August 17, 2021
OK. This was one of the most extraordinary insights I’ve received in meditation. But it didn’t begin with broom travel. It began with a deeper exploration of how our ancestors were connected with the Seven Nations, especially the Prana/Plant Nation. They knew intrinsically how to work with the energies of plants for healing and travel in other realms. For on one level, any deep and profound connection with the Prana Nation is about stepping into other realms of knowledge and wisdom.
And, as is true for indigenous wisdom keepers in cultures around the world, that connection and travel included working with plants that induced altered states of consciousness. There wasn’t as much sense of ‘good’ plants and ‘bad’ plants as we hold today. All plants were part of a sacred cosmology and they were honored and respected for their unique gifts whether for food, shelter, healing, or otherworld travel.
I’ve often read about wise women ancestors who traveled other realms with the help of spirit guides and plants. And I had read that they would rub consciousness altering plants on their brooms and then rub their brooms against their genitalia which does seem a rather immediate and effective protocol. This illustration entitled Flying Witch from 1897 seems to reflect this even if it seems she doesn’t have a broom.
And that’s when it hit me that of course…they didn’t wear underpants. Although some women experimented with these undergarments throughout history, it was generally the aristocracy and for them underpants only became widely popular around 1840. In fact what we consider modern briefs or panties were only introduced in Germany in 1914.
So now we have the popular image of ugly witches on broomsticks, often with a spirit guide cat. And while I can imagine their otherworld experiences would have been formidable, this has come down to us as something to fear. Of course they weren’t all old or ugly and they didn’t save these otherworld journeys just for Samhain or Halloween. Sad that we have lost our understanding of this. One more story that disconnects us from the natural world and what was once our intimate relationship with it.
One more story that demeans and denigrates the wisdom of our ancestors, especially the women. I am grateful when my meditations lead me to other stories.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org