The Council of Elders also known as the Founders and the Powers That Be and commonly referred to as just the Elders are a powerful group of elder Whitelighters who advise and govern the forces of good. Their purpose is to preserve the "greater good" by directing their Whitelighters to guide and protect witches and future Whitelighters.
The Elders reside in the Heavens and communicate with witches through their assigned Whitelighters, giving them messages and warning them of impending threats. As prominent figures on the side of good, the Elders also intervene when they deem it necessary and discipline others when they break their rules.
Although they are powerful and have great influence, the Elders are not the highest authority, being outranked by the Angels of Destiny and potentially greater forces.
In the early days of humanity, to help the Nexus that was the All regain some of its magic, the Elders and the Angels of Destiny were forced to send the mate of Neena, the first witch, back to the Higher Realm where the All resided. This was a decision, the errors of which, would only be fully realized millennia later.
Approximately 1000 BC, the Elders saw the Titans as a risk to the world and themselves. In reply to this expanding threat, they unleashed the powers of the Greek Gods onto mortals, who were then able to imprison the Titans for millennia. However, instead of returning the divine powers back to their resting place after the battle, the mortals declared themselves Gods and forced the known world to worship them, as their abilities had completely overwhelmed their senses of humanity. After and since this crisis was resolved, the Elders have been providing guidance and support and watching over the world from their Heavenly abode.
After the Greek Gods took power, the Elders sent the most powerful witches of that time to watch them: Medusa, Stheno and Euryale. But Medusa was violated by the sea god, Poseidon in Athena's temple, and Athena cursed her into a gorgon both as punishment and warning to the Elders. Her sisters tried to exact revenge, but with their powers weakened due to Medusa's state, they met the same fate.
Creation of the Whitelighters
Nearly a thousand years later, the Elders began to plan the creation of a race of magical beings that would eventually become the Whitelighters. Their initial intentions were to make Whitelighters avenging angels, warriors on the side of good fighting against evil. To aid them in this task, the Elders asked a magical blacksmith to produce a weapon for these warriors. However, some Elders thought that the Whitelighters should instead be mere guides to the good magical beings. After a heated discussion that nearly tore the Heavens apart, the faction which sought to make Whitelighters peaceful guides carried the day, and the weapons created by the bladesmith were hidden away.
The Charmed Ones
- "It's really hard to explain. I-I don't really understand how it all works myself, but I know that there are different levels up there, a hierarchy. What I'm trying to say is that I think a holy union goes above their heads. It'd be like running an end run to my bosses' bosses."
- —Leo Wyatt on the hierarchy up there.[src]
Piper Halliwell first met the Elders when Leo orbed her to the Heavens in 2000. Although Piper soon began to forget, she was furious because the council told her and Leo could no longer see each other and threatened to reassign him. Leo then decided to propose to Piper, as he believed that even the Elders would not break up a holy union. However, when they attempted to get married, the Elders took Leo away after being informed of the wedding by the Triad.
After Piper threatened to give up on her magic, the Elders reconsidered and returned Leo to her. They would be given a chance to prove themselves by showing the Elders their relationship would not get in the way of protecting the innocent.
The Elders once sent the sisters back in time to save their own ancestor from an evil witch. However, they sent the sisters before Leo could explain what was going on, leaving the sisters to figure it out on their own.
In 2002, an Elder named Ramus came to earth in order to retire and pass his powers on to the next destined Elder. He was killed by the demon Arnon, though his powers were transferred to a young witch named Kevin after he was vanquished.
Leo Becoming an Elder
When the Titans were freed from their tomb in 2003, they sought revenge against the Elders. While most of the council was massacred, a few were able to escape to earth, where they sought the protection of other magical beings. During this time, Leo went to the Heavens and, with encouragement from Chris Perry, turned the sisters into goddesses to fight the Titans.
Leo protected the Elders by cloaking them with fairy dust while the sisters prepared to face the Titans. During this time, Leo discovered he was transforming into an Elder himself. When Piper found out, she declared herself a true goddess and nearly lost her humanity. After she vanquished the Titans, she confronted Leo in the Heavens. Leo explained that is was their love that allowed him to become an Elder, and proceeded to take away her pain with a spell. Chris was assigned as the sisters' new Whitelighter, and he secretly transported Leo to Valhalla to keep him out of the way.
