A New Broom for a New Year
According to Barbara Walker
The broom has been associated with female magic and the social contributions of the wise woman ever since ancient Rome, where sacred midwives used special broomsticks to sweep the threshold of the house after childbirth to repel negative influences from mothers and their babies.
The broom was also associated with the ceremony of marriage as conducted by priestesses. Among Gypsies, whose marriages continued to be performed by wise women, jumping over the broomstick was an essential part of the rite.
(The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects Barbara G. Walker Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1988)
For us today, the new broom ritual is an invitation to return to
beginners mind where the world is once again fresh and filled with wonder.
Those of us of European heritage may have had Grandmothers who shared the New Broom ritual with us. For some of us, particularly from the Scandinavian countries, the New Broom ritual was a way of ritualizing the New Year.
On New Year’s Eve, our Grandmothers swept the house with vigor and intention. They swept each room, clearing it of any negative energies or memories that had accumulated there during the past year. All of the disharmony and emotional clutter was swept over the threshold and out into the winter wind to be blown to the far corners of the earth.
But just in case, the old broom was left outside by the door to
discourage old negative energies from returning.
The new broom was blessed with hopes and intentions for the new year – for health and happiness and prosperity and meaning and hope and generativity, and all those things that we bless one another with as we gather in the Wisdom Circle. Then the new broom was used to sweep in the positive energies and hopes and dreams and prayers for the new year.
TODAY WE SWEEP AWAY DESPAIR AND SWEEP IN GENERATIVITY.
SWEEP AWAY SEPARATION AND SWEEP IN CONNECTEDNESS.
SWEEP AWAY PERFECTIONISM AND SWEEP IN WHOLENESS.
SWEEP AWAY COMPARISONS AND COMPETITION AND SWEEP IN KINDNESS AND COMMONALITY.
SWEEP AWAY EXPECTATIONS AND SWEEP IN WONDER.
SWEEP AWAY THE SEEKING AFTER APPROVAL AND SWEEP IN THE CAPACITY TO GIVE AND TO RECEIVE LOVE.
SWEEP AWAY INFLEXIBILITY AND SWEEP IN GOING WITH THE FLOW.
You are invited to take this ritual of the new broom home with you and to give brooms for weddings and new births and housewarmings and new years.
Give a broom to someone you wish to mend a relationship with; a mother or father, daughter, son, or an estranged friend.
Years ago I wrote a similar ritual
New Year’s Ritual: Sweep, Smudge and Blessing Jar
Sweep your main living area, entryway, or porch, to sweep out the old and allow the new to enter.
Smudge around the room using a sweetgrass or sage smudging bundle (mine also includes lavender) and feather.
Smudge and say prayers of your own choosing, in each of the four directions, east, west, north and south:
East represents “illuminocity”, giving individuals the ability to see all that is around them from a spiritual perspective.
West represents the inner heart and soul.
North represents knowledge, wisdom and purification of the heart, mind and soul.
South represents the physical self.
Say a prayer of thanksgiving, and ask your spirit guides for safety, security and direction for the coming year.
Make a blessing jar…
Into a vase, jar, or bottle (which symbolizes protection), put;
a small bag of soil (for abundance)
a coin (for prosperity)
a fabric bag of salt (for purification)
a crystal (for vision)
an arrowhead (for guidance)
a tiny fabric bag of herbs (for grounding)
left over candle (for focus)
a cross (for balance)
a feather (for freedom)
a clipping of hair from each family member (for unity)
an old key (for opportunity)
a small mirror (for truth)
a piece of red paper (for memory)
a small fabric bag of raw rice (for fertility)
a ring (for love)
a runestone (for communication)
a shell (for choices)
a small fabric bag of loose tea (for awareness)
a small paper folded fan (for healing)
a rubber band (for flexibility)
a letter that contains this list and what you hope to accomplish this year, sealed inside an envelope (for happiness)
You need not have everything on this list, select what is important to you.
Seal the jar with the lid, or cover the bottle or vase with a piece of
fabric and a rubberband or string. Place your blessing jar either just inside or outside your front door until next New Years Eve…
Feel free to share this, the more blessing jars, smudging and rituals performed around the world the stronger the positive energy is for all…
written by Annwyn’Bri
The pictures are from Dec 31, 2003 just before our house was finished in April 2004. We moved in on 04/04/04.