|“||The Italians call them Strega. The Yoruba of West Africa call them Aje, meaning mother. Where my mother was from, they called them Häxa. And here, we call them witch. Over the centuries vampires have fought them and fought beside them, bedded them and burned them. Whether adversary or ally they have been a force to be reckoned with.||”|
— Elijah on the Witches
A witch is a person who is born with the power to affect change by magical means (Witchcraft). While many witches are the self-proclaimed "Keepers of the Balance," other witches have been known to work against the Balance and use their power for personal gain.
The Balance of Nature
The Balance of Nature is a spiritual belief system based around the observance of the Earth and reverence of Mother Nature. The goal of many witches is to honor the design of nature and to maintain balance within the natural world. The balance of nature is intimately tied to one's spiritual relationship with the Earth, and the idea that all living things (e.g. animals, humans, plants, etc.) are considered sacred, as they are all different aspects of nature. Contemporary witches would also agree that using modern ceremonies, rituals and shamanic practices is the best way to attune themselves with the natural rhythms of the universe in their efforts to obtain guidance and knowledge from wiser known witches called "The Spirits." However, according to Gloria, who referred to herself as "old-school voodoo," it is implied that not all witches follow this belief system, and have the free will to choose how they wish to practice their power.
The origin of witchcraft remains unknown, however, it is known that witches have existed for many centuries passing down their knowledge and skills through generations of family lines. Contrary to popular belief, witches do not receive their powers from demons, nor do they worship the devil. Instead, witches consider themselves "the Servants of Nature," as they make it their duty to maintain balance within the world.
- Main article: Witchcraft
Magic is a practice of witchcraft that encompasses many different types of activities including astrology, divination, spell casting, and spirit communication. It includes the practices of many cultures, nations and religions as well as many books and writings from ancient times. Depending upon the individual, some witches practice their power by certain belief systems, such as Shamanism, Voodoo, Wicca, or any number of other magical practices from countries and cultures all around the world. Although the majority of traditional witches are commonly portrayed as being kind and selfless humans who use their powers to maintain balance within the world, in the case of Esther and Qetsiyah, it has been proven that some witches are independent thinkers who may go against the Balance of Nature by practicing their powers for dark and sinister deeds.
Powers and Abilities
The basic powers of every witch include:
- Channeling: The power to invoke extra forms of energy by focusing on external forces.
- Potion Brewing: The power to brew and concoct potions, remedies and elixirs that have supernatural properties.
- Spell Casting: The power to change and control events through the use of incantations and more.
- Divination: The power to divine future, past, and present events based off extrasensory perception.
- Clairvoyance: The power to divine future, past or present events through instinctive knowledge.
- Intuition: The power to divine future, past or present events through the use of instinctive knowledge.
- Premonitions: The power to divine future, past or present events through the observation and study of dreams.
- Psychometry: The power to divine future, past or present events through contact with or proximity to a certain object or person.
- Elemental Control: The power to control and manipulate the elements of air, earth, fire, and water.
- Pain Infliction: The power to create excruciating migraines through supernatural means.
- Telekinesis: The power to move objects and persons through mental influence.
- Transmogrification: The unique power to magically transform persons or objects into other forms of life or objects.
Spells and Rituals
- Main article: Spells and Rituals
One of the defining characteristics of a witch is their ability to cast spells; a "spell" being the word used to signify the means employed to carry out a magical action. A spell could consist of a ritual action, a set of words, a verse, or any combination of these. For reasons unknown, the majority of spells used by practitioners of Spirit Magic and/or Traditional Magic are spoken in an ancient language similar to Latin. However, witches who practice other forms of magic have been known to use spells in different languages; for example, the French Quarter witches of New Orleans performs many of their spells in language similar to French Creole, while the Travelers typically perform their spells in a language similar to Czech. However, the ancient witches Dahlia and Freya Mikaelson have been known to perform spells using a language similar to Old Norse.
- Main article: Witches' tools
- Amulets: An object that is used to protect its wearer from harm.
- Athames: A ceremonial dagger with a double-edged blade that is commonly used to direct energy.
