Friday, October 28, 2011
Glass Witch Balls
I got this article from my Almanac Companion newsletter in my inbox and wanted to share with you. I have witch balls that I bought long ago from Salem, MA and that was the first thing I ever bought that was in the magical realm and I still have them along with a set of old gypsy reading cards. Through the years I've collected lots of nice magical things to decorate my home and to use.
Bewitching Glass Creations
by Jim Therriault
For many of us (including me), Halloween is a favorite holiday.
Rich in history and folklore, Halloween has roots that trace back to the ancient Celts, who celebrated the new year on November 1. They believed that the souls of the dead returned to Earth the night before (Samhain). Later, Irish immigrants brought over customs and superstitions such as carved vegetables with a demon's face to frighten away the spirits. Among other long-held beliefs and symbols from the 1700s and 1800s is the witch ball.
Witch Ball Legend
A witch ball is a hollow sphere of plain or colored glass with glass inclusions (webs) inside the balls. Originating in 18th-century England, witch balls were believed to ward off evil spirits, witches' spells, or ill fortune. (Some historians disagree, saying that the witch's ball actually originated among cultures where witches were considered a blessing. These good witches would "enchant" the balls to enhance their potency against evil.)
When witch balls found their way across "the pond" to the American colonies, they were quickly adopted by superstitious folks who reasoned that evil spirits were attracted to the colored glass spheres. The spirits were drawn inside and captured in the glass web within the ball, preventing their escape and protecting the home from harm.
Legend has it that fishermen on Cape Cod placed witch balls in their nets to avoid evil spirits on the high seas. It is also claimed that Christmas ornament balls descended from the witch ball. The ball was allegedly placed on the Christmas tree to dispel a visitor's envy at the presents beneath the tree.
Buy Witch Balls here