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The Witches Broom

Updated: Oct 11, 2023


’Tis the season to pull out those halloween decorations and decorate for fall. I don’t know about you but cinnamon brooms are a part of our year round decor and this time of year is the perfect time to refresh and restock.

a cinnamon broom hung on a wooden wall
Side note- These are the original cinnamon brooms sold at atouchofcountrymagic.com

As witches we often have brooms, well, non witches have brooms too...but our brooms are special! You get it. ANYWAY...


I find myself wondering where the classic witch on a broom image came from. When did people start associating witches with flying on broomsticks? Well, down the habit hole I jumped and when I was researching this it seems we all came to a pretty clear conclusion buuuut nobody wants to admit that it may be the definitive answer.


Let me remind you that witches have existed far before the classic broom riding witch we know today, nobody was convinced that Circe rode around on a broomstick, but now when we think of witches most of us can recall that silhouette of the woman riding in front of the moon.


Let's start with the tame version of the story. Some scholars believe that the Pagan rituals, especially those including farmers or fertility (those that involved dancing with farm tools and brooms) could have been associated with this image. That could be a simple misunderstanding that has been co opted by the commercialisation of Halloween, sure. However, the first images of witches riding broomsticks actually dates back to 1451. A painting in the manuscript of French poet Martin de Franc included images of two women that were part of the Waldensians, a 12th century sect of christians, considered to be heretics for allowing women to become priests. I think we can make the assumption here that the “Witch” title was not just assigned to people from a certain religion or group but rather associated with a person's activities, a deviant shall we say.


According to history, the first person to actually confirm the link between witches and brooms came from a man in 1453. Guillaume Edelin basically confessed to witchcraft and “riding a broom” into the night. Essentially these people were creating concoctions of hallucinogenic plants, whether they were being mixed with these broomsticks or not, and would apply them by “riding” the broomstick. I’ll let you piece that together for yourself. These concoctions would cause intestinal distress so they were delivered into the bloodstream through the skin and sweat glands. They were said to anoint themselves in the armpits, and other “hairy regions.” Again, I think you know what I’m saying here.


So "riding" and "flying" or getting HIGH perhaps?

a witches cauldron with a stick for stirring
Canva

Now, when people said they saw witches riding broomsticks, they were likely referring to women riding their broomsticks into the night. They were said to be running through the forest to their orgys and other nefarious meetings. This can all be a crock of shit, for sure, but I think we can assume that a sexually liberated group of people doing drugs in the woods during a pious 12th century could create quite the stir.


I don’t know about you but I can be proud to come from such a lineage. They sound awesome!



Okay! Let’s get to the fun stuff.

Now that the broom has made its way into witch culture in a very different way (for most of us anyway) lets go over some ways to use your brooms in your magical practice.


several stick brooms sitting up against a white wall
Canva

1. Cleansing Ritual Space or Home

If you need a special little oomph, maybe you're sweeping out a little more than dust, then go ahead and use a ritual broom to do your cleaning. It also doesn't hurt to make cleaning a little magical every once in a while.


2. Protect your home

Standing a broom by the front door will keep out negative energy and the evil eye. Some people lay a broom down across the threshold on Halloween to keep witches out...but we witches know not to step over fallen brooms.


3. Special Occasion Brooms

Most of the time there is a broom jumping ceremony included in a handfasting ceremony but people have expanded on this idea and now create brooms for new babies, new houses, and to honor those who have passed. A lot of the time these are handcrafted with magical intention.


4. Broom Superstitions

Choose to believe these or not, I just thought they were a little fun.


- Don't sweep on New Years or you'll sweep out all your luck for the coming year.

- It is considered unlucky to sweep dust out the door after nightfall.

- If someone sweeps under the feet of an unmarried person they will never marry.

- If an unmarried woman steps over a fallen broom she will become a mother before a wife.

- Never bring an old broom to your new house, it will bring along negative energy

- Never sweep out a house on Fridays - there was no reason behind this one but I saw it a lot

- Never pass a broom to someone through a window it will bring you bad luck

- If you are hit with a broom you're going to jail - wait what!? This one is wild


* It's been said that to reverse your bad luck brought on by a broom, spit on the bristles.


5. Remove a Person

If someone has overstayed their welcome in your home stand a broom bristles up behind the door they are staying. Eventually they will get the message and be moved to leave.


6. Rain Spell

There are some variations of this spell but essentially to bring on rain you are to dip your broom bristles into a bucket of water and then shake the broom and visualize them as raindrops.


spellsofmagic.com suggests this incantation.


Facing East: "Clouds of the East

Now heed my call,

Bring thy rain

And let it fall!"


Facing South: "Clouds of the South

Now heed my call,

Bring thy rain

And let it fall!"


Facing West: "Clouds of the West

Now heed my call,

Bring thy rain

And let it fall!"


Facing North: "Clouds of the North

Now heed my call,

Bring thy rain

And let it fall!"


While turning in a circle toward the East with arms raised:

"Rain come hither

I decree!

As it is willed,

So mote it be!"


7. Use as decor

Brooms are cool! Why not have some that show off your style. As a hermit witch my brooms look crafty and handmade but maybe you want some pastel ones or ones with silver bristles. Make your space your own and make your brooms as magical as you.


HAPPY SWEEPING EVERYONE!

silhouette of a witch on a broom flying across the moon on an orange background
Canva

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