Sorcery and in turn, sorcerers and sorceresses have become more and more intertwined with popular culture. People have always found the idea of sorceresses in the woods bent over their cauldrons, as they were in Macbeth holds something very fascinating. In the past, there had been many generalizations regarding sorceresses and what they did, what they looked like, and even what they wore! But recently, those generalizations have been realized to be simply the work of the imagination and a truer depiction of sorceresses is becoming more prominent in popular culture.
Due to the number of sorceresses in children’s fairytales, there have been many generalizations made about a sorceress. It’s because of these generalizations that people have often thought of sorceresses as old women who wear a long dark cloak over black or purple dressing, and a long hat that reaches into a tip. These generalizations also provide the sorceress with a wart on her nose and long, unkempt fingernails.
The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz also did much to perpetrate this image of a sorceress. They were also known to have green skin, often appear in groups of three, and have high, shrill voices. They were also at this time often depicted as having a black cat with them wherever they went.
In the more recent times of Harry Potter, people have begun thinking of sorceresses as women, still usually older than the intended audience, who rides a broomstick although they don’t necessarily always wear a pointed hat. This series also did not portray most of the sorceresses as women to be afraid of. The Harry Potter books also brought much humor into the world of sorcery, which was not once thought to be any part of it.
Movies such as The Craft really changed many people’s minds about what a typical sorceress looks like. This movie, which shows three teenage girls practicing and becoming heavily involved in sorcery, did a lot to change the public’s perception of a sorceress. These types of movies showed that they were like everybody else in many ways and they simply chose to perform these types of practices. Many of these movies show the black magic pertaining to Wicca beliefs and therefore, having a religious foundation. Although sorceresses can be Wicca, they don’t need to be.
Today people are beginning to rethink the way they view sorceresses. They are seen just as everybody else and the differences between good and evil are becoming harder to define.