Thursday, April 2, 2015

A to Z Challenge -- B -- BROOM, FERTILITY, AND PERSECUTION


BESOM -- This is the classical witch's broom.  It is used to cleanse an area of negative energy before casting a circle.  They were originally used as ordinary brooms.  In some places, they are still used as such.  The besom's staff is made of ash, the bristles are birch twigs, and they are tied together by thin willow wood strips.  Besoms were and are used in Handfasting ceremonies because it both thought to be feminine and masculine.


BELTANE -- (Pronounced bell-tayn, Beel-teen)  This Sabbat is also known by the name May Day.  It is a celebration of fertility.  To celebrate the fertility of the land, many would gather around balefires, dance, and well, . . . you know.

It symbolizes the sexual union of the Goddess and God.  Also, the Celts revered the the sun god, Bel.

The Romans had a festival called Floralia, which is for the fertility goddess Flora.  It was similar to May Day, where flowers, dancing, and revelry were used to honor Her.

People still celebrate Beltane and May Day.  Dancing around the May Pole is still popular.  Just so's ya know, the May Pole is symbolic for a man's manly bits. Some places have the May Queen choose the May King (Green Man, Jack-in-the-Green, or one of many names) and they are married albeit symbolically or truly handfasted.  They are the physical representation of the God and Goddess union.


BURNING TIMES -- This is a reference for when many people were tortured and burned.  More of them were women and children.  I'm not talking about just the Spanish Inquisition.  They had their share, but there were other times when so called witches were persecuted.  Let's just say that many of them were innocent and falsely accused.



 BOLINE/BOLLINE -- This is the the working blade. This knife is used to prepare herbs, cut string, and many other physical tasks. They can be both straight or curved.  They are sometimes on the altar.



Disclaimer: None of these pictures belong to me.  I found them on Google.

21 comments:

  1. Midsummer is celebrated in Sweden with dancing around a Maypole (and yes, I'm well aware of what it symbolizes, which I find highly entertaining). It gets decorated with birch leaves and flowers. It's lovely.

    We also have Valborg (Walpurgis Night in English, I guess), which involves a big bonfire, which makes me think of The Burning Times you mentioned, though I don't think it's quite the same thing. All in all, spring is a fun, happening time on the pagan calendar. :)

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    1. Well, I had to be pg or i would have used the the proper term for it.

      No, walpergis night, is similar to beltane since it's a rite of spring.

      I, myself have never seen a completed maypole in the flesh, so to speak. Where I am we don't have celebrations like that.

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  2. Very interesting. I was familiar with Beltane from my readings in Celtic mythology :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. Celtic mythology is very interesting too. It's fascinating to read about the Tuatha de dannon.

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  3. So that's how those brooms were made. Didn't think you could use twigs to sweep with. :)

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    1. I think they are used more for outdoor work than indoor. As a ritual tool it is used more symbolically than physically.

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  4. Fun to learn what a witch's broom is made of. Being burned would be awful. I can't even watch in a movie or TV show. Makes me shudder. Untethered Realms

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    1. Yeah, not a pleasant way to go. Not my first choice either.

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  5. I was taught maypole dancing in primary school - funny, they never mentioned the phallic connotations ;P

    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

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    1. I giggle. All those lovely facts that are more entertaining than what we were taught just gathering dust Instead of being used to keep students interested. Sigh.

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  6. The broom might have a similar connotation to the may pole!

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    1. Yes, the staff is considered masculine.

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  7. Interesting. I was a bit sad to read that children were burned, some history is really awful.

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    1. It is. The statistics are varied. Some say only thousands some over a million. I didn't want to put a number out there and find it wrong. And yes, it's horrifying to learn that children were burned and tortured too.

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  8. I had no idea the broom was called a Besom and I didn't know about the Boline either, most informative, thank you :). *tries to commit facts to memory*
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. It's the counterpart to the athame. This one isn't ceremonial. There is a lot of history out there about it.

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  9. I would like a wall of broomsticks in my house. Besoms I mean! Very cool!

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    1. Well, you could make one, which would have a lot more meaning to it. Since you would be using your energy and visualizing what you wanted from it, it would take on those qualities.

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  10. I love learning about witchcraft and I like that your facts are true because there's so much misinformation out there.

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    1. I'm trying. There are so many different sites and books about it that it's difficult to find consistent information.

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  11. Very interesting, I never really put together the May pole with the phallic implication... but it's rather obvious now! This is a great theme!

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