People all over the world hang lights and ornaments on their tree every Christmas. But who do you think Christmas balls have to thank for their origins? According to an ancient tale, Christmas ornament balls are descendents from the witch ball. These ornaments were placed on the tree to dispel a visitor’s envy at the presents underneath it. What exactly are witch balls?
They are made from glass (sometimes wood, grass or twigs), five to seven inches in diameter. Traditionally but not limited to, green or blue in color with enameled swirls or brilliant stripes. A string ran through the center of some. Others were placed on velvet pillows or on top of stands. Today, many people have a silver “gazing ball” in their gardens.
Witch balls date back to a time where witches were considered a blessing. They would enchant these balls to ward off evil. How this was accomplished depends on the tale you hear. Some say the bright colors of the ball would lure the evil presence in and the strand inside would capture it, preventing it from escaping. Another legend states the ball protects its owners from witches. The attractive colors lures them in to investigating the spheres. Then traps them inside forever. A third legend states the Witch Ball acts like a magnet. The ball is a positive element drawing in the negative from the air. If you find yourself ill, stay close to the ball and it will attract the evil causing your ailment. Want to exorcise the evils trapped within? All you have to do is dust it.
There are a variety of balls associated with the Witch Ball:
Fairy Orbs are said to attract fairies and luck. The orbs remind fairies of flowers and come to inspect the colors. Thanking you for the treat, they reward you with a little luck.
Pond Balls are basically the same as Witch Balls except they are weighted and placed in a pond or pool of water. Legend states animals see their reflection in the balls floating on top of the water and retreat, leaving the fish unharmed.
Spirit Balls are like Witch Balls except for an open hole on one end. It is believed they could protect the home owners from evil spirits. The spirit would be attracted by the colorful surface and fly in to the hole. Then become trapped in the glass strings inside.
Friendship Balls are gifts to represent a friendship. Its spherical shape represents eternity. The swirling colors stand for harmony. And the glisten represents the sparkle of a friend’s smile.
Good Luck Balls and Globes of Happiness are traditionally given as housewarming gift. It’s believed to bring the recipient good luck, happiness, health, and prosperity.
Butler Globes resemble Gazing Balls more than Witch Balls. They were used by butlers and maids to observe the behavior of the guests and properly tend to their masters needs. They peer in to its reflective surface to see who might be finished with their meals or need their drink freshened without having to watch constantly throughout the meal.