Pop Culture Witches

There’s a of debate about the portrayal of witches and Paganism in popular culture.  Television shows and movies with witches tend to fall into two categories: fairly tale based (i.e. Harry Potter) and Pagan based.  Most of the material prior to the mid Eighties (think early Disney movies and Bewitched) pull from fairy tales.  While I love them, this post is geared more towards the more Pagan ones.  Most the discussion on these movies and shows is centered on the negative and harmful depictions the ones that propitiate negative stereotypes about the Witchcraft and the Path.  In my opinion, portions of The Craft and the television show Salem are two really good examples of “bad pop culture witches.”  While I will admit some of the rituals are spot on and Lirio the shopkeeper injects a bit of empowering morality into The Craft, the girls’ bullying actions off balance any good examples.  And Salem is just a hot mess right out of the Maleficus Maleficarum.

With that said, there are also some really good portrayals of witches in pop culture.  While the actual magic tends to get a little romanticized, what makes these ladies and gents so affirming to watch are their empowered sense of self as well as an accurate depiction of the Craft and its practitioners.  Here are my favorite examples:

  • Practical Magic: Admittedly a personal favorite. It shows the connection between self and magic.  Also, it presents a strong, supportive network of women coming together to create positive change.
  • Charmed: While it gets a little campy, especially in the later seasons, I think it does a nice job of balancing the dramatized magic with actual Pagan concepts.
  • True Blood: I was pleasantly surprised when they incorporated witchcraft into Season 4.  While Marnie does go off the deep end at one point, her and Jesus’s drive to help their community is so refreshing to watch.
  • The Good Witch: I’m pretty sure this is a Lifetime movie, but it is super cute.  Shows the virtues of being different.

These are just a few examples, and I hope to see more and more “good witches” in pop culture in the future.  Readers, notice any good or bad ones I’ve missed?

© Ariadne Woods

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Magical in the Mundane Series: Waxing Moon

The Waxing Moon is a time marked by growth and development.  I mark it from the day after I spot a new crescent to two days before the Full Moon.  Generally it’s a good time to start new projects and develop good habits.  It’s partially psychological, partially energetic.  As the Goddess grows, so does your success in all of your endeavors.

Household

  • Complete a few small house repairs (creaky stairs, paint crown molding, etc.)
  • Incorporate a few new recipes into your repertoire with lots of nourishing herbs, fruits, and veggies
  • Start a piggy bank or open a savings account

Self Care

  • Cut your hair if you want it to grow
  • Spend some time working on your mind, which is just as important as your physical health. Go to a museum, lecture, or gallery; do some Sudoku or crossword puzzles; get a few new books from the library.
  • Have a beauty evening.  I like to get in the tub with a face mask and a glass of beer, but do whatever makes you feel good.

Work and School

  • Keep on top of all projects and homework
  • Take a client or coworker to lunch to cultivate a strong working relationship
  • Attend any professional development courses or extra university lectures

Social Life

  • Go to drinks or go to a coffee shop with friends
  • Have a date night with your partner or spouse.  If you have children, try to get home after they’ve gone to bed so nothing can keep you from romantic moments
  • Visit your parents/grandparents or send them a care package.

© Ariadne Woods

Witch Tips: When You’re Sick

In a few days it’ll officially be Fall…and the start of cold season.  In fact for me and my roommates, we already have our first sore throats and coughs.  What’s a witch to do?  Get better, of course.  To be clear, this post discusses short term illnesses and their affects on spirituality and magic.  Long term illnesses, especially chronic ones, have different effects on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life.  For all forms of physical illness while magical and spiritual techniques help in a holistic point of view, they DO NOT provide a cure for your condition.  For any suspected bacterial infection or a cold lasting more than a couple of days, go see a medical practitioner.   However, there are things you can do to heal the energetic and spiritual parts of your being.

  • Indulge Your Food Cravings: When I’m sick, all I want is ginger ale and that canned soup with the mini hamburgers.  Food I rarely eat when I’m healthy.  Part of it is certainly the nutrients I need to fight the infection, but it’s also food that instantly makes me feel better.
  • Avoid Big Magic Unless Your Have To: When you’ve got a cold or ear infection, that isn’t the right time or mindset to work spells.  You’re run down and your energetic self is already trying to divert all its resources into healing.  Even self healing spells aren’t necessarily a good idea.  Get a friend to perform it for you.
  • Use Homeopathic Methods in Tandem with Prescribed Care:  Now just because magic is off the table doesn’t mean you can’t put your witchy skills to good use.  Don’t be afraid to pull out the echinacea tea and diffuse a little eucalyptus oil.  Of course discuss all medications and herbs with your doctor.
  • Catch Up on Your Witchy Reading: Make a dent into that stack of unread books hanging out in the corner.  Try to get through a chapter of Drawing Down the Moon or any other canonical Neo-Pagan tome.
  • Bring Nature Indoors:  There’s a reason you send flowers when someone is sick.  Nature is healing.  When you’re stuck inside and can’t get out, flowers definitely help.
  • Offer a Sacrifice When You’re Back Up and Running: Remember to thank the gods for their assistance in your speedy recovery.

