How To Make A Besom
You will need
- a straight branch, approximately 12 to 18 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter (if you can’t find a branch, a dowel will do)
- a bowl of salt water.
- You will also need bunches of any of the following plants:
Ideally, these plants should come from your magical garden. Assemble your tools and materials and create a sacred space to work in. Charge the branch and plant materials by taking each in turn in your hands and sending purifying energies into them. Visualize a white cleansing light emanating from your hands and being absorbed by the branch and plants. Take the raffia and tie three circles on one end of the branch while you say:
“I bind you in purification.”
Now take several stalks of the plant materials, leafy ends down, and place around the end of the branch with the three loops of raffia (to form a round broom shape). Visualize the white light, and tie three loops around the branch and plants. Place another layer of plant material around the branch, tie three more loops while you visualize. Do this until your broom is as full as you want. Tie the end of the raffia three times around the branch and plants, pull the end through some of the loops and tie three knots. Snip off the excess raffia. Thank the branch and plant materials for their sacrifice. Sprinkle some of the salt water on the broom sweeps and visualize all negative forces melting away. Now walk to your door, open it and vigorously sweep close to the floor (you don’t actually have to sweep the floor). Visualize all negativity being swept out the door. Now moving clockwise around the house, sweep each door and window and at the upper and lower corners of each room. When you’ve made your way back to the door, open it again, sweep out, then shake your broom vigorously three times to shake away anything that stuck to it. Leave it outside your door, do not bring it in again. At your first opportunity, take it apart and bury all the materials.
- A straight branch, approximately 4 to 4-1/2 ft. long and at least 1 inch in diameter
- salt water
- Bunches of any (or all) of the following plants
Take the raffia and tie three circles on one end of the branch while you say:
“I bind you in the name of the Art.”
Now take several stalks of the plant materials, leafy ends down, and place them around the end of the branch with the three loops of raffia (to form a round broom shape). Visualize the purpose of your besom, and tie three loops around the branch and plants. Place another layer of plant material around the branch, tie three more loops while you visualize. Do this until your broom is as full as you want. Tie the end of the raffia three times around the branch and plants, pull the end through some of the loops and tie three knots. Snip off the excess raffia. To charge first thank the branch and plant materials for their sacrifice, ask whichever Goddess/God seems appropriate to your work, and then sprinkle some of the salt water on the broom sweeps. Use your new besom immediately and store next to your altar when you are finished.
Broom Magic – Making A Besom
by Silver Thym
While tools are not always necessary or even sometimes desirable they are fun, and making those tools that you can for your own use, and for others is even more fun. You tend to invest more of your energy and creative essence in any tool that you have taken the time and patience to create. So with that in mind I am going to share with you how I made my Besom. Making a Besom or witch’s broom is not difficult and there are many good ideas around to borrow from and improve on. In choosing the wood you want use wood that has protective properties and most important what feels right to you. Good choice’s for wood are
- Ash (protection, prosperity, health);
- Birch (protection, binding, purification) – the traditional broom of the Witches was made of birch twigs;
- Dogwood (wishes, protection);
- Elder (binding, protection, healing) – though this is more often used for wands;
- Oak (protection, health, money, healing) and a tree scared to the Druid’s;
- Pine (healing, protection, binding, money);
- Rowan (psychic powers, healing, power, success, protection).
The wood of my Besom is unknown, I found it on our then new property and loved the shape and feel, it had been lying waiting for me to find it for years and looked akin to driftwood, which would also be a good wood to use. After leaving it natural for a long time I decided to sand it, it turned out with a dark, finely grained and satiny pattern. If you decide to finish your wood, strip it first and let it dry, then do any sanding necessary. After you find the wood that you want to use as the handle taking in account the size and length best suited to you, properly thanking the Goddess, cut very carefully, you don’t want to kill the tree, only take what you need, and use a saw as your bolline will not work.
The next step is gathering the materials for the “broom straws,” the binding and any decorative touches. I suggest straw as it can be easily obtained and attracts fairies. Wheat can also be used, but might shed more than you wish. The traditional binding for a magical, or Witch’s broom is a Willow branch, it is very flexible and easy to work with.
Straw can be dyed using herbal dyes
- black use alder, black walnut or yarrow
- blues, elder, indigo, woad, oregon grape.
- brown use comfrey, fennel, hops, onion, pokeweed.
- golds use dock, goldenrod, safflower.
- greens use barberry, bayberry, sage.
Binding the straw: I use a double binding method for this. Before cutting the straw the length you wish add about two inches. I have found that it is easier to work with the straw if it has been soaked and then just left damp. Gather the straw with the ends even and pointing towards the top of the handle and distributed around the handle, bind the added two inches with strong twine, fold the straw down pointing in the right direction and bind with the Willow branch.
Personal touches. Now comes the most fun part – making your Besom uniquely your own. If using pine you can add small pine cones strung with twine and attached to the binding, if using oak do the same with acorns. Slip lavender under the binding or heather, add dried flowers…this is your Besom so play with it. You can also decorate the handle anyway you wish, and if you can whittle or carve you can create a beautiful one of kind Besom.
My husband and I are currently working on a Besom that will be used by friends in the handfasting ceremony. We have a piece of wood that had honeysuckle growing around it and when removed left a grooved spiral running down the wood. For handfasting Hawthorn is an excellent choice and has long been used in weddings. Again use your imagination and most of all have fun creating your Besom for whatever purpose. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herb’s is an excellent reference on Herb’s and woods.
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