|“||It's not meant to be fun. It's real and it's serious, and you must understand it before you practice it.||”|
Witchcraft is a practice of magic used by Witches 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, Santería, Wicca, or any number of other magical practices from countries and cultures all around the world. While most witches appear as kind and selfless humans who use their powers to maintain balance within the world, it has been proven by multiple characters that some witches are independent thinkers who may go against the Balance of Nature by practicing their powers for dark and sinister deeds.
Different types of Magic
Ancestral Magic is an extremely powerful form of witchcraft that is commonly practiced by the Nine Covens of New Orleans. Similar to Spirit Magic, this form of sorcery draws its energy from the power of ancestral witches who have been consecrated into New Orleans soil. However, according to Sophie Deveraux, this power can only be harnessed within the boundaries of New Orleans, meaning that should the witch abandon the area, their power will diminish and will be forced to utilize other forms of magic. In addition to this, should a witch abuse the power that has been given to them by the Ancestors, the spirits can repeal this power from any witch in New Orleans, including the Regent.
Connective Magic is a form of sorcery that allows a witch to create a semi-permanent bond that draws strength from other supernatural beings, such as another witch. The witch, Dahlia, however, invented her own brand of this magic which allows the casting which to channel another witch's power while also augmenting said witch's power. She also used this magic to draw on the strength of an immortal being to achieve true immortality in conjunction with her The Immortality Slumber Spell. However, neutralizing or killing said immortal being would similarly affect the witch. Unlike sacrificial magic, the target which energy is drawn from is not hurt.
Dark Magic (also coined "Black Magic") is a powerful form of sorcery that draws on malevolent powers and may be used for negative purposes (e.g. to cause destruction or misfortune, to injure or kill, or for the profit of oneself rather than for the benefit of others). In popular usage, the term "dark magic" is often used to describe any form of sorcery that is used against the Balance of Nature.
Expression is an extremely powerful form of sorcery that draws on dark energy that is so malicious, it would supposedly demolish the world if it were ever called into existence. The details and history of expression remain unknown, however, according to the witch, Nandi LaMarche, the forces of expression are considered so powerful that many witches discredit it as magic, for it expands beyond the limitations of both ancient and modern witchcraft.
Sacrificial Magic can be a powerful form of sorcery, though is highly dependent upon the ritualistic sacrifices of natural and supernatural beings. Similar to Expression, this form of sorcery can draw upon the energy, in various forms, from any supernatural creature that is sacrificed. According to the witch Vincent Griffith, Sacrificial Magic is but one of the many branches of witchcraft that is popularly practiced by many of the witches in New Orleans.
Spirit Magic was a very powerful form of sorcery that drew its power from the Spirits who resided on the Other Side. Unlike other forms of magic, with the exception of Ancestral Magic, Spirit Magic could only be used how the Spirits saw fit and if a witch abused the power that is bestowed upon them, the Spirits would break the connection between themselves and the witch, preventing them from further harnessing their power. Since the collapse of the Other Side, Spirit Magic may have become extinct. However, it's been shown that witch spirits that have found peace in the afterlife retain their ability to perform magic, though it is currently unknown if living witches can call upon these spirits for additional aid.
Traditional Magic is one of the oldest and purest forms of sorcery inherent to the Earth and the forces of Nature. Traditional Magic is undoubtedly the most popular form of witchcraft known-to-man, however it is also the most exhausting. This is mainly due to the fact whenever a witch uses this power they must exert their own energy, causing them to experience symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, and minor nosebleeds. Bonnie Bennett explained the limits of this power to Jeremy Gilbert, saying that if she pushed too hard, it would push back.
Traveler Magic is a form of sorcery that is strictly practiced by a subculture of witches known as the Travelers. This form of sorcery specializes in spirit possession and its spells are performed in a language different from all other forms of witchcraft. Traveler Magic is highly dependent upon the magic of the Traveler along with their connection to other Travelers. Only by joining together, in large gatherings, are Travelers able to perform powerful feats of magic. Without access to the magic of other Travelers, their power is considerably weak.
Known Magical Practices
Blood Magic is a magical practice that refers to the mystical properties found in non-human blood. Blood from different supernatural species possess different uses with those most notably from a Doppelgänger and can be seen used by witches to interconnect them with their rituals and spells to draw on their unique properties such as when Vincent attempted to use Lucien's own blood as the Beast to cure the venom in his bite.
