Witch. What images come to mind? Are there certain characters that float around in your head? How about places? Or symbols?
Witches are seen in movies (The Wizard of Oz, The Craft, Hocus Pocus...). They appear in books (The Witching Hour, A Discovery of Witches, Practical Magic...). Fairy tales (Snow White, Hansel and Gretel...). And let's not forget history (The Burning Times, the Salem Witch Trials...).
Most of the time, witches are portrayed in a bad light. It has been said that witches are mean, put curses on people and even eat children. And that's only a few things. But where did all of these accusations come from?
When people are frightened or feel threatened, they tend to exagerate and lie. These people spread their fears and lies. Before anyone knows it, hatred and predjudice are born.
But what about the people that actually practice forms of witchcraft? What are they like? The fact of the matter is, these people aren't as scary or mean as you may think. Nor are they really all that different than you. Many forms of witchcraft stem from various religions. Most of these religions are nature based. Sets of rules govern religious practices and ritual magic is no different.
So what should you do if you run into a real-life witch? Honestly, you could run into one and not even know it. There's no green skin, hook nose or pointy hat to distinguish them (unless of course it's Halloween). But if you ever do run into someone that practices a form of the craft, take a moment to ask them some questions. I'm sure they'd be glad to answer them!