- Candles: A block of solid wax with an embedded wick that is commonly lit to to amplify a witch’s spell.
- Cauldrons: A large metal pot that is commonly used to hold the ingredients for elixirs and potions.
- Grimoires: A family journal is documented with magical recipes, rituals, and spells, and can also be used as a Talisman.
- Herbs: Various flora used as ingredients to be incorporated into spells as binding agents
- Stones: Various minerals and ores used to boost or bind a witch's spell.
- Symbols: Seals drawn or written used as physical representations of spells.
- Talismans: An object that is used to magnify a witch's power and or represent them supernaturally.
- Disbelief: The act of denying or disbelieving in one's potential could cause a witch to inadvertently suppress their magical power.
- Distraction: Denying a witch from concentrating or giving full attention to their spells, may render them ineffective.
- Emotions: A witch's magic is subject to the influence of their emotional state and may fluctuate according to them when untrained. According to Sheila Bennett, strong emotions such as worry and anger can fuel a witch's power while emotions such as fear may prevent a witch from properly accessing their powers.
- Herbs: Ingestion of certain herbs can cause a witch to lose consciousness and prevent them from using magic for an undetermined amount of time. The Lobelia flower prevents concentration and the practice of magic and can be used to weaken a witch as one would weaken a vampire with vervain.
- Huntress' Blood: A supernatural huntress' blood can suppress all magic of a witch when consumed, as well as prevent magic from working on said witch, as seen when the Armory could not perform a locator spell on Bonnie Bennett. Prolonged ingestion is toxic, and ultimately leads to the death of the witch. Once black scabs start appearing on their body, the infected witches have less than a week of life, similar to how Vampires react to Werewolf Toxin. There is no known cure to combat this disease.
- Magic: Witches are still susceptible to the powers of witchcraft. This is inclusive of mystical objects such as Papa Tunde's Blade, and Dark Objects. A siphoner can siphon the magic from a witch and prolonged exposure may lead to death.
- Mortality: Despite their mystical attributes, witches are still human and share many of the same weaknesses as non-supernatural beings (e.g. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, snapped neck, etc.). However, witches can temporarily get around this weakness through the use of protection spells.
- Overexertion: The excessive use of magic could lead to disorientation, nose bleeds, unconsciousness, and if taken to the extreme, death.
- "Witches have a connection to the Earth. We can literally feel nature."
- —Bonnie Bennett
The relationship between Nature and witches is a very deep and spiritual connection. While the majority of witches seem to respect Nature with just as much commitment and reverence as religious factions do about their churches or mosques, it has been proven that not all witches share this belief and have made malevolent acts against the Balance of Nature.
- "Well the way he sees it all witches are family. We're all bonded together by a code of loyalty to help each other."
- —Luka Martin
The relationship among witches is generally a positive relationship where witches not only help and protect each other, but often treat one another as members of an extended family. However, while the majority of witches feel it is their duty to help their fellow man, it has been proven that some witches may disregard this belief and turn against their own people if it comes to it, such as with their own safety, that of their loved ones or that of their own beliefs.
- "They also know it's absurd. Can't be true. I'm just the kooky old lady who teaches occult at the university. No one truly believes. They just poke fun. And let 'em, don't let them know the truth."
- —Sheila Bennett
The relationship between humans and witches is generally a positive relationship, although this was not always the case. Throughout the past, more than half of the human population lived in fear of the supernatural community. This fear caused many human parents to teach their children to hate and persecute all creatures who were different from them, especially witches. This eventually led to some of the world's most infamous witch trials that massacred hundreds (possibly thousands) of witches. While it has been implied that more than half of those who were accused were entirely innocent, according to Elijah Mikaelson, many of those who were killed in Mystic Falls were true witches. Throughout the centuries, it appears that the belief in the occult has dramatically declined to the point where Sheila Bennett suggested that many humans like to poke fun at witchcraft, a behavior many witches encourage to ensure their anonymity to the human world and allow them to quietly practice their craft in private.
- "Before the 1900s, your mother fell in with a group of witches that were cast out of the Gemini Coven. They were known as Heretics, Siphoners like Kai."
The relationship between Siphoners and witches is a negative one. Witches see Siphoners as abominations of Nature just like vampires. All known Siphoners have originated from the Gemini Coven, and it has even been speculated that their existence is a magical side-effect of the coven's Merge ceremony used to determine their new leaders. Six Siphoners were cast out of the Gemini Coven sometime between 1858 and 1903, and during their exile, they crossed paths with the Ripper vampire Lillian Salvatore, who, indirectly turned the first Heretic, and eventually turning the rest into the first (and possibly the only) true witch-vampire hybrids who could retain their ability to siphon magic even after their transformations. With their new-found power, the seven planned to exact revenge against the Gemini coven in 1903 but they were stopped by the Gemini coven and banished them to a prison world. In 1972, another Siphoner, Malachai Parker, was born into the Gemini Coven. Since he had a twin sister, Josette, it was possible for either twin to become the leader of the coven depending on who survived the Merge ceremony. However, since Kai was still viewed as an abomination by the coven, including his parents, he began to distance himself from his family. Kai's parents saw that Kai was not fit to be the leader of the Gemini Coven, but also knew that if he were to Merge with Jo, his Siphoner nature would allow him to beat her, killing her and winning leadership of the coven. To combat this, their parents continued to have children until they had another set of twins. In 1994, Kai lashed out and killed a majority of his siblings just to get to kill the three-year-old twins Luke and Liv to ensure he could become the leader of the Gemini. Like the other Siphoners, Kai was sent into a prison world as a punishment for his crimes. When he finally broke free from the prison worlds, he retaliated and became the eventual leader of the Coven. He would eventually take Lily Salvatore's blood and he kill himself, resulting in the destruction of the Gemini Cove
- "Witches talk, even on the Other Side. Who do you think makes all the rules?"
- —Sheila Bennett
The relationship between the Spirits and the witches was more of a political relationship than a spiritual one. The Spirits were highly involved in the activities of witches and often communed with them during their rituals and spells. The Spirits were known to have created the laws of witchcraft and distributed punishments to any witch who disobeyed their rules. Since the collapse of the Other Side, all relationships between the Spirits and the witches have become extinct. However, a faction of witches in New Orleans are known to commune with a subsection of spiritual witches known as "The Ancestors."
- "New Orleans is full of ghosts. Our dead are always here, hovering. When supernatural creatures die they're doomed to spend eternity alone watching the world go on without them. Of course, that's not the cause for the ancestral witches, we linger in a different way. Consecrated in the Earth, replenishing its power."
The relationship between the Ancestors and the New Orleans witches is more of a political one than a spiritual one. They 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. They are the power source of all New Orleans covens. The relationship between the Ancestors and the New Orleans witches varies from witch to witch. While some witches, such as the Elders, have a deep and powerful reverence for the Ancestors, other witches, such as Davina Claire have had a negative relationship with the Ancestors and view both their ethics and their political agendas as corrupt and sinister. Nevertheless, as the Regent of the nine covens based in New Orleans, Vincent Griffith has full access to the power of the Ancestors and may call upon them for assistance whenever need be. When a New Orleans Witch dies, her body is consecrated, and the magic in her bones and spirit are released into the Ancestral Well. While this restricts the witches, both living and dead, to New Orleans, it gives the coven the power, 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 this connection, The Harvest Ritual must be performed.
- "They're more like the ugly stepsister."
- — Liv Parker
- "Long ago, the witches and the wolves were at peace. Then came the vampires."
- —Esther Mikaelson
The relationship between werewolves and witches is a neutral to negative relationship. Werewolves and witches have been shown to be at odds more than allies. Apparently the two species did once have a strong relationship with one another, however this was ruined by the inception of the vampires. However, witches and werewolves have been known to ally themselves with each other against their common enemy (the vampires), though these alliances are typically short-lived due to werewolves not wanting to be controlled.
