Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Witch Ball

A traditional magical protective talisman for the home is a Witch Ball
     These were once found in many homes, particularly on the coast where they would hang in a window looking out to sea. They were placed there both to ward off evil fortune and keep the fishermen safe, but also in a way to act as a guide home on a stormy night.
     Witch Balls come in a variety of forms and sizes.
     At the coast a Witch Ball is often a glass fishing float. Glass was once an expensive and magical substance, when molten it can take many forms, and be blown into bubbles which will float on the sea. These fishing floats were once common objects, tied to the edges of the net to mark its position under the waves. Or fastened to the end of a string of lobster or crab pots.
     Even more magical was mirror glass. In order for glass to become a mirror, it has to have silver bonded to its back, and this process was originally a dangerous and mysterious process known only to alchemists. The technique involved Silver Nitrate a very volatile substance, which in the process of silvering can quickly start to give off poisonous fumes. Not to mention having a tendency to explode. So making mirror glass was a dangerous and expensive process and even small pieces of mirror were treasured.
     Some times the small pieces of mirror glass were fixed to the outside of a fishing float, making what we call a glitter ball, or disco ball, these days. A ball which reflects the light as it moves in the slightest breeze, making splashes and spots of twinkling sparkles everywhere.
     The first time I read about a Witch Ball was in the children's fiction book 'An Enemy at Green Knowe' by Lucy M Boston, where an evil Witch in disguise is trying to get into the house (Green Knowe, where Tolly lives with his grandmother and assorted ghosts), but cannot enter because there is a protective Witch Ball in the hall.
     The Witch Ball in the book is described as a large sphere of fragments of mirror glass. We are also told that the mirror will refuse to reflect an evil magician or Witch, but will reveal their demonic familiar spirit. (Incidentally this book also introduced me to the magical script known as Passing the River)

   We have two large Witch Balls in our home, one in the hall and one in the living room, but unlike the glitter ball type, these have been mirrored internally.
     The hall one is silver and positioned to reflect anyone I open the front door to. The one in the living room is a beautiful, deep blue. A protective, healing and calming colour, to constantly refresh the magical atmosphere.
     At this time of year you can see Witch Balls everywhere, in every colour you can imagine. They are the silvered glass baubles we hang on our christmas trees.
     So keep your eyes open for a fine, large one that appeals to you, and save it to hang in your home. Either in the hall to protect the entrance to your home. Or to hang in a window, reflecting away negative vibes, stray nasty thoughts or evil wishes and curse - and to invite in loving, protective and peaceful energies.
     And to guide and welcome home a loved one.

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