Witchcraft Journal Blog

A resource for information and opinions on the beliefs, practices, customs, and magic of Traditional Witchcraft of the British Isles.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ritual Tools ~ Besom



The besom, or ritual broom, has a history in witchcraft and there seems to have always been myths about witches flying. The Greeks and Romans associated the broom with the goddess Hecate. In the days of the Roman Empire, Hecate's Priestesses would use a besom to sweep the threshold of a house after the birth of a child. It was believed this would remove evil spirits that might harm the newborn.

Hecate is popular in some Pagan and Wicca traditions as she is associated with magic and divination. Hecate can be invoked to boost spellwork. Her broom is therefore used in ritual and magic.

Since Mediaeval times, pagan wedding couples have "jumped the broom" as part of their handfasting ceremony. The besom protects the newlywed couple and promotes fertility. Often, the besom is decorated after the handfasting, and is placed on the living room wall or near the front door in many Pagan and Wiccan couples' homes.

Storage
Besoms should always be stored so as to keep good fortune from falling out and becoming lost. It is a Pagan tradition to keep a besom by the front door, to protect hearth and home from negative energy.

Magic & Ritual
Trad Witches have used a besom to sweep away negativity in a room, with the help of a little spell, probably since brooms were first used in Britain. We also use a besom to sweep out negativity in a compass.

When sweeping, the besom does not touch the floor but is held several inches above it. The area is not meant to be physically cleaned, that is done ahead of time. The ritual sweeping is to clean on the astral or spiritual plain, where negativity may be located.


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