|Qetsiyah||Qetsiyah is one of the most powerful witches in history who is notably known for the creation of the immortality spell and the Other Side.||Deceased|
|Silas||Silas was supposedly a very powerful witch who is notably known for becoming the very first Immortal.||Deceased|
|Markos||Markos was an ancient witch and also the leader of the Traveler subculture.||Deceased|
|Dahlia||Dahlia is the elder sister of Esther Mikaelson and also one of the most powerful witches in history.||Deceased|
|Ayana||Ayana is a very powerful witch and the mentor of Esther Mikaelson.||Deceased|
|Esther Mikaelson||Esther Mikaelson is one of the most powerful witches in history who is notably known for the creation the Original family of vampires.||Deceased|
|Freya Mikaelson||Freya Mikaelson is the firstborn child of the Mikaelson family and also an extremely powerful witch.||Unconscious (Linked to Klaus)|
|The Witch of The Five||The Witch of the Five was a very powerful witch who is notably known for the creation of the Brotherhood of the Five.||Deceased|
|Katerina Petrova||Katerina Petrova was a witch of the Traveler subculture before her transition into a vampire.||Deceased|
|Céleste Dubois||Celeste Dubois was a very powerful witch of the French Quarter who was notably known for the possession of multiple bodies over the course of a hundred years.||Deceased|
|Emily Bennett||Emily Bennett was a very powerful ancestor of the Bennett family who lived during the 19th century.||Deceased|
|Mary-Alice Claire||Mary-Alice Claire was a French Quarter witch and also a relative of Davina Claire.||Deceased|
|Astrid Malchance||Astrid Malchance was a French Quarter witch.||Deceased|
|Papa Tunde||Papa Tunde was a very powerful witch who specialized in Sacrificial Magic.||Deceased|
|Genevieve||Genevieve was an very powerful witch of the French Quarter.||Deceased|
|Gloria||Gloria was a very powerful witch who is notably known for her longevity spells.||Deceased|
|Josephine LaRue||Josephine LaRue was a very powerful witch, patron of the Dowager Fauline Cottage, and former Regent of the New Orleans covens.||Deceased|
|Bastianna Natale||Bastianna was a powerful Elder witch of the French Quarter.||Deceased|
|Agnes||Agnes was a powerful Elder witch of the French Quarter.||Deceased|
|Sheila Bennett||Sheila Bennett was the grandmother of Bonnie Bennett.||Deceased|
|Joshua Parker||Joshua Parker is a powerful witch who is notably known for the incarceration of his son Malachai Parker.||Deceased|
|Jonas Martin||Dr. Jonas Martin was a very powerful witch and also the father of Greta and Luka Martin.||Deceased|
|Josette Parker||Josette "Jo" Laughlin is the firstborn daughter of Joshua Parker, twin sister of Malachai Parker and also a powerless witch.||Deceased|
|Kara Nguyen||Kara Nguyen was an Elder witch of the Ninth Ward Coven. She is also a Versailles witch and the mother of Van Nguyen.||Deceased|
|Lucy Bennett||Lucy Bennett was a witch of the Bennett family.||Unknown|
|Jane-Anne Deveraux||Jane-Anne Deveraux was the mother of Monique Deveraux, sister of Sophie Deveraux and also a powerful witch of the French Quarter.||Deceased|
|Vincent Griffith||Vincent Griffith is a very powerful witch of the Treme coven who, until recently, was under the possession of Finn Mikaelson. He was the Regent of the New Orleans Witch Community, until his impeaching by The Ancestors. After they were cut off from the human plane, Vincent became the leader of the Witch Community once again.||Alive|
|Eva Sinclair||Eva Sinclair is a very dark and powerful witch who, until recently, was under the possession of Rebekah Mikaelson.||Deceased|
|Sabine Laurent||Sabine Laurent was the last witch who Celeste Dubois took possession of throughout the past.||Deceased|
|Sophie Deveraux||Sophie Deveraux was the maternal aunt of Monique Deveraux, sister of Jean-Anne Deveraux and also an Elder witch of the French Quarter.||Deceased|
|Alexis||Alexis was a witch and cypher who prophesized the fate of the Mikaelsons.||Deceased|
|Maddox||Maddox is a powerful witch and a member of Klaus' inner trusted circle.||Deceased|