Elemental Magic is a magical practice that involves the utilization of the four alchemical elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. A witch with enough magical power can interconnect Elemental Magic within their rituals and spells to draw on their unique properties. Davina Claire once used a subsection of such, known as Earth Magic, during her attempt to resurrect Kol Mikaelson to turn ash to bone and earth to flesh. Witches typically utilize fire, in the form of candles or torches, to aid them in their spells. Other witches like Esther Mikaelson and Ariane have used water as conduits in spells related to Divination.
Hoodoo is a magical practice that mixes occult elements of African, European, and Native American witchcraft along with some Christian mythology. Contrary to Voodoo, Hoodoo is not a religion, but rather an eclectic practice of witchcraft that is strongly based in herbal knowledge and can be used negatively or positively. According to Vincent, Hoodoo is but one of the many branches of witchcraft and is popularly practiced by many of the witches in New Orleans.
Kemiya is a magical practice that was founded in Arabia that allows a witch to affect an object in a number of ways such as physically changing its foundation or magically imbuing them with supernatural properties, thus creating a Dark Object. Requiring two witches to perform, the potency of its spells are determine by the chemistry between the two practitioners. Kemiya is said to cross the boundary between magic and science, utilizing aspects of both. One such notable example is the creation of the Gold Dagger; i.e. turning silver to gold.
Necromancy is a magical practice that allows a witch to contact, control and even revive the dead. While most witches who practice Necromancy are known to channel Dark Magic, it is known that a witch can use any magic of their choosing to practice Necromancy. According to Vincent, Necromancy is but one of the many branches of witchcraft and is popularly practiced by many of the witches in New Orleans.
Representational Magic is a magical practice which use representative objects to manipulate reality. Its origins remain unknown however, they are shown to have existed at least as far back as 10th Century A.D. According to Vincent, Representational Magic is but one of the many branches of witchcraft and is popularly practiced by many of the witches in New Orleans. Usually, such spells use much more power than one realizes. It's also a very delicate magic that requires considerable concentration by the witch who practices it. One such use of representational magic is for the creation of a Chambre de Chasse.
Shamanism is a magical practice used by indigenous witches known as shamans. Shamanism is described as a way of life, focusing on connecting with Nature and creation where interaction with the spirit world through altered states of consciousness is used to achieve divination and healing. A tribe of shamans have been known to create the Huntress, sacrificing their lives to imbue her with great power to destroy vampires. This practice has slowly faded from the world and is rarely seen, though legends and lore has kept this all but gone.
Voodoo is a very old magical practice, that is also a religion, used by a number of witches. Voodoo is described as a set of spiritual folkways which originated from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions which developed within the French, Spanish and Creole population of the U.S. state of Louisiana. According to Vincent, Voodoo is but one of the many branches of witchcraft and is popularly practiced by many of the witches in New Orleans.
One of the main components of witchcraft is the ability of witches to cast spells. Spell Casting is a power of Witches and witch-related species such as Siphoners, Witch-Vampire Hybrids and, possibly, Werewolf-Witch Hybrids to work magic through the recitation of incantations. This allows users to magically alter reality to a wide number of effects or to evoke forces to change their surroundings. Though this is an ability possessed by all witches, it can also be achieved through thoughts, gestures and rituals, although generally spoken.
Spells are capable of producing a wide variety of effects, both harmful and helpful. They can produce physical or chemical changes in a person or object. They can also have profound mental effects such as altering memory, manipulating emotions, or causing magical compulsion (such as forcing someone to speak truthfully).
Spells can manipulate other kinds of magic, such as binding (preventing the use of) a witch's powers, transferring powers between individuals or objects, breaking magical barriers, lifting or casting curses, protection from harm and range from healing to resurrecting the dead. Some spells require more than one witch to make them work in order to increase the amount of magic and therefore potential power available for the spell.
The capabilities of spell casting are nearly limitless, though it depends on the type of magic being invoked, the proficiency of the witch and the spell being cast. A great majority of spells contain a spoken component, notably known as an incantation. An incantation is written and recited as a verse that can vary widely in length from a single word, to a short phrase, to a long verse repeated to completion. Some spells consist of only an incantation where others have additional and/or specific components as well. A spell may require the use of certain tools, ingredients (herbs, stones and minerals) or the use of additional power such as from talismans, celestial events or a specific kind of magic.
