Nov 13, 2011

Sweeping power of the broom

Broom, as well as particular parts of it, have always been respected or even feared off. It’s rather hard to pin point when exactly, did the beliefs in supernatural qualities and attributes of broom began. Besoms, as earliest forms of brooms have been used since ancient Egypt, and even earlier than that. As a simple cleaning utility tool, it’s probably very much older. For getting It’s “official” place in magick , we can probably thank to Celts, who used to make brooms from ash, birch and willow ( that was used to hold the “bristles” of the broom together ). In Balkan peninsula magick, and according to cnning folk, they seem to date back as long as people can remember. Similar is in European traditional witchery, brooms are said to be as old as the population of the continent. The most commonly used plant for household brooms comes from Africa ( look Sorghum bellow in the text ) hence African people and Sub Saharan Africans always knew of it’s powerful properties, being a source of molasses, used as offering to certain Loa [1]

Regardless, their prominence and time lasting are evident even now, followed by fear inspired by fantasies of popular culture, commercialism and fearful ( not to use shallow ) minds. Superstitions and beliefs associated with the broom, as well as it’s role in the esotery seem to be cosmopolite, widely spread all across the globe.

While brooms, in occultism can be used by anyone, among folk and old, traditional witchery they are considered mostly to be female tool or witch attribute, though male have been known to use them. While in mundane every day sense, we differ the handle and the bristles, in occultism when we say broom or broomstick we are generally addressing to the whole thing. Further differences should be noted, while besom in every day sense is seen as “simple broom”, twigs tied up together, in occult sense, besom is synonymous with the broom, even more popular word to be used in New age witchery. Brooms are made from so many different materials, depending on tradition or even some more specific purposes of the broom. Most commonly , brooms sold are made from Sorghum plant ( few species included ) most often Sorghum vulgare, also known as Broomcorn, these are the common household brooms we can purchase almost everywhere, usually with dustpan s. While the contemporary author of respected witchcraft and Wicca related books will claim how by no means can mundane and magickal broom be mixed, there are simply no anthropological, folkloric nor historical inputs or records to support such claims. See, magickal use of broom is much older than Neo-paganism or Wicca, that advocate and perpetuate such claims. Cunning folk that used brooms all over Europe, usually had no means to get more than one broom, nor they have seen the need to. Though in some cases broom had to be ritually made if You were to use it for magick as well. Which is the case in Balkan peninsula traditional witchery.

Here, brooms were ( and in some places still are ) made by something that seems as community folk ritual, and participants are older women, usually older than 50 years. In the morning of the 7th of july they are out in the fields to gather “Field brooms” ( Xeranthemum annuum ) , which they are supposed to do naked and with their hair loose. What we would call skyclad now , really :) lol. Then they would knit the brooms out of the gathered plant material, tying it together with red yarn ( most often other colors have been used occasionally ) and left on Sun to dry and become of gold-yellow color. If the handle was made, which was not obligatory on Balkan , it was usually made out of the Birch wood. Broom was in Balkan traditional witchery considered to be sacred and magickal on itself, hence no other consecration or blessings were needed, as long as the broom was made ritually.

Young female practitioners in Balkan would also use Birch besoms, in work with fae folk , and there seemed to be another kind of magickal broom made out of Oakwood, used for initiation of younger witches by old ones. Those two types were used for magickal purposes only [2]

For Hoodoos and Conjurers, the broom as magickal as it is. It needs no consecration or special rites to bless it, although it can be done if needed. Same broom used for household cleansing is used for spiritual cleansing. Furthermore, both concepts of cleaning are often done at same time, in Hoodoo households. If You ask me, it’s decent, practical and justified magickal method, modus operandi If You would.

Practical advices and superstitions related to the broom

• When purchasing a new broom , You may, even nowadays be advised not to sweep dirt from house with it, before the broom has swep t something in . In connection to that belief, it is advisory to newer clean outdoors, unless You’ve previously cleansed indoors, with one ( same ) broom
• Old rhyme from England suggests that If You buy broom in May You may chase Your friends away
• Brooms are associated with fertility, African people jump over it on their weddings [3] and If an African man would get be struck with one, he would better hit the handle seven times, to prevent impotence.
• Intentional stepping over the broom, however, seems benefactor-y, especially should You be oppressed by unfriendly ghosts, haints or evil spirits. Whitches say how noxious spirits fear even the very sight of broom, and that sweeping outwards , barely touching the ground or just above it, banishes them and sends them away.
• Likewise, broom across, or in front of doorway will prevent evil from entering the house, so will placed on ground, before Your bed, but should never be leaned on the very bed. If leaned on the wall inwards, near the entrance of the house or room, it will warn of hostile presence or upcoming visit by falling
• 9627. "If someone comes and you don't want them to come back, put salt and black pepper on the carpet. When they leave, take a broom and sweep it out the door, and they will not come back." [4]
• Similar method is employed to inspire unpleasant visitor to leave, by putting the broom behind the door so that the handle is directed towards them, pointin’ in their direction. They will soon become uncomfortable and leave
• Broom is ridden by witches, so say folk. Well yes and no. Physical brooms , nope, but their astral bodies ( yes broom seem to have astral bodies as well ) were ridden by ethereal bodies of witches, so they could fly, and o through chimneys ( less evident ) for ethereal body is not so transcendental as astral, more dense and more hard to move, certainly not through solid matter. The broom was playing the role of “carrier” , and according to some author this is why witches were believed to fly the brooms. Of course handles ( of the broom ) were greased with Flying ointments of all kinds, and “ridden” so that they would be near the body openings, hence the skin and mucosal would easily come in contact with alkaloids [5]

Broom straws and Hoodoo spells to repel nightmares and cure asthma and warts

To cure heal a child from asthma , Hoodoo people would cut the broom so it’s as long as child is tall, then they would bury it under the front doorstep. As the child would grow “taller than the cut broom” the asthma would disappear

Burned broomstraw, is believed to be efficient in removing warts by drawing circle , with its charre d end around the wart. This is done for three consecutive mornings. Source of the aforementioned also suggests ; In removing a wart, rub it thrice with three broomstraws and bury them where water drips [6]

To dispel nightmares, some people use Rosemary and Broom straws from the new broom, tied to a make bundle, and aperse the Holy water thrice over room and bed where they sleep saying ; “In Nomine Pater, Fillii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen!”

Broom straws are in Hoodoo often used in jars against witches, or are placed before bed ( where You legs are ) or under pillow, nine of them broom straws from a new broom , to prevent nightly visitations of wicked spirits and hag riding .

Hope You enjoyed the read, Blessings
Shadow :)

NOTES: This article was composed and written by me, therefore should You desire to use any parts of it elsewhere feel free, but add credits, Shadow of Shadows magick place, or a direct link to this post.
[1] and [3] according to Stephanie Rose Bird, author of “Sticks, stones, roots and bones”
[2] and [5] according to Radomir Ristic, author of “Traditional Balkan witchcraft” , in the mentioned book he presents the theory of astral broom being used to uplift non –physical body during projection
[4] and [6] adopted and edited from “Folklore from Adam’s county Illinois”, by Harry Middleton Hyatt
IMAGE CREDITS: FIrst image is from and is part of Francisko Goya's work "Caprichos", which is aviailable in public domain

1 comment:

John Laura said...

Broom is ridden by witches, so say folk. Well yes and no. Physical brooms , nope, but their astral bodies ( yes broom seem to have astral bodies as well ) were ridden by ethereal bodies..
sweeping broom