|Van Nguyen||Van Nguyen is a Versailles witch and a member of the Ninth Ward Coven. He is also the son of Kara Nguyen. After Vincent was shunned by the Ancestors, he was given Regency over the Nine Covens, until his untimely demise.||Deceased|
|Bonnie Bennett||Bonnie Bennett is a very powerful witch and the last living witch of the Bennett bloodline.||Alive|
|Olivia Parker||Olivia "Liv" Parker is a powerful witch and also a member of the Gemini coven.||Deceased|
|Lucas Parker||Lucas "Luke" Parker is a powerful witch and also a member of the Gemini coven.||Deceased|
|Kaleb Westphall||Kaleb Westphall is a French Quarter witch who, until recently, was under the possession of Kol Mikaelson.||Deceased|
|Luka Martin||Luka Martin was a powerful witch and also former friend of Bonnie Bennett.||Deceased|
|Greta Martin||Greta Martin is a powerful witch and a member of Klaus' inner circle. She is the daughter of Jonas Martin and brother of Luka Martin.||Deceased|
|Madison||Madison is a powerful dark witch and a former member of The Sisters.||Deceased|
|Ariane||Ariane is a powerful, dark witch and Seer to her coven, The Sisters.||Deceased|
|Davina Claire||Davina Claire is a very powerful Harvest witch and also the former Regent of the New Orleans covens prior to being shunned.||Deceased|
|Monique Deveraux||Monique Deveraux was the daughter of Jane-Anne Deveraux, maternal niece of Sophie Deveraux and also a very powerful Harvest witch.||Deceased|
|Abigail||Abigail was a very powerful Harvest witch.||Deceased|
|Cassie||Cassie was a Harvest witch who was under the possession of Esther Mikaelson.||Deceased|
|Hope Mikaelson||Hope Mikaelson is the firstborn child of Niklaus Mikaelson and Hayley Marshall-Kenner. She is also a Tribrid.||Alive|
|Lizzie Saltzman||Lizzie Saltzman is the twin daughter of Alaric Saltzman and Josette Laughlin. She is also a Siphoner.||Alive|
|Josie Saltzman||Josie Saltzman is the twin daughter of Alaric Saltzman and Josette Laughlin. She is also a Siphoner.||Alive|
|Finn Mikaelson||Finn Mikaelson was a witch while possessing Vincent Griffith. While being a spirit imprisoned within his sister's necklace, he still possesses the ability to use magic.||Deceased|
|Kol Mikaelson||Kol Mikaelson was a witch before his transition into an Original vampire as well as when possessing Kaleb Westphall.||Undead|
|Rebekah Mikaelson||Rebekah Mikaelson was a witch while possessing Eva Sinclair. Though she had the witch gene, she never tapped into her power.||Undead|
|Abby Bennett Wilson||Abby Bennett was a powerful witch who is notably known for the desiccation of the Original vampire, Mikael before being turned into a vampire by Damon.||Undead|
|Lenore||Lenore was a powerful New Orleans witch who was possessed by Esther and turned into a vampire by Rebekah. She was killed by Freya.||Deceased|
- According to Abby Bennett Wilson, all magic is monitored by Nature and has consequential effects. She explained this to her daughter, Bonnie Bennett, when she informed her of how she always dreamed of a normal life and how after she defeated an Original vampire named Mikael, she made the decision to abandon her family in order to live the life she so desperately desired outside of Mystic Falls. As punishment for deserting her lineage, Abby said that it was Nature (not the Spirits) that slowly took away her magic until she was completely powerless.
- According to Bonnie Bennett, all witches have a spiritual connection to the elements of the Earth and the forces of Nature. Since most witches derive their magic from Nature, Bonnie explained how witches can literally feel the essence of life itself.
- According to Emily Bennett, vampirism was an evil curse created from Dark Magic. She explained how some humans (such as Stefan Salvatore) are unfit to become vampires due to their gentle nature. Since vampirism is known to enhance the characteristics and magnify the emotions of a person, humans who are naturally benevolent will become even more benevolent as a vampire. However, since the basic nature of a vampire is to kill, many kindhearted vampires struggle to fight their urges to murder and more often than not, fall off the wagon by cutting off their humanity and going on a killing spree. These vampires become known as "Rippers."
