Why Do Witches Wear Pointy Hats?
Pointy black hats are everywhere this time of year. They are probably the most important part of a costume, should a little boy or girl want to trick-or-treat as a witch. Indeed, as a broom isn't a terribly practical implement to be carrying around from door to door on Halloween, it's probably the only definitive sign that the child is dressed as a witch – as opposed to some other spook like a vampire.
By by are witches portrayed wearing pointed black hats?
Actually, the black hat is a relatively recent innovation. It probably goes back to about the 17th century, a time when black hats with brims and buckles were worn by both the Puritans and the Quakers. By the end of the 18th century, Francisco Goya had portrayed a group of witches wearing conical hats in the style of wizards (see below.) But these were neither brimmed, nor black. They also had a double point, more like the horns of Goya's He-Goat.
For their part, our Pagan Elders have taught us that the conical hat is a reminder of the Cone of Power, the energy that is raised during worship or working to achieve a specific intent. That energy is seen as circling around and around, as if going around the brim of a hat. The Craft of a Witch lies partly in the ability to gather that energy in, to focus and direct it, and to release it towards a specific target as if through the point of the hat.
Witches today tend to only wear the archetypal hat for fun – at festivals where we can let our hair down, or at Halloween when everyone wants to be more like us. But the hat always stands as a powerful symbol, a reminder of the changes we can create in the world – and for those who have learned the lessons well, also of the responsibility that comes with being benders and shapers of reality.
Source: Katy Waldman, “ Why Do Witches Wear Pointy Hats? ” (Slate)
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/bizarre-cap-decorative-fabric-2846/