On Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Where's the Religion in Willow's Wicca?

By Christie Golden

One of the many great things about Buffy the Vampire Slayer is it gives hope to the geek in all of us. I’m not talking about the œber-geeks Warren, Andrew and Jonathan, but our geek heroes Xander and Willow. Especially Willow, who gives computer nerds a warm and cozy feeling, like we’re wrapped in warm blankets. Except, of course, when she’s Dark Rosenberg, when she makes everyone want to dive under the blankets.

Willow’s evolution from computer nerd to powerful sorceress (I chose this word with care, more on that later) has been a fascinating journey over these last seven years. All of the characters on Buffy have grown, but Willow’s arc has perhaps been the most profound. A very large part of that growth has to do with her becoming, in the words of Anya, “A very powerful Wicca (sic).”

This phrase bugs me for myriad reasons, and I’m going to tell you why. In a nutshell, I’m going to say that while the creators of Buffy are presenting Willow as a witch/Wicca(n), they are, alas, wrong. Remember I said that I deliberately chose the word “sorceress” earlier? It’s a much more appropriate word, largely because it’s a fantasy term that has no real practitioners in the Real World. A “sorceress” can be whatever the writers want her to be. But a witch, or a Wiccan, is something very real, and the creators of Buffy don’t get it right.

I could go on for a whole book (and many  …

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