An Inconvenient Halloween Story

In "handfasting" ceremonies, a wiccan couple will jump over the besom. This is to indicate a temporary or permanent betrothal, but is also symbolic of the couple flying together into invisible realms through the power of the besom or broom.

This idea of brooms having the power of flight is said to be based on a ritual involving a psychoactive trip. The witches would first prepare a flying ointment to aid them in their journey. There are many recipes for this ointment all having some blend of Atropa belladonna, Mandragora officinarum or Henbane - all highly psychoactive drugs that induce visions. In particular, Henbane is widely used as it produces a special sensation of great corporeal lightness, of losing weight to such a point as to be able to float in the air and fly at will.

The flying ointment would then have been applied to the end of the Besom (perhaps as a stirring stick) and administered vaginally. Under the influence of the ointment, witches are described as mounting their broomsticks and leaping around the field in a fertility rite to "teach the crops how high to grow". The ointment would create the perception of astral projection, making it seem as if they flew great distances.

In the photo, the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz (Margaret Hamilton) is shown holding her flying broom. Her green skin equates her with the ancient vegetation gods known as Green Men.

If you're interested, here is my interpretation of the meaning behind the Wizard of Oz.