- According to Esther Mikaelson, the creation of the Original vampires was an accident as she never intended to turn her family into monsters, but merely to protect them from harm. After the death of her youngest son, Henrik, Esther and her husband, Mikael, feared the power of the werewolves and wanted to exceed them in superiority. With the support of her husband, Esther created a spell that would not only grant her family immortality, but would also make them faster and stronger than the wolves. Despite the countless warnings given by her mentor, Ayana, Esther used Dark Magic to successfully enact the spell, not knowing that violent behavior and an insatiable thirst for blood would become permanent side-effects.
- According to Sheila Bennett, the Spirits are responsible for creating the laws on magic. Contrary to her granddaughter, Bonnie Bennett, Sheila has presumably always practiced Spirit Magic whereas Bonnie originally practiced Traditional Magic. Sheila hinted that she practiced Spirit Magic when she first met Damon Salvatore, whom she immediately disliked. When Damon asked how Sheila could hate him without even knowing him, Sheila informed Damon how the Spirits "talked" to her, and told her that he was an enemy of the Bennett family and discouraged her from trusting him. One year after her death, when Bonnie performed a manifestation spell which allowed the supernatural spirits of Mystic Falls to materialize, Sheila confirmed that the Spirits were responsible for creating the rules on witchcraft.
- Hope Mikaelson is an active witch (from her grandmother, Esther) with an inactive werewolf gene (from her mother, Hayley Marshall and her father, Klaus Mikaelson), with a constant flow of vampire blood in her body (from her father, Klaus Mikaelson).
- While the Bennett Family was said to have migrated to Mystic Falls from Salem, Massachusetts, it was revealed that the Bennett family originated Britain and migrated to Mystic Falls over a thousand years ago along with the Mikaelson Family.
- While the term "warlock" was originally used to differentiate the male witches from the female witches, it appears that "witch" is a gender-neutral term that applies to men and women. Luka Martin and Papa Tunde are the only characters that have been referred to as warlocks.
- A subsection witches known as Siphoners are the only witches who have the potential to be turned into vampire-witch hybrids as they keep their ability to practice magic after being turned into vampires as a result of their siphoning ability.
- As hybrids, they can draw upon their vampirism as an endless source of power.
- This is in contradictory to what was previously shown however, as all witches have the ability to gain power from external sources, yet none of those witches turned vampires had the ability to do so.
- However, the fact that these witches also possessed their own power in addition to their ability to channel magic from other sources is why they were unable to keep their ability to practice magic following their transformations. Siphoners, however, do not possess their own magic, and as a result, fall into a loophole of Nature's laws.
- Following this, witches would still be able to draw magic in from outside sources. Furthermore, they should not be able to wield magic, regardless of how they obtain it.
- Of the many witches shown throughout both series, only three have been explicitly stated to be among the most powerful in history: Qetsiyah, Dahlia, and Esther. However, no official hierarchy has been made among these three.
- However, executive producer Michael Narducci has stated that Dahlia is "the most powerful thing we've ever seen in this universe." 
- Bennett Witches are well-known in the witch community. Considered one of the most powerful lineages of magic, many powerful spells have been seen to be linked to the blood of a Bennett witch, requiring a Bennett witch to successfully perform them.
- In New Orleans, there are nine main witch Covens that form the majority of the witch community there.
- Practitioners of Ancestral Magic can be stripped of additional power supported by The Ancestors if their Coven shuns them, weakening them.
- The term "Seer" seems more of a titular name, office or Magical profession for witches gifted with seeing into the past, present and future, more than a sub-set of witches. In other words, all Seers are Clairvoyant Witches (witches gifted with seeing into the past, present or future) but not all Clairvoyant Witches are Seers (specialize in the field). e.g. Many people are gifted in singing, but not all of them are Singers (they do not sing for a living or even specialize in it).
- According to Michael Narducci, Hope Mikaelson "is the most powerful witch in the world." 
- List of Witches - a complete list of all witches that have appeared in the series.