My Nine Favorite Witches

I thought it would be fun to have a little ancestral gallery of my favorite witches. You know, like they have in haunted houses, the ones who follow you with their eyes…

Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn had such a powerful glamour that she won what morsel of heart Henry VIII possessed, and used her feminine powers to become Queen of England. In the process, she was the catalyst for religious reform, causing King Henry to renounce the Church so he could divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry her.

She was not known as a great beauty, but she had mysterious black eyes and a great deal of charm and personality cultivated in the French Court at Calais. Before her death, her enemies had begun refer to her “The Witch” claiming she had bewitched King Henry and citing as proof the extra little finger on her left hand….

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Queen Elizabeth I

Rainbow portrait

Rainbow portrait

Like mother, like daughter…

Now you must agree that there has never been a more magical Queen that Elizabeth Tudor. She was known as the Faerie Queen because she deliberately presented herself as an Otherworldly being. Her various costumes were covered in magical symbols and included esoteric regalia. Some of her gowns even had wings suggesting that she was capable of flight! Her court astrologer was the Magus John Dee who, through the medium Edward Kelly, spoke with angels. She encouraged the art of Alchemy in her Court and was of course the Royal patron of William Shakespeare — and various other members of the School of Night.

Her personal power and glamour were enormous. She was, and still is, on the inner planes, a Goddess.

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The Enigmatic LadyX

I have no idea who this lady was, but hey!

Isobel Gowdie

We have no pictures of 17th century Scottish witch, Isobel Gowdie, but we have her the words of her voluntary confession, her tale of shape-shifting to join the Faery Court in their magnificent feasts and dances. These poetic words are sung by the incomparable Maddy Prior.

Double click on the arrow to get it to work.

Isobel Gowdie is cool. She was a poor woman living in a hovel in the Scottish Highlands in the 17th century. Have you ever been to Scotland? If you have, then you know it is freezing in May in Edinburgh. Isobel shapeshifted  into the form of a hare or a crow to go to the Faery Hall. There she had tea with the Queen of Elfhame. She was then invited to a royal feast. She wore  a  magnificent gown, and danced with elegant Faery men. Before she went on these nighttime excursions,  she put her broomstick in the bed beside her husband so he wouldn’t know she was gone.

For a starving woman, you could say this visit to Elfhame was a compensatory ‘fantasy’, but her descriptions are so vivid, I believe she really went. And I know the Faeries are real!

Isobel Gowdie was a true Faery Seer.

Unfortunately, the Devil began to encourage Isobel to steal things like food, and then to kill a man she didn’t like. She did magic and the man died. Isobel felt so guilty, she turned herself in to the authorities. They questioned her about her witchcraft and she confessed everything without torture. This is why her testimony is so reliable! Her stories of Faery Witchcraft  came from her heart.

So they let her go….

The Americas: New Orleans

Marie LeVeau

Marie LeVeau

Marie LeVeau

A hairdresser by day and a conjure woman by night….

When I lived in London I knew a real Marie LeVeau. She saved my life. I was being targeted by a rival Tarot reader with an extremely virulent psychic attack. A Jamaican client of mine insisted I go to visit this woman whose identity was to be kept top secret. When I walked into her office, the lady, a half African/half East Indian from Guiana, went into shock. I think I was the first white person she ever saw! She  was a very powerful psychic and saw instantly that I was a “spiritual person”. Once the novelty wore off,  we became great friends. I learned a lot about Hoodoo and Santeria from her as well as well as  ethnic Hinduism and Pentacostal Christianity. I had trouble with the Christianity as I wasn’t used to seeing God as something outside myself.

Now we get a little more up to date!

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune was a former Golden Dawn initiate. She wrote a book that was so powerful, I credit it with setting me on the magical path forever. She self published The Sea Priestess and thank the Goddess she did. The main character, Vivian LeFay Morgan is a reincarnation of Morgan LeFay and a very wondrous enchantress  and priestess of Isis.

I plan to write an entire blog post about this book, it is so important not only to me but to many witches.

When I went to Britain for the month of April 1997, my King Arthur Tour veered onto a side road because I also wanted to find Dion Fortune. I had a lead: she was from Weston Super Mare in Somerset, and the fort that is transformed into a Sea Temple in Sea Priestess actually existed at a place near there called Breen Down.

I took a bus from the elegantly Victorian down at heels seaside resort of Weston Super Mare to what she accurately refers to in the book (written in the 1930′s) as the “dead alive town” of Breen. I had to walk several miles before I found any sign of village life. There was a beach covered with camper vans — I don’t know the English term for them is – maybe caravans. It was crass and horrible. Just above a miserable looking sort of zoo, Breen Down rose up and it was 100 steep steps to the top of the headland. I almost chickened out. I was tired from walking, but when I saw some old people going up the 100 steps, I decided I couldn’t wimp out.

It was so worth the climb! Amazing! What I call a Wizard of Oz experience. Arriving at the top of the stairs, I stepped out upon a lush green lawn. The air was so clean and fresh it revived me, and I felt like dancing!  The sky was beautiful with a peculiar light. Circular indentations in the ground were the remains of Roman dwellings. The avenue of trees Dian Fortune describes so poetically in Sea Priestess was really there!

It was a long walk to the tip of the down, but when I got there the sun was setting like silver disk that turned the sea to silver and the Fort was there just as she described. Built to fight Napoleon’s armies invading from France, it was made of thick bricks and mortar that was riddled with bullets and had that lingering sense of sadness that suffering imprints in the land. Of course the view of the sea was amazing  — and did I see St. Michael’s Mount in the distance?

The swinging 60′s!

Maxine Sanders

Maxine Sanders

Maxine Sanders

Witches can be gorgeous and cool 1960′s chicks!

