Pagan Rituals - Significance of the Broom

Welcome to week 13 in our ’52 Rituals/Traditions in 52 Weeks’

We are playing a bit of catch-up due to falling a little behind, but we are getting back on track by posting some rituals close together and for week 13 we have decided to look at ‘Pagan Rituals’.

A pagan wedding ceremony is often quite different from a normal civil wedding ceremony. It is rich with colour, natural elements and acknowledges the four directions East (Air), South (Fire), West (Water) and North (Earth) as being an essential component that requires recognition (usually at the very beginning of the ceremony) along with many other ritualistic sentiments.

For some, the idea of a Pagan ceremony is very appealing, although if only one party to the marriage (the bride for instance) is Pagan, then it can be problematic to engage in a full Pagan ceremony.
There are many options in such a case for simply incorporating Pagan elements into your ceremony while still maintaining the format of a ‘normal’ wedding ceremony. There are so many it is hard to just pick a few, but we have chosen some that can be easily adapted.

For example, a Pagan ceremony is conducted inside a sacred circle which can be created from rocks, stones or a combination of candles & crystals. The circle is symbolic of the cycles of life, and it is considered a sacred place in which any negativity form the outside world can be left behind while the couples immense love and happiness can be contained within.
The main theme we wanted to look at was the use of ‘Brooms’ in pagan ceremonies and there are at least two ways in which a broom can be used:

Firstly: The broom is used in a sweeping motion to purify the sacred circle. This can be done by the Celebrant (or the bride & groom themselves).
Once the guests have arrived and are in the circle, whoever is performing the ritual, circles the area in an anti-clockwise direction.
The circle is swept and the following words repeated.
“Sweep, sweep, sweep this place
By Power of Air, I cleanse this space.”
The sweeping, often used to begin the cleansing ritual, is then usually followed by other cleansing powers of Light, Liquid, Dirt and Spirit. These are done most often with a red candle; a chalice of water; a bowl of earth and then words that are spoken in the middle of the circle for Spirit.

Secondly: As the primary use of a broom is to clean and sweep, they are thought to represent a new, clean and fresh start for the couple. The bride and groom jump the broom at the end of the ceremony after all of the words have been spoken and this indicates that they are putting the past behind them and are jumping together into their future.
Pagan ceremonies are very moving and unforgettable to take part in. If you ever have the chance to see one, take it because it will be something that will stay with you forever. Many of today’s rituals are adaptations of original Pagan traditions, but to see them performed in their original context and within a ceremony that incorporates many of them is a great experience.

If you are interested in having a Pagan ceremony or even incorporating components into your own ceremony then there are lots of resources available and we would be happy to point you in the right direction.

The Wedding Gurus