|“||You need help. [...] From nature. The elements. Just things that you can draw extra power from. Have you ever channeled another witch before? [...] We can double our strength.||”|
Channeling is a power of the witches to draw power from nature or an element to boost their magic. This allows users to harness energies in their surroundings to perform greater magical feats, and cast stronger spells beyond that which one is usually able to accomplish solely with their own innate power.
The energy drawn to empower a witch can come from numerous things such as other witches, the elements, and celestial events.
A celestial event is an astronomical phenomenon of interest that involves one or more celestial bodies. Celestial events have long been used by witches to channel in order to empower their magic, and increase the potency of their spells.
- Sun: Unlike other power sources, solar energy is the most accessible that both witches and humans can use. During the creation of the vampires, the Original Witch, Esther, used the sun in the formation of the Immortality Spell, and because of it, vampires are depicted in Viking runes as the sun. Due to this, it also contributes to vampire's weakness to sunlight as nature retaliated turning the things used in the spell against them. The Sun has been used by Esther. Silas also channeled the sun, and bound a boundary spell to the sun, trapping Qetsiyah and all those who entered the cabin until the sun set.
- Moon: The Moon is the most immediate and recurrent celestial power source that is commonly used by witches for powerful spells and rituals. More so, the Full moon is typically used, though on occasion, a new moon has been channeled. Esther used the full moon to bind Klaus' werewolf side. Greta Martin later used the full moon, along with other pieces to the ritual, to break the Hybrid Curse. Bonnie has used the moon on a number of occasion to fuel her spells. While using Expression, she channeled and bound a boundary spell to the new moon, allowing the spell to last 3-4 days. Similarly, Céleste channeled the moon itself to supply her boundary spell, enabling the spell to last for a whole month. She also channeled and bound the The Crescent Curse to the moon, forcing the werewolves to only revert to human form on the night of a full moon.
- Eclipses: Eclipses are rare celestial occurrences, and has been channeled just as frequently. They can occur as either lunar or solar eclipses; Lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth's shadow blocks the sun's light, whereas a solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. One can assume that a solar eclipse are mystically more empowering as they only happen with a new moon, when the sun and moon are in conjunction. The Gemini Coven and it's leader, Joshua Parker channeled a lunar eclipse to banish Kai to the 1994 Prison World. Bonnie and Kai later channeled the recurring eclipse to leave the Prison World.
- Comets: Existing bodies outside Terra can be used as a great source of power for witches, as they occur so infrequent. Due to the complexity and magnitude, few witches can control the energy without consequences. Before her death, Emily Bennett channeled an over-passing comet to empower herself with enough strength to trap the tomb vampires under Fell Church. Her precision of channeling celestial bodies gave her enough power to empower her spell to last for over 145 year. Emily even possessed her descendant Bonnie, and channeled the same comet to destroy the Bennett Talisman. When Qetsiyah was working out a way to fuel the Anchor swap spell, she implied that there was not a worthy comet for a billion years, meaning that the more infrequent comets provided greater power for spells. While she herself is stated to be one of the world's greatest, and most powerful witches, her calcified blood can be used as a magical power source with similar potency to using a full moon, or a comet.
- Meteors: A meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate, or originate, from one point in the night sky. These meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering Earth's atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel trajectories. Lily Salvatore once suggested using the Lyrids meteor shower as an alternative celestial event that could fuel the spell to travel to the prison world her "family" was kept in.
- Planetary Conjunctions: A conjunction occurs when two astronomical objects have either the same right ascension or the same elliptical longitude, normally when observed from the Earth. Typically, the The Merge of the Gemini Coven would be completed with the use of a Full Moon, though under extreme circumstances, Joshua Parker utilized a Mercury-Venus conjunction to provide him enough power to force Luke and Liv to merge. Jo and Kai, then later Luke and Kai channeled the same Mercury-Venus conjunction to complete the merge ceremony.
