Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Witch Season!

One of the most common folklore motifs for women is that of the witch, the sorceress. And Halloween is definitely one of her most popular times of year.  Also known as wise women since the medieval times, they have been feared for their ability to create and use powers of magic power to form potions and ointments that can dramatically change those they come into contact with.

There is a lot of folklore that surrounds the appearance of a witch.  Her pointed hat, for instance is more than just an accessory.  The point has actually been known as “the cone of power or wisdom”.  It is said that the hat helps power flow from a higher source into the mind of the witch. 

The green face of a witch is another common feature. A witch’s green face is said to originate from the beatings they received during medieval witch hunts.  Old, unattractive women were the primary targets during these witch hunts.  Until they confessed their participation in evil magic, the women would be beaten and dragged through the streets. This is what turned their faces green, blue and black with bruises. 

Commonly associated with the witch is the black cat.  Prior to the black cat's relationship with a witch, they were actually known for good luck.  However, the black cat quickly turned into a symbol of fear once their loyalty and faithful companionship to witches was redefined.

The broom, a common household object in medieval Europe became another accessory. Some believe that witches cleaned their brooms using hallucinogenic herbs that had magical powers that could only be rubbed in during a broom ride.
Here are four popular witches:

Circe-  A mythical sorceress remembered in Odyssey.  She was skilled in the magic of metamorphosis and the power of illusion.  Her most known feat was that of  transforming Odysseus’ men into swine. She did so by replacing their wine with potion.  She turned them back into men only after Odysseus agreed to sleep with her. 

Wendy the Good Little Witch- We all know Casper the friendly ghost but what about his companion Wendy the Good Little Witch?  Wendy was introduced as a fictional cartoon character by Harvey Comics in the 20th century. Contrary to being mean and cold hearted, she only uses her magic for good.  TV episodes about the same character revolve around her resistance to her aunts who wanted her to use her powers for evil.  

Mabaa- Known to be the most powerful witch featured in the Japanese comics Soul Eater.  She, along with her fellow witches, has the natural ability to perform magic used for destruction.  She also possesses the power of Soul Protect which disguises her soul as ordinary to hide herself from the witch hunts. 

Fenella Feverfew- A young female witch who is fascinated by forbidden spells and potions.  Her character originated from a book series and grew into a film titled The Worst Witch.  Nicknamed “Fenny”, she is best at using spells to get her and her friend out of complicated situations.
How many witches do you know?

This post was co-written by Caitlin Petrucelli. Thanks, Caitlin!

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