If the Countess of Salisbury had a garter made of green snake skin, then I want one made out of Copperhead skin!
I’ve always been fascinated with garters and stockings. They frame certain portions of the female anatomy in ways that pantyhose can’t.
Besides, unless it’s crotchless pantyhose, garters and stockings are the way to go for easy access.
Originally, garters were a necessity. Woolen hose tended to slouch, which is never a comfortable situation. Early garters were nothing more than a piece of string tied above or below the knee, over the hose, by both men and women.
As humans became more ingenious, they added buckles, latches, and eventually elastic. Most garters were strictly utilitarian. However, as women’s hems began to ascend up their legs, garters became fancier and were meant to be seen in brief glances.
Eventually, garters gave way to garter belts, which tend to be more comfortable, work better, and are less damaging to a person’s circulation.
Garters, while fashionable and sexy, have also traditionally been associated with witch craft. The most famous of these associations is the story of the Countess of Salisbury, who just like Janet, had a wardrobe malfunction at a very public event. It was speculated by Margret Murray, the anthropologist who has given false credence to most of Wicca’s most valued traditions, that the Countess was a Witch Queen whose badge of office slipped down her leg. This, of course, is only an unfounded theory.
Gerald Gardner tied this onto his growing collection of witchcraft culture, and the practice of using a garter as a sign or badge of a witch’s degree or position became popular for a time. (Click here to read some more about Pagans and garters: http://afwcraft.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-witches-garter.html)
The practice of wearing a garter to denote your station has fallen out of practice within the general Wiccan and Pagan community. It’s a shame. I have wonderful visions of everyone having garters full of badges, like some Spiral Scout program gone horribly wrong. Or of Pagans passing each other in the grocery store and furtively flashing a garter shot a la Christians drawing dirt fish. Wouldn’t that be fun? Plus, it would give you a handy place to stash extra libations or an athame for ritual!
In seriousness, though, committing to wearing garters denotes a person being bound to their path, their learning, and their position of service. It’s hard to forget your duties to Deity and your fellow circle mates when you have something tight around your legs.
For more information about the fashion history of garters, check out: http://chestofbooks.com/food/household/Woman-Encyclopaedia-4/Dress-The-Story-Of-The-Garter.html#.UaLmjdJOQq9 http://chestofbooks.com/food/household/Woman-Encyclopaedia-4/Dress-The-Story-Of-The-Garter-Continued.html#.UaLljNJOQq8
These folks always catch the garter at a hand fasting: