What Is a Glass Witch Ball?
A Foreword on Witchcraft
Witches can be found throughout our mythology, folklore, and history in almost every culture around the world. There are tales of evil witches exacting their revenge and there are tales of good witches helping to heal those who come to them for help. Are witches evil or good? Perhaps we will never find the answer, but one thing is for sure...the history of witches is one that is incredibly entertaining and intriguing.
Let's take a look at an object steeped in witchcraft and magic.
What Is a Witch Ball or Witch's Ball?
Have you ever been to New England? You may have noticed some of the older homes with hanging hand-blown glass ornaments adorning the front of the houses. Or maybe your grandmother had one at her house when you were a child. Perhaps you've noticed them sitting on top of pillars in a neighbor's garden. Did you ever wonder what those shiny, pretty globes are?
A witch ball is simply a hand-blown glass ornament of varying colors, shapes, and sizes that can be hung outside of a home or business or placed on a pillar in a garden. Most people don't know them as "witch balls" any longer, though. Many people in America refer to witch balls as "gazing balls", but originally they were called witch balls and are rooted in Old English folklore.
Just as there are various purposes and beliefs of the witches bottles and jars, there are varying purposes and beliefs for the witch ball. Probably the most well-known belief of the witch ball is that if it is hung outside of your home, it will trap evil spirits inside. The original witch balls contained strings of blown glass throughout the interior of the witch ball - these strings were thought to be what captured the evil spirits inside of the witch ball. At a time in Europe when witches were considered wise women, it is believed that many witches gave witch balls to neighbors and friends to aid them in warding off negativity and evil spirits. But over time as witches became shunned and hunted with the rise of Christianity, many people began hanging witch balls outside of their homes to ward off the very witches that invented them in the first place.
Watch Someone Make a Witch Ball:
Various Purposes for Witch Balls
Witch balls can serve many purposes for modern use. Many people still hang them outside of their front doors and around their homes. Most people probably don't even realize the purpose in the witch ball; however, if you have a witch ball and weren't sure...now you'll know!
Witch balls were also thought to be the root of the modern-day Christmas tree ornament. The legend goes that the witch balls were hung on the yule tree to prevent visitors' jealousy of the presents underneath of the tree. You can hang them on your yule tree during the Winter season to prevent from jealousy and Christmas/Yule drama, too!
Hang witch balls outside of your doors by garden hooks in order to trap any negative spirits or energies from entering your home. Folklore says that the negative spirits were attracted to the shiny, intricate witch balls...would flow inside of the witch ball and thereby be trapped forever in the interior strings. Others believed that the negative spirits would be attracted to the reflective properties of garden gazing balls and would look into it...and actually scare themselves off with their own ugly reflection!
Business-owners, specifically glass-blowers, (as the video above shows) believe that it is good luck to devise a witch ball as the first glass-blown item in their new business. They believe it will bring prosperity and keep the jealous dark workers away.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Nicole Canfield