At its best, popular culture can reflect certain truths about society and offer clarity on some of life's challenges.
These iconic, fictional witches contain a host of stereotypes. But they can also teach us a few important lessons about spirituality -- and life.
Samantha And Endora from "Bewitched"
"Bewitched" was groundbreaking for many reasons. From the zany and lovable Samantha to her strong-willed and powerful mother, Endora, women were the primary drivers behind the show. They were strong, independent people whose magical abilities set them apart from others. "Bewitched" also holds a special place in the LGBT community as a metaphor for what life is like living in the closet and how to celebrate the characteristics that make us unique. In one episode, Endora captured the essence of being a witch with this brilliant quote: "We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound ... our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. We live in music, in a flash of color ... we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star!"
The Sisters Of "Charmed"
Most real life witches don’t regularly banish demons or make objects fly through the air. But there’s a larger theme that underlies this series: Each sister harnesses her own unique magic, but they are most powerful working together as a group. In the same way, we all have talents, beliefs and backgrounds that make us the individuals we are. But we are most effective when we come together.
Hermione Granger From The "Harry Potter" Films
Unlike Harry, whose magic comes very naturally and can be unruly, Hermione works tirelessly to hone her skill. In her, we witness spiritual practice at its most disciplined and determined. Whether it’s magic, knowledge or a particular ability, none of us will achieve our goals without putting in the effort.
Sally And Gillian From "Practical Magic"
The trials and mishaps that witchy sisters Sally and Gillian go through in "Practical Magic" serve as important lessons for all magical practitioners -- and for anyone, really. Be careful what you wish for because it may end up knocking at your door before you're ready. Trust your elders -- they’ve been through it all and usually know when you’re about to make a big mistake. Finally, haters gon’ hate. Don’t let them bring you down or make you deny the gifts you’ve been given.
Fiona Goode From "American Horror Story: Coven"
Fiona Goode is the beautiful and formidable “Supreme Witch” of "American Horror Story: Coven." Vain, manipulative and obsessed with youth, she represents many of the tropes that have earned witches a bad rap in popular culture. She serves as a cautionary tale: Witches can’t and shouldn’t hide behind their magic, just as none of us can hide behind our religion, profession or any other identity marker. Power and respect should be earned through dedicated effort and a commitment to others.
Sabrina Spellman Of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch"
With her talking cat and family of hilarious witches, Sabrina is not your average teenager. But in some ways, she is. Consider this: Sabrina discovers she’s a witch at the age of 16 and has to learn how to wield her magic. Who among us didn’t go through some upheavals at that age and similarly have to figure out what we were all about? The show and the character normalized magic and helped teach us that spiritual practice, like life, can be a messy process.
The Wicked Witch Of The West From "The Wizard Of Oz"
Was there ever a meaner, more despicable villain than the Wicked Witch of the West? The little dog, too? Have you no heart!? But to go a little bit deeper and explain the character’s motives, we leave it to Margaret Hamilton, the woman who played her. In an adorable conversation with television personality and minister Mister Rogers, Hamilton says that the Wicked Witch isn't purely evil, but rather struggles with the frustration of not getting what she wants (something most of us can probably relate to).
Rogers adds his own gem of wisdom, saying that girls and boys can be witches. Magical power does not discriminate based on gender. Wise words!
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