Witches are Motals born with the ability to naturally use the Magical Energy around them (Witchcraft). A Witch can be either Male or Female, and they are usually born with these magical traits. Witches can be either Good or Evil. Witches are related to Wizards and Sorcerers.
Among the Basic Wiccan Powers are the abilites of Spell Casting, Potion Making, and Scrying, Furthermore Witcehs are able to sense and communicate with Spirits and other Magical Beings, which are usually seen by Mortals. More powerful Witches are often in the possession of one or more Active Powers.
Back when the world was dark, a spiritual energy ran through everything that existed neither Good nor Evil, it was part of everything like air and earth. The Elders call it The All. Thousands upon thousands of years ago, a woman came across that Nexus. She alerted her mate of what she had found. At first they were afraid of it, but she pushed past that fear and tapped into this power. The woman was infused with more of the All than any human was supposed to possess. The woman shared that power with her mate and it changed them, made them immortal and invulnerable. It bonded them forever to one another and to the All creating a state beyond consciousness beyond the known universe; That place was called the higher realm, a place of pure, utter bliss that they shared with the All.
However, their presence there affected the earth and their magical bond contained the All in the higher realm. The world started to die. The only way to save earth was for the woman and her mate to separate their powers. To allow the power of the All to flow freely again. The woman and man were forced to abandon the higher realm, never to return again. Once back on Earth, the woman gave birth to a pair of twins that were conceived while she was in the higher realm. The first child was a female and had powers like her mother just not as strong; it is from this child that natural-born Witches came. The second child was a male born with the same abilities but he used the magic for dark purposes and that gave rise to warlocks. The other children that came later had no powers to speak of but they and their descendants could tap into the magic as magic practitioners. In very rare cases these non-magical descendants can give birth to a full witch, but this can upset The Grand Design. The Warren family of witches did not just come into magic, but are a part of Neena's bloodline. Every time a witch is born, she inherits a tiny piece of the All. Not a lot, but just enough to have an active power. During the late 1600s in Salem, Massachusetts, several men and women were persecuted for practicing witchcraft. During this period in Colonial America, many of the Puritans who had settled in the Northeast believed that witches were servants for the Devil. This became known the Salem witch trials, in which numerous people - witches and mortals- were hanged or otherwise killed.
- In reality, none of these people were witches. Furthermore, people believed to be witches were hanged, though burning is a common historical misconception that has been stated and shown in Charmed. Although, in Europe, in an earlier time period, known as the Dark Ages (and referred to by Wiccans and other Pagans as "The Burning Times") accused witches were often burned at the stake as a mean to purify them of their "sins".
Witches come in two types: Magical witches and Practitioners. This method of classification has been used several times in the show when practitioners have been an element of the storyline.
Humans who practice witchcraft, but lack any true magical powers are known as "practitioners." The practitioners featured on Charmed tend to treat witchcraft as a more religious experience than the sisters do and usually follow the Neopagan religion of Wicca. These witches are not immune to the power of Molecular Immobilization. However, it is known that some practitioners do however have the power to cast spells and maintain the fundamental Wiccan abilities but just simply lack an active power.
Magical witches are born with the ability to use magic. Their supernatural powers are passed on to them through blood from their ancestors, and are bound to their emotions, thoughts, and souls. Each magical witch would possess the three fundamental Wiccan skills to cast spells, brew potions and scry for lost objects or people. Besides this, their magic will manifest itself in the form of one or more individual, personal powers commonly known as "active powers." These powers can be used at will and do not require incantations or potions.
All and only magical witches are assigned whitelighters by the Elders, and also have familiars when they first begin combating evil. Magical witches are also further classified as upper-level or lower-level. Upper-level witches naturally possess more strength and skill than lower-level witches which allow them to perform more spectacular feats of magic, such as casting spells of supreme power and brewing potent potions to help achieve their goals.
- Main article: Warlock
A witch who betrays the Wiccan Rede, sells his or her soul to pure evil and kills another witch to steal his or her powers becomes a warlock. A warlock can be either male or female.
They tend to strengthen their powers by killing other magical creatures and obtaining theirs. Upper-level warlocks possess the ability of blinking, which was originally a witch's power before it transcended into a warlock's.
Although a warlock is usually originally a witch, some are also born that way. They can also be converted through a dark wedding ritual with a warlock, which will convert the witch in hours. The very first warlock to walk the Earth was the male of the twins born to the first witch, Neena.
The first enemy the Charmed Ones ever encountered was a warlock named Jeremy Burns, who became Piper Halliwell's boyfriend to lure her into a trap.
An evil witch, sometimes confused with a warlock, is a witch who renounces The Wiccan Rede, and uses his/her powers for personal gain and evil, sinister means, though they do not kill witches for their powers and do not sell their soul to the forces of evil.
When witches turn evil, they renounce their right to a Whitelighter.
One memorable evil witch was Pearl Russell, she was a distant relative of the Charmed Ones as well as Phoebe Halliwell's past life. Another was the Evil Enchantress of the Dark Ages, she was Paige Matthew's past life.
- Main article: Spirit The spirit of a deceased witch. They retain their powers in the afterlife, but are also granted the abilities of haunting, whisping, and possessing other creatures. They have to be summoned through a spell or a ritual to cross over to the physical plane, sometimes needing the permission of the Elders. However, some of them can freely cross the borders if powerful enough or know the tricks. As ghosts, they also have the power to cast the spell to banish ghosts, unlike witches who are still alive.
- Main article: Whitelighter-Witches The offspring of a witch and a whitelighter. These hybrids have the full powers of their Wiccan heritage as well as the abilities and calling of a whitelighter. Some of their powers are also a mixture of witchcraft and whitelighter magic, for instance, Telekinetic Orbing is the Wiccan ability to move objects with the power of one's mind alone, blended with the orbing power possessed by whitelighters. These hybrids are vulnerable to the poison of darklighter arrow.