Spells and Rituals
- Main article: Spells and Rituals
One of the defining characteristics of a witch is their ability to cast spells; a "spell" typically 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 Traditional Magic and Spirit Magic are spoken in an ancient language very similar to Latin, while the ancient witch Qetsiyah performed her spells in Aramaic (a language that originated from the Middle East). However, witches who practice other forms of magic have been known to use spells in different languages; for example, the French Quarter Coven, which practices Ancestral Magic, performs their spells in French or French Creole, while the Travelers typically perform their spells in Czech. Dahlia and Freya Mikaelson have performed spells using a yet to be identified ancient magic in Old Norse, similar to the modern-day Norwegian, Icelandic, Germanic, Danish, Scandinavian and Swedish languages.
Known Magical Celebrations
Certain days are celebrated by witches for the high magical potential they represent. These traditions are observed particularly within covens. The best-known celebrations so far come from the witches of New Orleans, which hosts the largest number of covens.
Meaning "Blessing Festival", is celebrated by the witches of the French Quarter in agreement with the local community in which people offer gifts to the Harvest Witches in exchange of blessings. Witches offer a demonstration of their powers during a parade held in the French Quarter and then a party is held in a luxury building where guests deposit their gifts at the feet of the witches who are sitting on thrones. From the words of Genevieve, it seems that this festival had been suspended by the restrictive policy of Marcel Gerard and not by the fact that it celebrates solely the Harvest witches every three hundred years, when the Harvest Ritual is accomplished. So it's likely that the gifts are offered to the most important with in the hierarchy at the time.
Literally "celebration of the gifts" in French, this festival is celebrated by the totality of the Nine Covens of New Orleans in the City of the Dead. Every witch brings an animal - generally goats- to the Regent to be sacrificed and bestow benevolence upon the community. The festival last all day long and the evening seems to be devoted to revelry while the proper religious ceremony is celebrated in the morning.
- Along with Spell Casting, Channeling, is yet another basic characteristic of a witch's power.
- Some spells can replicate the effects of magical powers such as Pyrokinesis, Telekinesis or Pain Infliction though they may also be the result of non-verbal spells or simply spells that help focus these powers.
- Spells and rituals are recorded in Grimoires by witches in order to gather information and improve their work.
- According to Abby Bennett Wilson, all magic is monitored by Nature and has consequential effects. She explained this to her daughter, Bonnie, 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. However, it's revealed that the Spirits are in charge of taking away a witch's power.
- According to Bonnie Bennett, 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.
- A witch has access to an inner source of power that gives them the required amount of energy to perform a spell.
- According to Sheila Bennett, "all witchcraft was rooted in psychic energy".
- A witch can only ever channel so much power. Going beyond that limit risks the witch from disintegrating from the inside out.
- Contrary to the Novels, the television show does not mention the practice of Wicca, however it is possible that traditional magic could be a symbolic representation of Wicca as traditional magic is deeply concerned with the Balance of Nature.
- Contrary to popular belief, Necromancy and Representational Magic are not types of magical power, but types of magical practices. Since magic is based on its source of power, necromancy and representational magic do not qualify as magic as they can be practiced with any magic chosen by the practitioner. For example, Monique Deveraux used Ancestral Magic to cast a representational spell that would prevent Celeste Dubois from cheating death. However, Finn Mikaelson used Sacrificial Magic to cast a representational spell to trap Elijah, Klaus, and Kol inside of an astral illusion. According to the Harvest witch, Cassie, the Kindred used dark magic for immortality and necromancy spells, while other witches, such as Qetsiyah, use other Magics, such as traditional magic.
- Currently Necromancy, Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Santería have only been named practices and have not been used with other types sorcery (e.g. Shamanism, Representational, and Elemental).
- According to Elijah Mikaelson, objects enchanted by witchcraft can only be destroyed by using the elements of water and fire.
- According to Freya Mikaelson, a witch's magic can be anchored to one's home which are sometimes required in spells. If a witch is never in one place for a long period of time or has no ties to anyone or anything, they will have no anchor. However, witches can use people as anchors, however, doing this allows the witch to see inside the mind of the respective anchor(s).