This week I’ll be writing a little bit about the Besom, the Witch’s Broom. Our household is still recovering from my hubby’s hospital stay last week so my post this week will be brief.
So many people are familiar with the image of a witch flying on her broom and while the image has ingrained itself into our collective memory it fails to show the true significance of the Besom to the everyday witch’s toolbox.
I like the word Besom, to me it just sounds cooler than broom, though I used both in this post. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary Besom is from Old English besma, similar to Old High German besmo which translates to broom and is defined as a broom, especially one made of twigs.
Many modern Witches use the besom to sweep the negativity out of their home, to sweep the negativity away from their ritual space before casting a circle, and sometimes for directing energy in the same way as a wand. Some couples use the Besom during Handfasting ceremonies where they will jump over the broom to signify fertility and the joining of the couple in their new relationship (among other things) while a besom hung over the door is said to keep out evil spirits.
A good besom practice to follow is this - when standing a broom you should always place it so the bristles are in the air, this not only brings you good luck but for practical purposes will make the bristles last longer!
The Besom is traditionally made with an ash handle and bristles made of birch twigs which are bound together will bindings of willow. Being both masculine (the phallus-like handle) and feminine (the birch bristles) in nature the Besom is a symbol of fertility and sexuality as well as one of protection and cleansing.
Modern besoms can be made with materials you harvest from the forest or purchased in the local grocery store; they do not need to be made from the traditional materials to be effective to your craft and I recommend making a Besom if possible (actually - I recommend making all you ritual tools if possible!!)
I believe that when you make your tools you add more of your own energy to them. If you don’t have the time, energy or inclination to make a Besom you can easily personalize a store bought one by adding herbs and other materials that align with your intent for the tool. For instance if your Besom is strictly for a Handfasting Ceremony you may want to add ribbons, sprigs of Lavender and/or sprays of roses to signify love. If you are using it for protection you may want to add rosemary or hyssop for protection.
The wonderful thing about making your own is that you can make it from any materials that you feel are called for and in whatever size you need, larger or small, broomcorn or birch, ash, oak or dogwood. The choices of materials are wide open and only limited by your imagination and what you can find in your area (or online!).
Recently my favorite local shop Pathway Spirit (Link is for their Facebook page) started carrying besoms with jeweled handles - swoon! I will be getting one of these soon! They are just so pretty and will look magnificent standing in the corner of my room protecting my home.
Some fun besom lore (these were taken from http://andorshop.webs.com/besomlore.htm - this site has LOTS of fun Besom information)
- Stumbling over a besom handle will bring you good luck
- Burning a besom will bring you bad luck
- If dirt is swept out the door before sunrise you will have bad luck
- Storing a broom with the bristles up will bring you good luck
- When moving into a new home a loaf of bread and a new besom should be sent in first for good luck.
Hhre are some sites I visited while researching Besoms:
http://andorshop.webs.com/besomlore.htm (This had fantastic Besom Lore!!)