Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The White Witch


In some definitions the white witch is a good witch or a wise woman skilled in healing or a "kitchen witch".  But in other stories, poems and books she is cruel and evil.  The most famous white witch is in Narnia in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis.  It is always winter while she reigns.  She is a cunning and a liar, malevolent and wrathful.

When I taught first grade I read The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson aloud to the class.  They were riveted!  In the Waldorf tradition we drew and painted and wrote in our main lesson books from the seven chapters.

Glinda in the The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum is an example of a good white witch, wise and helpful.  We think of her as a pink witch because of her garments in the movie.  Strega Nona, from an Italian folktale, is a good witch; dressed in peasant clothes she was immortalized in Tomie De Paola's excellent version.

I was envisioning a winter witch, icy and snowy.
















Stories with a white witch in them for children:

The Chronicles of Narnia
Jadis is the main antagonist of The Magician's Nephew and of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in C.S. Lewis's series, The Chronicles of Narnia. She is commonly referred to as the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book in the series, as she is the Witch who froze Narnia in the Hundred Years Winter. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Witch

The Snow Queen (Danish: Snedronningen) is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875). The tale was first published in 1845, and centers on the struggle between good and evil as experienced by a little boy and girl, Kai and Gerda.

The story is one of Andersen's longest, and one of his most highly acclaimed stories by readers and critics. It is regularly included in selected tales and collections of his work and is frequently reprinted in illustrated storybook editions for children. The tale has been adapted in various media including animated film and television drama.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Snow_Queen

The White Witch is a fictional comic book character who exists in the DC Universe, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th century. Her real name is Mysa Nal, although her name was given as Xola Aq in Silver Age Legion stories in Adventure Comics; the revelation that her name was actually Mysa Nal was a later retcon. She is the sister of fellow Legionnaire Dream Girl and daughter of former High Seer of Naltor Kiwa Nal. Like Dream Girl, she is a native of the planet Naltor, where nearly everyone has the power of precognition.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Witch_%28comics%29

The Snow Queen (Danish: Snedronningen) is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875). The tale was first published in 1845, and centers on the struggle between good and evil as experienced by a little boy and girl, Kai and Gerda.

The story is one of Andersen's longest, and one of his most highly acclaimed stories by readers and critics. It is regularly included in selected tales and collections of his work and is frequently reprinted in illustrated storybook editions for children. The tale has been adapted in various media including animated film and television drama.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Snow_Queen



For Adults:

The White Witch of Rose Hall
According to the legend, the spirit of "Annie Palmer" haunts the grounds of Rose Hall Plantation near Montego Bay. The story states that she was born in England to an English mother and Irish father and spent most of her life in Haiti. When her parents died of yellow fever, she was adopted by a nanny who taught her witchcraft and voodoo. She moved to Jamaica and married John Palmer, owner of Rose Hall Plantation. Annie supposedly murdered Palmer along with two subsequent husbands and numerous male plantation slaves, later being murdered herself by a slave named "Takoo". A song about the legend called "The Ballad of Annie Palmer" was recorded by Johnny Cash.

An investigation of the legend in 2007 by Benjamin Radford concluded that the story was fictionalized, modeled on the title character in a famous Jamaican novel, The White Witch of Rosehall by Herbert G. de Lisser, published in 1929. An Annie Palmer unrelated to Rose Hall did exist, and by all accounts had no tendencies toward sadism or lechery. Rough Guide To Jamaica author Polly Thomas writes that the name of Annie Palmer may have become confused with Rosa Palmer, the original mistress of Rose Hall who did have four husbands but was said to be unwaveringly virtuous.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Witch_of_Rose_Hall


The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge
Romantic tale set in 17th-century England, when Cavaliers struggle with Puritans to keep the throne safe for King Charles 1st. At the beginning of the English Civil War and the men and women drawn into it on both sides. Robert Haslewood, the local squire turns puritan and follows his boyhood hero to war leaving his children and wife behind him. His cousin Froniga, half gypsy and the White Witch of the title, a wise woman with the power of healing lives in danger. Her gypsy cousins sometimes camp near her but will always move on. They have befriended Yomen, who conceals a grand past but is now a tinker and royalist spy. He loves the puritan Froniga. A journey man painter, Francis, delights in painting the Haslewood children while spying too for the royalist cause. Their lives entwine until the bloodiness of war forces them to be loyal to their side whatever their personal ties, threatening to destroy friendships and humanity and kindness in the process.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/420181.The_White_Witch



The White Witch
James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938)  The Book of American Negro Poetry. 1922.

O BROTHERS mine, take care! 
Take care!The great white witch rides out to-night.
Trust not your prowess nor your strength,
Your only safety lies in flight;
For in her glance there is a snare,
And in her smile there is a blight.

The great white witch you have not seen?
Then, younger brothers mine, forsooth,
Like nursery children you have looked
For ancient hag and snaggle-tooth;
But no, not so; the witch appears
In all the glowing charms of youth.

Her lips are like carnations, red,
Her face like new-born lilies, fair,
Her eyes like ocean waters, blue,
She moves with subtle grace and air,
And all about her head there floats
The golden glory of her hair.

But though she always thus appears
In form of youth and mood of mirth,
Unnumbered centuries are hers,
The infant planets saw her birth;
The child of throbbing Life is she,
Twin sister to the greedy earth.

And back behind those smiling lips,
And down within those laughing eyes,
And underneath the soft caress
Of hand and voice and purring sighs,T
he shadow of the panther lurks,
The spirit of the vampire lies.

For I have seen the great white witch,
And she has led me to her lair,
And I have kissed her red, red lips
And cruel face so white and fair;
Around me she has twined her arms,
And bound me with her yellow hair.

I felt those red lips burn and sear
My body like a living coal;
Obeyed the power of those eyes
As the needle trembles to the pole;
And did not care although I felt
The strength go ebbing from my soul.

Oh! she has seen your strong young limbs,
And heard your laughter loud and gay,
And in your voices she has caught
The echo of a far-off day,
When man was closer to the earth;
And she has marked you for her prey.

She feels the old Antaean strength
In you, the great dynamic beat
Of primal passions, and she sees
In you the last besieged retreat
Of love relentless, lusty, fierce,
Love pain-ecstatic, cruel-sweet.

O, brothers mine, take care! 
Take care!The great white witch rides out to-night.
O, younger brothers mine, beware!
Look not upon her beauty bright;
For in her glance there is a snare,
And in her smile there is a blight.
 
http://www.bartleby.com/269/42.html





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