|This article is about the term for magic practitioners. For the episode, see Witch (episode).|
- "I'm a witch! I can make pencils float. And I can summon the four elements. Okay, two, but four soon!"
- ―Willow Rosenberg[src]
A witch is a female person with the power to effect change by magical means ("Witchcraft"). Whilst anyone can practice magic, witches have greater knowledge and power over harnessing mystical forces. Male counterpart of witches are known as warlocks. Until its destruction, all witches received their powers from the Seed of Wonder, the basis of all magic. Presumably after its restoration, witches gained their powers again and were able to practice magic.
Humans who practice magical powers are called "witches." The origin of witchcraft remains a mystery, but can be traced to the beginning of humanity. Because witches draw their mystical powers from external sources, their abilities are acquired through intense study and training. Though some witches attain their talent for witchcraft through genetic influence (passed on from mother to daughter), they still must practice to hone their skills. Witches commonly form in covens, usually to increase their knowledge and magical strength.
Powers & AbilitiesDepending on their level of skill, witches possess a number of magical abilities. While most witches focus their powers through the use of incantations and rituals, more advanced witches have been known to use magic by sheer force of will. From telekinesis to teleportation, witches are virtually unlimited in their magical conquest. Minor cantrips - such as levitating a pencil - are relatively easy to perform, requiring only emotional focus, mental clarity and an understanding of the forces involved, while the more powerful witches can alter the very fabric of reality. The stronger a witch is, the more powerful the feats they can accomplish in this way, but in general the effects achieved are straightforward. By joining together, witches can double their magical strength. Witches also gain their magic powers by invoking the names of deities (such as Hecate or Osiris), or summoning other supernatural entities such as demons. Highly skilled and experienced witches (and warlocks) who drew much of their power from dark forces were sometimes, if not always, identified with black eyes, as was the case with Catherine Madison, Willow and Roden.
Sometimes, witches may manifest other powers not mystical in nature but psychic. Tara Maclay portrayed the unique ability to perceive the energy fields ("aura") around a person. Althenea, a powerful witch of the Devon Coven, was considered a seer, having the ability to experience visions and knowledge of future events. With the aid of magic, witches are capable of achieving telepathy, projecting their thoughts and reading the minds of others. Many witches also possess psychic intuition, capable of sensing powerful mystical phenomena and imbuing them with general awareness of their environment.
Despite their amazing abilities, witches still have limits which prevent them from being truly invincible. For a novice, and in many cases even an adept witch, tapping into volatile and powerful magics can be particularly dangerous. All magic is draining, drawing mystical energy out of the witch to fuel it, the more so when the power is channeled directly, instead of through tools. Unless she takes a break, even the most powerful witch will quickly be worn down by the effort of hurling spell after spell. Prudent witches would merely rest until their powers resurfaced, while more reckless witches can search for a new source of power. Weaker-willed witches can fall victim to the addictive properties of utilizing mystical energies, especially dark magics.
Individual witches listed by their first appearance: