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Buffyverse Wiki
Note: This article is about the magic practitioner. 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]

Witch, commonly referred to as Wiccan,[1][2][3] was an individual who had learned and was skilled in witchcraft.[4] A witch could be of any species[5][6] or gender,[7] but males were often specified as warlocks.[8]


While some humans, such as Tara Maclay and Amy Madison, inherited their magical powers from their mothers,[9][10] one did not need to be born with magic in order to use it. This had been proven on several occasions, in which ordinary people, such as Willow Rosenberg, successfully used magic with just as much proficiency, if not more, as natural-born witches.[11]

Daughters of Gaea 2003

A witch coven in 2003.

While witchcraft was commonly practiced by humans, it was not limited to a species, as magic was an all-inclusive force of nature, and demons[6] and vampires[5] had also been known to practice it. Contrary to popular belief, most witches did not receive their magic from demons, nor did they worship them.[1] No code of conduct or beliefs contemplate all practitioners, although there were covens that did guide a number of affiliates, such as the Devon coven[12] and the later formation of the Daughters of Gaea.[11]

The lower being D'Hoffryn created vengeance demons by appearing to and converting witches who had exacted notable magical revenge.[13]

As the source of magic on Earth, all witches received their power from the Seed of Wonder. Between the destruction and restoration of the Seed, they were forced to draw upon magic stored in magical objects before its destruction, until Willow discovered a way to use magic without it, but to a far lesser extent, by drawing on the magic within themselves.[citation needed] After its restoration, all witches regained their powers and were once again able to practice magic, although in a whole new system.[14]

The Supernatural Crisis Act was a set of legal actions in the aftermath of San Francisco's tsunami, in response to the national state of fear and violence against the supernatural on a national scale, including attacks against witches. Some measurements taken with the Act were a mandatory census of all magical individuals living in the United States, temporary relocation and imprisonment of supernatural beings to a Safe Zone,[15] and reintegration through the removal of magic from volunteers.[16] After the Act was repealed, most witches returned to their practices, but some abandoned witchcraft still in fear of persecution.[17]

Powers and abilities[]

Tara-brewing potion

Tara brews a magic potion.

Magic was the power to affect change by supernatural means. Magic could often be split into black and white, though depending on the situation, it may also be neutral. All creatures (both human and non-human) were connected to this power and were able to access it through practice and training. While everyone had the ability to cast spells and perform other feats of magic, witches generally had more knowledge and understanding of the mystical energies and supernatural forces that charged the entire universe.[citation needed]

Depending on their level of skill, witches possessed a number of magical abilities. While most witches focused their powers through the use of incantations and rituals, more advanced witches were known to use magic by sheer force of will. From telekinesis to teleportation, witches were virtually unlimited in their magical conquest. Minor can-trips (such as levitating a pencil) were relatively easy to perform, requiring only emotional focus, mental clarity and an understanding of the forces involved, while the more powerful witches could alter the very fabric of reality. The more powerful the witch was, the greater the feats they could accomplish in this way, but in general, the effects achieved were straightforward.[citation needed]

Sometimes, witches may manifest other powers not mystical in nature but psychic. Tara Maclay portrayed the ability to perceive the aura of 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 were capable of achieving telepathy, projecting their thoughts and reading the minds of others. Many witches also possessed psychic intuition, capable of sensing powerful mystical phenomena and imbuing them with a general awareness of their environment.[citation needed]

By joining together, witches could double their magical strength. Witches also gained their magic powers by invoking the names of deities (such as Hecate or Osiris), or summoning other supernatural entities such as demons.[citation needed] Highly skilled and experienced witches (and warlocks) who drew much of their power from dark forces were sometimes, if not always, identified by their black eyes, as was the case with Catherine Madison,[4] Amy,[1] Willow,[18] and Roden.[19]

Two to Go Willow

Willow becomes dark with magic.

Despite these abilities, witches still had limits. For a novice, and in many cases, even an adept witch, tapping into volatile and powerful magics could be particularly dangerous. All magic was draining, drawing mystical energy out of the witch to fuel it, the more so when the power was channeled directly, instead of through tools. Unless she took a break, even the most powerful witch would 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 could search for a new source of power to replenish their strength and energy reserve. Weaker-willed witches could fall victim to the addictive properties of utilizing mystical energies, especially dark magic.[citation needed]

Views and treatment of witches[]

It could be witches, some evil witches! Which is ridiculous 'cause witches they were persecuted, wicca good and love the earth and women power and I'll be over here.
Alexander Harris[src]

A trick-or-treater dressed as a stereotypical witch.

Witches were subject to persecution throughout history by those who believed witchcraft was inherently evil, when in truth witches were as likely to be good, bad or neutral as anyone else. The demon who assumed the guise of two deceased children, known through the ages as Hans and Gretta Strauss, caused strife among communities for centuries by making residents believe witches were responsible for these deaths.[1] The Salem Witch Trials was a notable event in the history of witchcraft, though Anya Jenkins claimed that it wasn't that bad as the witches in question could have just used magic to escape, so it was only really dangerous for those who were falsely accused of being witches.[20] Indeed, it's known that an unidentified Slayer was a victim of this false accusation from an enemy, and died burnt at the stake.[21]

Modern witches were subject to stereotypes in mainstream society. Willow was especially vocal about this, chastising a trick-or-treater dressed as a stereotypical witch with warts, a pointy hat, and a broomstick.[22]

Known witches[]