Cartoon style witch casting a spell.

The Magic of Childhood

I grew up around witches. In fact, I grew up around witches, wizards, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, demons, shapeshifters, hauntings, possessions and poltergeists. Not to mention serial killers, human sacrifices, zombies, witch hunters, aliens and the devil himself.

I saw priests perform exorcisms, women have their life blood drained from them by vampires and those vampires later speared through the heart with giant wooden steaks.

I also saw people appearing out of nowhere, silent men dancing around and wearing contorted masks, I saw houses full of ghosts, grown men trying to kill teenagers, she-devils plotting the downfall of others, witches being tortured, dragons on roller-skates and magic torches.

I learned that black cats were powerful and that fairies were not to be messed with.  I was taught never to trust deep water and that the woods were magical places. I learned of gods and goddesses and pixies and elves. I discovered that some spirits are friendly, others not so much.

By now you might be thinking that I must have been at the top of the list for social services to whisk me into care. Surely no child should be exposed to such traumatic and harrowing experiences.

This intense environment wasn’t due to an abusive family or being part of any mystery cult.

The simple reason is because I am a child of the 1970’s.

Many of us who grew up in Britain during the 70’s (and had access to books, tv or radio shows) will attest to the sheer volume of occult-inspired material that seeped into the mainstream media of the day.

If you were born after the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s you might not believe me when I say it seemed that witches, folk magic and the occult were never far away when it came to children’s entertainment. I wouldn’t blame you either, which is why I put a few images of the more benign, mainstream children’s TV shows together. (Just for context, these images are from shows made for children of about six and upwards!).

A collage of images from 70's and 80's TV programmes. 1. Dr Who, Image of the Fendahl. 2. Worzel Gummidge. 3. Public information film, the spirit of dark and lonely water. 4. Children of the Stones. 5. Penda's Fen.

My childhood TV shows and books showed me that witches and wizards were wise (and often misunderstood). They established that ghosts are usually friendly, and that nature was to be respected and revered.  I was also taught to believe in the indisputable power of magic.

I’m certain that my early exposure to a huge variety of esoteric stories, images and ideas shaped the spiritual path I chose. I fell in love with the witches I met in the stories read and TV shows I watched as a young girl. From Samantha and Endora in Bewitched to Witch Hazel in the Looney Tunes cartoons – they all entranced me.

I’m planning to write more about the wonderful collection of these witches I grew up with.

How did your era shape your spiritual path? Were you a 70’s kid like me or maybe an 80’s babe? Did you grow up in the 50’s or the 60’s? How did it shape your spiritual life? Maybe you were born in the 90’s – how did the esoteric world make itself visible to you?

I’m interested in how each generation was shown the magical world through the lens of that time. What did your era’s lens show you?


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