Witches, Witchcraft, And Wicca, Oh My!: American Horror Story Coven

2678 words - 11 pages

What images come to mind when you think of witches? Many people immediately imagine a black pointy hat, bubbling cauldron, green warty skin, and Halloween. Usually the image that comes to mind is something scary and evil. Real witches do exist. Most modern witches go by the label Wiccan now. Wiccans practice Wicca, which is a nature-based religion with many different branches or denominations. The basic tenant of all Wicca is called the Three Fold Law. The Three Fold Law states that whatever you do will come back to you times three, good or bad, so do not cause harm or, in other words, “harm none”. It is kind of like the concept of karma in one lifetime. There is debate over how old the ...view middle of the document...

"They all gravitated toward New Orleans, where they now live, and every generation has a great witch who has the most powers of them all, and that's called the Supreme. Ms. Jessica Lange is the Supreme.” (Thakur)
Of course we know from history that most-if not all- the people that were accused of being witches in Salem were not really witches at all. Who knows if there really were any actual Wiccans in Salem then or not? I think it is very possible. There is further proof here in people who claim they are hereditary witches. Hereditary witches are people whose parents or ancestors were also Wiccan.
The setting of American Horror Story Coven is a New Orleans school for teen witches. The school is led by one Supreme Witch who is the most powerful and the entire group is referred to as “The Coven”. This is similar to a typical Wiccan coven which is usually led by either one high priestess or by a high priest and high priestess together. The high priestess usually is someone who guides the other members and directs the flow of energy during rituals. There is also sometimes a council of elders, which is also similar to the Grand Council on the show. The school itself is full of teen girls figuring out how to control their powers, this ties in with the general belief that people come “into their own” during puberty. Perhaps this is a metaphor for girls realizing their powers of seduction as their bodies mature. This is a common theme in literature where the witch usually represents some sort of primal male fear that a woman may gain power over him, especially through sex.
Indeed, on the show, one of the girls’ “powers”, Zoey’s, is that she actually kills boys by having sex with them. Is this a case of the witch emasculating them in an exaggerated way? All of the “powers” the characters seem to possess are exaggerated yet hold kernels of truth. For instance, piecing a boy’s body together from various bodies, then resurrecting him, can be tied directly into the moral of the three fold law, as their bringing Kyle back does not go as planned for any of those involved. Is being brought back to life really in Kyle’s best interest when he is molested by his mother? Finding out that his mother molests him teaches us the lesson that one does not always know the full extent of any given circumstance and that without that knowledge we can inflict unintended harm. In keeping with the three fold law, many Wiccan spells end with such phrases as, “An’ with harm to none, so mote it be” to help guard against any unforeseen repercussions.
The premise behind another new hit show, Witches of East End, is a little closer to modern Wicca. It is still a fantastical story; however the similarities are a little easier to find in this story line. We tend to see witches as withered crone or seductive enchantress, Baba Yaga or Morgan Le Fay, yet for Witches of East End the key is that these women are a normal family with a family's ups and downs (Hughes). The show is about...

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