- Auroras: An aurora is a natural light display in the sky, predominantly seen in the high latitude regions. An aurora has been used by the Gemini Coven to banish the Heretics to the 1903 Prison World. Bonnie and Kai later channeled the Aurora to leave this prison world. It is interesting to note that Bonnie channeled both an Aurora and Lunar Eclipse, a rare and powerful feat, of the 1903 and 1994 prison worlds, respectively, to escape when the stability of the two worlds was in question.
Nexus Vorti is defined as a rare occurrence. These events are described as being so infrequent it's almost miraculous and can be channeled for enormous amounts of power to fuel near-impossible spells. A example of such are celestial events such as a full moon; it occurs once a month, only 12 days out of a year. However, there are two known miraculous Nexus Vortis.
Witches can channel other witches for more power. This is done by forming any connection, such as having another witch's possession or willingly creating a link to a specific witch.
Bonnie channeled Luka on a few occasions. The first they were willingly channeling each other to affect the weather. Bonnie's second attempt, she used his dog tag necklace to channel him without his permission.
Esther and the Bennett Witches
When Esther's preserved body was release from her coffin, she channeled the Bennett Bloodline, both living and dead. While channeling, it afforded her great power, though the connection was difficult to maintain, it was accomplished by having the bloodline made manifest through the use of both Abby Bennett Wilson and Bonnie. She choose the Bennett bloodline, because her friend and mentor, Ayana was their ancestor. When Abby was turned into a vampire, the connection was lost and Esther lost a great portion of power.
Aja channeled the combined power of the members of her coven when they willingly linked themselves to her in order to give her enough power to cleanse Bonnie of expression.
Davina Claire and Kol Mikaelson, possessing Kaleb Westphall, channeled each other several times, the first being when Davina attempted to unlink her friends from Klaus' sireline. When Davina channeled his power, she received a vision through which she discovered that he was, in fact, Kol Mikaelson. Both of them later on channeled each other to temporarily disempower the White Oak Stake to keep Klaus alive, as well as when they created a dagger powerful enough to dagger Klaus using Kemiya.
Bonnie Bennett and Kai Parker channeled each other when they were attempting to transport themselves and their friends to the 1903 Prison World. Channeling each other allowed them to transport more than one additional person, which, according to Kai, would not be possible if performed by one witch.
Eva Sinclair and the Nine witch children
Through The Rite of Nines, Eva Sinclair was able to channel the power of the nine witches that she abducted form each of the nine covens of New Orleans, using them as a constant source of power. The connection between Eva and the kidnapped witches was so strong that she would have become more powerful than any elder or Harvest witch if no one stepped in to stop her.
When Rebekah, then possessing Eva Sinclair, was trapped in the Dowager Fauline Cottage, she came across Freya's slumbering body. She suggested to Cassie to channel her as a means break the spell trapping them due to the seer amount of power flowing from her.
Through a brand of Connective Magic, Dahlia created a bond with Freya that allowed her to permanently connect herself to Freya and channel her power from any place, even when miles away from each other, all while augmenting Freya's magic.
The Travelers often rely on channeling each other to perform spells due to their curse, which made them weak and incapable of channeling the earth. As such, their brand of witchcraft heavily focuses on collective magic and performing of spells as a group.
The Spirits are a source of massive power and before the collapse of The Other Side, widely used. Witches can channel their power to practice Spirit Magic. Spirit Magic can only be used how the Spirits see fit. When Bonnie went against the spirits of the 100 dead witches in order to resurrect Jeremy Gilbert, they cut her off from using their power because they felt she was abusing the power.
The Ancestors are a source of massive power in New Orleans. New Orleans witches channel their power to practice Ancestral Magic. Once a witch has died, they are consecrated, and the magic in their bones, and their spirit, are added to the ancestral power. While this restricts the witches, both living and dead, to New Orleans, it gives the coven the power, and the knowledge, of hundreds upon hundreds of witches. However, every three hundred years, the connection between the living witches, and the dead ones, begins to wane. In order to rebuild the connection, The Harvest must be performed. The Ancestors also seem to be a near divine pantheon to the living witches of New Orleans; the orders of the Ancestors are treated as divine edicts that must be obeyed.
