So there’s this little movie coming out this year and it’s called Hansel and Gretel. Oh, wait, that’s not the entire title. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. *gasp* Now, I will admit that the Pagan community can be some of the touchiest people you’ve ever met, even for all their talk of being open minded. I know, I’ve caught myself acting that way. I suppose it should come as no surprise that some Pagans, not all, are up in arms about not just this movie, but the coming storm of popular media centered around witches. Some of it portrays witches in a good light, but then there’s Rob Zombie standing there, ready to smash that to smithereens. Be gone, SPAWN OF SATAN! …And that does my dramatic bit for this blog. Until I get on my soapbox which is coming in three…two…duck!
“We survived Charmed and Buffy, we’ll survive this.” While I’m tempted to applaud you for being calm under “pressure,” I must call you an idiot. Buffy? Yes, that really impacted how the public sees witches. Charmed? You do NOT talk smack about my Charmed. My obsession with the Power of Three began when I was in fourth grade and escalated to full out I-need-to-watch-this-every-week-or-I-may-die when I was in fifth grade. Fifth grade was also when we got our first computer and internet. Charmed was one of the first things I searched up. And what did I come across? A mere ten year old who was very much a newb at the internet? I discovered something that blew my small town America mind: there are people out there who really think they are witches. Then I found out about this little thing called Wicca.
Maybe it’s because my interest in witches and the supernatural persisted, but I went through middle school and high school, steadily learning more as the years passed. And when I got to college, I finally accepted a path that spoke to me more than Christianity ever had. As a writer, my main love is witches. I would rather see two witches battle it out than two vampires, or even two werewolves. That being said, good movies about witches are ridiculously hard to come by. And Harry Potter doesn’t count. I never really got into that series, even though I’m not sure why.
So the Pagan community “survived” Charmed did they? It’s quite possible that if Charmed had never existed, I might not have gone down the path I did. Or if I did, it would have taken longer. I can’t really say.
I’m not an idiot. I know I can’t blow people up like Piper did, even though the thought is quite tempting with some, and I know I can’t cast a spell to turn someone into a turkey (Phoebe did that, fifth season I think?). What I do know because of the reading I’ve done is that real witches cast spells to direct energy, to put it simply. It’s not going to achieve the end result magically and instantaneously. It’s to give the energy a push in the right direction. Almost like positive thinking or even prayer, just in a more formalized, ritualistic setting. That is what witchcraft, to my understanding, is about. The thing about it is that if someone isn’t willing to learn that in the first place, whether or not witches are portrayed as whores of Satan in a movie isn’t going to change a thing. It may add fuel to an already seething fire of hatred, but in the end it’s just a movie. That’s something the entirety of America needs to learn. It’s just a movie. It’s just a television show. We’re adults. We should be able to differentiate fiction from reality because a lot of the movies people are complaining about? They’re more than likely based on books. This is not just visual media, it’s written as well.
I cannot wait to see Hansel and Gretel. Even if the witches are evil, they still look cool and I look forward to seeing them in action. I’m still holding out for a movie about two powerful witches going head to head to determine the fate of the world, something like Charmed, but on a much grander, less cheesy scale. In the meantime, I’ll write my witches the way I want, and work on accepting the fact that someday, someone is probably going to say they are bad for the Pagan community. Never mind that the author is Pagan.
By the way, if you want to see the article that prompted this blog, check it out over at The Wild Hunt: http://wildhunt.org/2013/02/seasons-of-the-witch-perceptions-of-witchcraft-in-movies-and-tv.html The author stayed pretty neutral, but what got me rolling was the Facebook comments. This is an interesting discussion, but the blatant negativity about it is what gets me. I recognize the difference between the witches of fiction and the witches of the real world. Instead of just condemning the representations, I wish that there could be a movement to teach the world that distinction. The majority of people really have no idea and sometimes people surprise you with what they’re willing to learn.