I saw the trailer for the new Hansel and Gretel movie last night, and I am not sure how I feel about it. Being a witch myself, I am a bit offended by the whole witch hunters thing. However, being a descendant of the brothers Grimm, who wrote Hansel and Gretel, I guess I have mixed emotions. I am not easily offended, but since there were actual witch hunts in which approximately 9 million people were executed for being suspected of witchcraft, and since these types of things still go on today in some countries, I'd say yeah, this offends me.
Witches do not proselytize (try to convert people). We do not claim to have the only answer. We do not advertise our faith. This puts us at a distinct disadvantage to those who do. If the only image of a witch in the general public's eye is that of an old warty wicked hag who eats children, people will continue to be afraid of us. And yes, I have encountered people being afraid of me solely because I am a witch. (I was at work, at a fast food restaurant, and I packed an order before it popped up on the screen-because I was listening to the customer order it-and my boss said, "What are you, a witch?" and I said yes without thinking about it. Suddenly she and a few others were acting like they were afraid of me, some even said they were. I snapped back with, "Don't be silly-I have more reason to be afraid of you-I've never heard of a group of witches hunting down Christians to burn at the stake." It got really quiet.)
So, here's what I do, as opposed to eating children. I grow a garden. I pet caterpillars. I rescue bugs that get trapped on my porch. I observe the moon's cycles, and the seasons, solstices, equinoxes, etc. I occasionally read Tarot. I wear a small pentacle. I meditate. I burn incense. I cast the occasional spell (but I have learned to be specific and to be careful what I wish for). I cook and bake with love. I play with energy. I dance. I walk in the woods. I stare at the night sky. I hug the occasional tree. I feed the hungry. I donate clothing to the poor. I love the Earth and all of her creatures. I do not sacrifice animals, cast spells on other people without their permission, or judge people because of their faith or lack thereof.
See? We are not so scary after all!