© Ariadne Woods

Magical in the Mundane Series: Mabon

Sabats are seasons.  They are more than just a singular day, but rather the culmination of an entire spiritual and natural era.  It’s like a switch goes off and suddenly your in Mabon mode.  For me, I know I am in Mabon’s season because I want to buy mums and drink pumpkin beer.  All year long I will be practicing exactly what I’ve been preaching–fusing elements of the spiritual seasons into everyday activities–and sharing some suggestions based on my experiences.

Mabon is otherwise known as the Witch’s Thanksgiving.  It is a time of preparation and gratefulness.  Here are a few ideas to bring that energy into everyday life.

Household

  • Harvest the remainder of your crops and take potted plants into the house
  • Take extra cans and nonperishables to the local food pantry
  • Board up holes to avoid pest infestation
  • Make applesauce and cider to enjoy all winter long
  • Turn off air conditioners and store window units for next summer

Personal Care

  • Take coats, hats, scarves, boots, and sweaters out of storage
  • Begin any regime to avoid the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yoga, sun lamps, and time outside work well for mild cases; see a doctor in moderate to severe cases
  • If you’re super DIY, make a big batch of body or hand cream 
  • Stock up on cold and flu remedies, including your flu vaccine
  • Enjoy including fall fruits and veggies, such as apples and squash, into meals

Work and School

  • Take off work for Samhain
  • Stock up on school supplies and make any necessary upgrades to your computers and devices
  • Plan a charitable event hosted by your company or campus organization
  • Make a list of dormant projects to keep track of your workload
  • Start a project to make your work life easier.  For example, I work in a historical society and we are putting environmental monitoring devices in every room to make sure the objects are in optimal conditions.  After its installed, I will check these devices every week to check for problems.  This action will prevent deterioration and damage to the collections

Social Life

  • Go apple picking with your family or friends
  • Host or attend a bonfire with plenty of warm cider and seasonal beers
  • Volunteer at a local park to help clean up trash
  • Take a drive with a crush or significant other to see the changing leaves
  • Sign up for a class, whether to expand the mind, learn a new skill, or to make friends

© Ariadne Woods

Magical in the Mundane Series: Mabon

Sabats are seasons.  They are more than just a singular day, but rather the culmination of an entire spiritual and natural era.  It’s like a switch goes off and suddenly your in Mabon mode.  For me, I know I am in Mabon’s season because I want to buy mums and drink pumpkin beer.  All year long I will be practicing exactly what I’ve been preaching–fusing elements of the spiritual seasons into everyday activities–and sharing some suggestions based on my experiences.

Mabon is otherwise known as the Witch’s Thanksgiving.  It is a time of preparation and gratefulness.  Here are a few ideas to bring that energy into everyday life.

Household

  • Harvest the remainder of your crops and take potted plants into the house
  • Take extra cans and nonperishables to the local food pantry
  • Board up holes to avoid pest infestation
  • Make applesauce and cider to enjoy all winter long
  • Turn off air conditioners and store window units for next summer

Personal Care

  • Take coats, hats, scarves, boots, and sweaters out of storage
  • Begin any regime to avoid the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yoga, sun lamps, and time outside work well for mild cases; see a doctor in moderate to severe cases
  • If you’re super DIY, make a big batch of body or hand cream 
  • Stock up on cold and flu remedies, including your flu vaccine
  • Enjoy including fall fruits and veggies, such as apples and squash, into meals

Work and School

  • Take off work for Samhain
  • Stock up on school supplies and make any necessary upgrades to your computers and devices
  • Plan a charitable event hosted by your company or campus organization
  • Make a list of dormant projects to keep track of your workload
  • Start a project to make your work life easier.  For example, I work in a historical society and we are putting environmental monitoring devices in every room to make sure the objects are in optimal conditions.  After its installed, I will check these devices every week to check for problems.  This action will prevent deterioration and damage to the collections

Social Life

  • Go apple picking with your family or friends
  • Host or attend a bonfire with plenty of warm cider and seasonal beers
  • Volunteer at a local park to help clean up trash
  • Take a drive with a crush or significant other to see the changing leaves
  • Sign up for a class, whether to expand the mind, learn a new skill, or to make friends

© Ariadne Woods