European Witchcraft & Hereditary Traditions
As a modern-day hereditary blood witch, the practices of my bloodline have been passed down through the women in my family for generations and these traditions are deep-rooted within the heart of my craft—they are crucial when it comes to the art of practicing dark, traditional witchcraft. My witch mothers, natural-born hedgecrossers, relied on magickal tools such as flying ointments and brooms which were extremely useful to them when crossing the veil. Amongst their tools used during spellwork was what is commonly referred to as a witch’s whisk—an herb bundle which aided them throughout sacred rituals.
The witch’s whisk, which European traditional witches used for cleansing and protection, is a bundle of blackberry twigs bound at one end with dark twine. The whisk is coated in handmade blackberry stain and hung to dry before being burned during a ritual, séance or spellcasting—the witch taking care to weave her sacred circle using the magickal properties of the blackberry twigs. Though the witch’s whisk was often crafted for the purpose of purification by many magickal practitioners and healers in Western Europe during the 16th century, my family recognized it as a powerful shadow work tool. The coven of Satanic blood witches within my lineage deeply cherished the blackberry plant and found it to be exceptionally important to their craft—it has been said that it was the blackberry bush that cradled those who fell from heaven. My Scottish witch mothers coated these blackberry twig bundles with their blood (sometimes menstrual fluids when casting bewitchments for fertility) and used this tool to hold a sacred space during ritual or a coven sister’s dark baptism.
While blackberry is widely known for its ability to cleanse and banish, this plant is said to belong to the fairies which makes the witch’s whisk an influential tool in fairy magick. For theistic Satanic witches who follow the path of dark European traditional witchcraft, blackberry is a hallowed fruit if it is offered by the Fairy Queen—an important figure in Western European folk magick and the lore of The British Isles—she is often associated with the Devil and the dark craft. According to Celtic fairy lore and historical written confessions from women within my lineage, alongside the Fairy Queen, the Devil would guide witches to their spirit lovers—this is one of the many reasons why my witch mothers performed sex rituals at their Sabbats. To find out more about the witch’s spirit lover or my bloodline’s magickal practices, read my previous articles which appear in Witch Way Magazine’s 2018 autumn and winter digital issues.
The witch’s whisk may have in fact led to the development of the modern-day kitchen whisk. Dating as far back as the 1600s, documentation of Pagan recipes indicate that bundles of twigs would be tied together and used throughout food preparation to infiltrate a floral fragrance or fruit sap into a dish by using a whisking motion and beating the cooking batter—eventually this practice inspired the kitchen whisk we use today which was invented during the early 1800s.
For witches who are drawn to or follow the path of European folk magick, traditional dark magick and/or are of strong Celtic descent, I would recommend the use of a witch’s whisk when it comes to cleansing and protecting a sacred circle or drawing in power throughout the performance of dark magick. This is a powerful herb bundle and a tradition that is often overshadowed by the practices of modern witchcraft. For Celtic witches especially, the witch’s whisk can prove to be a very precious magickal tool.