What is with the pointy hat?

Have you ever wondered about the witch's hat?  Is there a reason it is "pointy"?  Does it really do anything (as a tool) or is it just for looks?  Well, I went digging through the internet to see what all we could learn about it...and it really surprised me!

1939 - The Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch of the West
1939 - The Wizard of Oz
Wicked Witch of the West

Most sites start with what is commonly familiar to Americans at this time such as The Wizard of Oz (1939) depiction of the Wicked Witch of the West.  Well, we all know that witches are not green skinned, wart-faced hags but that seems to be where the popularity of it today has stemmed.  This, however, is not the beginning of the conical hat history.  Existence of the conical hat is known as early as the Bronze Age in Middle East and Central Europe and were probably a ceremonial accessory worn by the priesthood.  Pointed hats have been a distinctive item of headgear of a wide range of cultures throughout history. Though often suggesting an ancient Indo-European tradition, they were also traditionally worn by women of Lapland, the Japanese, the Mi'kmaq people of Atlantic Canada, and the Huastecs of Veracruz and Aztec (illustrated e.g. in Codex Mendoza).  These hats varied in height, shape, and whether or not it was made with a brim.


So when was the first witch hat, as we know it today, depicted in history?  

Well, the story of this particular hat—where it originated, and how it took on its demonic resonance—has no clear answer. That’s largely because history is full of pointy hats, from the tapering hennins favored by medieval noblewomen to the soft Phrygian caps adopted by French revolutionaries (and Smurfs).  It wasn’t until the 1710s and 1720s that children’s chapbooks in England began illustrating supernatural tales with crones in peaked hats. Fueled by the popularity of these “penny merriments,” the stereotype caught on quickly.

Some say it is a conical hat, a style worn by both men and women in the Middle Ages, to which a brim was added.  Others claim it is derived from the conical hats worn by wizards and sorcerers who, like witches, were said to nave magical powers.  Another belief is that the hat originated in England in the Middle Ages, when witches were persecuted. The accused witch was forced to wear a hat with a pointed crown shaped like a church steeple so she would be readily identified as a witch. It was believed the association with the church, being a holy symbol, would help redeem the witch’s soul.  While the pointed black hat is dominant in America and Great Britain, it is not universal in the witchlore of European countries. The headgear worn by those witches includes scarves, hooded cloaks, bonnets, or no hat at all.

I think my favorite finding is simply the timing of being "in fashion.  At one point long ago, pointed hats were a fashion icon in the city of London (then the fashion capital of Europe), but it took a long time for fashion to trickle into the country, and by the time they did, they became way out of fashion in the city.  City folk called Country folk 'pagani' (which means country dweller), much the same as calling someone ‘a hick’, today.  Pointed hats soon became considered something only the 'pagani' would wear, most were Herbalists and Farmers wives who lived in the country and understood the land.  Since they were wise to the ways of nature and could grow and harvest herbs, so the pointed hat became associated with the ‘Wise Woman’ or ‘Witch'.  During this same period the Christian Church chipped-in and associated pointed hats with the horns of the Devil, by which time they frowned upon their use.

Well, does the hat actually do anything?

Well, according to Spells of Magic, it does!

The Witches Hat is a very useful tool in Spell Craft & Rituals....It acts like a antenna, attracting and channeling a Witches Power!

I have read of modern witches wearing them to help focus and channel their own powers and energies which they are drawing on at the time of spell casting, etc.  These hats range from small ones attached to a headband or clip to the full on brimmed conical hat!

...the pointy hat is a helper in energy work...the energy flow more centered...the brim is a helper in trance work...the spirits do react to the hat...As shared by hekatetempel on Where Three Road Meet website

I personally have begun using a hat when working with magick.  The increased feeling of power and energy is there, indeed!  Whether it is all in my mind or actually in the hat, it works!

Your thoughts?

Do you wear a hat?  Have you thought about trying one?  We'd like to know what you think and your experiences!  Just comment below...

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