fertility symbol in which the handle represents the male phallus and the bristles represent the vulva. The binding of the two parts is an obvious metaphor of sexual relations and fertility in general. This is why brooms were often used in marriage ceremonies and are used to this day in such a manner in many Pagan communities. I will elaborate on this a bit later on, but I would like to stick to the symbolism for now. This sexual symbolism of the broomstick played an important role in Pagan rites, as it still does. Fertility was celebrated because Pagans relied on the fertility of the land and were also thankful for their own fertility and the miracle of life. The broom epitomized these basic acknowledgements wonderfully. This phallic symbolism of the broomstick is more than obvious in an engraving by a Mannerist artist called Parmigianino which literally depicts a witch flying on a large phallus.

    Francisco de Goya -
    Pretty Teacher (1797)
    I would like to note right at the beginning that the oldest descriptions and depictions of witches riding broomsticks are slightly different than what we are used to today. Namely, the bristles of the broom had to be in front of the witch as is shown in Goya's famous engraving. Hollywood switched this around probably because of aesthetic reasons. It was simply more logical for the bristles which represent the female sex organ to be placed closer to the vulva. Also, other sources state that broomsticks weren't the only instruments which witches supposedly rode. Interesting variations on the topic were hobby horses. Of course, the hobby horse's head is the equivalent of the bristles of a broomstick (at least visually). Since the horse's head was always placed in the front, so were the bristles. This was probably much easier for balance too.

    Doreen Valiente points out something linguistically significant. This sexual symbolism of the broom was also reflected on the English language into which the term "broom" was used in slang to refer to the female sexual organ. It goes without saying that the term "broom handle" was equally used to represent a dildo. To "have a brush", logically enough, meant "to have sex".

    While we are still on the topic of sex, the broomstick could also be connected to woman-on-top sex positions (that is, if the broom is seen as a primarily phallic symbol). This position is respected among Pagans because it is thought to be empowering for women. It is for this exact same reason that it is dislike in Catholicism (in fact, Adam's first wife Lilith refused to have intercourse while lying down; she insisted on being on top. This is why God condemned her and created Eve who was a good, obedient wife). 

    Of course, the symbolism isn't all sexual. It can be related to marriage and fertility of any kind, as I have previously explained. Much of this symbolism turned into superstition so, in some countries, it is bad luck to step over a broom or to drop a broom so it falls flat on the floor. It is also thought to be bad luck to bring an old broom into a new house (as the broom is a symbol of sweeping out dirt, both of a physical as well as mental and emotional nature). In some areas, it's also thought that if an unmarried woman steps over a broom that she will have a child out of wedlock.

    Since the broomstick was symbolic of cleansing, it was often used as a sort of talisman for warding off evil spirits. If this was the case, it would be hanged in the hallway just in front of the door with the bristles facing towards the door itself.

    Some scholars compare the broom to the arbor mundi (Tree of Life), such as the Germanic Yggdrasil (you can look up this term in the glossary). The bristles of the broom were supposed to represent its deep roots.

    Of course, there are many other myths and superstitions regarding broomsticks, their magical powers and witches. The most famous one is surely the myth of covens flying on brooms to their Sabbath meetings.

    "Flight Schedule" - the History behind the Myth

    Witches didn't really fly on broomsticks contrary to popular beliefs and despite what many engravings, paintings, ecclesiastical texts and folk tales say. This myth has become widely accepted in modern times and, as a result, witches are almost immediately connected with brooms. An interesting fact is that these myths don't only mention witches riding on brooms, but also on pitchforks, shovels, poles and a large range of animals. The act of flying on the broom itself is called transvection.

    Ulrich Molitor - De Lamiis
    (1489)
    The earliest depiction of this myth is thought to be Ulrich Molitor's engraving called De Lamiis in which three witches are depicted riding a normal branch (not even a broom!) and have animal heads which gives an additional supernatural element to the whole scene. Earlier depictions couldn't have really existed because the earliest confession of flight was given in 1453 by Guillaume Edelin who was the Prior of St Germain-en-Laye near Paris (notice that we're dealing with a man!). The earliest mention of witches' flight at all was in 1440 in the poem "Le Champion des Dames" by the French author Martin le Franc.

