The Good Witch
The “Good” Witch Thanks to the magic of movies, it’s nearly impossible to separate the Good Witch archetype from Glinda in The Wizard of Oz. This type of witch waves a rose-colored wand and all the problems of the world float neatly away. She smiles a disarmingly innocent smile and trusts wholeheartedly that all of the world’s ills will eventually fix themselves through the law of return.
Alternatively, you have Samantha from the television series Bewitched, refusing to use her powers except in emergencies, and only if they’re used for “good.” What made the “good witch” archetype work in the popular mind forty years ago was the fact that she didn’t interfere and hesitated to wield her power, effectively immobilizing any sense of threat. She wasn’t trying to be special; she wanted to be normal.
For the modern Neo-Pagan, Wiccan, or Witch, this creates an odd challenge. What is truly “bad” or “good” about the “good witch?” Some beginners’ books on Wicca give the roundabout impression that a spiritually proficient life is nearly idyllic. It is almost as if the writer is saying, “If your life isn’t like this everyday, you’re doing something wrong.” Meanwhile, it’s hard not to think, “Hey, you! Your life isn’t like this either!” Most people’s lives aren’t the material from which Hallmark cards are made.
Why do we create mundane or magickal yardsticks up to which no one can possibly measure? That is the true danger in the “good” witch; she’s got a very tough, if not impossible, act to follow. None of us are completely enlightened, or we wouldn’t still be here, going through another round of life lessons.
Meanwhile, the “good” witch archetype stands there, looking pristine, never shaken, always grinning as if there’s not a care in the world. How many of us can say we ever look like that? The Good witch archetype externally gives the impression that perfection just comes naturally (except perhaps for the glitter). But real witches know better. We know that true magick takes more than a bucket of fairy dust to manifest.
Another concern I have with the “good” witch is the all-too-simple instructions she gives. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road . . . don’t stray from the road . . . .
Additionally, in her unshakable optimism, the “good” witch can often be taken quite unaware by life’s significant ups and downs (the turning wheel). It’s great to expect the best, to put energy toward good things. That’s part of feeding the Law of Return. However, there must always be a rational balance point—a place to which you return to regroup when the rugs gets pulled out from under your broom. No witch worth her wand would be caught dead tripped up on a floor with tusseled hair and had a wrinkled robe, but that’s exactly what can happen if the good witch gets too out of touch with reality. Sometimes things go wrong, but when that happens, just pick up your broom, clean up, laugh, regroup, and get on with it. May that is exactly why Glinda’s mantra for Dorothy was, “there’s no place like home.” Perhaps Kansas was Dorothy’s regrouping point once she got some perspective.
A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life