With: Sorchia DuBois
Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, the first in a three-book Gothic Romantic Suspense series, hits the virtual shelves October 28. It’s a book about witches—good ones, bad ones, and a few who haven’t made up their minds yet. In the series, you’ll meet Arkansas witches, Voodoo witches, New Orleans witches, Chinese witches, Norwegian witches, Russian witches, and—most importantly—Scottish witches.
While the Zoraida Grey series is fun and light, I need to say a couple of serious things about witches just so you know where I’m coming from.
Witches, male and female, have been around for a long time—longer, in fact, than organized religion or sliced bread. The histories of every culture sing with stories of strange men and women who hold the power of life and death in a bottle, who conjure storms and destruction from the ether, who foretell the future, and who fly on moonbeams through still winter nights.
But witches are more than fairytale creatures—certainly more than the green-skinned, toddler-roasting, devil-worshipping versions in popular culture. Witches look like everybody else and very few roast toddlers anymore—so much paperwork these days. And most witches don’t even believe in a devil.
Witches in song and story have often been code for the divine feminine—the goddess and the high priestess. They are metaphors for the strength to struggle against cultural norms, courage and tenacity in sticky situations, and the power to manifest and mold—the infinite creativity of all humans.
Many men who practice witchcraft prefer to be called witches and not warlocks or wizards for a great many reasons, not least of which is because magic is not gender-biased. Both Male and Female witches incorporate the earthy power of wild things—of dark, tangled forests and rugged, snow-capped mountains; of chaotic Nature and the Wild Hunt.
Modern witches follow as many spiritual paths as there are people. Some go to traditional churches, blending pagan and organized religion seamlessly. Others prefer to return to ancient traditions of a number of cultures such as Egyptian, Druidic, or Native American. You may not be aware that the sweet old lady next door is a witch because witches don’t feel a need to convince anyone to believe as they do. Spirituality is personal experience, different for each individual.
Ok—enough philosophy. Portrayals of witches vary from the ridiculous to the sublime. Here are three of my favorites.
Endora from the TV series Bewitched. Endora, more than any other, peeks from the pages of Zoraida Grey. Sarcastic and practical, Endora loves being a witch—wouldn’t be anything else. And she’s very good at it. A lady you do not want to make angry. Her qualities—as portrayed by the fantastic Agnes Moorhead—make her the epitome of a modern witch for me.
Witch Hazel from Bugs Bunny cartoons. While she is the stereotypical toddler-roasting witch I said I didn’t like, something about Witch Hazel warms my heart. I guess it’s her self-awareness—and her total enjoyment of who she is. She knows she has some bad habits—chopping off the heads of smart-talking rabbits and luring children to her oven—but she has a sustaining belief in her own self-worth and a wonderful zest for life despite those little quirks.
The Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz. Yes, a green-skinned, cranky gal but look at what she goes through. Dorothy drops a house on her sister and then joins in a rousing chorus of “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead” with a smug bunch of Munchkins. This is not the stuff that engenders warm friendship. I was always on her side and since I read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, I love her even more.
Now tell me about your favorite witch—or your favorite story of magic. Are you a true believer or a dedicated skeptic?
Pick up a paperback or e-copy of Zoraida Grey and the Family stones. Release Day is October 28, but you can also preorder.
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