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Brooms, Besoms And Their Folklore

Jul 13, 2018


Picture your stereotypical witch. You know, that preposterous image that makes most pagans' eyes roll--ugly old green hag with a crooked, wart-covered nose and pointy black hat. Spare me. Yeah, it's absurd to those who know better. But what's that thingie she always has with her? Ah, yes. A broom. As often as we have seen this image, isn't it strange that in modern times the item most associated with magick is the one most often absent in ritual according to Sharon in this article from starfirecircle.com?

The broom is a dang useful thingamajig. These days, the cheap plastic K-Mart variety is still used for sweeping up dirt, brushing away cobwebs, and chasing away unwanted varmits. Sure, a dustbuster works great in secular ways, but these aren't the kind of implements we're talking about here. The ritual broom is a special one. It is used by witches for cleansing spaces and protecting the home from negativity.

Also known as besoms, some insist that brooms must be made from ash branches, birch twigs and willow binding. Others say an oak branch and broom bristles. Still others say it's the feel of the broom that matters most. In any case, the broom is generally used to purify a space before ritual begins. Any concentrated chant, such as "Sweep, sweep, sweep away/All negativity," is helpful in banishing ookie energies when moving about the space in a deosil (clockwise) fashion. It can also be used in regular ol' living spaces in the same way that sage is used: to force out unwanted energies that visitors have left behind. Even after a bad day, your own negatives can be expelled in this manner. Mini-brooms can be kept on an altar to sweep away bad vibrations before spell-casting, or to adorn and protect a room. And if you're worried about messing up your special expensive ritual broom, remember that the bristles don't actually have to touch any surfaces since it is used to sweep out energies, not cat hair.

Brooms are also very protective of you and they will love you even more if you name them (I just adore my beloved home-made Miranda). Hanging a broom over the door or placing it next to an entranceway is considered lucky and keeps away bad folks and spirits. Traditionally, brooms should be placed with bristles up. Laying a broom on the floor across a threshold is a sure way to keep negativity out...whoever enters must step over it.

Historically, brooms had other uses. In ancient times, the broom was Said to aid in astral flying and was also a symbol of the union between the God and Goddess. Hence brooms are still used in fertility rites and Pagan handfastings today in which the happy couple jump over the broom for luck. If you're a creative type, you can try making your own broom. Get ye to a broomery...and sweep away!

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