We were thrilled when Jason Mankey was available to chat with Witch With Me during our Dec. 23 “Witch & Chill Wednesdays” show in our Facebook group (free to join!). You can watch the episode below and check out an excerpt from his book, Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule.
“As magickal as Yuletide is, it’s no surprise that there’s a Holiday Witch! Hailing from Italy, La Befana has been handing out presents to children for centuries. The origins of La Befana are shrouded in mystery, but she has been connected to Strenia, the Roman goddess of the New Year who was honored during the January Kalends. It’s also likely that her name, Befana, is a corruption of Epiphania, the Greek word for Epiphany. Traditionally La Befana delivered gifts on Epiphany instead of Christmas, though today she’s just as likely as to share gifts on either day. Traditionally Befana is depicted as a pleasant old woman riding a broom.
While honoring Befana as a gift-giver during Yuletide is one way to bring her magick and energy into your home; another is by putting her broom to work for you! Celebrate Befana and prepare your home for the New Year by sweeping away any unwanted energies in your life. Even if you celebrate Samhain as the start of the New Year, it never hurts to do a little extra home clean-up!
For this exercise you’ll need a broom or besom. Because you’ll actually be sweeping you may want to use your regular house broom instead of a magickal one. This exercise can be done on the Winter Solstice, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and as late as January 6. I usually perform it on the morning of January 1 after cleaning up from the New Year’s Eve party the night before.
Start in the back of your home, or on the second floor, whatever is furthest away from your front door with your broom. Visualize all the “bad things” you’d like to sweep out of your life on the floor in front of you and begin to sweep. If a room contains negative energy you can feel be sure to clean all of that up too, along with sweeping away any negative memories a part of your home might bring you. As you go into each room ask for the blessings of Befana with this little rhyme:
Befana Befana aid me today
Take all that is negative far far away
Sweep out the old and replace with the new
Bring good energies to all that we do!
With the power of my besom and broom
I free this space from all that is gloom and doom!
Continue to sweep until you have visited every room in your home. When you’ve gone through the entire house, sweep the negative energy you’ve gathered up towards your front door. When you reach your door, open it and feel the cold Winter air upon your face and sweep all the bad things away and outside away from you. As you send the negative energy outside and away from your home say:
What’s unwanted is gathered here on the floor
I now send it out and away through my front door
Befana help me start this New Year off right
May my home be peaceful, loving, and bright!
So mote it be!”
Adapted from the book Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule, by Jason Mankey. Used with permission of the author.
Jason Mankey is a Wiccan-Witch and author. He’s the author of Transformative Witchcraft, The Witch’s Wheel of the Year, and The Horned God of the Witches. His favorite season is Yuletide. Visit him online at Raise the Horns on Patheos Pagan.