Saturday, 15 February 2014

B is for Brimstone, Bats and Brooms

And B is for Bargello Brimstone from A Dark Alphabet designed by Julie and Becky's Note of Friendship blog.

Bargello has a variety of names; Irish Stitch, Flame Stitch and Florentine to name but three more.  Careful counting is required when using this stitch!

Onto bats.  So why are bats associated with Hallowe'en?  

"Bats have long been associated with Halloween but the connection is by far less ominous than some would suspect. In Halloween's ancient origins people would gather together around giant bonfires to ward off evil spirits. Attracted to the warmth and bright light of these fires were many small flying insects; natural food for hungry bats.  People saw the bats flickering in and out of the firelight during the festivals and they became a feature of Halloween lore.

The link between the bat and Halloween became strengthened with the discovery of the Vampire Bat in the 17th century.  Tales of bats that drank blood had circulated throughout Europe for centuries before but it wasn't till the Spanish exploration of Central and South America that there was physical proof.  It was a natural association for a dark holiday, a creature that lapse the life blood of its prey in the dark of night."

There are some great batty designs around, here a couple I found online:

Tribal Bat

And moving swiftly onto Brooms or Besoms.  Why are brooms so closely connected to witches?  I suppose a broom is something everyone had in their home, on its own it wouldn't attract attention or suspicion.  It is also an easy piece of evidence for the Witchfinder to use against the local wisewoman.

Besom is another word for a traditionally made broom with a bundle of twigs attached to a sturdy pole, as a result the besom is round rather than flat.  The besom is often used in Wiccan and other Pagan traditions as it represents both genders.  The pole is male and the twigs are female.  You often find brooms used in marriages ceremonies, either in addition to a religious or legal ceremony or in place of when the two people could not marry legally.

In parts of Wales, a broom could be placed at an angle across a doorway.  The groom would jump over followed by his bride.  If the broom stayed where it was the marriage was on, if it fell down the marriage was then called off!  You may have heard the term "living over the brush" meaning living together without being married.  This is where it come from.

Halloween (The Moon Laughs) - Cross Stitch Pattern

Drive A Stick

And to finish, here is an image which popped up on Google when I asked Why do witches ride brooms - 


AnaCristina said...

Well...I will stitch a bat vampire!

Lili said...

Thanks, Jo for the "B"!!!
Love the Tribal Bat! ;)
Hugs x

Tiffany said...

Love the stiyching and especially the driving a stick one.

SoCal Debbie said...

Thanks for the Hallowe'en lesson about brooms! B is for Brimstone is a great Hallowe'en ornie!

Unknown said...

Cute post!

Stitching Noni said...

Great post! Love the last pic :)

Marcy said...

What fun info. I love the bats in the round. Thanks for the link.