What is a Witch?



Despite the negative connotation the title “witch” has held for many years, this unique and expressive way of life is FINALLY making a comeback. So many of us now are embracing, rather than shying away, from the innate power that we all have inside. Once we are in tune with ourselves, our magick (spelled with a ‘k’ to differentiate from the common street magic or sleight of hand), and with the environment around us, witches will thrive once again.

Now, if you’ve been practicing the craft for a while, you probably already know what type of witch you classify yourself as. Or maybe you just know in your heart of hearts. But for the rest of us – which witch is which? Below I’ve described some of the most common “types” of witches – read through them and see which description calls to you! Or maybe, like me, you feel you pull different aspects from different types of witchery – call yourself eclectic in that case.

Just a note – the list below is in alphabetical order for ease of reference, not listed in any sort of hierarchy or personal preference!

Celtic Witch

A Celtic witch derives their practice from the Celtic culture and folklore, commonly known as the “old ways”. It can be noted that these witches do use quite a bit of Wiccan basics and traditions in their workings.

Druid Witch

Also known as the practice of Druidism, these witches worship nature and spirits and aim to create harmony between the self and the environment. No druid is on the exact same path, and there can be major differences between two practices (such as whether or not this witch honours a god/goddess/deity).

Eclectic Witch

An eclectic witch (like yours truly) is a witch who doesn’t follow a particular path or associate with one of the witch types listed. Instead, the eclectic witch picks and pulls different aspects from different forms of witchcraft, and even creates her own, to forge her own path through life.

Green Witch

A green witch is someone who works with and learns from nature, incorporating elements of the earth into their practice. These witches are aware of the spirit that each being on the earth has (plants, water, trees, animals ….. you get the idea), and ensures that they are gracious and appreciative when they are extracting tools or materials from nature. They work with the energies that exist within everything the earth has to offer, including crystals, and the four elements (earth, fire, air, water). Often considered a healer. Also sometimes called “elemental witches”.

Hedge Witch

The term “hedge witch” goes way back, to the times where the edge or perimeter of the village or forest was known as the “hedge”. These witches tend to lean more towards spiritual workings, including meditation, divination, and lucid dreaming (connecting with the astral realm – more on that in a later post). In the past, these were the witches you went to see for remedies to ailments (a healer! – Hedge witches have many similarities to green witches).

Hereditary Witch

These witches come from a long line of magick, passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter. There are typically quite a few “old-timey” remedies, traditions, recipes, and perhaps even have a grimoire or book of shadows passed down through the generations. Also sometimes called “blood witches”, but that sounds kinda creepy.

Kitchen Witch

These witches are most at home in the kitchen (as per the title), and incorporate magick into cooking and baking, infusing their spells into their food, then consume with friends and family and releasing that energy into both themselves and the universe. Kitchen witches consider the kitchen (or oven, or something of the like) to be the heart and hearth of the home and the centre of their magickal practices.

Secular Witch

A secular witch is a witch who practices without calling on deities, and instead work a lot with symbolism or archetypes. This type of witch is growing in popularity, and often includes aspects of other types of witchcraft in their practice.

Solitary Witch

A solitary witch is exactly as it sounds – a witch that practices alone. These witches don’t belong to a specified group of witches (or coven), and are content with performing their craft in solitude.

Traditional Witch

A traditional witch can fall into many subcategories, including practices that tie into Wicca, Hoodoo, Celtic, and various other Pagan offshoots. Typically these witches are initiated and there are specific rules and rituals that they follow.

Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list – these are just some of the more popular types of witchcraft practices I’ve come across. You’ll notice there’s mentions in a few of the above descriptions of religious intent and/or following, and you may be wondering: “are witchcraft and religion inherently linked? Do I have to have a religious following to practice witchcraft? If I follow a different religion, can I not practice witchcraft?” FEAR NOT! Witchcraft and religion are completely different. Some witches choose to intertwine an existing religious inclination into their practice, some choose to follow a new religion already integrated with witchcraft, some choose to practice witchcraft without any religious heading! There is NO need to feel obligated to change or adopt a new religion to practice witchcraft – what is important here is that the craft that you practice is yours and yours alone. You can choose each aspect of what you do and how you do it.

Happy witchery and blessed be!

References

Alexander, Skye. The Modern Guide to Witchcraft. 2014.

Hawthorn, Ambrosia. The Spell Book for New Witches. 2019.

Herstik, Gabriela. Craft. 2018.

Murphy-Hiscock, Arin. The Green Witch. 2017.

Robbins, Shawn; Greenaway, Leanna. The Witch’s Way. 2019