Ever since ancient times, brooms have had a place in folk magic and witchcraft. Some of the earliest known rites of magic that involve a broom centered on fertility rituals that people relied on for their crops. In this article, you will learn more about the impact and place that brooms have on certain rituals and beliefs.
If you’ve ever taken a look at the broom, it has a slightly phallic appearance. In the past, this feature was taken into consideration when fertility rituals were being performed. Farmers would actually mount a broom and ride them through the fields in hopes of increasing the productivity of their crops. Sometimes, they would also perform this ritual with a pitchfork. When riding their brooms, they would dance and jump in the air because they believed this would help the crops grow taller.
A Connection to Witches
Some feel that the connection between jumping high while riding a broom and the vision of witches flying on a broomstick originated from this ritual. In regards to magic, female witches were often depicted riding brooms, while taking flight with a pitchfork was associated with male witches. For the years to come, witches flying in the air on a broom have become the traditional way of viewing witches in motion.
Even the materials used to make early brooms possessed a link to magic. The first brooms were made out of something called the broom plant, which was tied around a stick. As the concept of the broom evolved, ash was used when making the handle and birch twigs were chosen for the brush (also known as a spray). Willow was used for the binding. Other times, broom handles were made out of hazel, oak twigs in the spray with birch bindings.
Early broom materials possessed a magical link. Ash symbolized strength and was also a representation of the World Tree. Birch was a sacred material to deities. Willow has a connection to Moon magic and the goddess Hecate, who was associated with magic. Wisdom is represented by hazel and was also the material of choice for wands. Oak symbolized strength and fertility.
The Magical Abilities of Brooms
From artworks to popular movies, the broom seems to have always been a classic symbol of witches and magic. Over time, the power of the broom went beyond the fertility rituals of farmers and found a use for magic concentrated in and around the home. There is a thought that the broom was a popular tool in magic because they were found in many homes and were disguised as a simple household item. Depending on the size, brooms were used as wands to shift magical energy or to cast a magic circle for spells.
During the Burning Times, which took place between the 15th and 18th centuries, anyone who was in possession of a “magical” tool could be persecuted and even sentenced to death. However, the broom went under the radar of the suspicious and could be left out in the open. So-called witches could use the broom without being punished.