Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
—William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV
Witches are back.
Recently there’s been a resurgence of witches in pop culture. Before covens of sexy witches became the “it” thing, it was vampires. Then it was zombies. Now we’re under another spell. Witches are everywhere. Popular films, TV shows, books and even musicals have been tackling the world of witchcraft with renewed zealousness. It’s enough to make a person who sees witches as evil emissaries of the Devil curl up in fetal position and cry (Cotton Mathers is rolling in his grave).
As typically portrayed in classic films like Suspiria, Black Sunday and The Blair Witch Project, witches were often depicted as evil, dark and sinister. Of course, in the old fairy tales of yore, witches were always evil.
Then, in more recent years, big-screen films like The Craft, Practical Magic, and Beautiful Creatures began rehabilitating their villainous image to the point where they are now portrayed as heroes and romantic interests.
Popular TV shows are also ushering witches right into our living rooms. I’m gonna go ahead and give a shout-out to the pop cultural favorite – Willow (*applause*). Our favorite Ginger, turned black-eyed beauty, made witches cool again on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Then there was Charmed. A triple threat of sexy schmexy witches ran amuck with all sorts of supernatural creatures. They won over a whole new generation of witch lovers. And they were the good guys.
Just get on Twitter right now and look at the discussions going on from all over the world about American Horror Story: Coven and Witches of East End. It’s amazing to see such a diverse and lively group of people dutifully tweeting their little hearts out about their favorite witch. Side note: I watched the Twitter feed during last night’s American Horror Story: Coven episode and was floored by the number of people rallying behind their favorite witches.
Technically, books started this most recent witch party. The Witches of East End and Beautiful Creatures were originally books. My own book series, in fact, tackles the world of witches too. Warrior witches, part-humans, and ancient secrets are all a part of my novel, Earth’s Magick. Will it be devoured by witch lovers as well? Who knows. I can certainly hope readers will fall in love with the witches in my story as they have with the aforementioned titles, and for my part I can say I’ve added in some unique elements into my mythos.
So what’s all the recent voodoo over witches about?
I have a simple theory. They were one of the last villainous standing. Media and literature took the dark, God-defying vampires, and gave them a makeover. No longer the boogie man in the shadows, vampires turned into the seductive heroes and then they weren’t even dark anymore. (Some sparkled.) The same goes for werewolves and zombies. Although I’ll admit, zombies haven’t been made-over too much, just reiterated in different ways. And now it’s the witches’ turn.
I have to say, I have a personal interest in seeing witches taken from the dark shelves, dusted off and made socially acceptable. See, I’m a Pagan and a witch myself (*gasp*!). But, you know, we’re really not scary or evil even though we’ve endured being called “Satan’s whores” for years (insert eye-roll here). Plus, it’s a silly myth that only women are witches. Men are witches too, you know. There aren’t many in the mainstream media yet, but my bet is there will be. *Cough.* And there’s a certain witch book series that has male witches in it. *Cough.*
Witches are the new vampires. They’re no longer the green, wart covered, cackling old lady trying to murder the beautiful princess – they’re sexy! They’re powerful and most of the time nowadays they’re doing good magick. They save the world. They like puppies and are good citizens. And even more powerful and wonderful are the strong female heroines that are coming out from this new trend.
Get ready for the season of the witch, Pop Mythology readers. I think this spell we’re under will continue for a while yet because the world hasn’t fully explored all the witchy possibilities (sparkly witches, anyone?) So embrace the delightful wickedness and come along for the magickal ride! Watch the ladies in Witches of East End and American Horror Story: Coven get down with their bad selves. Or pick up a book about witches and, like everyone else, you too will fall in love with witches. Like magic.