Since the beginning of October, I have been planning a series of posts on witches for Halloween. It is a vast, complicated, and ramified subject, and I have spent weeks mulling over it and gathering resources. I am not sure I am even now definite about everything I am going to say, but I figure I'd better start or Halloween will be over before I begin. But I think before I begin the posts I'd better make a few qualifying statements about what I'm going to say.
I am not going to talk about witches from the Christian point of view. I am a Christian, but nothing makes me more exasperated than some fundamentalist group wanting to do things like ban The Wizard of Oz for occult practices.
I am not going to talk about witches from a "Wiccan" point of view. This group seems to want to solemnly appropriate a history of persecution and suffering to help justify their beliefs and point of view.
What I do want to talk about is the image of the witch in popular culture, in fairy tales and folklore and fantasy. The extreme views of some Christians and pagans would both censor this witch out, one as a gateway to occultism and the other as a prejudicial stereotype. But I want to consider the witch as an archetype, a metaphor, and a bit of fun.
So prepare yourself for pointy hats, black cats, and bubbling cauldrons, because that's what's coming. And hardly any dancing around in the nude at all.