My New Ride

betty birchbroomFew things are more closely associated with Witches than brooms. Like the flame of a candle or a hot cup of tea, a broom is magical because of its usefulness in ordinary life.

In the mundane world it became time to acquire a new broom for the house. Feeling a bit extravagant I bought a second for use in the garden.

It was decided to purchase old-fashioned corn brooms because the bristles, if they break, will decompose. This style broom is also less expensive than their plastic & aluminum counterpart. Plus it looks better leaning against a wall to my homespun view.

Despite the dirty floors awaiting our beautiful new brooms it would be a full two days after coming home before they could be used.

Like any magical tool a broom must be woken up, cleansed and encouraged to help the crafty house-witch.  This is how I learned to wake a store-bought broom:

First gather your new broom, a 5-gallon bucket, a cup of salt, and 3 gallons of water.

As you begin to unwrap the broom, consider it’s components. The straw of the broom was first brought to America by Benjamin Franklin. Think of the farmers who grow and harvest the corn broom, as well as the tree who sacrificed life or limb and the lumbermen who cut and milled the handle. The metal strapping that holds all together also came from Mother Earth. It was made by sweat and fire to become the wire fixing the skirt to the shaft of your new tool. Consider the loveliness of all her parts in form and function, and introduce yourself.

It can be a whisper, no one else has to hear you. Wait a moment to see if there is a response.  Of course a broom cannot really talk, it has no mouth or vocal chords, so this may be an impression or thought that occurs. Welcome your broom home.

a briney broom bath
a briney broom bath

These are the first steps to waking up your magical everyday broom. After the long and dusty journey to your door, the next thing your broom needs is a bath!

Combine the water and salt in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the broom, bristles down into the bucket of briney water. Use the broom as if you were churning butter to mix the salt and water in the bucket. As you do this make your request to the elements involved saying,

Water wash it clean, Salt make it strong.

sea salt

Agitate the water and chant this way three times then leave your broom to soak in the bucket overnight where it will bathe in moonlight. If  the moon is full that is even better.

It is common practice (if anything is) to sanctify tools with water, salt and moonlight – all three if possible – before using them magically. Since your broom sweeps dirt from your floors, why not use it to clear any dusty energy from your home too?

Yet the best reasons to soak your broom in saltwater overnight may be practical. A brine soak will make your broom sweep better and last longer. This is the real magic that is well worth the effort involved.

In the morning, remove your broom from the water, and allow it to dry in the sun. This may take the whole day.

a sunbath
a sunbath

It is now the third day after bringing home the brooms, and they are ready to be used. The salty brine has added strength and springiness to the bristles so they resist breakage much better now.  The broom also has a thicker, more absorbent sweep that gathers debris better from the corners.

This illustrates how an ordinary, everyday action like a good briney soak to extend the life of your household broom can become a sacred thing when done mindfully…  and brings me to wonder if  the religious or ritual practice of sprinkling a thing with water and/or dusting it with a bit of salt is perhaps a stylized form of the magical ordinary, forgotten and remembered all at once? ~AD =:->



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