I have recently come to realise that a lot of people, including people I know, think witches are just characters from children’s stories. Green skinned, big warty-nosed hags with pointy hats surgically attached to their heads, with armies of flying monkeys at their command and the ability to turn people into frogs. But definitely not real, and especially not a fellow mum in the playground!
It’s an interesting phenomenon, because I don’t remember being surprised to learn that witches were real. It makes perfect sense to me. First there are the many different forms of pagan religions, which broadly speaking consider the world to be interconnected by a unifying force, often controlled to a greater or lesser extent by one or many deities. Witches are practitioners who take this a step further to a force which they can personally manipulate, either directly through spell-casting, or indirectly through prayers and ceremonies directed to deities.
But there is so much variation within paganism, and within Wicca and witchcraft. I know witches who are also Catholics, witches who have elaborate altars in their homes, witches who are members of covens, witches who call on angels, or fairies, witches who are solitary. I know witches who are drawn to the darker side of magic and those who are not concerned with deities at all but simply with the elements.
What I do know is that witches are very much real, and you probably know at least one. We’re interesting people - try asking us about it some time. We won’t curse or hex you - probably!