Tuesday, March 24, 2020

when witches save the world

Last night, having reached the point in my backwards by season re-watching of AHS where I am about mid Cult, I was feeling a little too stressed  (weirdly Apocalypse was inspiring rather than distressful). I moved onto some lighter fare, in this case, some nice roomy 90's nostalgia with The Craft. With its witchyness, so very 90's fashion, and excellent soundtrack, it reigned high in my pantheon of faves for the decade. I've had the conversation often about the rise of witch-specific movies in the 1990's and their feminine power focus--Practical Magic, another favorite, being another great example. Things like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Charmed on TV.  How there are echos of that popularity in the past few years--the new Sabrina, new remakes of Charmed and The Craft itself.

Right after 9/11 happened, I was having terrible disaster and violence laden dreams. Fire falling from the sky, aliens, bombings, nuclear warfare. The plane crash dreams, that began a few years before and made me wary of flying, intensified, and made it impossible to, even still, unlikely get me on one even now almost 20 years later (why I am a fan of Amtrak.)  The worse one, and one that had me hopping off trains mid-panic attack for months whenever they got crowded, was being on the el and explosions moving through the cars, where a little girl stood in front of me, pointed, and said "You'll be dead within a year." Or maybe it was the year.  Either way, I was nervous on trains for month, and eventually made the leap to taking the bus more often. 

One bright spot in those dreams, if you can even call it that, was one that combined not only my anxieties, but my Buffy watching sensibilities, where I, amid a band of witches that included Willow and Tara, had to save the world from the apocalypse.   We were all meeting at the top of a tall building amidst a falling city to cast some sort of spell that could save the world. It occurs to me how much witch-related entertainment and witchy-ness in general, gives women. particularly, a large amount of power and agency. Look at The Witch, which I appreciate more with every viewing.  Around the time I watched it, I was also obsessing over the show Salem, which does a longer draw on many of the same themes.  Something I've also discussed at length during horror panels and the like, the power of women and girls.

In The Craft, a troupe of misfits in various ways, who find both belonging and power through magic.Since it's so 90's, I couldn't help think of the bullying narrative that parallels something like Columbine a couple years after. How girls seek to remedy the imbalances vs. men (with of course, violence and guns).  Not that The Craft doesn't turn out to be a violent of course in the end because of the abuses of those magical powers (much like BtVS's season 6 with Willow going sideways.)

It had me thinking about spells and castings and the way to feel like we have control over something during this uncertain time.  The comfort of feeling like you are somehow influencing the universe rather than at the complete mercy of it. Where of course, we come full circle back to AHS, both Coven and Apocalypse.

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