    It's worth noting that even before this confession and poem, the myth of witch's flight was present among the masses, but in slightly different forms. As early as the 14th century, there are mentions of a dancing mania spreading throughout Europe. The symptoms of this mania included dancing until one dropped from exhaustion, foaming from the mouth, speaking on tongues and so on. Now this didn't just occur without any trigger at all. There is a completely valid reason for this, and yes, it is connected to witches' flights. Let me elaborate on this. :)

    Ergot - Deadly or Ecstatic? 

    Up to the 15th century (when the Witch trials began), bread consumed by the majority of people was made from rye and not wheat like the one we are used to. The problem with rye was that it often got contaminated by a disease called ergot, which is a type of fungus. Rye was also much more easily cultivated than wheat and thus easier and cheaper to obtain. But even if you didn't eat rye in this period, you weren't safe because ergot could easily affect other grains as well (including wheat). The disease which it caused was named ergotism, but the cause itself wasn't discovered until about 1670 by Dr Thuillier. It was precisely ergotism and its hallucinogenic effects which could have caused this above mentioned "dancing mania".

    Jean Francois Badoureau - Hysterical
    Epilepsy (cca. 1876)
    You can find a detailed history of ergot here, but I will simplify things for you. Basically, this fungus replaced rye grains. It was relatively similar in color and was so frequent that people didn't even notice the difference. Surely, it didn't take long for people to discover the symptoms that this fungi had and to learn to manipulate them. In larger doses, ergot was deadly (an obvious enough symptom), but people soon discovered that in small doses and if consumed correctly, ergot could be used as a drug, and a very powerful hallucinogenic one at that. Even when consumed orally in small doses, ergot could be deadly, but people obviously liked experimenting with drugs even back then and soon discovered that, when consumed through the skin, it produced powerful hallucinations but without any bad side-effects such as nausea, vomiting and skin irritations (and in worst-case scenarios - death). Other symptoms included convulsions (which were often labeled as demonic possessions and similar phenomena) and even gangrenous symptoms.

    It just so happens that the skin areas of the human body most sensitive to these drugs were the armpits and, for women, the genitals (some also include the soles of the feet and the forehead). The armpits were especially receptive because of the many sweat glands which humans have there, and the female genitalia was even more receptive because of the mucus membranes which are very thin. When applied to these areas, the drug would soon enter the blood stream and "do its job". 

    Women were especially sensitive to this drug because of the aforementioned reason. This is partly why men were not depicted as witches (or accused as such) even half as much as women. Obviously women found it useful to rub the drugs onto their genitals using an instrument which was usually - a broomstick handle! Now imagine a woman doing this...doesn't it somewhat remind you of the many pictures of flying witches? 

    Of course, ergot couldn't simply be applied by rubbing rye on yourself. Like any drug, it had to be processed. This is how "flying ointments" came to be.

    Flying Ointment

    The most frequent depictions of witches are those in which they are riding broomsticks or rubbing something on themselves (or even being rubbed by someone else). It was supposed that they rubbed flying ointment to enable them to fly to their coven's meeting place. Folk stories (and sometimes even ecclesiastical documents) claim that that the main ingredient of this ointment was fat boiled off unbaptized babies, which wasn't even close to the truth. If anything was used, it was probably pig fat, as is used today for the base/carrier of many ointments and often even for culinary purposes. 

    Other ingredients were basically hallucinogenic plants such as aconite (a.k.a. monkshood, wolfsbane), hemlock (a.k.a. cowbane) and belladonna (a.k.a. nightshade). Some sources add Jimsonweed (lat. Datura stramonium) and mandrake, Of course, we can't forget ergot. Many supposed recipes exist for preparing this flying ointment. The following ones can be found in The Witch Book written by Raymond Buckland.

    Warning: I do not recommend trying to make the ointments or using them. The ingredients are dangerous and may cause severe side-effects. The following information is intended only for informative purposes.