A magic hotspot is a place eternally marked by the violent death of a witch. These Magical Hotspots allow witches to tap into the power of the dead witch to use as their own. Even if the Witch is resurrected, the Hotspot will still possess the magical energy from the violent death. One of the most powerful death spots includes the Witch Burial Ground where 100 witches were brutally burned to death. Esther channeled her own death spot in order to fight off Bonnie's locator spell, and to tap into Dark Magic to recreate an Original Vampire.
Sacrifices are a prominent element used in Sacrificial Magic and can be a source of significant power when used by a skilled user.
Papa Tunde sacrificed numerous vampires to fuel his magic, and to empower his blade with incredibly Dark Magic. Papa Tunde used Sacrificial Magic to subdue and channel Rebekah Mikaelson. By channeling her, Papa Tunde gained vampire like strength, the ability to heal incredibly fast and to recover from mortal wounds, such as a snapped neck.
Finn later channeled his vampire parents to obtain enough power to fight against two Original Vampires.
Markos and The Travelers valued doppelgänger blood as it presumably provided a significant boost to their cursed magic without suffering it's repercussions. They are frequently shown performing spells with blood they collected from Elena Gilbert and Stefan Salvatore and can be used to enhance the strength of a witch to superhuman levels. They most notably channeled blood from the last remaining pair Doppelgängers to first resurrect Markos, then to perform the Magic Purification Spell.
Dark objects can also be channeled due to their mystical nature.Davina Claire once channeled dark objects and a Nexus Vorti to have the power to resurrect Mikael from the Other Side before it collapsed. By channeling the dark objects incorporated into the Resurrection Spell, so that she could track Michael. On another occasion she channeled other objects to create a poison that could be infused with her blood capable of incapacitating Niklaus Mikaelson when he fed feeding on her. Kol Mikaelson (possessing the witch Kaleb Westphall) and his sister Rebekah (possessing the witch Eva Sinclair) once used Klaus' stash of dark objects, then eventually Klaus himself, to overwhelm their brother Finn (possessing the witch Vincent Griffith) and force him to relinquish his massive power source. Before Klaus agreed to have them channel him, they were feeding Finn additional power before he released the magic.
- Main article: Talismans
- Silas' Tombstone: Silas' tombstone contained the calcified blood of the powerful witch Qetsiyah. Through contact with the tombstone, Bonnie Bennett was able to channel the power of Qetsiyah from her blood contained within the tombstone, even though Qetsiyah herself had been long dead. It's power was capable of being used in place of a Full Moon.
- Freya's Talisman: Originally used to focus her power, the talisman was created by Dahlia and Freya could not only draw power from it but could use it to trap the spirits of their family members. This was seen when she forced Finn's soul out of Vincent and contained his spirit in the crystal. Through this talisman, Freya was then able to channel the power of her brother and use it to her advantage, though only with his permission.
- "Look, a witch can only ever channel so much power. After that, things start to get ugly. I mean, they'll literally start to disintegrate from the inside. He'll either have to release the power, or, well... let it kill him."
- —Kol Mikaelson
Despite being commonly employed by witches, channeling comes with certain risks. There is an upper limit to the amount a of energy one can channel although it varies between witches based on their experience and knowledge.
It was first noted in Know Thy Enemy by Jeremy Gilbert after reading a warning in Bonnie's grimoire and later in The Devil is Damned by Kol Mikaelson that channeling too much energy recklessly can lead to unpleasant consequences including the very death of said witch. At the same time, the energy within witches are finite and drawing from oneself or other witches for a taxing spell can cause bodily harm such are nose bleeds and may ultimately lead to death.
Additionally, objects providing significant power to channel can sometimes be hard to find and may not always be readily accessible. (i.e. Doppelgänger's blood, locate magical hotspots, special astronomical events). Channeling the Sun or Moon for power may be subjected to the duration of their astrological cycles.
The Vampire Diaries
Bonnie has throughout the show channeled different natural or unnatural occurrences in order to perform powerful spells. In order to kill Klaus at the time when he sought to kill Elena in order to break The Hybrid Curse, Bonnie turned to the Spirits in order to channel their power, or more precisely the power of a 100 witches.
