The Bush Administration reportedly denied J.K. Rowling a Presidential Medal of Freedom over fears that her Harry Potter series promoted witchcraft. Apparently they weren't aware that many of us, Harry Potter or no, go through our witchcraft phase anyway.
Please note that when I talk about a "witchcraft phase," I'm referring to the period wherein tweens decided to "be witches" for a few months. It has nothing to do with actual Wicca, or the legitimate practice of the Wiccan religion; it's based solely on Hollywood stereotypes of witchcraft and the idea that we can suddenly become legitimate witches just by slipping on a pentagram from Claire's and lighting a scented candle. Many of us, myself included, went through this Faux Coven phase. When you're twelve years old and a bit lost, there is something quite powerful in this notion; though your parents seem to control your life and your classmates seem to overlook you, you can still connect with something deeper and dangerous in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by your best friends and a bag of Chewy Chips Ahoy.
The sleepover party is the center of all things fake witchcraft; my friends and I never actually took the time to research or practice Wicca the way it is meant to be practiced, mostly because we were 12 and simply into "making things happen," which essentially meant lifting our friends up off the ground while pretending our "Light As A Feather" chants were working, lighting special candles and making wishes, and playing with the Ouija board for about 4 seconds before we freaked out and put it away—not because we didn't believe in it, we argued, but because we knew how powerful a tool it was and we just didn't want to mess with it.
We made love potions out of various creams and perfumes and slathered them on before going to school, where we most likely drove our fellow classmates away by smelling like a rose-vanilla-lavender-jasmine mess, and we completely fudged our way through tarot card readings, making sure our dreams would come true ("You are going to marry David Bowie when you are 48") by neglecting to actually learn to read the cards properly. Eventually, our terrible run as fake witches faded out, and we moved on to other things.
By the time The Craft hit the scene, I was 15 and scoffed at the eleven year olds who were calling the corners while drinking Capri-Suns on the playground. Secretly, I was a bit jealous, because they were still in the realm of make believe; the place where they could scream, "I made that leaf move!" after shouting, "Move, leaf, do as I say" for twenty minutes in a row. For a while, they'd get to rule the universe, until the novelty wore off and they were forced to face an uncertain world again.
Of course, as I grew older I began to understand the deeper historical and sociological connections between women and witchcraft and was clearly able to differentiate between Hollywood witches and legitimate Wicca, and looking back, I laugh at my failed attempts to put a spell on Bobby Taylor in 1993. But I wouldn't trade my dumb fake coven days for anything, as they taught me to believe, if nothing else, in the power of my friends and our abilities to create a world outside of our own. Sure, we never actually made anything happen, but we had a lot of fun imagining a place where we could make anything we wanted come true, and that kind of confidence lasts, even after the candles go out and all of the magic dust is washed away.