Maxine is the real deal. I have written two articles about her and she gave me a very sweet interview that has moved many readers.

She was born with paranormal gifts, raised by a mother who loved  spiritual traditions. At 15, Maxine went through a life threatening and powerful initiation into the Egyptian Mysteries deep in cave in England. She went on to marry Alex Sanders, and together they formed the Alexandrian tradition of Wicca, becoming King and Queen of the Witches. Maxine devoted her life to teaching and training her students to carry forth the Witch power in a deeply responsible way.

Hail to Maxine Sanders! A true pioneer of consciousness.

For more about Maxine read:

Firechild: The Life of Maxine Sanders, Witch Queen

Maxine Sanders: Queen of the Witches

Interview with the Queen of the Witches: Maxine Sanders

Hollywood Witches

Kim Novak

Kim Novak

Kim Novak

Let’s face it! Any woman who watches Kim Novak in Bell, Book, and Candle wants to BE her. A beautiful, sexy, mysterious, glamorous siren with a cat named Pywackett. She has the most provocative witchy dresses. They would make Elvira jealous!

Did you know, that even in the oh-so -wholesome 1950s, that there were witches in New York City?

If I have only one life to live, let me live it as a sexy witch!

Sharon Tate as Odile

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate’s terrible death has obscured the fact that she was a promising young actress. Her portrayal of Odile leCaray in Eye of the Devil is the center of the film. She has a quality of mysterious stillness and concentration that makes her totally believable as the beautiful young witch that works to bring about the Rite of the Sacrficed King for the sake of the land.

In her autobiography Firechild, Maxine Sanders discusses Sharon’s initiation into Alexandrian Wicca as she prepared for her role in the film. She truely was a witch!

Who are Your Favorite Witches?

My list is not complete, and there are some favorites among the Warlocks that I haven’t included here.

Interest of space you see.

I would love to know who your favorite  witches are. If you make suggestions, I will write a post called:

My Readers’ Favorite Witches

I will put their pictures beside  text that you provide telling us what makes them your favorites. How fun is that?

Leave your list in the Comments by clicking the words Coments at the top of this post. I would love to see if there  are some I don’t know about!

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10 thoughts on “My Nine Favorite Witches

  1. Greetings,
    Re: ‘My Nine Favorite Witches’.
    You didn’t mention if the Witches could be from literature. When my children were young, I used to read to them from Patricia Coombs’s books. We all loved ‘Big Witch’, ‘Dorrie’ and ‘Gink’ the black cat.
    Some of my other favs are Laurie Cabot, Sybil Leek, Patricia Crowther, Janet Farrar and Doreen Valiente.
    If we are considering male Witches, then my favorite is Ray Buckland; what a lovely-mannered gentleman he is! And so knowledgable of nearly everything regarding the Craft. Also, Old Gerald Gardner, of course, and Scott Cunningham, whom we all miss. Thank you, -abra8 (Sheri)

  2. Hi Sheri!
    Of course they can be from literature. I think fictional witches are the inspiration for many of us.
    I love your list. I was going to include Doreen Valiente but the post would get too long.
    If you could write a blurb about one or two of these in an email and send it to me at — wintreslewe@gmail.com — I will post them with pics and when I have a few form readers, I will make a post about them.
    Thank you,
    Arlene

  3. Ian Stuart Robertson would like to submit a list of wytches for your consideration;the witch of Endor (book of
    Samuel)the Sybil of Cumae(Roman mythology)the weird sisters(Macbeth)Hekate herself
    the queen in Snow White(Disney version) but i wouldn’t name Stevie Nicks, she might not
    be impressed
    Bless Ian r
    13 ho

  4. Here’s my list of nine. No particular order.
    Isabel Gowdie
    Christopher Penczak
    Orion Foxwood
    Tom Cowan
    Patrick McCollum
    Robert Cochran
    Charles De Lint (don’t know if he is really a witch but his books are magickal)
    Jan Fries
    Frank MacEowen

  5. I agree about Charles De Lint. I will have to make a list of the guys. I will also include Rev, Robert Kirk. I love Robert Cochran as well – all of them. Witches are so interesting.

  6. I love this blog post. It is rather difficult to pick just 9 favorites:

    Fictional:
    1. Kim Novak (Gillian Holroyd) in “Bell, Book and Candle”
    2. Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha Stephens) in “Bewitched”
    3. Agnes Moorehead (Endora) in “Bewitched”

    Real:
    4. Sybil Leek
    5. Doreen Valiente
    6. Paul Huson
    7. Starhawk

    My teachers:
    8. Lillian Taber
    9. Victor & Cora Anderson

    That’s really 10. Oh, well… ;)

  7. Thanks SoulFire!
    did you see my interview with Paul Huson? It’s totally amazing. he is a really great guy. I am working with Nigel Jackson at the moment.

    Are the Andersons still alive? I know Starhawk was a student of theirs and of course Thorn Coil.

    I shall have a new list coming soon by the looks of it.

    9 is just my magic number. What it makes me realize though is that thee are so many cool witches!
    Arlene

  8. Hi Arlene,

    No, I did not see your interview with Paul. My partner and I had the honor of meeting him a couple years ago when we were in L.A. on business. Paul and his partner treated us to lunch.

    No, the Andersons are deceased. Victor died in 2001, and Cora died last year, sadly. (Visit my Web site for more info.)

    I look forward to reading your new list.

    B*B,
    SF

  9. I thought that was the case with the Andersons
    I will have to check out your website. Sound interesting.
    The interview with Paul is on my Article page under Interviews if you want to read it. he is great guy and gave alot. Nice you got a chance to meet him!

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