As a writer I find myself reading as much as I can and while I know that the average reader doesn't know the reality of Wicca it annoys me to see so many evil witches out there.
Okay before I go on about how we are typecast as green nosed evil wielders of wands, riding brooms and casting spells that hurt people let me give you my own take on Wicca and witchcraft.
Right around the time i turned 18 I was introduced to Wicca by a good friend. The religious aspect of Wicca is a belief in the magic of life, the duality of the divine and the one law. That law is as so: An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.
A lot of people look at that and say either, see they will do anything with no restriction (wrong) or see they stole that from Us..the so called golden rule of the Christian mythos.
What the law means is that we will not judge you but you must not harm anyone, including yourself. There is one of the big differences from what people think of us. We don't want to harm anyone. We want to help.
Now that I have that off my chest lets go to fictional witches. In the past they were always the villain in one way or another. It was a cop out in my opinion. While I have written female magic using villains I don't call them witches. Like the male versions, mages, sorcerers and necromancers, the female versions can be as good or evil as we want them to be.
After watching an episode of Being Human (the US version) I found myself once more having that low level grumble. They have introduced a Bruha, a sorceress who brings the ghost back to life with a lot of restrictions. The first was they needed to get the heart of a man that they had killed. This was easier than you would expect as our favorite werewolf had killed off his maker at the end of the last season. They dug him up and got what they needed and brought her back.
Now the second part was that the recovered ghost can not be in contact with people from her past. They were told just that with no explanation. We find out that if she interacts with people from her past (not the vampire or werewolf of the show) they will die. At the end of the episode we find out why the witch didn't tell them. Because the ghost of who ever dies this way, when they go through their door to the after life ends up in her soup kitchen. And then she destroys them and eats them, gaining their life and aging in reverse. Yet again the so called witch is an evil being who uses others pain to transform herself into a young, sexy being.
I have tried in my own stories to portray a more positive version of witches. Lady Katherine in the Guardians of the Gate is a wise woman who helps my hero with protective devices and a bit of non traditional healing techniques.
Moira is another witch that I have in a tale that will be released in the next few months. .In this story I work with how even in today's world people still chant "Do not suffer a witch to live." As this little bit goes:
Moira was a quiet and shy woman. Living on the top of a lonely mountain, she rarely had visitors, even more rarely wanted them. Secrets gathered about her, both from without and within. She hid when the women came looking for another for the church social. She hid her hair and eyes when she had to go to town. The men and reacted too strongly. She lived a quiet, lonely life but it was hers. When the big stranger showed up in her shed during the blizzard, she took him in, tended his injuries and fed him. And like any injured creature at first he was skittish, lashing out . Luckily for her he was too injured to actually land a blow to her petite frame.
Witches are people like any other. There are good and bad but most of them should be portrayed as what they are. People who believe in the sacredness of life, all life. We may not be vegetarians (some are) but we do honor the creatures that give us life.