This post is created in light of it being October, my favourite month of the year, and one of my favourite weekends of the month, Halloween. The other inspiration that I am using comes from my oldest son who suddenly seems to be terrified of witches. Witches are one of my favourite Halloween characters, and voila a post is born. Here are my top 5 favourite witches coupled with a bit of background. This post was hard because there are just so many great witches that narrowing it to 5 was a challenge.
Witch: someone who practices witchcraft like a professional healer, sorcerer, seer or midwife, or any person who gains a profit through magic to the perceived detriment of someone else. Typically a witch is a woman.
My own personal imprint on the witch is the crone, I usually envision the crone architype and therefore couple a witch with the idea of wisdom. This leads me to my first favourite witch:
- Hecate (HeKate): She is knowledge and wisdom.
“Hecate – ‘Queen of Night,’…wears a bright headband and carries two torches in her hands as the brilliant eyes of the dark, an image, perhaps of intuition that sees the shapes of things not yet visible” – A. Baring & J. Cashford p. 328, 1993.
Hecate is present for life’s transitions. She is known as a guardian of the crossroads, and she is represented as triple-headed. Interestingly, d’Este and Rankine (2014) state that “It has been suggested that the crossroads was sacred to Hekate due to her having been abandoned at a crossroads as a baby by her mother Pheraea, and then rescued and brought up by Shepherds” (l. 1587 of 2969). As well, Hecate’s association to the underworld is a common piece of her history. The dog was sacred to Hecate. Cerberus is a triple headed dog who guards the entrance to the underworld and belongs to Hecate (p. 128).
Hecate is a Lunar Goddess, in particular the waning and dark moon.
Hecate had association to oracles and angels. Hecate’s three angel types are described by d’Este et al. (2014) as drawing souls closer to the divine and aiding in the process of perfection, assisting with the promotion of harmony and unification, as well as a purification role.
Symbols of Hecate included keys, torch, crossroads, and triple-head. Colours associated to her are red, black and white. She is described as having connection to the four elements of earth, air, fire and water as well power over the three realms.
- La Dame Blanche:
La Dame Blanche, or The White Lady, in this case is a healer or wise woman. Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser from The Outlander Series is the white witch that I’m referencing here. She is feared to be the sorceress herself. In Dragonfly in Amber La Dame Blanche is described as follows, “She is called a wise woman, a healer. And yet…she sees to the centre of a man, and can turn his soul to ashes, if evil be found there.”
Claire is a strong female character who can be described as independent and sensible. She is a healer in the 1700’s, but in the 1900’s she is an army combat nurse who later becomes a doctor.
So, to add to Claire’s witch-like qualities she can be categorized as a time-traveler!
- Hermione Granger:
Hermione is a young witch in training who proves to be very capable at a young age (Great spell caster). She is hardworking, intelligent, determined, strong willed, and brave. She is loyal friend. Overall she is a wonderful witch, who goes through great character growth on her journey into a young woman.
- Wanda Maximoff: The Scarlet Witch
Wanda is a 5 foot 7 and 132 pound Marvel Comic character. She has the ability to tap into the mystic energy for reality-altering effects, and she is versed in basic sorcery. She was formerly an Avenger, West Coast Avenger, Brotherhood of Mutants, Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and other associations.
Wanda was a mother to twin boys who she sadly lost to tragedy. Their deaths caused her to suffer a breakdown which she eventually recovered from.
The Scarlet Witch is new to me, but from what I understand about her she is a very powerful young witch who came from a very hard background. She has not been properly trained. Her life continues to be a series of lessons and hardships, and she is weaved in and out of contact with the X-Men and the Avengers.
- Nynaeve al’Meara: The Wheel Of Time Series
To begin these women are Aes Sedai. Aes Sedai have various powers some are healers, dreamers, channelers and etcetera. Sometimes Aes Sedia are called witches.
Nynaeve started off as her village’s Wisdom; a roll that had many aspects built into it including healing. However, Nynaeve is a very powerful Aes Sedai although it is not something she realizes easily. She is a great character. She is stubborn, spirited, and fearless. She is very temperamental, but she has a strong sense of duty and when it comes to her sense of duty she always does what she believes must be done and she does it without failure.
She is raised by her father as if she is his son, and therefore learns skills often taught to boys: tracking. Nynaeve is orphaned at 14, and taught the skills needed to become a Wisdom.
Nynaeve can channel, tell the weather, she is strong with the One Power, and she uses complex healing.
Image from Things That Go Boo
That’s my top 5 witches for 2016. Not a scary group of Witchy Women at all! Maybe next year we can breakout the list of top 5 scary ladies. There are so many other wonderful witches, this was a hard list to narrow down. Who remembers Samantha from the TV series Bewitched?
By Shari Marshall – 2016
- Baring, A., & Cashford, J. (1993). The myth of the goddess: Evolution of an image. London, UK: Penguin Books.
- d’Este, S., & Rankine, D. (2014). Hekate liminal rites [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.ca
- Title inspired by the Eagles song “Witchy Woman”