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A brief overview of how historical Witchcraft from countless cultures have inspired media icon witches with their magic and strength.

Throughout time, witches have been a prevalent part of history and pop culture. Women depicted with supernatural powers and knowledge have been integral to inspiring generations to be strong, mystical, and dynamic.

stevie Bewitching Minds: How Witches in Pop Culture Inspire Us
What kind of gay would I be if I didn’t include Stevie Nicks? Stevie has never confirmed whether she is a witch, but her lyricism, imagery, and portrayal of the White Witch on American Horror Story: Coven and Apocalypse are very telling.

Here’s the cold, hard truth, sweetie: witches in one form or another have existed in every culture on every continent for thousands of years. Any culture you could possibly name has a deep rooted history of Shamanism, Paganism, Druidism, and, if you didn’t hear me the first time, I’ll say it again: Witchcraft. But before witchcraft was collectively banned by most major religions, it was an earth-based practice that involved relying on energy, intention, and the resources available on the planet to create magic for medicinal, healing, and personal affairs. What was once considered evil has now become more of a positive and inspiring message in many different facets of pop culture. ‘Witchcraft’ is such a broad, umbrella term that many different practices fall beneath; but for the sake of keeping your attention, I’ll skip a lot of the historical details.

hypatia Bewitching Minds: How Witches in Pop Culture Inspire Us
Hypatia depicted viewing the night sky. Renowned astronomer, philosopher, mathematician, scholar, teacher, pagan and neoplatonist.

One famous witch who is considered to be a feminist hero is Hypatia. Hypatia was an Ancient Greek philosopher, teacher, mathematician, astronomer, and one of the last librarians at the Library of Alexandria (what a QUEEN! Slay me). Hypatia was also a Pagan and a huge opponent of Christianity. Well, pull up a chair and just guess what the Christians did when they found out there was a powerful female witch who was not only a genius, but also woke? You guessed it! Some monks flipped her chariot, dragged her to the Cathedral in Alexandria where they flayed her alive with broken pottery, then burned her at the stake. She is now revered as a martyr and a patron saint.

Charmed_4_sisters_season_1 Bewitching Minds: How Witches in Pop Culture Inspire Us
Piper, Paige, Prue, and Phoebe from the original 1998 television show, Charmed, portrayed by Holly Marie Combs, Rose McGowan, Shannen Doherty, and Alyssa Milano. Charmed focused on the importance of sisterhood and vanquishing your inner demons, as well as vanquishing actual demons.

For centuries, men leading many different religious faiths have been terrified of smart, powerful, ambitious women and will do anything to silence them. Luckily, our modern era has almost reached a point of putting women on the pedestals that they deserve to be seated upon (emphasis on almost). We exist in a time where we celebrate and embrace witches in pop culture. From television, to music, to film, there are several prominent figures that people look up to as beacons of empowerment. The very concept of a witch has become synonymous with “a badass who has no time for your bullshit.”

Angela-Bassett-as-Marie-Laveaux-in-American-Horror-Story-Coven-and-portrait-of-Marie-Laveau Bewitching Minds: How Witches in Pop Culture Inspire Us
Marie Laveau depicted by Angela Bassett on American Horror Story: Coven. The Voodoo Queen was a 19th Century Louisiana Priestess who may or may not have been evil. Her role in AHS displayed her ruthlessness and commitment to her tribe. Her character developed from being vengeful and heartless into a forgiving and sympathetic woman.

People look up to famous witches because the very image and idea of a witch represents strength, individualism, anarchy, and intelligence. Witches are a personification of inspiration, they give people hope that they can be seen as powerful as the witches they admire.

The-girls-stalk-the-halls-in-The-Craft Bewitching Minds: How Witches in Pop Culture Inspire Us
Bonnie, Sarah, Nancy, and Rochelle in The Craft played by Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, and Rachel True. Unified, albeit selfish and spiteful, the four witches learn the repercussions of using their powers for personal gain. A timeless, iconic film that you need to watch ASAP (ignore Rotten Tomatoes homophobic score).

Many Pagans, Shamans, Wiccans, etc. still exist today, however not all people who are inspired by the strength of witches are looking to join these faiths. Witches are no longer seen as propaganda to peel people from their current sect of religion, but they help people become the best versions of themselves by instilling the lessons of intention, healing, honesty, and power into their lives.

PracticalMagic-thumb-700x471-187543 Bewitching Minds: How Witches in Pop Culture Inspire Us
Sally and Gillian Owens played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in Practical Magic, adapted from the novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman. The film tells the story of two sisters who learn how to turn their trauma and pain into strength and positivity through unity, honesty, acceptance, and love.

The power of magic on the screen and in music heals people and brings us together. Famous witches are staples for women, for the queer community, and for anyone who is disenfranchised looking to take back their power and lift themselves up. Seeing both the strengths and weaknesses of witches in pop culture humanizes them and we are able to see parts of ourselves in them. Even if you don’t practice the Craft in real life, you can still embrace the inner witch within you (I might call you a poser though [I’m totally JK. I swear]). What I mean to say is, you can see the powerful being within you, bring that being to the forefront of your person, and show the world that you are a badass who has no time for anyone’s bullshit.

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