Firstly, make or purchase your broomstick.
Traditionally a broomstick, or besom, is made from three different woods, Ash for the shaft, Birch twigs for the bristles and Willow strands for the binding cord. Ash is protective and has command over the four elements, Birch is purifying and draws spirits to one’s service, while Willow is sacred to the Goddess and binds them all together. Personalise your broom to suit yourself, follow your heart. You could use another kind of wood if you choose, or straw for the bristles. Add herbs or wild flowers to the bristles if you like. Lavender, thyme and sage all work well and dried flowers look magical.
Alternatively, you can buy traditional besoms. My favourite broomstick maker is The Hen and Hammock – makers of handmade besoms in Oxfordshire.
Blessing a New Broom
It’s important to bless and cleanse all your witchy paraphernalia and your besom is no exception. To bless your broom you will need;
A white candle
Some incense of your choice
A small dish of water (preferably water touched by moonlight)
Some sea salt.
Light the candle and incense.
Breathe in deeply through your nose and visualize grounding positive energy filling your body. Breathe out through your mouth ridding yourself of all negativity. Repeat this process until you are completely relaxed and grounded. Pass the besom through the incense smoke and say,
“With scented air light and free, I give you breath.”
Pass the besom quickly through the candle flame (without setting fire to it!) and say,
“With fire dancing wild and free, I give you passion.”
Sprinkle the besom with a little water and say,
“With water pure I give to thee, the blood of life.”
Sprinkle the besom with a little salt and say,
“Salt of earth I give to thee, roots in magick.”
Hold the besom close to you. Caress it lovingly and say,
“I am yours and you are mine henceforth until the end of time.
Life I give you willingly as I will so mote it be!”
There are several recipes for flying ointments. I wouldn’t recommend any of them. Look to your inner child and use your imagination instead.
Take acarum vulgare (sweet flag), parsley, cinquefoil, yellow watercress, the blood of a flittermouse (bat), aconite, belladonna and oil. Stamp all these together and then rub all parts of the body until they look red and feel hot, so as the pores are open and the flesh loose and soluble.
Crumble together aconite, hemlock and poplar leaves. Mix with enough soot to bind them together well and rub briskly over the limbs.
Gather belladonna, aconite, cinquefoil and water parsnip. Mix them together well and add them to soot from the hearth and fat of a babe from the pot. Rub it on as you need it.
So now you’ve blessed your broom, smothered yourself in goodness only knows what, you’re ready fly! Don’t forget the cat, ferret, dog, witchling etc.
nb: As well as being environmentally sound, witch’s broomsticks are exempt from tax, insurance and MOTs.
When conducting ceremonies, Handfasting, Baby Naming Ceremonies and Memorials, I like to embellish my broomstick to match the occasion.
Broomstick for Ceremonies
Broomsticks are often used in pagan rituals to cleanse and bless the sacred space before conducting ceremonies for protection and purification.
While casting a circle, I walk clockwise (deosil) around the circle space, and holding the besom a few inches off the ground I sweep outward from the centre while chanting. The chant varies depending on the ritual, whether it be a Handfasting, a Moon Ceremony, a Naming Ceremony or a Spellcasting.
During Handfastings, the newly wed couple, jump over the broomstick for luck and fertility.
A Besom Chant.
“Besom, besom long and lithe
Made from ash and willow withe
Tied with thongs of willow bark
In running stream at moonset dark.
With a pentagram indighted
As the ritual fire is lighted;
Sweep ye circle, deosil,
Sweep out evil, sweep out ill,
Make the round of the ground
Where we do the Lady’s will.
Besom, besom, Lady’s broom
Sweep out darkness, sweep out doom
Rid ye Lady’s hallowed ground
Of demons, imps and Hell’s red hound;
Then set ye down on Her green earth
By running stream or Mistress hearth,
Till called once more on Sabbath night
To cleanse once more the dancing site.”
Place a besom outside the door, when you are working. This tells other witches not to disturb.
Broomsticks should be placed by the door, bristles up, to ward off evil spirits.
If the broom falls across the threshold expect visitors.
A new broom should sweep dirt out of a house only after it has swept something in.
Buy a broom in May, and you will sweep your friends away.
Never sweep after sunset, doing so will chase away happiness or hurt a wandering soul.
If a young girl steps over a broom handle she will become a mother before a wife.
Women should always do the sweeping. If a man is struck by a broom, he must grab hold of it and hit the broomstick against the wall 3 times or he will become impotent.
Good luck can be had by sending a new broom and a loaf of bread into a new home before entering it.
To cure a wart measure it crosswise with a broom straw, then burying the straw. The straw will decay and so too will the wart.
If you feel as though you are being followed and haunted by unfriendly ghosts, stepping over a broomstick will prevent them from disturbing you.
Dropping a broom while sweeping is the sign of a new carpet.
Hitting someone with a broom means that he will go to jail before a week has passed.
If a broom falls in front of you and you step over it before picking it up, you will have a “bed of sickness.”
If you hand a broom through a window to someone, you may expect bad luck.
It is unlucky to borrow a broom.
Never burn a broom; it will bring you bad luck.
And Mr. O’Sophical’s view on the subject? “Grab a pint of milk while you’re out please.”