Jumping the Besom - a Wedding Ritual
Handfasting ceremonies can have a number of rituals within the ceremony. One commonly known ritual is the jumping of the besom.
The besom is an item more commonly called the household broom.
However it's not just any ordinary broom, as can you imagine the fancy in that today, or jumping your dustpan and brush haha.
For ceremony we most often use the broom that looks much like a witches broom, because it is the broom people used in our past. Just like the broom that features as the exciting package that arrives with the witch in the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. She opens her exciting package for the first time, and holds it close to herself announcing 'My first BRrroommm'. I loved that scene as a child, I and still do hehe, I couldn't help myself in sneaking this in here as I type a blog about brooms.
The name broom, comes from the plant broom, which brooms were made from because they grow naturally into good sweeping broom shapes. Although the sweeping parts are also often made with Silver Birch twigs too. Silver Birch is also a tree very apt in besom crafting, with folklore connotations to weddings and marriage rites.
The name besom, I believe is Gaelic or Scottish for a 'bunch of twigs'.
So why would you jump a household broom?
The answer is in its name, its an everyday object, an object we all use in each day to clear a space with.
Besoms at Butsers Farm ready for Beltane Handfasting Ceremonies this year,
Why jump over it?
The broom symbolises the clearing of all you don't need to carry your past, banishing bad luck, trickster spirits and unwanted energies, and it clears your path for the future.
How is the Besom relevant?
In times gone by when a couple wished to marry but couldn't afford church, or registry office, or they lived to far away, or in prison, or hospital, the jumping of the besom or broom would be recognised by law as sealing their marriage. Because it also represented the running of a household.
A beautiful couple sealing their engagement at Butsers by jumping the Besom
Following the ceremony, a tradition many people follow with for their now sacred besom, is to provide a resting place for said sacred item by your door. This symbolises the clearing out of all the energies you don't need to enter your home and within witchcraft provides the house and owners of the besom with protection.
"Hanging the broom in the household or using it to sweep will grant the witch protection from malevolent entities whilst also attracting love and fostering good relationships"
Quote about the Broom plant used as a besom from book Welsh Witchcraft by Mhara Starling
Plus of course they were kept by the door commonly to sweep out any dirt as that is the practical place in the house to keep it for easy use when people come in with muddy shoes. Which of course you can still do! It's practical as well as magical.
Although most of us use a vacuum now a days. Imagine jumping the vacuum? Haha
I personally use the besom from our handfasting ceremony a few times a year in energy clearing rituals of our home. It also lives by my door in pride of place providing protection and supporting our relationship. Mine is in the image below.
I do totally love the connotations the besom has to magic too, to the stories of flying witches on brooms.
The very act of jumping the besom to clear your path together, to protect you from negative energies, and to grow your love further is a magical act, a spell, a ritual.
So there are a number of reasons to jump a besom with your partner on your wedding day!
History, symbology, magic, intention, protection, love, and the sealing of your marriage...but if none of that resonates with you why not simply jump the besom for fun!! and invite your guests to jump it after you too!!
To purchase a besom I recommend
- Three Copse Woodland Products in Waterlooville - Kester hand makes them from their own woodland too! https://www.threecopse.co.uk/
- Emma Moreton - The Henna and Hat Lady - based in Sussex. Emma makes the besoms and can decorate in a style you choose. Emma also posts the besoms. https://www.facebook.com/p/The-Henna-and-hat-lady-100063469481473/