As we get closer and closer to Halloween, a witch’s broomstick is definitely what came to mind for today’s prompt. I’m not entirely sure what a true witch would prefer, but I assumed it would be something handcrafted, and since I don’t paint people, you’ll have to simply imagine the witch, just out of frame. The actual history of why broomsticks are associated with witches is fascinating, though potentially vulgar to some. It all started at a time, centuries ago, when people were just learning about ways to create hallucinogenic drugs. Using nefarious ingredients such as hemlock, nightshade, henbane, and mandrake they would create “potions” that when applied properly could give you the sensation of flying. If ingested, these potions caused nausea, so it was quickly discovered that a topical approach would work much better. Let’s just say that the potion worked best when applied to hard-to-reach areas and so something like a broom was helpful in the application. I’ll let you google the actual details yourself, but it provides the link to why broomsticks are still today associated with witchcraft.

By the time the 16th and early 17th centuries rolled around, you would find a preponderance of images that involved witches riding up out of chimneys. But it’s not hard to connect the dots with that one. In a stupidly patriarchal society, I would assume many women dreamed of hopping on a broom and flying up out a chimney. And perhaps this connection with rebellion is what makes a witch one of the most popular halloween costumes of all time. There’s something fun about Halloween that allows people to challenge the norm and express themselves in totally unique ways. It’s a spirit that I happily endorse and as artists, I think it’s one we should always embrace. Most of you who read these rambles know that I’m not a fan of rules that “shouldn’t be broken.” In truth, I rather love rules in general as they’re the guidepost one can use to know if you’re actually trying something different. Rules are great for that purpose, but when they become doctrine I tend to get a little antsy.

We live in a world that’s so ready to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. Everyone around us has an opinion, and they’re always ready to offer it up as fact. I too have opinions I’ve now transformed into fact, but I know they’re only my personal facts of life. Things that I have decided to be true, simply because it feels true to me. I’ve spent a lifetime wading through ideas and ideals that come my way, and in the end, most of what I believe is almost silly in its simplicity. I think we’re all creative and wonderful beings, capable of magic. Not the kind that scared Puritans, but the real magic that can make the world a better place. The kind that isn’t so much about spells and potions as much as simply being good, honest, present, loving, and open to new ideas. It’s simple, I told you, but magical in practice. And in this Halloween season, the most creepy time of year, it’s as close I come to riding on a witch’s broomstick.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Da Vinci Yellow, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 29 - A Witch's Broomstick - Doodlewash

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36 thoughts on “A Witch’s Broomstick

  1. Hah! Another salacious historical fact that I didn’t know. Probably a sign off my infantile humor, but that kind of think makes me giggle. It also makes people from the past seem more real to me. Love your broomstick and agree with you about rules – totally.

  2. I’m thinking that broom may be used as a gigantic magical paintbrush by a witch while flying gleefully over the trees tops tipping the leaves with splendid colors in autumns past and present. So nice of you to tickle our imaginations, Charlie.

  3. I didn’t know anything about witches and their broomsticks and never even considered what might be the history or mythology behind the woman. (They’re always women, aren’t they?) To connect their quest for flight to acts of rebellion against the constraints of society is a genius thought process. This was fascinating to read about, Charlie. Your painting is very cool – I’d like a broom like this though it probably doesn’t clean as well as my vacuum.

  4. In ancient time brume was found in each and every 🏠 to clean the house. There are lots of stories behind this but main cause was to clear the dust etc. Although time have changed n we have. Many aportuntie to clean.
    Charlie awesome some broom.nice painting.

  5. Yes! to the personal ‘facts’ philosophy! I used to be all about rules and should/n’t dos through my teens/20’s, but kept my 2cents internal as I’m also extremely non-confrontational. I’m happy to say (for my own good) that I’ve substantially mellowed out. I still don’t harbor a fondness for people who push opinions on others, but now I usually keep an open mind (and maybe a raised eyebrow afterwards) when I hear other people’s ‘facts’ even if I do not agree. Meditation studies and a drink afterwards help too. 😉 And a good painting session, yes.

    1. Definitely to the drink afterwards and always painting, of course! LOL Yeah… it’s fabulous to have opinions, they are what define us, but they only define us… not others. I wish more people would realize this. 😃💕

  6. Amen to “good, honest … being open.”!!! We so need more of that in this world. A friend of mine recently said that “we each need to be a bright light in this world to burn away the darkness we are facing around us.” Charlie, if a witch’s broom would help me shine that light brighter, I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on and fly! 💛

  7. Charlie – your paintings are always Awesome! Did you happen to have a handmade broom to look at whilst you painted it? Broom-making is an interesting craft as well & I love to watch them being made at our craft shows.

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