Though I’m sure flying one would be great fun 🙂
A traditional witch’s broom has a handle of ash (usually associated with healing and enchantment), bristles of birch (symbolising renewal and purification); and the twigs are tied onto the handle with thin strips of willow (for the enhancement of psychic abilities).
Witches and brooms have been associated together for centuries. How did this happen?
- In ancient times brooms were often found just inside the home, hanging bristles up, to ward off evil spirits and protect the family.
- Brooms were (and still are) used in marriage ceremonies in a symbolic coming together of the male (handle) and female (bristles).
- In the 15th century – during periods of anti-witch hysteria – people believed that witches used hallucinogen producing ointments on their brooms and mounted them naked to get high.
- Of course it’s hard to know whether or not witches actually did this, as our knowledge from this time comes from books written by inquisitors. Testimony from accused witches was likely to be under duress or torture.
- We know that some people experimented with various plants – such as hemlock, deadly nightshade, henbane, and mandrake – to make hallucinogenic potions. Court documents have been found that record accused witches of having pots full of green ointments composed of these herbs.
After the 17th century, anti-witch hysteria died down, but the old wives tales about brooms persisted. One of the main uses became the purification and cleansing of a work area before ritual practice.
When Meagan first discovers that she is a witch, albeit one with startling necromancy skills, her tutor Purah still teaches her what he can about casting circles and ritual purification.
Back in the courtyard, I gripped the basket and leaned against the well. My pulse raced. I was about to make my first circle. If the blackness came to me again, would I be able to resist it?
A sooty raven, pure black from the bottom of his feet to the tip of his Bowie-knife beak, landed in front of me. He shook his shaggy throat feathers, paused, and stretched out spectacular wings before strutting toward me.
I exhaled slowly and pushed out all my fear. “You are magnificent.”
The bird seemed to bob his head in reply.
Purah joined us. “Take your time.” He lounged against the well. “Let out any negative thoughts and pull in energy from the earth, like you did yesterday.”
Almost immediately, something played at the edge of my consciousness. A seductive velvety blackness tempted me with power and whispered promises of intimacy and affection. I pushed through it and pulled energy into my body. My stomach rolled, but I opened my eyes.
Pale green ivy tendrils inched their way along the walls, using cracks and crevices to take a firm hold. The raven held my gaze for a moment then hopped onto the broom. He shimmered like black satin against vibrant scarlet bricks. The energy of life itself pulsed all around me. A weight left my shoulders—the gray world was nowhere in sight.
“When you are ready,” Purah said, “sweep the area free of impurities.”