- Main article: Empaths
They are witches whose psychic powers grow into the ability of Empathy, and are destined to be Empaths, beings granted the power to feel others' emotions. These hybrids are rare as only few are chosen to become Empaths, and at most times, they are immortal humans who often enter fields enabling them to heal and guide others; usually becoming counselors, psychiatrists, etc. Their power allows them to help others, such as healing someone's emotional pain. It is unknown if the children of empath-witches will inherit their powers.
- Main article: Cupid-witches
The offspring of a witch and a Cupid. These offspring tend to inherit the powers of Cupids, but also the basic abilities of witches, unless their powers mix from both ancestries. They do not require a Cupid Ring to activate their powers, possibly due to the witch-side of their magic. The only known half-cupids are the three daughters of Coop and Phoebe Halliwell, the eldest of which is Prue.
- Main article: Firestarter
A witch who also has the abilities of a separate magical species known as a "Firestarter." These witches have the power to create fire at will. They are not to be confused with witches and magical beings who can shoot fire out of their hands. Unlike a normal Firestarter, a witch with such ability also possesses the basic abilities of scrying, spellcasting, and potion making, as well as a separate wiccan birth power; for example, Christy Jenkins has the active power of Telepathy.
- Main article: Phoenix (witches)
A coven of assassin witches depicted as the rise of the ashes from the Salem witch trials. Powerful, agile, and cunning, these witches will stop at nothing to collect whatever bounty they have been hired for. Such witches are born with the birthmark of a phoenix on their bodies as proof of their legion. Unlike most witches, they also have the power to reconstitute and the ability to strip away other people's powers, and unless they finish the process, the interrupted effect will kill the target. They also possess Grimoires instead of a Book of Shadows.
- Main article: Demon-Witches The offspring of a witch and a demon. The only demon/witch hybrid depicted in the series was the Unborn Source, child of Charmed One, Phoebe Halliwell, and Cole Turner, who at the time was possessed by the Source of All Evil. The union between Cole and Phoebe created a massive concentration of power. Even as two months old fetus, the Unborn Source was able to produce massive amounts of power. Against this power even the strongest of demons perished. He would have been the first born of Phoebe and the Charmed Ones if he had not been vanquished.
- Main article: Gypsies The Gypsies are the sister species of witches. The high priestess of gypsies is called a Shuvani and is wiser than most gypsies. Unlike witches, they are not as powerful and rely on using herbal remedies and spells to access their powers. When a Gypsy sees a "mulo," the spirit of a living dead, it only depicts that something horrible is about to happen. In the Nicoli family, one member of each generation was assigned with the task to protect the Evil Eye-the protective symbol of the Gypsy family, much like the symbol of a witch family.
The Window of OpportunityEdit
The Window of Opportunity presents itself if a new witch hasn't decided to use his/her powers for good or evil yet. During this time, she/he could be swayed either way. The Window of Opportunity remains open for forty-eight hours from the moment the witch's powers awake.
Because of free will, good and evil are unable to make her/him choose her/his path magically. However, evil can tempt the witch to take an innocent's life to make her/him take the path of evil, which will make her/him evil forever. On the other hand, if the witch does an act of good, she/he becomes good.
The Window of Opportunity was created eons ago by good and evil to protect free will. What happens after the forty-eight hours if the witch still hasn't made his/her choice remains unexplained.
A window opened for Paige Matthews when she first gained witch powers. Paige initially feared magic —especially after her encounter with Shax— and attempted to stay oblivious from the magical world. Unfortunately, this gave the Source a chance to turn her evil. However, Phoebe and Piper managed to turn her good before the time ran out.
Although the idea of the practitioner is not elaborated on in the show, the Charmed novel "Mystic Knoll" goes into great detail about them. According to the book, witch practitioners are mortals with a natural affinity to magic. Hence they can use magic. However, the witch practitioner must rely upon external sources of power from which to draw upon in order to use the three basic witch powers. For example, Abigail Thornwood was able to curse her daughter at Mystic Knoll, because the place was a natural reservoir of magic which she could tap into and use as 'fuel'. Magic may also be drawn from magical people such as when Harriet Thornwood cast a spell using both Mystic Knoll and the Charmed Ones magic.
However, magical witches have an internal spring from which their magical power flows and hence can use basic witch powers wherever and whenever they want. Due to the nature of their power source (i.e. an inward one personal to them), they have a unique connection with magic and because of this, they are able to tap into it in a unique way through personal powers i.e. Premonition, Telekinesis etc.
Although the books are only semi-canonical, this idea does not contradict anything on the show and both is highly similar to modern ideas on magic Wicca (especially Scott Cunningham's concepts on "powers") in reality and serves to explain a lot about the difference between practitioners and Magical witches and so would not be too much of a stretch to consider it canon rather than fanon.
Portrayal in FictionEdit
Witches have been central to the plot of numerous fictional stories, even if the general public doesn't believe in real magic.
Bewitched was a popular TV show that originally ran from 1964 to 1972 that followed the witch Samantha Stephens, and how she had to avoid using her magic because her husband didn't approve. The show (in reruns) was Phoebe Halliwell's favorite show growing up, and she has said it is where she learned "how to be a wife". Cole Turner, however, had never heard of the show. ("Lost and Bound")
Piper occasionally watched Passions, a soap opera involving an evil witch Tabitha who wreaks havoc on the city the show takes place in. While watching Tabitha cast a spell once, Piper noted: "Hm! Like that spell would've worked". ("The Day the Magic Died")
Many other shows also deal with the concept of modern day witches. Below is a list of shows and movies that have at least one of their main characters a witch.