The Magickal Universe

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Making a Besom (Traditional)

Supplies Required:

  • Stick for the handle; diameter one inch (1)
  • A good supply of broomcorn
  • Four to five yards (4-5 yds.) strong twine
  • One long, large eyed needle or wire. (a sail makers needle is ideal, you can find those in some boating supply stores).
  • One three quarter inch (3/4") nail (or drill)
  • Eighteen inch (18") piece of twine tied to form tie-off loop
  • Six feet (6') of twine, cut into two foot lengths
  • Hammer,
  • Tying block
  • Sharp knife

Method

  1. Gather your materials. Make a 'tying block' by whittling the middle of a foot long, (12") (very straight and smooth) limb.
  2. Start by preparing the handle. Drive the nail or drill a three quarter inch (3/4") hole through the handle, some three inches (3") from where the broomcorn will be attached to the handle. Fasten the twine to this nail or hole. Wrap the other end of the twine around the centre of the tying block, leaving a few feet of twine stretched between the block and the handle.
  3. Traditional besoms had a 'knob' on the broomcorn end. Broomcorn has three sections: stalks, brush and knurl. (The knurl is the junction between the stalk and brush.) Trim the stalks to six inch (6") lengths.
  4. Place the broomcorn, (stalk down) into hot water, covering both the stalks and knurl. Let soak for 1/2 hour
  5. Remove the broomcorn from the water, drain off the water. Place the tying block on the floor. Place your feet on the tying block and pull the twine taut. (Use both hands on the handle.)
  6. Place a stalk of broomcorn next to the handle, next to the nail or drilled hole. (Have the knurl directly under the twine.) Twist the handle so that the twine binds the broomcorn to the handle. Pull rather hard, so that the twine forms a V-shaped depression in the stalk of the broomcorn.
  7. Roll the handle back slightly. Place a second stalk of broomcorn next to the first one. Twist to bind both stalks with the twine. Pull to for a V-shaped depression.
  8. Continue with the broomcorn, until you have covered the handle. Be sure to use an odd number of stalks, so that the weaving will come out properly.
  9. After all of the stalks are bound to the handle, pull and wrap the twine around the stalks 3 times.
  10. Begin the weaving of the stalks by placing your thumb on the twine and releasing pressure on the tying block. Raise one stalk, run the twine under it.
  11. Skip the next stalk and run the twine under the stalk after that. Remember to pull the twine taut.
  12. Continue all the way around, and as far up the stalks as you desire. (Leave an inch or so, to turn under.)
  13. With the eighteen inch (18") long piece of twine, fashion a 'tie-off loop'. Do this by tying the ends together.
  14. If you are going to turn under the stalk ends, do it now.
  15. To tie off the twine, place the tye-off loop next to the last stalk that the twine went under. Turn and wrap the stalks five more times, being sure to go over the loop, leaving the loop end free, Use your thumb to maintain pressure on the twine. Cut the twine loose from the tye-off block, about six inches (6") from the broom.
  16. Thread the cut twine through the tye-off loop. Pull the loop to bring the twine end under wraps on the broom, and to pull the tye-off loop free.
  17. If you did not turn under the stalk ends, take the knife and trim the stalks to about a quarter inch above the twine.
  18. To make the 'spread', wrap twine, about midway around the brush, four times. Do not pull too taut. Do this again, about an inch above, and then a third one, an inch above that.
  19. Thread the large eyed needle with a length of twine. (You can make a 'needle' out of a length of wire, looped at one end.)
  20. Knot the free end to the top 'spread'. Thread the needle through the brush (about an inch from the edge, pass it over the front spreader twine, go over the broom three quarters of an inch, and thread the needle back through. Do it on both sides.
  21. At the end, reverse and do the same going the opposite direction. (Forming X stitches.)

And your besom is completed! Now cleanse and consecrate your tool and you are ready to work with it.

Making A Besom (Traditional Method 2)

Supplies required:

  • A four-foot length of ash or oak for the handle (or you can substitute any wood you prefer)
  • Thin branches of birch for the bristle part (you can substitute any woody herb such as lavender, mugwort, rosemary or thyme for the bristles if you like)
  • Lengths of willow (if you want to be more traditional) or heavy cord (for binding material)
  • Scissors
  • Bucket of warm water.

Method:

  1. Whatever you'll be using for the bristles, should be soaked in warm water overnight to make it pliable, as should the willow binding (if you have chosen to use that over cord)
  2. Lay the handle on a table or the floor, and place the bristles alongside it, lined up about four inches from the bottom. Point the bottom of the bristles towards the top of the broom, (you're going to flip the bristles over).
  3. Use the willow branches (or cord) to wrap the bristles around the broom. (Add as many bristles as you want to make the broom appear full).
  4. Tie the cording off securely so your bristles don't come out during it's use later.
  5. The next step is to take the bristles and fold them down over the willow binding (or cording) so that they point towards what will be the bottom of the broom.
  6. Tie the bristles again at the base of the broomstick to secure them. As you wrap the cord in place, visualize your intention for this besom. (Will it be decorative only? Is it going to hung it in place over a doorway? Are you going to use it ceremonially?, or maybe for physically cleaning your temple?). Focus on what you're going to be doing it, and charge it with that particular energy.
  7. Once you have completed this step, leave your broom in a warm dry place to dry out for a day or two.
  8. aWhen the broom is completely dried, consecrate it and put it to it's purpose.

 

Sources and References

  • TerraSphere Book of Shadows
  • http://www.briar-rose.org/Besom.asp
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bITEXA2XCxw
  • http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usmn&c=words&id=14122
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/audioslideshow/2009/may/15/besom-making-birch-broom-making?intcmp=239