|“||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 man or woman who is born with the power to affect change by magical means ("Witchcraft"). While many witches are self-proclaimed Keepers of the Balance, other witches are 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 freewill 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: Witches have the power to invoke extra forms of energy by focusing on external forces.
- Potion Brewing: Witches have the power to brew and concoct potions, remedies and elixirs that have supernatural properties.
- Spell Casting: Witches have the power to change and control events through the use of incantations and more.
- Divination: Witches have the power to divine future, past, and present events based off extrasensory perception.
- Clairvoyance: Witches have the power to divine through the perception of emotions, objects, people, or physical phenomena.
- Empathy: Witches have the power to identify the emotions of another person.
- Intuition: Witches have the power to divine through the use of instinctive knowledge.
- Mediumship: Witches have the power to commune with the spirits of the dead.
- Premonitions: Witches have the power to divine through the observation and study of dreams.
- Psychometry: Witches have the power to divine through contact with or proximity to a certain object or person.
Rituals and Spells
- 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, a witch named Freya Mikaelson has 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.
- 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.
- Disbelief: The act of denying or disbelieving in one's potential could cause a witch to inadvertently suppress their magical power.
- Distraction: Any person, substance, or thing that prevents a witch from giving full attention to their spells can hinder a witch from effectively practicing witchcraft.
- Fear: A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the condition or feeling of being afraid could cause a witch to involuntarily block their own powers for a short time.
- Herbs: Ingestion of certain herbs can cause a witch to lose consciousness and prevent them from using magic for a 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.
- Magic: All creatures are susceptible to the forces of witchcraft including Dark Objects, potions, spells and more.
- Mortality: Based off the fact that witches are still human, they share many of the same weaknesses as non-supernatural beings (e.g. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, etc.)
- 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 the Earth and the witches is a very deep and spiritual connection. While the majority of witches seem to respect the Earth 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.
- "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 of the human parents to teach their children to hate and persecute all creatures who were different from them, especially witches. This eventually lead to some of the world's most infamous witch trails 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 occult has dramatically declined to the point where Sheila Bennett suggested that many humans like to poke fun at witchcraft.
- "Witches talk, even on the Other Side. Who do you think makes all the rules?"
- — Sheila Bennett
- "They're more like the ugly stepsister."
- — Liv Parker
- "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."
- "Witches being pulled down by vampire problems...as much as we tried to do to stay out of it."
- — Sheila Bennett
- "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 with the inception of the vampires.
- "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
|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|
|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.||Alive|
|Finn Mikaelson||Finn Mikaelson was a witch before his transition into an Original vampire.||Unconscious|
|Kol Mikaelson||Kol Mikaelson was a witch before his transition into an Original vampire.||Deceased|
|Rebekah Mikaelson||Rebekah Mikaelson was a witch before her transition into an Original vampire.||Conscious|
|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|
|Celeste 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|
|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.||Alive|
|Eva Sinclair||Eva Sinclair is a very dark and powerful witch who is currently 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|
|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|
|Luka Martin||Luka Martin was a powerful witch and also a former friend of Bonnie Bennett.||Deceased|
|Bonnie Bennett||Bonnie Bennett is a very powerful witch of the Bennett family.||Alive|
|Kaleb Westphall||Kaleb Westphall is a French Quarter witch who, until recently, was under the possession of Kol Mikaelson.||Deceased|
|Davina Claire||Davina Claire is a very powerful Harvest witch and also the current Regent of the New Orleans covens.||Alive|
|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 Klaus Mikaelson and Hayley Marshall.||Alive|
|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|
|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|
- 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 dreamt 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. Its revealed the spirits are actually the ones in control of taking away magic however they cant control expression.
- According to Bonnie Bennett, almost 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.
- 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), with a constant flow of vampire blood in her body (from her father, Klaus Mikaelson).
- The Bennett Family was said to have migrated to Mystic Falls from Salem, Massachusetts after the witch trials of 1692, however, it was revealed in a later season that an ancestor of the Bennett Family, Ayana, migrated to the place that would be Mystic Falls from Europe with the Mikaelson Family. It can be speculated that Ayana's descendants may have traveled south to the Caribbean or possibly back to Europe before Salem was settled some six hundred years later.
- 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 the only type 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.
- 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.
- List of Witches - a complete list of all witches that have appeared in the series.