The Basics of the Besom
History of the Besom
The besom or broom was a popular tool of witches in the past because it was an every day item that couldn't be used as proof of a witch. It had many purposes other than simply a tool of cleansing.
They would use the besom to direct energy during ritual, much like we use the wand today.
The besom would be 'ridden' around the fields (much like a child riding a hobby horse) in order to bring a copious harvest to the farmers.
Bridal couples would jump over the besom together not only to proclaim the establishment of their new home but to express their wanting children. The couple would then keep the besom in a place of high esteem within the home.
Witches would keep the besom by the door or hanging from the door in order to shield their home from unwanted entities and energies.
Some witches would also keep their besom by the door in order to communicate to other witches that they were there and/or to alert them that they were engaging in a ritual.
Besom vs Broom
The besom today is predominantly used in rituals to cleanse the circle or ritual area of psychic 'dirt' and unwanted energies. It can also be used to 'sweep' in positive energies or energies that help your magickal workings.
Many witches are using the besom as our ancestors did, it isn't quite as imperative to hide our magickal workings as it was for them.
There are people who do find it necessary to hide the fact that they are witches, and for these people the besom is a fabulous tool that can be used to cleanse the area (instead of using incense) and can be used to direct energy (instead of using a wand). Simply buying or making a decorative smaller type besom can be cleansed and consecrated and then hung on the wall while not in use. No one will be the wiser.
The besom is a phallic symbol and that is why it is used in a variety of ways for fertility rites. The handle is, obviously, a symbol of the male aspect and primarily made out of a wood that was masculine in nature (such as Ash, Cedar, Hawthorn, Maple, Oak, etc...). The sweeping end of the besom was then made out of an herb that was feminine in nature (for example European broom herb, catnip, chamomile, honeysuckle, poppy, primrose, spearmint, thyme, etc...). In this way, the besom was then a perfect depiction of the male and female aspects in balance with each other.
The besom is distinctive from the factory made versions of today's common straw brooms because a besom is round while regular brooms are flat.
Besoms are usually made out of a wood handle with the sweeping end made out of straw, herbs, or twigs.
Buying a Besom
Buying a besom can be quite easy. You can check out your local metaphysical store or even hobby stores have them on occasion.
You can also wait until Halloween, because this is a time when they are absolutely everywhere. They will be in almost every store in the Halloween or Holiday/Seasonal isles.
You can find one that is already decorated, or you can find a plain one and then decorate it to your liking with stones, crystals, ribbons, engraving, etc..
Making Your Own Besom
Making your own besom can be quite easy, actually.
You will need:
- a stick, limb, or dowel that is around an inch in diameter
- Straw, twigs, or herbs
the length of the handle and straw, twigs, or herbs will depend upon how large or small you would like your besom to be. Besoms can range from a small one (6" in length) to a full sized one (36" in length). It is all dependent upon what will work best for you.
If you are using straw or twigs (or herb plants that have been dried) you will want to soak these in a salt water overnight to not only soften them up and make them pliable but this will also cleanse them of unwanted energies.
You will then line up the straw, twigs, or herbs with the end of the handle of the broom.
About 2" up from the bottom tie the straw, twigs, or herbs tightly to the handle with the twine.
You will then fold down the straw, twigs, or herbs down over the twine. Then about an 1" down from the fold, tie another piece of twine.
You can then decorate it, if you would like to, with engravings, ribbons, crystals, etc...
It will need to sit and dry for a day or two.
Then the besom will need to be consecrated and dedicated to magical workings. It can then be stored until it is ready to be used.
My New E-Book
I have spent some time lately creating an e-book for my fellow Wiccans, Witch's, and Pagans.
It has all of the common tools that we use along with history, lore, where to buy, how to make (if possible), and correspondences.
I have created this because I know how convenient it is to have all of the information available and easily accessible. I even find myself using this all the time simply for the correspondences.