As they empowered her with their magic, she felt the pain of every witch who burned at the stake. Later on,she was imbued with incredible power, which gave her enough strength to perform various high-level spells such as a resurrection spell and the one to kill an Original. Later on, she was stripped of this power due to going against the balance of Nature in order to resurrect Jeremy.
In Season Four, after finally being abandoned by the Spirits for her sins against nature, Bonnie unknowingly turned to one of the darkest known types of magic called Expression. She discovered that she could draw godlike power from a massacre of 12 that marked the earth with mystical energy, though she did not know about the needed massacres for this, until later on, when she accidentally discovered that Expression was actually dark. However, she still continued to practice such magic, which gave her massive power throughout the entire season. As the Expression Triangle was slowly completed, Bonnie’s magic grew as each time a massacre was performed, she could draw more and more unnatural power from the blood sacrifices, to a point where she could heal herself, perform powerful locator spells and eventually take down the most powerful supernatural beings in existence.
In The Walking Dead, Bonnie linked the Expression Triangle to channel it's full power but lied to Silas that she required a full moon to drop the veil. However, she instead channeled the calcified blood of Qetsiyah, her extremely powerful ancestor who created the other side and the fully completed and linked Expression Triangle. This gave her enough power to drop the Veil to the supernatural purgatory, though she only did so inside the perimeters of the Expression Triangle.
When she decided to resurrect Jeremy, Bonnie channeled the Spirits, the Dark Magic she practiced as well as Expression. She mixed those three opposing magics together and such channeling of great power proved itself too much for her body to handle, therefore she died, but still managed to complete the spell.
In The World Has Turned and Left Me Here, Bonnie uses Traditional Magic and channels the eclipse, a powerful celestial event in order to open a portal between the mortal plane and the dimension that she, Damon and Kai were trapped in.
Luka taught Bonnie how to do this. He gave her his necklace (dog tags), and she gave him her bracelet, the objects acting like talismans. They have lifted a lot of leaves using each other's energy. After that Jeremy came, so Luka forgot his dog tags. Later in the episode Bonnie used her own power plus his power by channeling to open the tomb to save Jeremy who's in it. At the same time Luka felt weaker and he fell on the floor. After some time she got a nose bleed and she was unable to continue. In The Last Dance, Bonnie channeled the powers of 100 dead witches to kill Klaus, but she used all of her energy so it killed her, although it was temporary, as she cast a protection spell before hand to fake her death.
Esther was an extremely powerful witch, commonly known for her creation of vampires. It was shown that she heavily relied on channeling different natural objects & occurrences for this spell. As explained by Rebekah, Esther called upon the Sun's power for life and on the white oak stake - one of nature's eternal objects - for immortality. Nature however retaliated and the same objects that Esther called upon could either harm or kill the originals.
She later on channeled the power of the Gilbert ring in order to make the white oak stake indestructible. Upon her resurrection, it was shown that she channeled the entirety of the Bennett bloodline, therefore, when their bloodline was broken by Abby's death, Esther started weakening to the point of death. When she had placed the hybrid curse on her son Klaus, it was shown that she drew power from Tatia's blood and bound the curse to it, therefore, only the sacrifice of another of Amara's doppelgängers could reverse the curse.
An ancient and extremely powerful witch, Qetsiyah was shown to be able to fully control and channel power from different natural occurrences. One example of this would be her mind-linking spell through which she neutralized Silas' mental powers by linking him to his doppelgänger, Stefan. She performed this spell in a circle of herbs, from which she drew power.
She also channeled the power of her human-bone talisman in order to locate Amara, who at the time acted as the anchor to the Other Side. Later on, after being asked to make Bonnie the new anchor, Qetsiyah drew massive power from the blood of two doppelgängers (Elena and Katherine), nature's way of balancing out an immortal's existence, as well as the progenitor, Amara. It however remains unknown on what kind of natural occurrence she used to create immortality and the Other Side - her two biggest achievements or if she even used any.
