Young Witch, Old Witch
Article By: Eilfie Music
The image of the witch has changed quite a bit over the years compared to what people once thought witches were. The witch has become more mainstream and does not appear quite as otherworldly as it once did.
Witches have usually fallen into two extreme categories over the last fifty years. They are either the scary old crone riding the broomstick and cackling evilly (like the Wicked Witch of the West) or a sex kitten that might put a spell on you. Today the witch still retains the magic that her predecessors had, but often has the image of beauty rather than that of the old crone. Though the broomstick and spellwork is still in use, the reason behind the usage is slightly different.
Though there are many books available about the various viewpoints of what a witch is, the general population gets its information and ideas of what a witch should be from the media input of movies, T.V., radio, and articles. This is the most direct form of information, though not always the most accurate. Rather, it is often an exaggeration of specific aspects of witchcraft.
In modern witchcraft, the witch can have a triple form that is taken from the mythology of the moon and the triple goddess that is the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. We see all three of these images in the media. They represent both what society thinks of witches and various views regarding women in society in general.
The Crone is usually viewed in a more negative light. This is because of our society’s fear of aging. She brings this to our attention with her wrinkled face and bent back. Another reason why the Crone is not often shown positively is because she is the one that has seen enough and cares less what the masses think. Movies such as “Practical Magic”, “The Craft”, and even “Bell, Book, and Candle” show older witches speaking their minds and generally not caring if they are viewed as outcasts of society.
The Maiden is not so much the innocent girl of purity, but a tempting figure that takes control of herself. This character is more often shown in older movies such as “Bell, Book, and Candle” as a woman who has much power and control over one man, but cannot fall in love for fear of losing her powers. This is not far off from society’s idea that once a woman falls in love or settles down, she can no longer have that sexiness that she had in order to attract her mate. We now see the maiden witch as a woman of power that still retains her abilities even after finding love—though it is not any easier, such as in the television show “Charmed”.
The final form that is not really hit upon so often due to being in a grey area of society is the Mother. This is the nurturing form that is still young and beautiful like the maiden, but has more age and wisdom similar to the Crone. She is the Queen of her castle. This unfortunately has not been shown in such a way; a great example is the show “Bewitched”. The character Samantha Stephens is a witch that marries a mortal man and tries to live a normal life. She tries to juggle the roles of wife, mother, and witch, but frequently fails to maintain the balance.
Today the witch in media has taken on either a very fantastic image or a more down to earth, almost kitchen witch, approach. In our age of beauty and agelessness, we would still rather have the young beautiful witch wielding power than an older wiser woman. Though the old saying is age before beauty, why not have both?