Saturday, September 7, 2013

Air Magick - Broomsticks

Brooms have long been associated with Witches and Witchcraft.  Everyone has seen the images of a Witch flying through a moonlit night on her broomstick.  While most of these stories can probably be traced back to the old days of Witch Hunting and The Burning Times as stories meant to scare children and help people "identify" witches, there are many magical uses for brooms that are very much alive and well for the modern witch.  Broomsticks, also called "besoms", are traditionally used to purify and cleanse a sacred space before ritual.  Sweeping away the negative energy in a circle to help create a sacred and protected place for rituals, and meditation.  They are also commonly used for energetic cleansing of a home, sweeping away any negativity that may have gathered in your house.  Broomsticks are also associated with dreaming and Astral travel, which is probably how they became associated with "flying".

The broom can be used for cleaning, decoration, magick, and ritual. It is suggested that you have more than one broom for your home; one for the daily cleaning and sweeping, and one or more others for rituals or magick. (Though the first, for cleaning, can also be magickal, it is not the same one you would use during ritual, but both can be used for sweeping away negative energy.)

The broom is commonly seen as the symbol of the female witch and represents her vehicle for traveling into dreamtime, astral travel, and her power over her realm - the Home and Hearth. Since it is mainly used in purification and blessing, the broom is commonly associated with the element of water; thus is also used in all types of spells including love, dreams, astral travel, and psychic workings. Yet others see the broom as associated with the element of Air and align it more with masculine energy because of it's phallic appearance.

Generally the most common use for a broom or "besom" is to ritualistically cleanse and area for magick. In many Wiccan traditions (though not limited to such), a ritual is begun by gently sweeping the area (the circle) before the altar is set up - sweeping away any negative astral energy. For more, see the *Broom Purification of Space Before Ritual * post

It is customary for a witch to name her broom - thus imbuing it with personal energy by respecting it as an intimate familiar. If you have a permanent altar, the customary placement for your magickal broom's "Home" would be the left side of your altar. (stored bristle side up for luck) If you don't have a permanent altar set up, your broom can be stored behind a door, hanging on a door or wall, under your bed, or wrapped in a cloth and stored in a closet; somewhere that it can be untouched and undisturbed between ritual uses.

The simple act of sweeping can be very magickal. When using a new broom for the first time, you should sweep something into the home, otherwise, you may sweep your luck right out the door.
If you have a fireplace, you should always sweep towards the fireplace. Otherwise, you can sweep in any direction except for towards the door. Some people choose to sweep the room's perimeters in a clockwise circle, beginning at either the East or the West, to enhance the cleansing energy of sweeping. It is also believed that sweeping at night may bring bad luck or prevent good fortune. This belief seems to be based on ancient folklore that says sweeping disturbs the spirits that walk the floors at night time. More on broom folklore can be found in this post- Broomsticks ~ Many Uses and Lore ~

Making or decorating your own Broom
A traditional magickal broom is crafted from a wooden staff (preferably Ash), Birch twigs, and Willow binding. Though other materials can be used such as Straw, Pine Needles, Lemon Balm, Elder Stalks, Mallow Stalks, etc. You may want to decorate the handle with sacred symbols such as a crescent moon, runes, or sigils of protection or cleansing. Feathers, bells, other herbs, or shells, can also be hung from your broom to further empower it for magickal cleansing and blessing purposes. If a broom cannot be made, you can decorate a store-bought one with any of these suggested items, and cleanse it or bless it for your purpose. The following inscription is suggested in the book "The Magical Household" by Cunningham and Harrington;

On one side of the broom, with the words traveling toward the bristles, write "I sweep in Luck, Blessings, and Prosperity." On the other side of the broom, with the words traveling away from the bristles, "I Sweep away Negativity, Evil, and Poverty."

Here is a list of some Lore, Beliefs, and Magickal Uses associated with Broomsticks (Besoms)

•It is considered unlucky to buy a broomstick in the month of August.

•Bringing an old broom into a new house is bad luck. If you are moving, buy a new broom and leave the old broom at the old residence. (this applies to the brooms you clan with, but you can take your magickal brooms or decorative brooms with you... just cleanse them or bless them before using them in your new home.)

•When you first use a new broom, you should first sweep something into the house. This invites luck and fortune into your home. Otherwise, you just may be sweeping away your luck! It is also believed that if you make wish the first time you use a new broom, it will come true.

•If a broom falls from your hands while you sweep, make a wish before you pick it up.

•Sweeping at night is considered unlucky, as it disturbs the spirits who roam the floors as others sleep.

•If a broom falls across a doorway, you will soon go on a journey. Pick it up quickly without stepping over it for a safe journey.

•If a broom falls anywhere else in your home, you can expect company.

•To bring rain, stand outside and swing a broom in the air over your head.

•Place our broom on your front porch during a lightning storm to protect from lightning stikes.

•If you want to get married, jump over a broomstick nine times - you will be exchanging vows within the next year.

•Placing a broom across the top of any doorway in your home allows your departed friends and family to speak to you if they so choose.

•For protection while you sleep, lay a broom beneath you bed. a small broom tucked under your pillow is said to protect against nightmares.

•If you must be away from home for some time, and want to return home to an energetically clean and safe bed, tuck a broom into it, laying the bristles on the pillow.

•Two brooms crossed and hung on a wall or nailed to a door guard the house, as does a broom placed on the ground before the door. A broom standing behind a door (bristles up will guard and protect your home and prevent from unwanted visitors.

"To Ride a Silver Broomstick" by Silver Raven Wolf
"Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham
"The Magical Household" by Scott Cunningham and David Harrington

I found this beautiful Sweeping Spell online, but I don't know it's original source or author
This is a Sweeping spell I wrote;

While sweeping Widdershins (counterclockwise) and finishing by sweeping out the door, chant and repeat;
"Sweep, sweep, away from here
Anger, worry, negativity, fear.
Sweep, sweep, sweep away
negativity now kept at bay!"

Then sweeping in from the door and clockwise around the room, chant and repeat;
"Sweep, sweep, welcome in
Love and Health to stay within.
Sweep, sweep, sweep again
Prosperity and Blessings now begin!"

Here is a photo of my hand-made Magickal Broom.  In the next post I am going to show a tutorial on how to make one of your own!

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