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Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 11:28:25 -0700
From: catherine yronwode 
Newsgroups: alt.lucky.w,alt.magick.folk,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
Subject: Re: Broom - Broom Tops

John M Hansen wrote:
>     Brooms used for sweeping, which are made from natural plant
> parts, are usually made form Broom corn or Broom stalks.  There are
> several varieties of these.  The one I will speak of is the 
> European broom,  which grows like wheat, has a different tassel, 
> and is available in the US, and Canada.  Usually it is considered 
> to be a weed, but I have found it along roadsides from Pennsylvania 
> to Georgia.
>     This plant is an astral broom, and will sweep away anything 
> that is in the aura, including obsessive emotions, as well as any 
> harmful work. To make the cleaning fluid, which is a two part 
> mixture, soak a hand full of broom tops in alcohol extracted from 
> Vodka in the refrigerator.  Then steep another handful in boiling 
> water until it reaches room temperature.  Put both in the 
> refrigerator or spring house for a week to let them set, and then 
> mix them.  This is your stock solution.
>     To clean off yourself or another person, put a cup of the stock
> mixture in a bucket of water, a gallon or two is enough.  Pour the
> water over your head while you stand in the shower or tub.  Pour it
> slow, and yes, it will be very cold feeling.   Then air dry, and
> dress in clean clothes.   Try not to call back what you just got 
> rid of.
>     (I had an uncle in Sweetwater Tennessee who used to make this
> solution up from the tops of the broom corn he used to make brooms
> in his broom factory.   He would use corn liquor instead of vodka,
> as he did not sell much of the corn, and his wife screamed at him
> whenever he had a bit of it himself.  This goes back quite a few
> years, to the 1930's.)
> Regards,
> John M. Hansen

Thanks for this information... Like you, i find a lot of value in the
old, traditional "kitchen magic" school of working. 

In connection with this information on broom corn tops, and coming out
of an earlier post i made on broom tops as an ingredient in the
spiritual cleaner called Chinese Wash, i thought i would also mention
that in Mexican curandera work, as collected by folklorists along the
Texas border during the 1940s, broom corn was used to perform cleansing
ceremonies on young women who had contracted susto or hysterical fright. 

Susto is a socially complex phenomenon that strikes mostly girls around
the age of puberty. It can be caused by exposure to a man who scares
them with untoward or threatening sexual advances; it can also be
contracted by both males and females who have to walk home alone at
night. When a young girl is struck by susto, it is imperative to cure
her at once, lest her social and sexual development may be impaired. 

There are many traditional cures for susto, but one that is reported
over and over again consists of dressing the young girl in a white
nightgown and laying her face-down on her bed with her arms flung out in
the shape of a cross. She is then "swept" all over her back and legs in
the form of a cross with fresh broom-corn tops, while prayers are
recited by the curandera. Many curanderas sprinkle the girl with holy
water or spring water before and during the sweeping ritual, some do
not. Some curanderas place white candles beside her hands, or at her
head and feet, or in all four positions. 

Saint Michael the Archangel, who guards Heaven and is also the patron of
policemen, is the saint most often invoked in prayers while the girl is
being swept with broom corn tops. After the sweeping is finished, she
may be given a dried piece of Archangel root (angelica) and a holy card
of Saint Michael the Archangel, wrapped up together in a white
handkerchief and tied with four knots. This packet is to be carried on
her person as a preventive against further episodes of susto. 

cat yronwode 

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