Not all the tools of the Witch are physical objects, and not all of them are what might be considered PC by some practitioners.
Take the Witches Hat for instance. The wide brimmed pointy hat often ascribed to Witches has been the subject of wood carvings, an identifier of Jews and the occasional dunce as well as being consistent with hats worn by Puritans and in some areas of Wales. The various styles of hat, and variations of it, receive a number of different receptions depending on who is doing the viewing. Certainly when the witches hat is considered by many modern practitioners it is derided as being a negative symbol from fairy tales, at best a figure of fun at worst a symbol of oppression.
The origins of the conical, both pointed and flattened, hat being a symbol of occult power goes much further back in time. Baal has been found depicted wearing a flattened conical hat (in order to balance the heavens on his brow) as well as on Ancient Etruscan coins from the city of Luna where the head, possibly of the goddess Diana, is surmounted by a similar pointed hat. Baal is not the only Assyrian deity associated with the conical shape, both he and Astarte could be symbolised by the conical shape in portable cult objects.
In certain cases the wish to carry elsewhere the cult of a favourite or ancestral cult, may have dictated the manufacture of images that declare themselves and reveal at a glance whose they are. Thus a Phoenician colonist might desire to carry abroad the cult of a certain Baal or Astarte who lived in a conical stone or pillar. Pilgrims visiting Paphos, the original home and temple of Astarte, could of course be in no doubt about which of the heavenly powers inhabited the cone of stone in which she was there held to be immanent; nor was any Semite ever ignorant as to which Baal he stood before. It was necessarily the Baal or Lord of the region. But small portrait statues must surely have been made to be carried about or used in private worship. Meanwhile the shapeless cone remained the object of public adoration and pilgrimage.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 14, “Ichthyology” to “Independence”
The Witches Hat aka the Cone of Power
With the Witches Hat having a long standing association with both divine and heavenly powers it is both a physical object and a symbolic one. The cone shaped hat can be considered as the basis of the Cone of Power, a powerful tool when it comes to rising and directing energy.
Indeed the Cone of Power has been used by modern traditions for many years and was famously used in Operation Cone of Power, a ritual performed by the New Forest Coven during Lammas/Lughnasadh 1940. This ritual was designed to avert Hitler’s planned invasion of England and the Coven raised the necessary energy using the Cone. A similar ritual was performed in 1971, also during a Lammas/Lughnasadh ritual, to bring about the end of the Vietnam War.
Whether working in a coven or alone the cone of power is a powerful visualisation for raising energy in ritual. But how does the cone of power relate to the witches hat? It’s all a matter of symbolism.
The ritual space, be it denoted by coven members or a sacred space marked by a solitary practitioner, is representative of the witches hat whilst the visualised cone of energy forms the conical point itself.
The primary function of the Cone of Power is to raise energy and the practice combines both the circle and spiral as was discussed in my recent post “Why do Witches do their magic in circles?”. Energy is passed around and above the ritual space as a method of exponentially increasingly the level and effectiveness of the energy in order to achieve great things.
Using the Cone of Power
The Cone of power is achieved in a number of different ways, with energy being raised through dance, song, chant or visualisation. Where this technique is being carried out by a group of people those involved would hold hands whilst a solitary practitioner would sit in the centre of the circle with the energy being visualised as forming around them.
What is consistent is that as the energy is raised it is seen as rising to a point high above the ritual space. When the energy reaches its peak and the apex of the cone is achieved the energy is released through the point of the cone and into the heavens above, carrying the intent of the spell or ritual with it. After a time the energy flow is stopped and the energy levels allowed to return to the ground and all of those present go through the process of grounding and centring themselves.