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The other day, I sat in my older sister’s room watching The Little Mermaid with her; she had crystals on her nightstand, The Green Witch books on her bookshelf, and a deck of tarot cards laying around. I realized the heavy, yet underrated, influence of Ursula, the vile sea witch, who haunted our nightmares as kids but, hindsight wasn’t that off about certain topics. And it made me reevaluate and deepdive into how bad are witches actually supposed to be?
Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t be such a Jezebel”? No? Well I have. My grandma once told me that while asking me to reconsider my outfit, what you might call a very tiny skirt. Tracing back the origin of this phrase to the early times, providing a meaning of an impudent, shameless, or morally unrestrained woman took very minimal effort. And I didnt have enough critical thinking skills back then to fully understand the layers of her statement, but I would like to think I do now. Jezebel led an entire empire to doom and was condemned by the Creator for indoctrinating her husband and his council to follow a pagan god, therefore condemning their subjects too. Although perceived as horrid, condescendant female figures, these women were admirable and paved the way of design for the archetype of using beauty or vanity as a silent weapon to destroy the male gaze.
Spiraling into my youngest memory, I stumbled upon the allure of power that Sabrina the teenage witch, the Charmed Ones, and The Evil Queen from Snow White had to offer. And if I told you that Alex Russo didn’t help me develop my early onset sarcastic personality and Hermione Granger didn’t help me be confident with curly hair and my bookish inclinations… Well, I wouldn’t be a truther. Leaning onto Wednesday Addams, I can go against the grain. It does not matter if I make noise or take up space, life is sharp and I can match that energy. I can sit with myself and not have to be pretty in pink or smile to make myself more approachable and nice to the male gaze. On a larger scale, I do feel that my affinity for these characters can be traced back to my ancestry. It’s like, here’s a chip on the wall I need to pick at; when I water a plant and give it extra love; when I tilt a glass of water the night before so it doesn’t rain; when I connect with myself; when I have that little feeling that I just can’t shake off and then something happens, and I’m just disappointed I didn’t listen to myself; and even when I didn’t listen to my mami when she told me that there’s a brujita in me and I just have to listen. I feel that I, like most women, get ignored and silenced. Diluting the feeling to just simple madness.
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We are powerful; we were not crazy, we were just living.
Look beyond Carrie, Marnie, Bonnie, Samantha, Elphaba, Glinda, Winnifred, Mary, Sarah, Diana Bishop, Morgan Le Fay, and many more that have marked us. All of them have, in my fair opinion, the candescence of female rage. Because hell truly has no fury like a woman scorned. Men have easily put themselves into a position in which they desperately want to be victims, and so they put the blame onto whatever they can grasp and categorize as “witchy activity.” They created the narrative of a seductive sorceress with powers of darkness and evil that take away liberty or control. These narratives have found a way to interlace and form a bond beyond our veil.
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For better or worse, the concept of the femme witch has had more influence on us than we believe. With the power of mystery and intrigue by their side, these figures influenced the world’s female archetype. You could see the young girls growing up with these influences mimic their hairstyles, makeup or clothing preferences, and even disguises for Halloween in every corner. From a red lip, to the twitch of the nose, or two pigtails with dark hair, gloomy eyes, and dancing weirdly in the middle of the ballroom floor, the modern femme witch archetype has molded itself into a more popular, light genre than what it used to be thanks to the evolution of the meaning going from heresy to the cool girl in town. So, between the solstice and Old Souls, I dusted off my pointy hat and I’m ready to get on my broom, how about you?