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  • Writer's pictureBryan Stafford

"Hollywood" misconceptions

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Some of the questions collected over a period of time covered in this blog:


"Doesn't that make you an ugly old woman?"


"Can you actually fly on a broom?"


"How do you create fire from your fingers?"


"How can you levitate?"


"Do you worship the devil?"


"Is there a spell to shapeshift into an animal?"


"Are witches even real?"


Although, i did not create a blog entry for each of these questions, i did respond in email to each sender referring them to previously submitted blog entries for clarity. I thought I should at least write about them! These questions are some of the oldest misunderstandings that there are about witches, still today.



Of course, we don't have green skin, guaranteed warts, or long pointed noses, etc. like in the image above taken from a scene in the movie, "Wizzard of Oz". Can you believe that some people actually think this?


Below I will explain the above questions and a few other Hollywood misconceptions that I have seen still existing in society:


Only wemen and not men


The term "witch" is actually gender neutral and is used by both men and wemen who identify as a practitioner of witchcraft. Many mistake the term "Warlock" as a male witch term. However it is not and actually originates from Christian beleifs, not Wiccan or witchcraft. Either a man or a women can be a witch.


Ugly old ladies only


The only explanation I can think of is that long ago it was beleived by many that the male sex was dominant over the female sex. It was frowned upon back in the older days and even down right feared for a women to become overpowered over men. And so, it was automatically aimed that a confident and powerful women must be possessed or guided by evil influence to which witchcraft was often to blam. Another misconception from this is that many Wiccans revere the woman as a more dominant sex over the male. But also, some celebrate the crone stage of life and wisdom, the women elders of magick circles (after mother stage of life of birth and teaching, from much after maiden stage of life of youth and learning). This could have been intimidating to rulers of the world back in the day.


Levitation


Witches are notorious for working with plants and knowing the properties of certain plants well enough to concoct to create potions, salves, and other ways of ingesting the plants in order to gain certain effects. Some of these effects felt like getting high, or numb simulating a levitation feeling when walking. This has nothing to do with lifting ones self into the air as some may suggest.


Flying on brooms


Similar to above, flying was sometimes a reference to the effects of hallucinogens from ingesting plants though lotions or salves. Sometimes these salves would be spread on a broom handle while a witch rides the broom between their legs allowing the salves to absorbe into the inner thighs at a safe rate to avoiding overdosing. Another misfact that comes from flying on brooms is that witches used to jump with a broom between their legs to show crops how high to grow. The appearance of this could have looked like someone trying to take off in flight unsuccessfully.


Fire summoning


There are television shows and movies that depict witches as being able to lite candles by simply pointing at them. This simply isn't true. Witches follow common physics like everyone else.


Gory ingredients in potions or


Over the years, plant names and references have changed and in ancient times has completely different names then they do today. For example, dog's tail is a type of grass. Or, eye of newt is a type of herb, or frog's toe is a type of flower pettle, etc. Seeing some of these listed in an ingredients list long ago could have created some gory imagery in ones' imaginations to spread further misconceptions of witchcraft.


Devil worship


Please see this previous blog entry about what it means to be a witch and does not involve the devil:



As mentioned, there is no devil in Wiccan religions. Some witches work with different Gods and Godesses through a form of deity worship, prayer or mentorship. No devil - sorry.


Turn into animals


Through synchronousities a witch communes with nature and the world surrounding. This can include animals. And so, when am animal seems to come to the assistance of a witch it can be seen as a familiar. Either brought forth by spirit by representation or by symbology and properties of the animal, nature provides much influence in magick. Witches may turn to animals for assistance. However, we do not turn into animals! This is another play on words that has been misunderstood over the years.


Melt with water


Thank you Wizard of Oz! Because of you there are people who actually beleive that water can be bad for witches. Now, to be honest whomever may beleive such a thing probably doesn't believe real witches exist in the first place. LOL


So then, Are witches even real?


Yes!!!! - In more modern times the internet has actually helped witches find eachother and sharing with eachother beliefs, facts, traditions and practices and to assist other magickal folk and in turn has been enlightening the world. The practices in the craft are growing and the communities with it. Although understandably, many covens still remain hidden and their practices kept protected.


...


It should be mentioned that what i mean by "Hollywood" misconception is that most of the misunderstandings about witches are directly related to the creations by movie producers and story book authors from the past who imaginatively focused on scarring their viewers and readers with fictions of witches. Unfortunately, some of those ideas stuck, spread and even survive.


Other source of misfacts and mistruths came from the horrible witch trials of previous centuries. In the past, ordinary people were tortured under the suspicion of being a witch and were told the torture would stop if agreed to false ideas of witches such as flying, devil worship, etc. and then they were usually killed. Stories and rumours spread faster than most disease. It also did not help when the Catholic Church basically called occult and pagan practices evil through out history.


You may find interesting a previous blog entry about the similarities between Pagans and Catholics:



Thank you for all of the questions submitted to me at www.askagreywitch.com there are no foolish questions, only opportunities to learn. Your openness and understanding is greatly appriciated.


Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at greywitchbryan@gmail.com or from the contact section of the webpage.





UPDATED:


Since this blog post above, more similar questions have been submitted and mentioned in this more recent blog entry: https://www.askagreywitch.com/post/misunderstandings-that-continue-to-exist Movie misunderstandings that continue to exist




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