I am reading The Botany of Desire and will review it when I finish with it, but there was something interesting that I learned about today which explains the myth of the why witches ride broomsticks. According to Pollan, the author, he mentions how it seems that it was the whole idea of the garden as a means of beautification is a relatively new concept, and that for much of the time gardens were used more for practical purposes such as to create medicines and healing salves, no shit, right. Ok so then it comes to where gardens were a place for people to grow things that would intoxicate and possibly even poison people, again, no shit. So now you may be wondering where the whole masturbation and witches thing comes in, well it seems that it was common practice for "witches" to create potions that at times used datura (otherwise known in some species as jimsonweed and is a hallucinogen), opium poppies (from which morphine and other opiates come), belladonna (another hallucinogen), hashish, fly agaric mushrooms (Amanita muscaria, another hallucinogen), and the skins of toads (which can contain DMT, a powerful hallucinogen). This mixture was then combined with a hempseed-oil based ointment which was then applied vaginally. This then allowed the "witches" to "fly". So what was the easiest thing to apply this ointment, probably a broomstick. He mentions that they used special dildos, which could also be very true, but really a broomstick makes as much sense. So you are walking along and you see a women straddling a broomstick, you wonder what the fuck this women is doing, you already think she is a witch, so then what is she doing, well she must be getting ready to fly or travel somewhere, I mean why else would a person sit on a broomstick like you are riding a horse. So witches fly. Also, I can see where within a group of women who are all applying this ointment, and they are talking about it, they probably do feel like they are flying at times. So not only within the group, but also on the outside of the group, witches now fly using broomsticks.
So now you may be wondering why I even brought this up, other than the obvious, I learned something new today and wanted to share it, which is also true. But I also see this as another example of when women who did not need or have a man for sexual pleasure had to be labeled. There had to be something wrong with them, I mean within a patriarchal society does not every women need a man for sex? Now the patriarchy also says that women do not have individual sexual needs so using a broomstick or another dildo makes no sense within the patriarchy. Women should not want or need anything other than a man between her legs, right. So again, a man walks past the house of a women who is alone, widowed or having never been married, she has a broomstick or something else between her legs and she is happy, ahhh she must be a witch. No women should be happy without a man, right. This is again, the patriarchy or in this case possibly one man deciding she must be a witch purely because she has no husband. I hadn't really gotten this far in my thought until I started typing, but then how many "witches" that were burned were either lesbians or never married? These women had to be witches, they did not need a man. The whole idea of saying they were able to cast a spell on you is just ludicrous, medicine was very primitive at this point, so it was very common for a "doctor" to be using the same potions and plants that a witch used, the difference, she was a woman. This leads me to my favorite Monty Python scene ever, the witch scene in Search for the Holy Grail.
So other than that being a fucking funny clip, it also makes my point perfectly. She was a witch and how did they know, because she looked like a witch. Well, they added the hat, the clothes and the nose. So now, she still looks like a witch, huh. Oh and she cast a spell, but he "got bettah". The reality, ok so this is not real, but still... is that she probably didn't have a husband and/or had rebuked some man's interest in her, so she must be a witch, what other kind of women would not want a man? I know there are probably a thousand other ways to come to the same conclusion about the "witches" and the patriarchy, but isn't the addition of the reasoning why the broomstick is associated with witches just an interesting twist.