Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Witch, The

  • Ruth WilliamsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_803

The witch is a character or image of a spell-caster associated with night and death which has manifestations in every world culture and epoch.

Examples include (inter alia) Euripides’ Medea in Greek Mythology and Shakespeare’s triumvirate in Macbeth; cinema has innumerable versions, notably The Witches of Eastwick (Dir. George Miller II, 1987), The Wizard of Oz (Dir. Victor Fleming, 1939), and Batman Returns (Dir. Tim Burton, 1992) where in modern guise the witch has been merged with her “familiar” and becomes “Catwoman.” Pearson (2002) provides an impressive review of (inter alia) a raft of artistic and cultural variants.

There are likewise copious fairy-tale witches which help children cope, psychologically with feelings of envy and hatred (e.g., Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella).

Witches feature in certain religious traditions such as Voodoo, of which there are several geographical variants.

The images and emotions associated with the witch are generally repellent.

In Mythology and...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Association of Jungian AnalystsLondonUK