We all grew UP with them. The evil witch in Hansel and Gretel, the evil Queen in Snow White, the Wicked Witch of Oz, her sister Glenda – the good witch, Aunt Dahlia of Goosebumps, Samantha, Endora, Sabrina all of Bewitched fame.
They were there, some were scary, some funny, all of them using their magical powers we envied; for gain, to destroy, to hamper, to help.
And then of course, in Senior English, there were the three “Double, bubble, boil and trouble” witches of MacBeth!
Most witches in literature are portrayed as hags, ugly, evil, crooked nosed, and moled.
Glenda was an exception.
Sure, it’s great to fantasize about supernatural powers, and who of us wouldn’t love to twitch our nose, or pull our ear, or make a wish and have it come true?
But, is there any good there?
Witchcraft, also called witchery is generally defined as the use of magical faculties. These were often for religious or medicinal purposes; but most of the time, foul-play was involved.
The practice of magic has been around as long as we’ve been writing history, and most probably before. It was central in the superstitious societies of yore, and still exists today.
In Europe as Christianity grew, witchcraft was viewed as evil and in contrast with the Christian Church. But, it was condemned way before that when King Saul of Israel went to the witch of Endor, asked her to talk to the deceased Samuel, and nearly crapped himself when Samuel appeared.
Europe and Colonial America went on witch hunts, ferreting out diviners and conjurers galore. Hangings, burnings, and pressings were not uncommon.
In the 21st Century, witchcraft has become a branch of contemporary Paganism, and is practiced in some Wiccan congregations.
In Islam and in Christianity, witchcraft is considered heresy, apostasy, and sin. It is viewed as evil.
In Bourbon France, queens, mistresses of the King, and other high born noblewomen were often caught participating in Black Masses where children were sacrificed.
It was a scandal.
And it was evil.
So, this Halloween, send your kids out as Wonder Woman or Katy Perry or Hilary Clinton, not as a witch!
Wait, that last one might be too scary!