MAKING A BESOM by Carrie Hengel-Mitchell
If you would like a besom (Witches Broom) of your own, they are fairly easy to find in craft stores, country markets, or folk art fairs, or can invest your time and energies into making one. Birch, ash, and willow are popular and traditional materials to use, but anything can be used. And I mean anything! It’s ultimately up to the individual Witch what materials will be used in making your besom.
A dowel or stick: one inch in diameter and 1-4 feet long
Ball of Hemp twine
Straw, grass, or other long strands of pliable herbs or sticks
Sea Salt and warm water
Optional: Carving tools
Take the straw, or another herb you have chosen for the bristles, and allow them to soak from 10 minutes to overnight in warm, lightly salted water. The water softens the straws to make them pliable, and the salt soaks out former energies.
If you are using a stick found out in nature, it is best to remove the bark, sand it down, and treat the wood by rubbing the surface with the almond oil. The handle part of the besom can be decorated with pagan symbols, your craft name, or any other embellishments you choose. Remember there is no right or wrong way when it comes to making and creating your own personal tools.
Now you are ready to make your besom.
Remove the straw or herbs from the water and allow them to dry a bit, but not so much that they lose the suppleness you will need to turn them into your besom.
Find a work area where you can lay out the length of your broom stick, and begin lining the straws alongside it. Starting about three inches from the bottom lay the straws, moving backward, along the length of the dowel. Begin binding these to the dowel with the twine. You will need to tie them very securely. You can add as many layers of straw as you wish, depending on how full you would like your besom to be.
When the straw is secured, you can either cut the top straws or grass with a scissors for a straight edge, or you can bend the top straws down over the twine ties. When they are all gently pulled over, tie off the straws again a few inches below the original tie. Also remember to cut the bottom of your “bristles” for a straight edge as well. Now use the twine on the top of the handle to make a loop for hanging. Hang the besom overnight to allow the straw to dry.
Once you have finished the besom, you may dedicate it to a spirit or deity of your choice as you would with any other tool, bless and consecrate it, and charge it with protective energies. Traditionally, it can be hung over a doorway or stood with bristles facing upwards to protect a home. It is also used to "sweep away" residual psychic energies and negativity in a circle.