Updated: May 21
Witches - Since the Beginning
Witches, and more importantly stories about witches, have been around for as long as there has been the written word. When I say "witch", I am talking about a woman usually (though not always) who is deemed somehow outside societal norms. Witches historically were considered dangerous because they broke the "rules" - whatever those rules were deemed to be. For Puritans - witches wore red, or drank too much, or didn't come to church enough, or gossiped or coveted, or wore fancy scarves. Witches were up to no good. And that is why I love them.
Witches are not Satanic
I'm not getting into the whole minions of Satan stuff - that isn't what witches have been about, then or now. I'm talking about literary witches. Stories about witches, tales about women doing things that buck the system, using their power or knowledge or family to find strength in hard times. Those are my witches and the witches I loved reading about throughout my life.
It started early for me. I read "The Witch Family" by Eleanor Estes and "Witch on Blackbird Pond" by Elizabeth George Speare. For a more negative slant, there was "Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe" - although I think Jadis was misunderstood there.
Let's not forget such witch heavyweights as Morgan Le Fay from the Arthurian legends (you'll want to check out my take on her in the new book, The Dark Lady of Tintagel), the witches in MacBeth, and the witch in Hansel and Gretel. I especially find the witch in Hansel and Gretel intriguing. I suspect she would have a very different version of the story if the Grimms had bothered to ask her. Kids destroying her house for starters. She probably asked the two lost kiddos to help out with some chores around the place and they acted like she was some monster, telling a crazy story about her wanting to eat Hansel. Why eat an ungrateful kid when you can make a house of candy? But I digress...
Witch Lit Today
Today's #witchlit can take many forms. It can be stories with tons of magic and supernatural hijinks, or it can be modern witches living and working in a world that doesn't embrace or respect nature. It can be anti-establishment and feminist, but it can also be fun and frivolous. It can be fairytales and children's tales or it can be scary stories with life and death on the line. It can be Harry Potter or it can be The Crucible. #Witchlit is amazing because it can be so many things to so many readers.
I'd love to hear about some of your favorite books. I pin favorites to my Pinterest board and I'm always looking for more.