Types of Witches
Horror films and fairy tales have probably painted a singular picture of witches in your mind: the scary and bitter green-skinned witch that terrorizes the innocent princess. You might also associate witches with the occult, Satanists, or whatever supernatural definition there is. In a way, witches are all of those things because there are so many types of witches out there. Witchcraft, like religion, varies, and the witchcraft you practice determines what type of witch you are. But before that, a brief lesson might be in order.
What exactly is a witch?
To put it simply, witches are those who practice witchcraft or sorcery. People believe witches can alter reality by harnessing magic through rituals or spells. Throughout history, witches manifest in different cultures and religions in various ways. They sometimes come as healers, priests, or, more often than not, outcasts.
Today, the “witch aesthetic” is a popular trend because of pop culture, and they’re everybody’s favorite for Halloween, but the modern witch will most likely look like the average person. Most modern witches practice Wicca or pagan witchcraft, but there are distinct characteristics to note. From their types of magic to how their witchcraft works, this list of 25 different types of witches will be your magical guide!
The 25 Types Of Witches
Traditional or Folk Witch
Traditional witches are those who practice ancestral magic instead of the modern approaches of the Wiccans. This type of witch will perform rituals or spells tied to the spirits who occupy their geographical location. People call this traditional approach “folk magic,” as traditional witches draw from the folklore of where they live. If you chance upon a traditional witch, you are likely to learn a great deal about the history of their coven or culture.
The Gardnerian witch follows the system and beliefs of founder Gerald Gardner. In the 1950s, British civil servant Gardner founded the earliest recorded Wicca: the Gardnerian Wicca or Gardnerian witchcraft. Gardnerian Wicca is a modern pagan religion with its own belief system and hierarchy. These witches worship the Great Goddess and Horned God, who are both represented in covens with an appointed High Priestess and High Priest.
Gardnerian covens rely on initiations, some of them lasting for over a year. Another interesting fact about Gardnerian witches is that they believe nudity brings them closer to nature and one another. So, if you’re interested in becoming a Gardnerian Witch, then you’ll have to prepare yourself for a long initiation and, well, lots of nudity.
This type of witch subscribes to another type of pagan witchcraft: the Alexandrian Wicca. In the 1960s, Alex Sanders, or “King of the Witches,” founded Alexandrian Wicca. Sanders practiced Gardnerian Wicca before founding his own pagan witchcraft, which explains the similarities between the two schools of magic. A notable difference between the two is that Alexandrian witches are more eclectic. They perform ceremonial magic and incorporate elements from the Hermetic Qabalah. Hermetic Qabalah draws on concepts such as the Tree of Life and tarot reading.
All types of witches perform some type of ceremony or ritual, but the ceremonial witch does so in high esteem. This type of witch focuses on ceremonial magic or high magic, which is a type of witchcraft characterized by complex and taxing rituals. In these rituals, the ceremonial witch will often call on creatures or spirits from the other realm by following a lengthy step-by-step process.
Not much is known about ceremonial magic because ceremonial witches keep their secrets to themselves. Thus, if you’re interested in learning more about these witches, it might be best to lower your expectations now.
Most types of witches are a part of covens. This is where the solitary witch differs: they prefer to practice alone. The solitary witch will perform spells, rituals, and other types of magic on their own. Most witches begin as solitary witches until they find their coven, so don’t expect all solitary witches to remain alone forever. Recruiting these solitary witches into your coven, however, will not be easy. Most of them practice in secret, especially since witch hunts didn’t stop with the Salem Witch Trials and continue today in some parts of the UK.
This is a common trope in pop culture, so you might be familiar with this type of witch. As the name suggests, this type of witch is someone who was born into a family of witches. The hereditary witch learns the ways of their family, which are passed down through the generations. However, if you were to ask a hereditary witch about their family’s traditions and practices, you probably won’t get an answer. Hereditary witches are exclusive. They won’t be open to sharing their practices and beliefs. Don’t fret, though! There are plenty of other types of witches that you can learn from if you’re really interested.
Most types of witches center on a specific location, and the kitchen witch is no different. In the safety of their homes, this type of witch will perform their magic in the kitchen. The kitchen witch focuses their magical energy on the meals that they cook or bake. This practice will usually involve caring for their own garden where they can resource their own ingredients.
This type of witch focuses on “green craft” or herbal magic. The green witch focuses their magical energy on the earth, and they harness their power by connecting with nature. This means that most green witches will perform rituals outside with the use of herbs and plants that they often grow themselves. Others also call the green witch a “garden witch” or “forest witch” because of their powerful connection with earthly elements. A green witch is an ideal best friend for the kitchen witch because their magical herbs can help a kitchen witch’s cooking have better results.
Some people say, “A house is not a home,” but not if a hearth witch can help it! In literature, the hearth symbolizes the heart and soul of a home. A hearth witch is someone whose witchcraft centers on their house. According to many, the hearth witch is a combination of the green witch and the kitchen witch. The hearth witch strongly connects with nature as the green witch does, but the hearth witch focuses their magic indoors as the kitchen witch does.
If you were to ask a hearth witch what their typical afternoon was like, they will most likely recount their candle-making, knitting, or weaving session to you in great detail. The hearth witch is most energized in the comfort of their home, and they harness their magic by constantly improving this sacred space with their own handmade crafts.
There are types of witches who draw on the serenity and calm of their sacred space, such as the hearth witch, and there are types of witches who thrive on energies that clash and conflict with one another. An example of the latter is the chaos witch.
A chaos witch harnesses their power from uneasy and disharmonious magic. Their methods can often be unorthodox. Some chaos witches will set the mood by playing loud, noisy music or wait until turbulent storms occur to perform their rituals. Chaos witches are known to favor hexes and curses, so it isn’t a good idea to make an enemy out of one. Otherwise, you might find yourself at the receiving end of their black magic.
You might think that a hedge only refers to a bush or shrub, but that isn’t the case here. In witchcraft, the hedge refers to the boundary or veil between this world and the spirit realm.
A hedge witch is someone who practices crossing this boundary in order to connect to those who live in the spirit world. Most hedge witches will do so through lucid dreaming, meditation, or astral projection, an act of separating the soul or “astral body” from the physical body in order to travel in between realms.
A hedge witch might also call themselves an astral witch, seidh, or shaman, depending on how their own culture might influence their witchcraft.
This type of witch focuses on the cosmos. Astrology and astronomy guide the cosmic witch’s magic. They look to celestial energies and perform rituals based on these elements. They draw energy from the sky and stars. This is why people often call cosmic witches “star witches.”
If you’re looking for a crash course on the alignment and energies of the planets and stars, then your best bet would be to find a cosmic witch who can explain them to you. Assuming, of course, that the stars are in favor of you learning about these types of witches. A cosmic witch won’t act without first consulting the day’s natal chart.
This type of witch focuses on divination, the practice of foretelling prophecies or future events. Thus, augury witches are also called diviners. The average diviner focuses on looking for omens or signs in the present in order to understand what might occur in the future. There are different ways for an augury witch to harness their magic, and some of their witchcraft supplies include tarot cards, crystals, and even animals. Most augury witches perform their magic while in a meditative or trance-like state.
Most types of witches draw from the culture of specific tribes or people. The Celtic witch does the same. These witches practice Celtic Wicca, a type of witchcraft heavily influenced by Celtic mythology. The Celtic witch will worship Celtic deities and celebrate their seasonal festivals while following the structure of modern Wicca.
The Norse witch is a follower of Norse tradition and mythology. They worship Norse gods, such as Odin and Freya, and draw their power by connecting with them spiritually.
According to legend, the Norse goddess Freya taught the other Norse gods her own brand of sorcery. This gave way to what Norse witches practice today. Their type of magic is called seiðr or seidh, which has evolved over the years because of influences from modern witchcraft.
Unlike other types of witches, the covens of Dianic witches are much more exclusive. Dianic witches are all women, and they worship the Roman goddess of hunting and the Moon, Diana. Some Dianic witches revere other feminine icons too, but no one comes above Diana. They worship her symbolic triad: the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone.
Dianic Wiccan spells and rituals manifest from the power of women. You’ll find that most, if not all, Dianic witches are outspoken against issues that directly affect women, for their practices and beliefs all come from a feminist standpoint.
The Hellenic witch believes in the gods and goddesses of the Ancient Greeks. This refers to the famous deities from Greek Mythology, such as Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, and Aphrodite. They practice Hellenism, a religion that follows the ideals and belief systems of Ancient Greece. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, then you’ll know that followers of these deities will often offer a sacrifice as a ritual practice. Hellenic witches do this in order to give thanks, earn their gods’ favors, or sometimes even plead for their mercy.
The elemental witch harnesses the power of the four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. Some elemental witches also believe in a fifth element: the spirit. In order for an elemental witch to call on these elements, they will need to first form a bond with at least one of these elements. Once they’ve formed a bond, they can then use the elements for spell-casting or performing rituals.
Elemental witches also branch out into different types of witches, just because some will favor one or two elements over the others. However, a practiced and seasoned elemental witch will have mastered all four (or five) of these elements.
The Faery witch or Fae witch’s magic draws from the magic of Faes. Faes are mythical creatures that appear in Irish and Scottish folklore, where fairies are spirits of nature or creatures of the forest. This means that faery witches also have a deep connection with nature like green witches do. What makes faery witches different from green witches is that they specifically draw their magic from faeries and cast their spells by connecting with these creatures.
The lunar witch draws their power from the moon and its cycles. A lunar witch will keep track of lunar cycles religiously as well as the planet or astrology sign where the moon is currently in. They will charge their tools and themselves during the night and will often stay outside in the open to absorb the moon’s energy.
Because a lunar witch has such a deeply personal connection with the moon, their emotions are easily swayed by the shift in lunar phases. This can be difficult for beginners, but the experienced lunar witch will use these mood swings to further enhance their powers.
The solar or sun witch is a type of witch that harnesses the power of the sun. A solar witch’s power will be at its peak during the day, especially when they are under direct sunlight. This also applies to their tools: a solar witch usually leaves their crystals and other trinkets under the sun to charge. This helps them channel the sun’s power for their spell-casting. Solar witches will also time their rituals at sunrise or sunset when they believe the power of the sun to be most powerful.
This type of witch practices water-based magic. While the name might be misleading, the sea witch doesn’t limit themselves to the sea or ocean. A sea witch will also harness the powers of other bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and streams. Just like how the solar witch thrives in sunlight, being close to bodies of water boosts a sea witch’s power. This is why most sea witches live in coastal areas.
Most sea witches will perform their rituals on the beach, and they’ll collect sand, shells, saltwater, and even driftwood as their materials.
When you think of a swamp witch, you’re probably imagining a cloaked old lady with a large, hooked nose who lives alone in her rundown cabin by a swamp filled with crocodiles. The definition is close, but not quite. The swamp witch’s distinct characteristic is that they live alone in the wilderness. They feel especially connected with nature and will often use mud and herbs in their rituals.
The Swamp witch doesn’t feel at home in the city or other populated areas, so they prefer to live in solace and away from society. Swamp witches aren’t to be confused with solitary witches, though. The latter can still live with other people, but they prefer to practice magic on their own. Meanwhile, the swamp witch will seek solitude in both their practice and in their living arrangements.
The secular witch does not subscribe to a religion or follow a pantheon of gods. Secular witches will perform rituals and spells without seeking divine blessing or powers. That isn’t to say that all secular witches are nonreligious. Some of them might be the most religious devotees you’ll ever meet, but secular witches will always separate their religion from their witchcraft.
The eclectic witch is an umbrella term for types of witches who practice different kinds of witchcraft. Eclectic witches subscribe to more than one kind of witchcraft, and they may change which practices and traditions to follow if they find another combination that better suits their personal taste.
For instance, a lunar witch might incorporate some practices of the sea witch. This is a common combination because of the moon’s connection with water. Likewise, a solar witch might be drawn to the feminist standpoint of Dianic Wicca, so they are likely to dabble in their spells as well.