Book Review: The Witch’s Broom by Deborah Blake

The Witch's Broom by Deborah BlakeLlewellyn’s Witch’s Tools series contains six small books, one for each of the major tools in witchcraft (athame, book of shadows, broom, cauldron, mirror, and wand) though I hope more are forthcoming. The author varies by the book with no author having more than two books in the series at the moment, similar to the Sabbat Essentials series. The Witch’s Book of Shadows: The Craft, Lore and Magick of Broomsticks is first book in the series and was written by Deborah Blake. While I enjoyed this book more than The Witch’s Book of Shadows, I didn’t think it was nearly as good as The Witch’s Cauldron. This is the third book I’ve read in the series; three down, three to go! Something interesting that I just noticed is that the praise for the book including on the inside cover is all from Llewellyn authors, seems like they would have a lot of motivation to provide positive reviews, and smacks of quid pro quo.

The book has also had its cover changed as the series is being revamped, I am happy to have a first edition (third printing) copy, so I have the original cover (above). The current cover can be seen below. The books in this series are presented as a guide to the major tools in witchcraft, including uses, history, folklore, notable references in myth, a craft section, and various spells. The Witch’s Broom is broken into nine sections to cover these topics, with guest blurbs and “broom lore” interspersed throughout. In the other two books in the series that I’ve read, I noted that the guest author sections were somewhat disruptive because the author wasn’t credited until the end of their article. Happily, in this book, the author is credited at the beginning of their section, which I found much easier to read. The chapters are number on the index, but not on the chapter pages, so if I mislabel any, forgive me now.

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Witchcraft Basics: How to Cleanse a Space

Woman Surrounded by Smoke

This guide covers a witchcraft basic: how to cleanse the energy in a space. I created this because a lot of witchcraft writers, myself included, will say “cleanse your space” as though everyone knows exactly what that means. The truth of the matter is that, when you’re a new witch, you have no idea what that looks like! Intermediate and advanced witches will likely not find this guide helpful, but there are a lot of witches who are just starting out who I hope will benefit.

This is my own advice based on my own experiences and practice of witchcraft. There are three basic types of cleansing magick that I cover here: smoke, smokeless, and tool cleansing. I recommend cleansing the home or living space once every lunar cycle on the Full Moon. Cleansing can also be used after a negative energy event, like a fight or illness, or just when you feel that the energy could use a scrub.

Smoke Cleansing

Smoke cleansing is typically referred to as ‘smudging’, though that term has fallen out of favor as it references a specific Native American ritual. That’s a whole debate, however, with some saying that anyone is welcome to smudge who respects to practice, and others saying no do not call it smudging ever. I like to err on the side of caution and call it ‘smoke cleansing’ to be respectful.

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