Liv was commonly shown to channel the Spirits of the dead witches in her spells, as she was a practitioner of Spirit Magic which gave her a potent amount of power, until the point of the Other Side's disintegration, which destroyed all contact between the living and the dead witches.
However, in the finale of Season 5, Liv was forced by her brother's death to perform a powerful resurrection spell, commonly used by the Travelers. In order to channel enough power to perform the spell, Liv drew on the deaths of dozens of Travelers in order to open a gate between the living and the dead, through Bonnie. Eventually however, all of the power she was channeling proved to be too much, as it started killing her, which forced her brother to stop the spell.
Ancestral witches are one of the biggest examples of channeling another witch's power. Unlike most witches, ancestral witches draw their power directly from the consecrated witches and their ancestors.
Drawing from so many dead witches gives the living witches a massive amount of power, though all of this is dependent on a powerful ritual called the Harvest, which if not performed properly in a span of one year will cut off all of the living witches from the ancestral power.
She is a powerful Harvest Witch who was seen channeling various energies throughout the show to accomplish several strong spells. As an ancestral witch, she channels the power of her Ancestors and all witches consecrated in New Orleans. In her spell that resurrected Mikael she drew on the Nexus Vorti, (a powerful and extremely rare event such as the birth of a miracle baby). In the very same spell she also drew power from four dark objects one in particular which she used to bind Mikael to her will. Later on when she needed to disable the white oak stake, she channeled Kol's (possessing Kaleb) power for support. Davina was also able to suspend her life and free herself from witch Purgatory by channeling her heart’s greatest desire even after losing her anchor to the land of the living, likely a form of empathic channeling due to its connection to death and her emotion.
Finn Mikaelson, while in the possession of a Tremé witch named Vincent Griffith, was shown channeling power from different sources various times. As a French Quarter witch, he was by default drawing power from the Ancestors, an entirety of deceased, powerful witches that act as a power source for the ancestral witches. He even amplified his power by using his own father, the original Mikael as a sacrifice and an endless supply of energy. He also used his newly-turned mother as a sacrifice, though it remains unknown if she is dead or if Finn kept her alive in some way. Such channeling of energy made Finn one of the most powerful witches in the Quarter, though his newly-gained strength was short lasted as his siblings, Kol and Rebekah performed a spell that overloaded Finn's power source, forcing him to break his connection to his parents, which left him much more weaker, leading to his vessel's death.
Kol Mikaelson, while in the possession of a French Quarter witch named Kaleb Westphall, has been shown drawing power from different sources various times. Like Finn, he too drew power from the Ancestors, though he has commonly used different sources of power too, such as drawing power from Davina Claire, a powerful Harvest witch. He also used a big paragon diamond to achieve a massive level of power (despite his vessel being a weak witch) that allowed him to subdue Klaus, the Original Hybrid. In the same episode, together with his sister Rebekah, he used a collection of dark objects as a power source as well as Klaus himself as a sacrifice in order to overload Finn's power source, which forced him to break his connection to his sacrifices.
Like her brothers Finn and Kol, Rebekah too came in the possession of a Tremé Quarter witch's body, which means that she drew power from the Ancestors. Unlike her brothers, she reveals herself to be inexperienced in witchcraft, though her original plan to escape the Asylum was to draw power from her sister Freya, a millennium-old, powerful witch. Later on, she and Kol channel power from a collection of dark objects, as well as Klaus himself, who was used as a sacrifice and an endless supply of magic in order to overload Finn's power source.
- It is one of the two basic witch powers along with Spell Casting.
- A witch channeling another witch may require a personal artifact or object of said witch, turning the object into a talisman.
- In a deleted scene, the conversation between Bonnie and Luka suggest that the reason celestial events provide power was because they are cyclical
- Channeling too much energy can kill a witch. An overload of channeled energy can consume the witch, disintegrating them from the inside out.
- As shown in Know Thy Enemy, witches can channel the power of more than one witch where Bonnie successfully harnessed the powers of 100 dead witches.
- A subsection of witches known as Siphoners are born without any innate magic, therefore are unable to channel. Instead, they possess a variant ability known as siphoning.