Broom- Cytisus scoparius
Broom Ngetal (Gaelic Ogham name) Cytisus scoparius ( Latin)
nGetal, Fern or Broom.
A physicians strength, broom.
Beginning of heroic deeds, healing.
Robe of physicians.
Book of Ballymote 1391
Broom is the ogham of healing, it signifies a good time to soak yourself in a bath of healing herbs, nourish yourself and tidy up your life both externally and internally. Use the broom to make a clean sweep.
Broom today seems to escape notice and yet seems to have had a very key role in the Celtic Tree Ogham for healing.
The Irish deities connected to healing are Dianecht, his daughter Airmed and son Miach. In a jealous rage Dianecht kills Miach and it is said 365 herbs appeared where Miach was buried positioned on the parts of his body they would cure. Airmed collected them to preserve the knowledge but Dianecht destroyed them thus taking away the higher knowledge of healing and herbs forever! This story is centred around the story of the first battle of Moytura where a great well is prepared with healing herbs and in the later Fenian stories of Ireland the Druid Caolite prepares herbal baths to uplift the wives left behind when their husbands go to war.
Broom also seems to have been a key plant in Celtic times due to its bright yellow flowers that come forth about the time of Beltaine. In the Welsh poem ‘Cad Goddeu’ or ‘Battle of Trees’ Balor appears masked as broom and is depicted as a solar hero rather like Beli who Beltaine is said to be named after. Balor lives in a great castle with his daughter Floripar which means born of a flower rather like the stories of Yspaddeden Pencawr and Olwen also in Welsh lore discussed under Hawthorn.
This connection seems to connect broom yet again to the flora and maybe the healing wells and herbal baths of our ancestors.
The yellow flowers of broom, like hawthorn perhaps also depicted the time to break the winter camp when our ancestors lived a more nomadic live. Broom is also the plant used to make brooms as it has ideal stiff yet flexible foliage. These two facts point to broom as a plant of new beginnings, of a clean sweep and when we examine the two Ogham letters that represent broom we notice the combination of N for Nion, the ash tree and G for Gort the ivy plant. Combined these letters tell us broom is about breaking free from lethargy ( represented by the ash tree) and the inevitable back lash (represented by ivy) that will result from that. Broom therefore is a great plant to clean up problems of an especially emotional or spiritual nature encouraging us to outwardly demonstrate this by cleaning our living spaces especially where we sleep and/or meditate.
Medicinally the young branches or seeds of broom can relief gout, sciatica and painful joints though are liable to cause vomiting. The oil from the stems of broom drawn out over the fire is said to relive toothache and help clean the head of parasites and the skin of parasites like lice.
The ogham name Ngetal can also represent reed, fern and guelder rose also known as water elder which can cause some confusion.
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Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.