Awhile back on the Juggler, Juggler Reader Bellatrix was expressing the same frustration that so many current Witches and Pagans feel, at the dearth of positive images of Witches and Pagans in Pop-Culture. (The frustration is similar to that experienced by Gays and Lesbians throughout the better part of the 20th century; the difference is that the maligned image of Witches and Pagans literally dates back to the Middle Ages, and is, I guess, kind of enshrined in certain Dominant Culture doctrines.) Anyway, Bellatrix’s comments set me to thinking, and I decided to feature the Good Witch Series, playing up specific Good Witches whose positive portrayals serve as inspirational models in the Zeitgeist.
The fascinating thing, since the 20th century, is the development of cinematic story-telling: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter series all represent bold experiments in the developing field of movie Fable-Making. Arguably still the best example of movie-Faerey-Telling is MGM’s 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. Somewhere behind the moon, beyond the stars- somewhere over the rainbow, there is a wonderful Land called Oz: which is seemingly governed by a Gracious (and slightly Campy) Goddess-Like Lady, a Good Witch named Glinda who apparently glides serenely over the land in a pink bubble, landing and alighting whenever and wherever there is trouble or need.
As in Cinderella, she seems to be revealing herself as a Faerie-Godmother to her chosen Child Dorothy: whom she sends upon a Joseph Campbell-like Journey of Discovery down a Yellow Brick Road. The journey is dangerous, through a dark woods that gets darker before it gets brighter, and a Wicked Witch is harassing her steps. Finally she must face the Evil Hag in the Witch’s Castle of Doom- she must face her own mortality (“See this? That’s how long you have to live! And it isn’t very long!”) But she learns that she has the Power within herself, and through her decisive throwing of water upon the Wicked Crone, she learns that she can free herself from fear, and act in a way that is a benefit to others. These lessons learned, the Good Witch Glinda (who has apparently been guarding Dorothy’s journey all along) reappears in her signature pink bubble, to wave her Magickal Staff graciously, ending the anxiety and trauma that has gone before. Her Goddess-like status is signaled by the respectful obeisances of the people of Oz, and her Goodness is shown by the affectionate love the Munchkins show her.
Actress Billie Burke was an inspired choice for Glinda. Possessing a light, silvery speaking voice and an ethereal, slightly distracted manner, she seemed formed out of the air itself; the complete serenity of her presence suggests the Blissful Lady of Grace and Total Love, Kwan Yin. Her archetypal (and campy) appeal is such that- at every West Village Halloween Parade of which I know- some Drag Queen is drifting around costumed as her, serenely spreading happiness and joy. Surely one of the Goodest of Good Witches is Glinda the Good.