The Significance of the Broom in Witch Iconography

The broomstick is a common image associated with witches. Previous to introduction of the feminazi Wiccan agenda the preferred mode of transportation was the broomstick. The opening animated sequence of the old Bewitched television series opened with a cartoon version of Samantha riding around on this cleaning implement. To the best of my recollection, Willow never rode a broomstick on an episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, but I’m getting on in years and my memory may be going the way of modesty among pre-teen girls.

The choice of broomstick as the quintessential symbol of witchery seems unsurprising enough. In fact, the broomstick is a metaphorical collage of meaning and import. It hardly takes a brain the size of Glenn Beck’s to understand the reason that men hate witches. Even before the independence of Willow displaced the uncomfortable submission of Samantha, witches had been viewed primarily as a threat to the patriarchal order. After all, a witch was that one thing most feared by the staunchly male-dominated organization collectively known as organized Christian religion: a woman with power.

Power is always a thing to be feared by those already in power. The witch equaled an evil to be stamped out. Little to no surprise then that the broomstick would eventually come to be associated with witchcraft. Witches from Bugs Bunny’s hairpinned buddy to the three hags in Hocus Pocus make their getaway via supernaturally powered broomstick. The broom is, of course, the iconic item of domesticity. A woman’s place is in the home, after all, and she needs to keep it spotlessly clean for the Glenn Becks of this world. What more unpleasantly ironic image for the patriarchy could there be than watching a witch assert her independence by flying away from all that domestic bliss (irony and sarcasm drips) atop the very tool that symbolized her enslavement to male fantasy of the cleaning woman by day who turns into the sexed up monogamous harlot at night?

The technical term for a witch being able to levitate on a broomstick (and I’ll bet you never even knew there was a technical term did you; I didn’t) is fancy little mouthful known as transvection. Transvection is actually the ability to levitate in any form. Interestingly, transvection is also a term used in genetics in reference to chromosomal interaction. In the arena of genetics transvection leads to one of two results: activation or repression. One might well say transvection has the same result in witchcraft. That first flight surely must be greater on the psychological end of the spectrum than the physiological. The power to levitate and fly need not necessarily lead to the acceptance and continued exploration of the potential for possessing supernatural abilities. Doubtlessly, some Wiccans eventually reject their newfound independence and may even react by psychologically not just accepting a previous submissive quality but reveling in it. The same could no doubt be suggested as an outcome of the fear engendered by that first flight of fanciful transvection.

The very first image of a witch on broomstick dates back perhaps not as far as you may think. The year was 1489 and the engraving was done by Ulrich Molitor in De Lamiis, a very important book in the history of the occult. Technically, it’s not really a broom so much as a branch. A branch of the Scotch Broom plant that was known as a besom. A besom was really any kind of tool that could be used for sweeping. You usually see a simulacrum of a besom around Halloween when you walk into a grocery store and are immediately greeted by the pungent aroma of cinnamon. A besom was just a branch of the Scotch Broom plant with rods or twigs tied around it. And that was the very first broomstick upon which a witch was characterized as being able to ride through transvection.

The question that may spring to mind is why a broom. Of course, that question has already been answered. Witches and the hunting down and stoning and burning and killing of them was not about potions and spells and evil, it was about power. Witches were the very first feminazis that Rush and Beck are still piddling in their pants over today. Every man who ever described a show of independence by a woman by maliciously calling her “Hillary” is in reality just the pitiful offspring of cloaked and hooded men who hunted down witches during the Dark Ages and beyond.

There may be yet another more fearsome element to the importance of the broomstick in witch iconography. This is an element that at least one compatriot of Rush and Beck would suggest has much to do with the effects of pornography turning one gay and how many witches have been portrayed as lesbians, Samanta notwithstanding. Doreen Valiente, self-proclaimed witch and respected writer of the history of witchcraft, suggests that the broomstick had another use besides transvection that doubtlessly would have scared clerics, priests, and not a few husbands into the throes of Elia Kazan-style witchcraft hysteria. According to Valiente, broom was also a slang term for vagina. And the broomstick?

Well, make that connection yourself.