I've always felt an innate kinship to witches. I like to think it's because I was born on Halloween. I'm sure the deeper psychological reason is because witches are powerful women. I always hoped I would wake up one day with magic powers and I would finally be as unique and special and capable as I felt inside. Okay, I probably had the unique part, I was a pretty weird kid, but I was also a very shy, quiet kid. I was super smart but being so socially incapable made me feel like there was so much I couldn't do. If only I could be a witch and be able to do amazing things and control my life to go the way I wanted. Even if nobody ever knew, I would know that I had something special, that I could do something they couldn't.
Well, I didn't get a Hogwarts letter, have a family member tell me I'm a witch, or discover a book of shadows in my attic. I did watch every witch I could find in movies and TV, though. There are many witches that have shaped me, but these are my favorites.
Nancy Downs, The Craft
1. The Hair
2. She's a Leader
Obviously, Nancy Downs cannot be said to be a role model, exactly, as she is actually pretty evil, but if we take everything she does down a few notches, we can see her amazing qualities. Nancy is the clear leader of their circle with most of the ideas and knowledge. The other girls look to her for guidance and support. She befriended two other outcasts of the school and created a safe place for them to be themselves and feel powerful in a world that is constantly telling them that they are anything but. And then Nancy welcomes the new girl Sarah into her group and teaches her everything she knows.
3. She Protects her Girls
This whole movie is about girls standing up for themselves. They fight back against bullies, boys, and abusive step-fathers. We all learn a lesson when they take everything too far, but before that we see how important female friendship is, especially for teenage girls. Nancy, as the leader, takes it upon herself to help her friends by working magic for them, warning Sarah about gross Skeet Ulrich, and she protects her mother from domestic abuse. Before all her new powers turn her completely mad, her first priority is protecting the girls/women in her life.
Gillian Owens, Practical Magic
1. The Hair
2. She's a Vagabond
Gilly leaves home at 17 and rarely comes back. She wants adventure. And she has it. She's always moving around, hanging out with new people, and having fun. I was always so envious of characters like this when I was young. I wanted to be independent and bold and social and live on the road. Turns out, that's just not my jam, but watching movies about characters like Gilly definitely is.
3. The Sister Bond
Before Gilly leaves, she makes a blood oath with her sister Sally. They are connected. When Sally's husband dies, Gilly knows she has to come home. When Gilly is in trouble, Sally knows and comes to get her. I don't have a sister, but their connection has always made me desire that sort of connection with a best friend. You're there for each other no matter what, you share your secrets and every detail of your life, and when the two of you accidentally kill your abusive boyfriend, you'll raise him from the dead. And when you have to kill that bastard again, you'll bury him the yard together. And when he starts haunting you and possesses one of you, the other will get a coven together to banish him for good. Just normal sister stuff.
Luna Lovegood, The Harry Potter Series
1. The Hair
2. She's an Outcast
Oh, Luna, my soul sister, I feel for you. People don't understand you, they make fun of you, they don't believe what you believe. You are absolutely brilliant but everyone just thinks you're a nutter. (Team Ravenclaw!)
3. She's a Goddamn Hero
Luna is a very important part of the team that ultimately defeats Voldemort and saves the wizarding world. Luna has brilliant ideas and is so brave and level-headed when shit is hitting the fan. She fights in the battles, she tells Harry about Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem, she helps them escape on the thestrals, she is kidnapped by death eaters and doesn't give up hope. She's also just a good friend to Harry, talking to him about why he can see the thestrals and helping him after Malfoy petrifies him on the train. We salute you, Luna Lovegood, hero of Hogwarts.
Sarah Sanderson, Hocus Pocus
1. The Hair
2. Witches Just Wanna Have Fun
While Winifred is busy trying to kill everyone or cast a spell on everyone, Sarah just wants to flirt with bus drivers, play with her food (children), chew on her lucky rat tail and dance with The Devil. And in a funny-throughout movie, it's her one-liners and physical comedy moments that are the funniest.
3. She Can Sing
Okay, so I'm not really on board with the Sanderson sisters' agenda, but if I were, I would say Sarah is really the key to their plot. Without Sarah, how would they get a hold of children? Sarah's beautiful voice bewitches all the children of the town making them come to them. "Come little children, I'll take you away..."
Paige Matthews, Charmed
1. The Hair
2. Her Personal Growth
Paige is thrown suddenly into the crazy world of the Charmed ones. She rejects the idea of being a freak at first, but she comes to accept her new powers, her position as a Charmed One, and her new sisters. Seeing Paige grow both as a woman and a witch is one of the strengths of the show. Paige goes from rejecting her Charmed duties to becoming Super Witch and finally finding her balance. She finds true happiness in life when she can combine the human, witch, and whitelighter parts of her into a purposeful life of helping people using all of her gifts.
3. She Has the Coolest Power(s)
Paige is half witch, half whitelighter. The prophecy says that the third sister has the power to move objects with her mind. So, after Prue, with her telekinesis, died, Paige filled her spot in the Power of Three. However, Paige's powers work differently because she's half whitelighter. Whitelighters are like guardian angels for witches, so they need to be able to quickly be at their charge's side when their life is in danger. They call it orbing, which is the magic version of teleporting. Paige can orb herself, people or things she's touching, and can also move objects that she's not touching by calling out their name as she uses her orbing power to move them. If I had to choose one witchy, or superhero, power to have, it would definitely be orbing/teleporting. I would be able to instantly be anywhere in the world! I could spend the day lounging on a beach in Fiji or hanging out in Tuscany, hiking a glacier in Greenland, looking at elephants in their natural habitat, meditating at a temple in Japan, and then pop back home to spend the night in my own bed. Imagine the possibilities!