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My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Traditional Witch's Besom Part 1: The Birch

I tend to take walks in the early evening around my home, and what should I find but a lot of Birch twigs fallen from a tree. Immediately I thought, "You know, I could make a traditional Witch's besom from this." I gathered up all that I could, and later went out again and got more from the surrounding streets. Keep in mind, I did not have to cut this stuff down; it had fallen naturally, and I am sure the neighbours were pleased to get some of the debris picked up from the sidewalks. I got about two big handfuls of the twigs, which I hear is the proper amount.

After my first Birch gathering trip. Sorry for the bad picture quality.

N ow I just need to get an Ash or Hazel wood rod to serve as the handle, and some Willow withies to bind the twigs together. The Ash might be tough; we don't have much of it up here. Hazel, however, is all about and tends to make very straight branches. Ash is a bit more traditional, but Hazel may have to do. The Willow withies I shall have to order online.

In the popular mind, Witches were said to fly to their Sabbats on broomsticks (though stangs, staffs, goats, cats, bales of hay, plants, etc were also said to serve as the Witches' steeds.) In reality, in magical lore the broomstick is usually seen as a cleansing or purifying tool, and it's not uncommon for the Witch to sweep out the ritual circle or compass before or during a rite. Traditionally, the handle was made of Ash wood for protection, the twigs were made of Birch for purification, and the Willow represented the Goddess. Now, obviously, the broom can also be seen as a phallic symbol, and the act of putting it between one's legs and "riding" it should bring to mind obvious fertility-related symbolism.

I have a broom now with an Ash handle, but its bristles are broomcorn and not birch twigs. I like the one I have, but I am happy to be making one myself and I look forward to having it done. I will keep both and use either one as the mood strikes me. I will be posting two more entries with step-by-step instructions when I get my wooden handle and Willow selected. The final result should look something like this....

Source Unknown


  1. I'd be tempted to cannibalise the existing broom and reuse the ash handle!

  2. I thought about that, but it's simply too nice a broom! I am sure the proper Ash handle will present itself.