    One recipe from Gardner's Book of Shadows states that the ingredients needed are:
    • 100g lard
    • 5g hashish
    • a handful of hemp flower
    • a handful of poppy flower
    • a pinch of powdered hellbore root
    • a pinch of grounded sunflower seeds
    The instructions say: "To be rubbed into the skin behind the ears, on the neck along the line of the carotid arteries, in the armpits, to the left of the sympathetic nerve, in the back of the knees, on the soles of the feet, and in the bend of the arms."

    Another recipe recommends the following ingredients:
    • 3g annamthol
    • 50g extract of opium
    • 30g extract of betel
    • 6g cinquefoil
    • 15g henbane
    • 15g belladonna
    • 15g hemlock, ordinary
    • 250g Indian Hemp (Cannabis Indica)
    • 5g cantharides
    • Gum tragacanth
    • Powdered sugar
    The ingredients should be mixed with oil (e.g. pure olive oil) or mixed in with cream (e.g. lanoline) and applied only externally!

    A more modern recipe reads:
    • 1 jar hand cream
    • 1 tsp vegetable oil
    • 2 tsp belladonna
    • 3 drops liquid detergent
    • 2 tsp wolfbane juice
    These ingredients can then be mixed with a perfume of the user's choice.

    I have to stress once more that these recipes are intended ONLY for informative purposes and that anyone who wants to try them answers for their own actions. I cannot guarantee that any of the recipes are safe.

    But to get back to the topic, Gerald Gardner believes that these ointments were used to preserve temperature. This was necessary as witches are believed to have performed their rituals nude and thus needed to keep warm until arriving at their meeting place (and or course stay warm during the ritual itself).

    It seems to me that the previous reasons are more feasible. Indeed, the hallucinations which these hallucinogenic plants produced have been described as causing a flying sensation, as if the limbs were floating (and often the whole body as well). Let us say a few more words about this flying sensation and some metaphorical interpretations of it.

    Did Witches Really Fly?

    The answer to this question would be: "No, not physically". The flying was, as we have determined, a product of hallucinations caused by various hallucinogenic plants which were combined into ointments and smeared onto certain parts of the body. The first stories regarding flight date back to the early 1400s. These stories say nothing of drug consummation, but rather of dreams in which the dreamer flew. The morning-after retellings of these dreams often included descriptions of meetings in far-away places. 

    The interpretation of the broomstick being an astral vehicle and the ointments being catalysts is also an important theory. Once more, this doesn't imply that witches actually flew, but astral travel is included in this theory. Astral travel marks a switch in consciousness which is often thought to lead the practitioner into other states of being/realities/dimensions. 

    Astral travel and ecstasy techniques were present in Shamanic practices which supposedly preceded the ones we have been talking about up to now. It is well known that Shamans didn't use brooms to achieve these ecstatic moments, but rather rode hobby horses (as did witches). Horse riding itself was a symbol of strength, endurance and survival. Shamans were wise men whose primary duty was to travel to other world (in this case on metaphorical horseback) and bring back information and news. As Mircea Eliade, an expert on the subject of Shamanism says, this was a symbolic riding which expressed the leaving of ones body; the shaman's "mystical death". Another example such theriomorphic (animal-shaped) "vehicles" can be found in rituals of Altaic Shamans. One ritual includes a figure (a sort of a scarecrow) of a goose which is placed in front of the Shaman's tent (called a yurt). The Shaman is supposed to straddle the goose, flap his arms as if he is flying and sing songs about flight. This in itself was another ecstasy technique and very similar to the witches' "flight". It's worth noting that Shamans didn't use flying ointments for these rituals. A part of the Shamanic tradition is smoking peyote (a type of cactus which also has psychoactive effects).

    Gwydion, another interesting author in the field of magic, Paganism and similar topics, claims that these depictions of witches flying were simply proof of a misunderstanding of a magical/poetic code which indicated Shamanic ecstasy and a visionary flight of the soul. Such "flights" (or better said dances and rituals) were methods of coming into contact with the Divine and achieving trance and ecstasy.

    Another interpretation of this flight seems to be ritualistic and a bit more literal. According to some stories, witches used to perform fertility rituals with brooms in which they rode them as horses, danced, sung and celebrated fertility altogether. It could be possible that all the dancing and jumping in the air was confused for flight at some point or other or even that the witches, if under the influence of drugs, actually felt as if they were flying while performing these rituals. This leads us to our next topic.

    Fertility rites

    As I have said, Witches and Pagans have always celebrated fertility, be it human fertility or the fertility of the land. There are stories which speak of witches going into the field and ecstatically dancing on brooms/hobby horses/various other objects and jumping in the air. It was supposed that the higher you could jump, the taller the crops would grow. This was obviously a type of sympathetic magic.

    Douglas Hill proposes that this was also a form of the previously mentioned psychonavigation and ecstasy techniques.

    Ritual Uses of the Broom

    The earliest use of brooms in rituals was clearing the ritual space. Brooms can be used for this purpose even today, but they are usually seen more as a tool for energetic cleansing than for actual physical cleaning. In the Pagan community, they have become a symbol of cleansing, banishing, getting rid of the old (and often "dirty") and making room for the new (usually perceived as "clean"). This is why many witches prepare their ritual space by sweeping it with a broom beforehand, or mark the circle by walking around its perimeter with the broom (bristles facing towards the floor and sort of tracing the circle even though they don't actually have to even touch the floor). When doing this a visualization is also commonly included in which the practitioner envisions the broom leaving a white/blue shining line on the floor as it is led around the circle. I think that this video describes the broom's ritual use very nicely, so I recommend you have a look. :)


    In this scenario, the broomstick partly replaces the athamé (as the athamé is usually used to mark the sacred circle). It can replace it in another instance as well; when entering/exiting the circle. It may occur sometimes that someone has to exit the circle (and then reenter it) during a group ritual. This person can't just step out because that would cause great energetic disbalance. When using an athame, this practitioner would draw a door on the perimeter of the circle and, after stepping out, redraw it (but in reverse; like zipping it up with the athamé). When using a broom, all that is needed to do is "sweep away" a part of the blue/white light that was visualized and then "draw it back in" after stepping out of the circle. Of course, this process should be repeated when attempting to reenter the circle.

    Just as the broom used to be used as a protective symbol in the house, it can be used with this intention in the circle (to ward off any negative energies/entities). 

    What with the broomstick being a fertility symbol, it is often used in marriage ceremonies which are called Handfastings. This is one of so called Crossing rituals which mark a turning point in the person's life. In this case, it is the beginning of a new chapter with a loving partner. To symbolize the union itself, the young couple jumps over a broom (often while holding hands). Some see this as a fertility rite in itself because, by doing so, the couple practically asks for the marriage to be fruitful (i.e. for them to have children). This tradition has survived even to this day (even outside of Pagan communities). For example, young couples in Wales often enter their new home by jumping over a broom which is placed on the threshold (although they must not touch it or else the marriage will not be seen as valid). The opposite of a Handfasting is a Handparting ceremony. Marriage isn't seen as irreversible in Paganism (in fact, the couple vow to stay together as long as they love each other, not until "death do us part"). In order to annul the marriage, the couple has to jump/step backwards over a broom. 


    Nowadays, the broomstick's primary use for rubbing ointments onto the skin is long gone because much safer and simpler methods of achieving transic states have been discovered. I have to emphasize that using drugs in modern times has become a very rare practice in Paganism, even though drugs as such have been used in many many cultures and ages of humanity to achieve enlightening states and  help the practitioner on their path towards the Divine. So you don't have to worry about anyone trying to make you use drugs during rituals; no one is forced to do anything!

    If I were to sum up this whole post and answer the question I put as its title, I would say the following: Witches cannot rally fly. Even though some perceived their activities as flying, what probably happened in reality was that the witches gathered to celebrate a festival (often centered around fertility) on the night of a full Moon in the middle of a field. They would cast a circle, smear ointment onto a broom or hobby horse and ride it until the ointment got into their blood flow. Once they achieved an ecstatic stage, they would dance and sing and raise the energy of the ritual until at a peak and, in the process, achieve a spiritual uplifting and astral projection.

    And there you have it. Hopefully you learnt something new and interesting because I definitely did while doing my research. :) 
    This was my third post for the Pagan Blog Project and the next one isn't far away. So until next time. Yours,
    Witch's Cat