After Leo was freed from Valhalla, he returned to the Heavens to resume his Elder duties, though he continued to keep an eye on the sisters and Chris. During this time, the sisters also met Gideon, the Elder in charge of Magic School. When Gideon was revealed to be one after Wyatt, the relationship between the sisters and the Elders was further strained and Leo lost his way. After vanquishing Gideon, Leo abandoned his duties and became obsessed with vanquishing Barbas.
The Avatars and Zankou
In 2004, the Elders also become concerned with a coming storm. Meanwhile, due to his obsession and the manipulations of Barbas, Leo accidentally killed another Elder named Zola. The Elders suspected Leo's involvement, causing them to become more cautious and even hostile toward him and the sisters.
Paige met with a group of Elders, including Odin, to discuss the future of Magic School and was eventually appointed as the new headmistress. When a new Whitelighter appointed to the sisters was mauled, the Elders once again suspected Leo, though it was later revealed that the sisters were transforming into Blue Moon Beasts.
Once Avatars convinced Leo to join their cause, they transformed him into one of them. When Zankou informed the Elders of this, they unsuccessfully attempted to kill Leo. The Seer Kyra later showed Phoebe a vision of the Utopia the Avatars wanted to create, which Phoebe then shared with Odin. Once the sisters joined the Avatars to create their perfect world, the Elders were unable to intervene. However, this world quickly ended when Leo discovered the flaw in Utopia, which eventually led to the sisters teaming up with Zankou to undo what they and the Avatars had done. As a reward for his actions against the Avatars, the Elders rewarded Kyle Brody by allowing him to become a Whitelighter.
Following his time with the Avatars, the Elders decided that Leo needed to find his true destiny. In order do so, he was stripped of his powers and memories and sent down to earth. However, Odin had no intention of letting destiny run its course and manipulated the test. Leo then almost rejoined the Elders, until a dying Piper called out to him. Leo then fell from grace and became mortal.
- "It was put in there a long time ago as a last resort, in case we lost control of The Nexus, to keep it from evil."
- —Sandra on the spell.[src]
When Zankou claimed the Nexus underneath the manor, Sandra assisted the sisters and revealed the Elders had put a spell in the Book of Shadows long ago to banish the nexus. The Elders then sealed themselves off in case the sisters would fail.
The Ultimate Battle
When the Angel of Death warned Piper that Leo was meant to die, she summoned an Elder and an Avatar. However, they were unable to answer her question and directed her to the Angels of Destiny. One of the Elders later appeared before Piper to tell her not to give up hope, at which point Wyatt orbed a cake in his face.
In late 2006, Piper summoned Sandra to ask her if Billie and Christy were the ultimate power they were supposed to defeat. Sandra was unable to confirm this, though she believed it to be a possibility.
Interference and Replacement
When Piper and Leo discovered that their daughter, Melinda, miraculously had the power of telekinetic orbing, despite Leo being human during the time of her conception, Leo and Paige went to the Heavens to get answers. Once there, they were greeted by Kyle Brody, who was revealed to have become an Elder.
Kyle explained that since Leo was a Whitelighter for so long, his magical abilities became ingrained within his DNA, causing these genes to be passed on to Melinda. The Elders decided to interfere and caused these Whitelighter powers to manifest in Melinda, in an attempt to alter the prophecy of the Twice-Blessed Child. They wanted to make both Chris and Melinda twice blessed like Wyatt, which would allow the three first born Halliwell children to inherit a more potent Power of Three and become an even greater force of good than the Charmed Ones. Because the Elders interfered too many times in human affairs, the old council was replaced with a new one.
Battle Against Neena
After obtaining the power of the Underworld, the first witch Neena set out to conquer the Heavens and attacked the Elders on the Golden Gate Bridge. There, she killed Kyle and took his powers. Using his power and the orbs Rennek stole from Whitelighters, Neena and her army began their assault on the Heavens. As the Elders retreated into the afterlife, Neena turned to her true goal, obtaining the Sphaera of Light and Dark.
When Paige was struck down by Neena, she met Kyle in the afterlife. There, they met the witches of the Warren Line and together with the Elders, entered the Heavens to rejoin the fight. Once Neena was defeated, the Elders joined their power with the witches and Leo to separate the sphaera and restore balance to the realms.
After Rennek stole the Empyreal Sword and the Grimoire, he used their power to switch magic from magical beings to mortals. He also closed off the Upper Regions and the Underworld, thus ending the battle between good and evil and preventing the Elders from interfering. The balance was later restored by Prue Halliwell after she undid what Rennek had done.
The All and the Old Ones
Some time later, Piper and Leo visited the Upper Regions to find a solution for Prue Halliwell's magic clashing with the Power of Three. It was then revealed by a new Elder named Iota that while the old council was replaced, they still voiced their opinions.
The Tribunal concerned that Prue's merging with Heremus, an Old One, would destroy the world as the demon was in control of the All; the source of all magic. They kidnapped the people who came in contact with her magic (Kyra, Coop Halliwell, Benjamin Turner, and Tyler Michaels) and experimented on them in hopes of finding a way to stop Heremus. Prue, who was sent to another dimension by Tyler at the time, found a loophole in the experiment that disrupted Tyler's magic, and escaped her prison. The Tribunal tried to fend her off, but were quickly defeated. With the Tribunal gone, the remaining Elders are left in disarray and forced to discuss what to do thereafter. In the meantime, Piper, Leo and Coop decide to form a Witch Council.
Book of Shadows
- As high-ranking force of Good, the Elders are the
- highest level of guardian angels, they are also the
- newer agents for Good, the Elders also guide and
- direct Whitelighters and other charges. In times of
- great need, the Elders can aid with their vast wisdom.
Powers and Abilities
- Basic Powers
- Spell Casting: The ability to cast spells and perform rituals.
- Potion Making: The ability to brew potions.
- Scrying: The ability to scry for a person or object by the use of a scrying crystal and a map.
- Active Powers
- Orbing: The ability to teleport oneself from one place to another with the use of orbs.
- Remote Orbing: The ability to orb other beings from one place to another.
- Electrokinesis: The ability to create and project electricity or lightning.
- Force Fields: The ability to create protective electrically charged force fields.
- Invisibility: The ability to become unseen to the naked eye.
- Photokinesis: The ability to create and manipulate light and orbs.
- Thermokinesis: The ability to manipulate heat.
- Power Stripping: The ability to strip powers from any being.
- Healing: The ability to heal the injuries and wounds of others.
- Portal Creation: The ability to open a vortex or portal to other locations, planes and times.
- Premonition: The ability to see premonitions of the past, future or present. Only a few Elders possess this ability.
- Hovering: The ability to rise a few feet in the air, with or without orbs.
- Power Granting: The ability to grant any number of powers to any being.
- Other Powers
- Sensing: The ability to magically sense and locate beings anywhere in the world, unless they are dead or in the Underworld.
- Regeneration: The ability to instantly heal from injuries.
- Reconstitution: The ability to reform the body after being destroyed by explosive powers.
- Immortality: the ability to possess an infinite lifespan and an arrested aging process.
Becoming an Elder
The council of Elders was originally believed to consist of high-ranking Whitelighters. However, it was later established that witches and other beings can become Elders as well. This was first shown when the Elder Ramus wanted to retire in 2002. Before he could move on, he was meant to pass his powers on to another destined Elder, later revealed to be the teenaged witch Kevin.
Additionally, it is also possible for Whitelighters not destined to become Elders to be elevated to this rank. This was shown after the Titans were released, when Leo Wyatt rose to this rank due to the love he shared with Piper Halliwell and his actions to battle the Titans.
Notes and Trivia
- Over the course of the series, the Elders underwent several changes.
- In "Secrets and Guys", Leo tells Phoebe about a "group of elder Whitelighters" known as "the Founders". They get called "Elders" more frequently starting with "Blinded by the Whitelighter". They are also called "The Powers That Be" in "Once Upon a Time".
- The Elders clothing has changed many times. Ramus was shown wearing a simple white robe. In Oh My Goddess!, all Elders wore golden robes. In later seasons, the Elders started wearing white and gold, multi-layered robes. Brad Kern stated in a season 8 commentary, that the clothing department could never get the robes just the way he wanted them.
- In "Witches in Tights" it is stated that Elders possess passive abilities. This was contradicted in later seasons, when the Elders were shown capable of orbing on their own and shooting lightning from their hands.
- In early episodes, it was stated that Whitelighters and Elders could only be killed by poison arrows forged by Darklighters. In later seasons, it was shown they could also be vanquished by other beings, such as the Titans. Additionally, the Elders also tried to kill Leo with lightning.
- In the novel Leo Rising, Chris was shown to possess Electrokinesis. Because of this, some fans believe him to be half-Elder. However, novels are non-canon.