Stang and Distaff: The Stang and Feminine Mysteries

The third branch of witchcraft, and the third use of the stang, is as a traditional woman’s tool — that of the distaff. The older versions of a spinner’s distaff was either a two or three pronged “stang” (“stick”). The distaff and spindle were once the main daily working tools of all women, and Cochrane is very specific in his writings about the distaff being the main working tool of women of the Craft.  The distaff is a traditional handspinner’s tool used for holding raw fibers as they are spun into thread on a spindle.  Robert Cochrane in his writing “On Cords” states:

“The so-called ‘sacred object’ held in such reverence by some witches was in fact a weaver’s distaff–and could easily be mistaken for a phallic symbol. The weaver’s distaff, bound with reeds or straw, appears frequently in rural carvings and elsewhere. It again has reference to the Craft and supreme Deity. It would appear that the witches were not in the least influenced by Freudian concepts.”