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Why do witches ride broomsticks?

A mediaeval woodcut image depicting a witch in a pointed hat riding a broomstick, behind her a demon and a warlock also mounted on broomsticks, all visiting a woman in the fields.

Here is one badass witch. Pictured with friends and demons, this woodcut features on our bestselling At Dawn, We Ride t-shirt. She is a classic, common-or-garden witchy lady, going about her standard hellraising business, living her best #WitchLife.

Maybe she’s nipping off on her broomstick to grab some groceries from mediaeval Tesco to chuck in tonight’s cauldron – it’s Buy One Get One Free on turnips right now and she always does a lovely Eye of Newt stew for her coven at full moon.

But why does she travel by broom? Besides excellent fuel efficiency and ease of parking, I mean. Well, in addition to being the Occult’s premium carbon neutral mode of transport, the humble household broom was used as a status update.

You see, as well as being domestic goddesses, many a wise woman of yore would be an “alewife.” That’s Middle Ages for “Microbrewery Entrepreneur.” Goody Tabitha gets a reputation for being able to work her magic on hops and barley and begins a side-hustle, peddling the good stuff to the folk of the village. What’s her secret ingredient? Wool of bat? Devil’s horn? Hint of lime? Nobody knows.

When her special brew is ready, you’d better believe Goody Tabitha is open for business. And how are the locals to know it’s Ale o’Clock? Because our friendly neighbourhood witch hangs her broomstick out of the window. Status: Come and get it!

But that’s not all. Not only does Goody Tabitha have a broom for getting out and about, for signalling beer time, and for sweeping away toxic masculinity…or, I guess, regular household filth…she also has a hat!

When you’re a woman in business, you’ve gotta dress the part. In lieu of a neon colour-block onesie with platform wedges, the best way to stand out from the crowd is to wear a tall pointy hat. Serving boss energy, goth black minimalism, and beer, she was visible from across a peasant-dense market place. And if you’re in the craft (witchcraft) beer industry, market penetration is everything.

But the patriarchy doesn’t like female success. A woman with talent? Skills? Independence?! Horror of horrors! Shut it down! And so it came to be that women were demonized for their roles in the community as beer sellers and wise women, and the innocuous broom and hat went from functional fashion accessories to terrible tools of devilry. It’s a tale as old as time.

So here we are turning iconic witch vibes into feminist style once again. Because empowerment has serious hex appeal. If you’re looking for a statement spellbinding wardrobe piece, then your witch-hunt is over.