Warning: may be profanity-laced. I’m irritated. NB: I am not a historian. Just a somewhat-intelligent woman who happens to be a witch.
It’s that time of year … the media feels a need to talk to “real” witches to tell their story. 99 times of 100, they interview someone who follows the religion of Wicca and imply the interviewee speaks for all. Facts aren’t always straight, either. Most of the time I can just shrug it off. But this op-ed piece is … somewhat misinformed, shall we say? (Not to mention thin-skinned.) I could probably write a novelette-length rebuttal but who’s got time for full-blown research along with scholarly citations? It would take hours to pull out all my books and search them for just one proper footnote.
This statement in particular set my teeth on edge: “And it is a slander on a living religion called Wicca or Witchcraft.” Please allow me to set the record straight yet again: the practice of Witchcraft is not a religion. It may be an aspect of a religion, or not. And it’s not solely an aspect of Wicca. There are other religions that have witchcraft/sorcery/magic as an aspect.
I don’t follow any organized religion. I don’t follow the Gregorian calendar which dictates October 31 shall be Hallowe’en or the astrological one, which puts the Wiccan/Celtic holiday of Samhain on November 6th/7th this year. Oh, I have no problem with anyone who does … whatever floats your boat. But please don’t assume when I tell you I’m a witch that October 31st is automatically a holy day for me. Remember: ass-u-me? I don’t require a calendar to tell me what’s happening in my little corner of the world and act accordingly.
The opening and closing paragraphs of the op-ed piece were aggravating, too. If I recall correctly, Shakespeare’s MacBeth (first performed in 1611) was the first known portrayal of witches as ugly women. We probably have James I of England (VI of Scotland) to thank for that: his fear of witchcraft (and most likely women in general) is legendary and he was a patron of Shakespeare’s acting company. I’ve read a translation of the Malleus Maleficarum (originally published in 1486) and I don’t remember anything in there about “ugly”.
The op-ed author apparently chooses to ignore Hollywood’s gorgeous witches. I’m not up on all television/movies but Glinda was portrayed as a beautiful witch. And hey, you think Kim Novak (Bell, Book and Candle, 1958) is ugly? How about Catherine Bell (Hallmark Channel’s The Good Witch series)? If so, I’d hate to see your idea of “beautiful”.
As a bona fide practicing witch and a crone at that, I have absolutely no issues with dressing as an “ugly old witch” for Hallowe’en. If I did, do you think I would have helped my mother look like the Wicked Witch of the West for a party? Did that years ago, complete with green face paint, hooked nose and warts. It’s fun. Although that’s all it is nowadays, the practice of putting on a costume for this holiday goes back at least five hundred years, probably more.
My advice: enjoy the fun, secular part of Hallowe’en, including the “ugly”. (Most of it is rather comical, anyway.) If others’ decorations and/or costumes bother you, don’t look or better yet, grow a thicker skin. BTW, spooks do exist … most people call them ghosts or spirits and they are very real.
Whaddya know? I got through it without a single expletive.