A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.
A Movie like Real Witchcraft?
For some people, their only frame of reference for Wicca or Witchcraft comes from entertainment (don't know the difference between Wicca and Witchcraft? Read about it here). I've been asked more than a few times if Wicca is anything like Charmed, or if Witches can do things like in The Craft. Sadly, some people have even accused my life of being something like Daughter's of Satan.
I don't actually mind 'Witch fiction'... I don't usually get offended by Wicca being misrepresented or by Witchcraft being depicted as evil. It's meant to be entertainment, and so I give it a lot of leeway as long as it's not claiming to be an accurate depiction. I don't understand why people think that real life Witchcraft or Wicca are anything like shows and movies made for entertainment. After all, it's pretty rare for fiction to depict something accurately.
When people do need a frame of reference, though, my new favorite film (or series of films) to point them toward is the Hallmark channel's The Good Witch series.
I don't outline the plots, but some details of the show are revealed in this article. If you're waiting to watch the series and would rather be surprised, you should stop reading here.
See bottom of article for series updates!
The Good Witch
The Good Witch
About the Good Witch Series
The series debuted in the first made for TV movie, The Good Witch, in (2008). Catherine Bell stars as Cassandra "Cassie" Nightingale, a charming but enigmatic woman who is a new resident in the small town of Middleton. Not all of the residents approve of her or her shop of oddities, 'Bell, Book and Candle'. Cassie manages to earn acceptance and some respect from her new neighbors, and finds a home where she can finally settle down.
The series continues with The Good Witch's Garden (2009), in which Cassie almost loses her historic family home to a con man. In The Good Witch's Gift (2010), Cassie gets the gift she's always wanted for Christmas: a family. By the fourth installment-- The Good Witch's Family (2011)-- Cassie discovers a long lost cousin who also has that magic spark, but is not quite so ethical about it. In 2012, the fifth movie-- The Good Witch's Charm-- was released. Learning to juggle career, marriage and motherhood does not slow down Cassie, or her mysterious ability to fix everyone's problems. The most recent installment, The Good Witch's Destiny, was released October 26th, 2013, and in it we find that while Cassie's family and friends struggle with changes, she has not lost her magic touch.
Magic in The Good Witch Series
The Good Witch series depicts magic more as I see it in my life than as any other fiction has ever depicted it. There's no obvious hocus-pocus, though there are a few fun implications that make you wonder. For example, an object spotted in one place mysteriously turns up when needed at another place. Did Cassie just happen to bring it with her? Does she have two of them? Did she beam it from one closet to the other with some secret powers? We'll probably never know-- Cassie just gives a knowing wink and plays innocent when asked.
That's not really the kind of magic that you find in the Good Witch movies. Magic in Middleton seems to be more based on a positive attitude, wisdom, natural remedies and using your head. For example, when a girl who is plagued by monster nightmares, Cassie offers a dream catcher to solve the problem. She then tells the girl the real problem would be dreaming of bunnies-- and instructs the girl to prevent this fate from repeatedly chanting "I will not dream of bunnies." With the bunny suggestion implanted, the girl begins dreaming of bunnies instead of monsters. In another instance, Cassie gives an aphrodisiac oil to a woman who's marriage has been struggling due to their frustration with infertility. Cassie assures her the concoction will inspire intimacy, and it does-- the couple becomes so relaxed and begins enjoying the intimacy so much, that they find themselves pregnant as a result.
The show does not give the idea that the dream catcher or oil blend could poof away people's problems. The people had the power to resolve their own problems all along, they just needed something to put their faith in -- something on which to focus their goals -- in order to bring about that internal change.
What Say You?
A Model Wiccan Witch?
I don't mean to over-romanticize The Good Witch; it is a movie, after all. It's very saccharine, with more than a hefty dash of 'too good to be true' in a modernized Brady-Bunchy style. In real life, no one is perfect, and situations don't always work out quite so perfectly.
Though Cassie's life is by no means realistic or a model for every Wiccan or Witch's life, her characteristics are what I see as a model. She's confident, without being cocky. She's spiritual without being dogmatic, she a woman of faith (in herself, in the universe, in other people) yet she's practical. She's trusting and shows people compassion, without being gullible or allowing people to take advantage of her. She's found that healthy balance that we all seek.
