The History Of The Broom
- The Broom
- The broom stick was an important fixture in ancient homes
through out Europe. Most homes were made of wood, straw and dirt
floors. The only way to keep a home clean was to sweep out the
- This concept is even documented in the Bible.
- In Isaiah 14:23 (KJV translation) I will sweep it with
the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.
- In Luke 15:8 "The Parable of the Lost Coin": "Or
suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she
not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until
she finds it?"
- One of the earliest forms of the broom is known as the Besom
Broom. They were made of twigs tied to a handle. The bristles
can be made of various materials such as straw, herbs, or twigs.
The shaft is round to represent the branch of a tree. This associates
the broom with the Tree of Life which was an important symbol
in ancient pagan Europe. Traditionally a Besom broom is made
from hazel wood and the bristles are birch twigs.
- These brooms were often found just inside a dwelling hanging
with bristles up to ward off evil spirits, negative energies
and to protect the home and all who dwell within it. It could
also be found hanging over a door with the bristles facing in
the direction of opening of the door.
- They were relatively inefficient as a cleaning implement
and needed constant repair or recreation. Today Besom Brooms
are still crafted and sold at garden centers as an outdoor broom.
You can also find decorated and scented versions (ie: cinnamon
besom brooms) in craft stores for indoor decorations.
- The brooms relation to sweeping away negative energies and
use for protection makes it a wonderful tool for magikal practices
and rituals. Consequently it wasn't a big leap for European pagans
to use the broom as a tool.
- The Witches Broom
- The traditional Witch's Broom is made of an ash handle and
bristles from birch twigs. The twigs are tied onto the handle
with thin pieces of willow wood. There have been a few written
accounts of early Witch's decorating their brooms with flowers
of the season tied on with some type of decorative string or
later using colored ribbon. A practice that is continued today
by modern Witches.
- Early Celtic pagans associated the broom with Faeries, possibly
because of it's relation to the wood and a common belief in forest
sprites. Some stories tell of a Witch entering a forest and asking
the Faeries to lead her way to the perfect tree where she can
collect a staff for a broom. The idea is to enlist the help of
the magikal folk and ensure the enchantment of the broom once
it has been fashioned.
- The Witch's broom is one of the few tools that is seen as
a balance of Divine forces. It is both part of masculine energies
(the phallic handle) and female energies (the bristles). Because
of this, the broom was and still is commonly used in Handfasting
rituals (marriage ceremonies). It is also used as a gate or door
before a ritual space. A witch would draw a magikal circle, enter
the circle and then place the broom over the doorway to keep
out unwanted energies or people as an example.
- While being used for clearing an area for ritual work was
the earliest use for a broom, it became an important tool for
Witch's during The Burning Times of Europe. During this era Witches
would use a broom to hide one of their most important tools,
the wand. It is also a tradition that brooms have been used by
some as receptacles to harbor a particular spirit temporarily.
This could be done to remove an unwanted spirit from one area
and then release it far away in another place. Or it could be
used to utilize the energy of a spirit for a specific spell when
the broom is used as a wand.
- A few ancient brooms have been discovered to have hidden
compartments in the handle. These small hidden places held combinations
of herbs, oils, feathers and a variety of other things thought
to be part of a ritualistic spell. The hidden concoctions added
to the energy of the intent that the broom was to be used for.
- The Flying Broom
- This early association of broom to tree also associates it
with the element of air and therefore has power over spirits.
Thus it's common use as a tool for flying. In both historical
and modern images a female witch can be found on a broom silhouetted
by the full moon behind her.
- Although most associate being a witch with women, it's a
label that applies to both sexes. The first 'official' record
that documents the claim of flying on a broom stick was recorded
in 1453. The claim was made in a confession by a male witch named
- There have been earlier documents recanting stories of Witches
flying on a variety of sticks. Such as decorated walking sticks,
limbs from a tree complete with it's leaves, or just a stick
alone. These stories include details of magikal flying ointments
being applied to these tools in order to give them flight.
- In both ancient Witchcraft and Shamanistic practices the
use of these ointments was most probably what gave the impression
of Witch flight. Ointments and potions for flying were most likely
a variety of hallucinagenics that assisted a Witch in visualizing
a flight upon the broom. This is not uncommon for early spiritual
journeys. Using peyote and other hallucinagenics is well documented
and utilized by Native American cultures for spiritual travels.
- These special 'trips' were controlled methods to quickly
reach a state of altered awareness. From there a Witch could
astral project with the image of flying on a broom to anywhere
within their known Universe. The use by witches of flying ointments
was first described, according to known sources, by Johannes
Hartlieb in 1456. It was also described by the Spanish theologist
Alfonso Tostado in Super Genesis Commentaria (Venetia, 1507),
whose commentary tended to accredit the thesis of the reality
of the Witches' Sabbath.
- Today using these types of potions and ointments are not
recommended or encouraged. Flying journeys instead are suggested
through deep meditation and
astral projection. These methods
are not just safer, but they also provide the practitioner with
more control and the ability to remember more of the journey
- Source: 1, m21,
- Created: 03.11.2010 Updated: