"We're witches, dear. We can do anything."
Penny Halliwell.[src]

A witch is a human being born with a piece of the All, which enables them to manifest magical powers. Like mortals, witches can choose to either be good or evil, but only good witches serve as protectors of the innocent. The magic they practice is commonly known as "witchcraft".

The origin of witchcraft dates back to the beginning of the Earth itself. Since then, witches have existed for untold centuries, passing down their knowledge and skills through generations in family lineages. Contrary to popular belief, witches do not receive their powers from demons, nor do they worship the Devil. Instead, good witches use their powers to hunt and vanquish demons as well as protect the innocent to make the world a safer place. The term "witch" is not exclusive to females, meaning males can be witches too.

Aside from their innate powers and abilities, witches are blessed with the ability to see what is invisible to human eyes (such as ghosts, fairies and trolls) and have a degree of immunity to magic depending on the circumstances.

Every bloodline of witches originates from Neena, also known as the First Witch.


Book of Shadows

Wiccan Rede: An it harm none, do what ye will.

Witches, like mortals, can be either good or evil, but only the good witches serve as protectors of the Innocent. Traditionally, Witches are born with a primary active power, such as telekinesis, but their powers grow as they age.

Often, their supernatural abilities are exhibited in early childhood, though it is not unusual for a person to grow into adulthood before her or his capabilities are realized. In addition to their active powers, Witches can also cast spells and create potions to amplify their magic. They live by the rule that they are not to use their magic for personal gain. Witches must decide within the first forty-eight hours of their powers awakening if they will travel the path of good or evil.[1]


Origin of Witches

When the world was dark, a spiritual energy ran through everything that existed, neither Good nor Evil. The Elders called it The All. 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, making them immortal. It bonded them forever to one another and to The All. They ascended to a place of pure, utter bliss that they shared with the All, known as the Higher Realm.

However, their presence there affected the earth as The All was contained to the Higher Realm. As a result, the world started to die. The only way to save the world was for the woman and her mate to separate their powers and 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, though not as strong, and it was from this child that almost all witches descend from.[2] 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. Their other children possessed no magic of their own, but they and their descendants could tap into The All as practitioners. In very rare circumstances, these non-magical descendants could give birth to a full witch.[3] This is very likely how Melinda Warren was born a witch. Every time a witch or warlock was born, he/she inherits a tiny piece of the All that allowed them to develop an active power.

Witch Trials

During the late 17th century 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. These events became known the Salem Witch Trials, in which numerous people—witches and mortals—were hanged or otherwise killed.

One of these people was Melinda Warren, the founder of the Warren Line and ancestor of the Charmed Ones. She was burned at the stake after being outed as a witch by the warlock Matthew Tate.[4]


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.



Marcie Steadwell, a witch practitioner.

Mortals 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, spiritual 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 was revealed that some practitioners do have the fundamental Wiccan abilities of casting effective spells, brewing potions, and scrying, but lack an active power.

Magical Witches

Charmed Season 1 Promo-2

The Original Charmed Ones, good magical witches.

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. A witch's magic is a genetic component that may skip a generation, making them mortals before their magic resurfaces.

Every magical witch possesses the fundamental Wiccan skills to cast spells, brew potions, scry for lost objects or people and acquire information through divining. Besides this, their magic will manifest itself in the form of one or more individual powers commonly known as "active powers." These powers can be used at will and do not require incantations or potions. Magical witches are able to access their magic from an early age, but their powers can manifest from the womb and can be tapped into by their mother.

Most witches possess only a single active power that develop relative powers as they grow more powerful. An example is Piper Halliwell, a witch with molecular immobilization which later developed into combustion and acceleration. There are exceptions to the one active power rule: some witches, such as Melinda Warren, possess more than one active power. Melinda possessed three powers that were passed down through her line to the Charmed Ones. It is possible that these witches have more than one power so they can become the progenitor of a magical bloodline that wields the same powers, with each witch only inheriting one of the progenitor's powers.

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, brewing potent potions, and stronger powers to help achieve their goals. In a family of witches, the firstborn child is supposedly the strongest compared in its set of siblings.

Some witches, regardless of being good or evil, may have familiars, when they are new to the Craft, to follow and guide neophyte witches.

Good Witches

Good witches are assigned Whitelighters by the Elders to guide and protect them. All good witches, regardless of their level of power, are immune to the effects of Molecular Immobilization. According to Gammill, good witches have the selfless instinct to help people in need.

Evil Witches


Tuatha, a good witch turned evil

An evil witch, sometimes confused with a warlock, is a witch who renounces the Wiccan Rede, and redirects to using their powers for Personal Gain and evil means. They may also use their powers to punish the guilty. They typically do not kill witches for their powers, but if they desire so, they use other methods to obtain them. They also do not sell their soul to pure evil. When witches turn evil, they renounce their right to a Whitelighter.

One memorable evil witch was P. Russell, who was a distant relative of the Charmed Ones as well as Phoebe Halliwell's past life, who turned evil when she fell in love with a warlock named Anton. Another was the Evil Enchantress of the Dark Ages, who was Paige Matthews's past life. Other examples include Tuatha, the Sea Hag, the Evil Witch from the Magic Mirror, Stillman SistersThe Wicked Witch of the Enchanted Forest and Vicus's Collective.




Paige Matthews, a Whitelighter-Witch

Main article: Whitelighter-Witch

Whitelighter-Witches are the offspring of a witch and a Whitelighter. These hybrids possess the basic powers their Wiccan heritage and may develop the powers and calling of a Whitelighter. These hybrids are also able to develop unique hybrid powers, such as telekinetic orbing, which is the combination of telekinesis and orbing. These hybrids are vulnerable to the poison of Darklighter arrows and susceptible to being called by the Elders and their charges.


467px-Charmed421 019

The Source's Heir, a Demon-Witch

Main article: Demon-Witch

Demon-Witches are the offspring of a witch and a demon. Only one of these hybrids is known to have existed. The Source's Heir was the child of 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. The unborn child was later stolen by the Seer and its overwhelming power destroyed them both.

Phoenix Witches


Bianca, a Phoenix witch

The Phoenix is a coven of assassin witches who have risen from 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. These witches are neither pure good or evil and possess powers that appear demonic in nature. They also possess Grimoires instead of a Book of Shadows.



Evil Chris, a Darklighter-Witch

Main article: Darklighter-Witch

Darklighter-Witches are the crossbreed between a witch and a Darklighter, and can inherit powers and abilities from both species. The first Darklighter-Witch was evil Paige, followed by evil Wyatt and evil Chris Halliwell. When trying to send Chris Halliwell back to the future, Gideon sabotaged the attempt as a distraction and instead traded the good Leo and Chris for their evil counterparts. Like their Whitelighter counterparts, a Darklighter-Witch can use the power of Black Telekinetic Orbing to move objects. They can also summon Darklighter Crossbows and arrows like any other Darklighter.



P.J. and Parker Halliwell, Cupid-Witches

Main article: Cupid-Witch

Cupid-Witches are the offspring of a witch and a Cupid. These hybrids possess the basic powers of their Wiccan heritage and may inherit the powers of Cupids. Unlike pure Cupids, they do not require a Cupid Ring to activate their powers. The only known half-Cupids are the three daughters of Coop and Phoebe HalliwellP.J.Parker and Peyton Halliwell

Related Species



Jeremy Burns, a warlock.

Main article: Warlock

A witch who betrays the Wiccan Rede, sells his or her soul to pure evil and kills a good witch to steal his or her powers becomes a warlock. A warlock can be either male or female, just like a witch can be either gender.

They tend to strengthen their powers by killing other magical beings and obtaining theirs. Upper-Level warlocks possess the power 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.



Ava Nicolae, a Shuvani Gypsy

Main article: Gypsy

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 Nicolae 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.



Christy Jenkins, a Firestarter

Main article: Firestarter

Firestarters are magical beings born with the ability to create and manipulate fire. However, Firestarters do not possess any other magical powers. It was later revealed to be possible for an individual to be both a witch and a Firestarter, as shown by Christy Jenkins. She possessed the power of Telepathy as well as Pyrokinesis and was mentioned as being a Firestarter as well as a witch.


Phoebe uses Empathy on Mordaunt

Phoebe Halliwell, an Empath

Main article: Empath

Empaths are reincarnated mortal beings with the ability to sense the emotions of others. These beings are destined to offer guidance and healing to those that need it. As shown by Phoebe Halliwell, it is possible for a witch to be destined to receive the power of empathy and gain the title of empath. Phoebe mentioned this power most likely grew from her premonition power and Leo mentioned she was meant to receive it.



Penny Halliwell as a spirit

Main article: Spirit

When witches die and pass on to the afterlife, they may become spirits unless they choose to be reincarnated. Witches are generally powerful spirits and retain the powers they possessed in life. Spirits of witches are also able to cast the spell to banish evil spirits, as the spell requires the caster to be a spirit themselves. They may be summoned to cross the divide and some possess the power to come and go as they desire.

Powers and Abilities

A magical witch possesses the four innate abilities: Spell Casting, Potion Brewing, Scrying and Mediumship, but the additional powers are depended upon one's own level of skill, lineage and level. Their powers also seem to grow depending on their character and emotional state, making them more powerful as they age. Lower-Level witches possess little to no active powers, but still show the basic abilities.

Magical witches born into a blood siblinghood inherit their powers based on seniority: the firstborn usually displays the strongest power, in comparison to their younger ones, because their magic is the strongest. This means that though Paige Matthews received the power of telekinetic orbing, after replacing her oldest sister Prue Halliwell as the Charmed One with the power of telekinesis, she wouldn’t automatically become the strongest because she wasn’t the first born of her sisters.

Basic Powers
  • Spell Casting: The ability to cast spells and perform rituals.
  • Potion Brewing: The ability to brew potions.
  • Scrying: The ability to locate another being or object with a crystal and a map, sometimes other tools.
  • Mediumship: The ability to commune with spirits of the dead. Witches can see earthbound spirits and those they summon from the great beyond, but not all ghosts can be seen.
Other Powers
  • Individual Powers: Powers within each witch is varied depending on their own skill, lineage or level.

The Window of Opportunity


Paige on the edge of turning evil, while the Window is open.

Main article: Window of Opportunity

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 awaken.

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 Wiccan 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.

Years later, a young male witch named Brent was presented to his window, but before he had the chance to make his decision, he was murdered by a warlock named Hogan.

Unbecoming a Witch

There are multiple methods for magical witches to lose their powers and their basic affinity to magic.

Power Stripping


The sisters relinquish their powers.

A witch can relinquish her powers and affinity to all forms of witchcraft using either a spell or a potion. Said powers will then either vanish or be given to another individual. Said witch who loses her power will be rendered completely mortal, unable to cast spells or make magical potions.


Another way to separate a witch from her powers is by transforming her into another supernatural being altogether. This has been done multiple times throughout the show. While some transformations allow the witch to retain some, if not all, of their original powers, others usually make them disappear.

Such transformations are listed below:

  • DarlaTongue

    Darla: a Succubus

    Succubus: When a witch makes a pact with darkness to protect herself from heartbreak, she becomes a succubus—a sexual predator. She seeks out powerful men who become helpless against her magic, then feeds off their testosterone with her razor-sharp tongue.
  • 3x21-PhoebeSonicScream2

    Phoebe as a banshee.

    Banshee: When a pain-stricken witch hears the killing scream of a banshee, she becomes a banshee herself. To undo the transformation, the new banshee must face her pain at its root before she kills an innocent.
  • Vampire-paige

    Paige as a vampire.

    Vampire: Bites from a vampire will transform a witch into one as well. The only way to reverse the transformation is to kill the Vampire Queen before the witch bites an innocent, which will destroy all vampires originated from her while rendering the witch human again.
  • 5x05P34

    The sisters as superheroes.

    Thought Projection: If done correctly, this power could be used to transform a witch into another being altogether, such as a superhero.
  • 5x23-13

    The sisters as goddesses.

    God: Becoming a god is a rare and dangerous method that could bring about catastrophe. Since a god is transcendent, the transformation is usually complete. To reverse the transformation, one needs to separate the power from the witch.
  • 6x15-PhoebeGenie3

    Phoebe as a genie.

    Genie: Becoming a genie is a way to transform a witch. In 2004, Phoebe took the place of the demon Jinny because the bottle she was trapped in could make anyone who wished the genie free replace the freed genie.

Charmed Novels

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 in 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.

Witches in Britain are referred to as Druids in the novel The Legacy of Merlin. The wizard Merlin was a powerful druid, with vast knowledge and spells in his possession.

Popular Culture

"Hook-nosed hags riding broomsticks. That's what we're celebrating. Personally I am offended by the representation of witches in popular culture."
—Phoebe talking about the representation of witches in popular culture

In popular culture witches are believed to be evil creatures (primairly women) who sold their souls to demons in exchange of magical powers. They are also believed to be hook-nosed hags riding broomsticks, a stereotype which was started by Phoebe Halliwell. Despite it being inaccurate, the Wicked Witch of the Enchanted Forest perpetrates this stereotype. Witches also have been central to the plot of numerous fictional stories, even if the general public doesn't believe in supernatural 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'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.

TV Shows mentioned in Charmed

Films mentioned in Charmed


  • Witchcraft in real life is mostly considered to be related to Wicca, a religion originating in England in the 1940’s by Gerald Gardner. Wicca is often characterized as a Neo-Pagan faith, emphasizing honor to both a Goddess and a God, as well as taking personal responsibility for one’s own actions, and many traditions will draw from different cultures for their own unique brands of honor and worship. Witchcraft is a craft that needs to be learned and not necessarily be based on faith.
  • The Charmed series often made references to Wicca, such as in titles, the Wiccan Rede, and the writings by Doreen Valiente. Many aspects of Wicca have also been embellished throughout both the original and the reboot Charmed series, mostly for the sake of plot.

See also


  1. The Sourcebook
  2.  The Warren Line came from Neena's bloodline, as mentioned by Leo Wyatt.
  3. On rare occasions, these children could give birth to a full witch as well, though this would risk upsetting the Grand Design.
  4. As seen in "The Witch is Back"