Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Witch's Hat


וְשַׂמְתָּ הַמִּצְנֶפֶת, עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ
and set the witch's hat upon his head ... Shemot 29:6

The Hebrew word הַמִּצְנֶפֶת refers to a conical-shaped hat, a witch's hat. On the antiquity of the witch's hat, Carolyn Tully informs us:

According to the magazine 'Biblical Archaeology Review,' a 22 inch-tall, gold, conical object, whose place, date and circumstances of its discovery remain shrouded in mystery, is now thought to be a headdress worn during religious ceremonies. Fragments of leather or felt found inside the cone appear to rule out what was until now the most popular identification of this type of cone: a ritual vessel. But the fragments support the designation of a Hat. A soft lining would have transformed the uncomfortable cone into a wearable headdress. And with a 7 inch diameter at its base, the cone bears the hat size of an average adult male (or female). The cone even has a brim, just like a typical Witches' Hat.1

In ritual, the witch's hat symbolizes the energy-form generated within a magic circle by the Coven. The brim represents the circle of witches (or the witch's sacred circle within the context of solitary practice), and the pointed cone represents the ritual power raised within the circle through which magic is worked.

The Hebrew word הַמִּצְנֶפֶת (the witch's hat) further connects to a circle of witches through it's shoresh (3-letter root) צנף, which means to 'circle around a center,' as witches do - whether in Coven or in solitary ritual. In terms of kabbalistic meditation, the act of circling (corresponding to the witch's hat) corresponds to siyach meditation.


1. Biblical Archaeology Review. Vol.25. No.5. pp.17-18. (The gold headdress was part of an exhibition in Paris and Athens entitled "Gods and Heroes of the Bronze Age", September 1999 to May 2000.)