Unlike Witches (or even Wiccans) in other shows and movies, Cassie doesn't get what she wants by drawing down some extraordinary, superhuman powers from the universe-- she utilizes her own personal power to the best of her ability by being patient, kind, observant, understanding, perceptive and trusting her intuition. She's creative in coming up with simple solutions, she makes good choices, and she faces the future with optimism and without regret. Just think of how much more we could all do in our lives if we learn to believe in ourselves, and in those we care about.
Cassie never directly answers the question as to whether she's a Witch or not, and the word "Wicca" never makes it into the series. The show doesn't go into religion or beliefs (although she has a very subtle and casual air of spiritual enlightenment about her). Cassie is an example of those high ideals for which Wiccan and/or Witches aspire, as well as an example of what we really try to accomplish through our magical arts. For fiction, it's a nice change of pace.
Got an opinion of The Good Witch series? Tell me about it!
If you're curious about what's going on with the Good Witch series, check back here and I'll post new info as it arises.
The Good Witch's Wonder is the seventh and most recent made-for-tv movie set to premier on October 25th, 2014
This past weekend, Hallmark showed a Good Witch marathon and announced the popular family movie series will be turned into a new weekly television series in 2015. The Good Witch TV series will continue starring Catherine Bell as Cassie Nightingale, and so far the network has signed up for 10 episodes.
UPDATE - 2015:
The Good Witch TV show was renewed for a second season.
UPDATE - August/2016
The Good Witch TV series has been renewed for a third season
In October 2016, a 2-hour Halloween special will air.
Tog on May 31, 2020:
I like the movies and the series and think it is the most truthful depiction of real wicca ever shown on tv. Catherine Bell's portrayal of "Cassie" is believable enough to make me wonder weather or not she truly has pagan beliefs in real life.
zamani on January 05, 2020:
I love good witch! it was an inspiration for me just to have a live like Cassie and improving psychic ability, in fact i awaken my claircognizant while watching the show! its just that instance knowing made me fall in love with the show!
Corey on October 21, 2019:
I have always felt drawn the the good witch, as a show to balance me, humble and drive me to be more open.
I have never used it as my soul guide, I use it as a tool to inspire me.
The fact she uses intention over animated magical visual makes it more relatable and your description and review I found moving and agreed with all points. Thank you for taking your time to give your feed back.
Your words are appreciated
Lucky on December 13, 2014:
I love these arstilec. How many words can a wordsmith smith?
Andreas on December 08, 2014:
Great post, Great content, AS ALWAYS!I love how you have ALL your ietrnns writing regularly. How would you make sure that out of all your ietrnns your getting your strongest content writer in front of the computer the most? In other words, how do you make sure you're matching up strengths with tasks?I was thinking a brief test on my intern application: Pick your favorite hobby. Now pretend I knew nothing about that hobby. Please write 2 paragraphs educating and teaching my about one facet of that hobby. Example:Baseball. How to field a ground ball.Halo. They 2 keys to beating any of your friends.Your Significant Other. What NOT to buy a woman/man on Valentine's Day. thoughts?
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 04, 2013:
Thanks so much DzyMsLizzy!
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on November 03, 2013:
I have not seen or heard of either the series or the movies. I'll have to look them up. Sounds like the kind of entertainment I'd enjoy.
Voted up, useful and interesting.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 03, 2013:
Thanks, OldWitchcraft! Much appreciated. They will be coming out with the 7th one in 2014.
OldWitchcraft from The Atmosphere on November 03, 2013:
I saw one of these, but I didn't know it was a whole series. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of them.
Great informative article!
Accolades and voted up!
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 30, 2013:
Agreed; it's entertainment, and yes-- bland (I'm not normally drawn to the syrupy-sweet family movies myself). It's just nice to see something accurate make it's way into fiction. Thanks so much for your comment!
Peter Rogers from Plymouth on October 30, 2013:
It's entertainment, a little bland for my taste, like bewitched and at least the witch isn't portrayed as an evil old hag.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 28, 2013:
I used to love Bewitched, lol. We're not old, we're classics :-)
As for dreams, yes it's true-- you can actually learn to 'program' yourself and dream whatever you want when you get good at it (I have experimented extensively with that myself-- only less with bunnies and more with Johnny Depp).
Thanks for your comments, Crafty!
CraftytotheCore on October 28, 2013:
I have not watched the show. I hadn't heard of it before. I used to enjoy a show called Bewitched years ago. (Now I'm aging myself! LOL)
I have heard that about dreams too. Like you can talk yourself out of dreaming of something through reverse psychology. Thanks for the review! Nice Hub!