The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin…
…In the middle of this elemental storm a fire gleamed among the dripping furze bushes, like the madness in a weasel’s eye. It illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: “When shall we three meet again?”
There was a pause.
Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: “Well, I can do next Tuesday.”
–Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters
As Halloween approaches, the witch decorations are out again. The green-skinned hag, the pointy hats, the buckled shoes, and the broomsticks…oh my, the broomsticks. Anyone who’s done any reading at all on the true history of witches knows that those tropes are stereotypes (of the times as much as of the women labeled as witches). Happily, the term “witch” is losing some of that stigma as more writers create well-rounded characters and offer different interpretations of what these women (and yes, men) did all day.
So what about witches? Ok, here’s the deal. This post is really just an advert for someone else’s posts. The fantastic author Katherine Langrish has recently put together a great, thoughtful series of posts on witchy things: witches in children’s literature, good vs. bad witches, and the role of feminism in the evolving idea of the witch. They are all fine reading, and we suggest you check them out as the nights darken!*
*Sorry, southern hemi friends! No dark nights for you right now. We’ll make you a spooky post in six months!