Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Physically, we use brooms to sweep away dirt and debris. Magically, we use brooms to sweep away negative energy in our home and sacred space. The besom is a symbol of banishing, fertility, and cleansing.
Some traditions require a witch’s broom to be dedicated solely to magical cleansing, whereas another broom is used for house cleaning. In the old ways, such as American folk magick, the same broom is used for house cleaning and purifying a space. The witch’s broom can be used to cleanse your space, your home, and even a person or object of negative energy.
Sweep up high and sweep down low
Chase away all signs of woe
I banish all that is profane
Only Blessings shall remain
To cleanse your home of negative energy, take your witch’s broom and start at the back door. Sweep each room, moving in a counter-clockwise fashion from room-to-room, then ending at the back door where you started. Sweep any debris out the back door or dump your dustpan out the back door. To dump or sweep dirt out the front door can invite negative energy back in so if that is a way you must do it sweep all the way off your property.
Sweep and Sweep round widdershins
End the task where it begins
Out the back door let it be
Sweep away negativity
So Mote It Be
I was asked once if a vacuum cleaner could be used instead of a broom. After giving it some thought I think the act of sweeping is important but intention is the key. And you might still have wall to wall carpet. So imagine the vacuum pulling the unwanted substances from the carpet. All the physical and metaphysical debris trapped in the receptacle. Now take it outside and be rid of it.
Once outside your home there are a few ways to deal with the negative energy. Sweeping it completely off your property is always recommended but you could take a step that will help that energy transform into something more useful. If you have a fire pit empty the dust pan there and send it off to be transformed by Spirit when you next light a fire. Or pick a place in the yard to "compost" that energy. Turn the debris into the soil so the Mother can transform it. The trees will help with this.
Now that your home is clean and cleansed the besom stands guard at the door to ensure the dirt stays gone. Place your besom bristle end up beside the door. You can also hang a decorative broom over the front door for good measure. It will "sweep" any negativity from those who pass through the door. The one over my door does a great job. We have never had a bad party.
Similar to how you cleanse your home with the witch’s broom, we often cleanse your sacred space before ritual. The has the ability to cleanse not just a physical space but also a mental and metaphysical space. When we physically sweep an area we are also mentally sweeping the area. Instead of touching the bristles to the floor, however, sweep slightly above it and move in a counterclockwise, circular pattern. Then go around again sweeping in the middle space, waist high. And a third time sweeping just above your head. The circle is now thoroughly swept and ready to seal.
It is customary to chant as you do so.
Old Witch’s Broom Magick and Lore:
Placing a besom by the door will act as a ward and protect you and your home from evil spirits. Make sure to place the bristles up and let the shaft hit the floor for optimum protection.
If your broomstick falls over, company is coming or the cat is using it as a scratching post
If a broom falls from your hands while you sweep, make a wish before retrieving it.
Never sweep under someone’s feet, it causes bad luck. If you do by accident say "I will dance at your wedding" to break the spell.
An “invisible broom” was removed from the house of Sarah Good, according to the testimonies of William Batten and William Shaw during the Salem Witch Trials
Some traditions say to sweep from west to east, then throw the dust out the back door
The witch’s broom can be used in weather magick – throwing a broom into the air summons the wind while burning one stops the wind. Swinging it over your head encourages rain.
Sao Ch’ing Niang is a Chinese Goddess of good weather. She is also known as the broom lady. She will sweep the clouds to where rain in needed and then away again so the Sun can shine.
The witch's broom stick would be anointed with hallucinogenic oils so the riding it would give the feeling of flying.
The child’s antique toy hobby horse is linked to the witch’s broom
The straws of a broom are thought to have magical powers and are used in healing spells. Pick up a cinnamon broom in the Fall and you will have healing components for a year.
Jumping over a broomstick 9 times will bring a suitable spouse within one year
Laying a broomstick across the threshold ensures only good visitors come by. This can include visitors through the veil. Break the link by picking up the broom.
Never move a broom from one house to another; it will bring the bad luck and dirt of your last residence into your new home. (This doesn't pertain to decorative brooms or those reserved solely for magickal use, only those actually used to sweep floors.) If, for some reason, you must move an ordinary broom, put it into the new house through an open window and the ill luck will be deterred.
Never sweep after the sunset, or fear chasing away happiness or hurting a wandering soul.
The Besom is usually thought of as masculine due to the shape but its traditional components are both masculine (Ash stave) and feminine (Birch twigs)
You can add intention by adding a variety of twigs and herbs to the bristles. A ready made broom can be made magickal with embellishments.
Lay a broom under the bed for protection from nightmares.
The witch's broom stick would be anointed with hallucinogenic oils so the one "riding" it would get the feeling of flying.
Jumping over a broom stick can be used as a symbolic gesture during handfastings to signify taking the "leap"
A delicious Samhain treat can be made by sticking a pretzel stick into a mini Reese's peanut butter cup.