Of all the tools of the Craft, the broom is probably the most well known. For better or for worse, it has been the image of Wicca and Witchcraft for generations. The picture of a powerful Witch riding through the air, though far from accurate, is something almost every has seen before. But the true nature of the broom in Wicca is more complex.
The broom, in one form or another, has been in use magickally and mundanely for thousands of years. In ancient times, it was used during ritual as women would straddle a broom and jump, showing the crops how high they should grow. Today it is used primarily for cleansing, and the broom is still found in most households today. However, it also has more symbolic purpose.
The Symbolism of the Broom
Typically, the broom is thought of as a masculine tool due to its phallic nature. However, it may also be considered a balanced tool. The handle (or stave) is certainly phallic, and so is masculine. The bristles, on the other hand, receive the stave much as the female receives the male. In this way, the broom can be said to embody both the male and the female.
Ritual Uses of the Broom
The broom can be used for a variety of purposes. It can serve as a decoration, especially in the winter month. More commonly, Wiccans will use the broom to cleanse a ritual area. This is done by sweeping your ritual space, often the Magick Circle itself, in a clockwise motion, visualizing the negative energy leaving the Circle. Some Wiccans will chant as they do this, perhaps saying something like: “As I gently sweep this place, I cast out negativity from this space.” It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Brooms are also laid across the entrance to a coven circle or hung on doors for protection. They can also be used during a wedding, in some traditions. In this case, the broom is laid before the newly-wedded couple, who proceed to ‘Jump the Broom’ to seal their commitment to each other.
How to Make Your Own Broom
The traditional broom of the Witch is a besom, a broom that is rounded instead of flat. These are very easy to make at home. First you’ll need a stave, traditionally made of ash. However, you may use any wood you choose. You’ll also need twigs, straw, or herbs for the bristles. If you are making a traditional besom, you’ll want birch twigs for your bristles, but really you can use anything that works for you.
The twigs should be gathered to the stave and tied together tightly. You can use rope or twine or even a leather thong to bind to the twigs. Keep the bristles as even as possible, and bind them only tight enough to secure them to the stave. If you bind them too tightly, they could break.
The broom is a common tool of Wiccan practice. Though surrounded by much myth and legend, the modern use of the broom is for ceremonial cleansing and protection.