Podcast 31 – Watching the Witches


Today we’re talking about the presentation of witches and other magical folks in popular media (this is NOT a re-do of our Media Mania episode, I promise!)


Download:  New World Witchery – Episode 31


This show mostly comes out of our own fevered brains, though we do mention a number of movies and TV shows, such as:

Disney Movies
Beauty & the Beast
The Little Mermaid
Snow White
The Lion King

Other Films
The Wicker Man (old one, please)
Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Season of the Witch (boy, waaaay too much Nicholas Cage going on here)
Secret of Kells
Burn, Witch, Burn!
Witchfinder General
The Craft
Practical Magic
Bell, Book, & Candle

Sabrina the Teenaged Witch
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
True Blood
The Simpsons (The “Wicca” episode)

Please also consider donating to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which is currently helping victims of severe weather across the country.

Don’t forget about the Second Annual Pagan Podkin Supermoot in Salem, MA, on the weekend of Sept. 17th, 2011.  Find out more details about the event and opportunities to come meet us in person at the PPSM2 Website. [Laine respectfully asks that she not be in any photographs, due to privacy concerns—Cory will be happy to wear a wig and pretend to be Laine, however].

Promos & Music
Title music:  “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues.  From Magnatune.
Promo 1 – Inciting a Riot
Promo 2 – Iron Powaqa

11 thoughts on “Podcast 31 – Watching the Witches”

  1. Enjoyed this episode as it is always fun to look at how the media and the general culture perceives us. Regarding the catastrophe that is the remake of “The Wicker Man,” it felt as though they were trying to combine “The Wicker Man” with an 80s TV miniseries, “The Dark Secret of Harvest Home.” In case you haven’t seen it, it has a very matriarch-gone-dark-side tone to it. Features Bette Davis and Roseanne Arquette.

    As for the magic in Supernatural, it might border on ceremonial magic when they invoke/trap demons and spirits of the dead. But I agree with Laine in that use hoodoo a lot – mojo bags, protection amulets, and the like. I am far too hooked on that show.

    When I listen to both of you discuss movies, I’ve wondered if you’ve ever seen the 80s movie “Crossroads.” I don’t recall anything in the way of witchcraft or hoodoo, but it delves into blues culture and making deals at the crossroads. Just in case you’re interested.

    Thanks for the podcast even with all your other commitments!

  2. Just wanted to say to everyone who usually listens on headphones- I am so sorry for the poor audio quality. Cory and I aren’t used to recording via Skype, so I didn’t realize I had the microphone too close to my face until it was too late! So, you can hear me breathing pretty much the whole time. If you listen through speakers, it isn’t noticeable, but I really do apologize to those of you who listen through headphones. Rest assured it won’t happen again!!


  3. its raining a hard southerly today in Wellington, but you guys keep me warm with interesting topics and lovely accents, and not yelly yay


  4. Cory and Laine,

    I just wanted to say, since you mentioned Season of the Witch (the Nick Cage one, sadly NOT the awesome 70s Romero one, although if you haven’t seen it you should. You’ll giggle.)…

    You should check out the Sean Bean flick ‘Black Death.’ It’s a similar idea to Nick Cage’s disaster, but done much more stylishly and without completely botching all of history.

    Love the show!

  5. But Laine, you’re off TrueBlood right before the whole coven of witches who end up practicing necromancy roll into Bon Temps!

    To further analyze TrueBlood (yes, I’m sort of addicted to this show…), Cory brought up the instance in Season 3 where Lafayette and Jesus take that little journey when under the influence of vampire blood or “v”. Rather than simply referring to it as a drug trip, I think it raises the issue of the use of entheogens in magical practice, which will probably be explored more in the coming season.

    On that same topic, Jesus fully admits to being a witch in the series, which I think touches on this issue of or lack of strong male characters who practice magic in a positive way. I also think it’s the first time I’ve seen a portrayal of a male witch in the media.

    It’s also mentioned in the show that perhaps Lafayette has some innate magical power or talent; it’s also assumed that Jesus does – in that little trip they took it explores the magical heritage and background of the two.

    There’s also Holly’s character in TrueBlood, she’s the new waitress working at the bar and a self-identified Wiccan – who also is involved in this new coven we’re learning about in the new season. In this past season there was some herbalism and even a small ritual which all seemed relatively accurate.

    I think even though the show is sort of in the ‘fantasy’ category, it deals with witchcraft in a fairly accurate and legitimate way (at least so far… who knows what’s going to happen in the new season). I look forward to seeing more now that the witches are beginning to be established as a part of the overarching storyline instead of just a sideplot.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment, I just felt like there was a lot more to be discussed in regards to that particular show than you guys touched on. I agree that TrueBlood is an overly sensationalized show – and I have no idea how magic is addressed in the Charlene Harris books, but there it is: some of my analysis of the witchcraft/magic in TrueBlood.

    Really an excellent show overall, as always!

    – Liz

  6. As usual, I enjoyed the show. I love the movie talk and I thought I could add a little bit to the discussion. Another Disney movie that featured magic both positively AND negatively was The Sword in the Stone (1963). Merlin was a very positive character and regularly used magic throughout the movie to teach Arthur. On the other hand Mad Madame Mim was a crazy old witch who was clearly not a positive character. Anyway, it was one of my favorite childhood movies. The other Disney movie I was surprised that you passed over was The Princess and the Frog. It prominently features bayou style voodoo. With your inclination towards “roots, stones, and bones” you might want to check it out. It certainly shows the conjurer, Dr. Facilier, in a sinister light, but the Bayou Witch Mama Odie is very positive and loveable. Check out the short documentary on youtube…

    1. Hi Capricornus,

      Yes, we did skip that one, and we really should have mentioned it. I actually really enjoyed that movie quite a bit, and it definitely heralded several changes in direction for Disney. I think it would be important to note that (as you said), there is still an evil magician who must be defeated, even if a good magician is part of that process–in that way it’s not so different than Sleeping Beauty with its good fairies and wicked fairy or even Aladdin with the Genie versus Jafar the Vizier. But it’s really good to see that there are some clear magical heroes out there in popular culture and mythology!

      Thank you for sharing the video, too! Great find!

      All the best,

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