5 Different Kinds of Witches Today
Just as there are various types of religions and many categories under each religion, there are various types of witchcraft. If we look at the term "witchcraft" as a practice, then that practice can be bent and shaped to fit the individual witch's personal religion, lifestyle, beliefs, and customs. Witches can follow a traditional path of witchcraft set up by their ancestors or those who have gone before, or they can make their very own path/practice. That is the beauty of witchcraft... it knows no boundaries, no set dogma, no rules or restrictions.
I'll bet you didn't know there are different kinds of witches in today's world. Did you? Read on to learn more about some of the witchcraft paths.
5 Different Kinds of Modern Witches
- Eclectic Witch
- Traditional (Folkloric) Witch
- Green Witch
- Hedge Witch
- Kitchen Witch
1. Eclectic Witch
What is an eclectic witch? This is a witch who pulls from many different religions, traditions, and magical practices in order to create his/her own. For example, an eclectic witch might honor a Hindu god and a Celtic goddess but also weave in ancestor-worship into his/her practice. An eclectic witch might also not have any gods/goddesses, but will still practice magic in sync with the natural elements around him/her.
An eclectic witch might use various forms of divination from various cultures like: runes, the I-ching, tarot cards, and more. He or she might also leave religion out of practice completely and simply practice a magic that is based on his/her thoughts and intentions.
2. Traditional (Folkloric) Witch
When a witch says she is "traditional" this can usually mean one of two things: she is a traditional Wiccan witch or she is a traditional (folkloric) witch. A traditional Wiccan witch is different than a traditional witch in that a traditional Wiccan bases her practice off of her religion which is Wicca.
Traditional (folkloric) witchcraft is a magical practice based on historical and folkloric accounts of witchcraft. While some may consider this their religion, it is separate from Wicca. Often, traditional witches read folk tales and witch trial documents in order to ascertain how witchcraft might have been practiced by one's ancestors. While it is difficult to say whether these accounts are the purest accounts of witchcraft, they are the closest we have to understanding what witchcraft was like hundreds of years ago. Antidotes from folk magic, folklore, folk medicine, and ancient myths are used daily in a traditional witch's practice (including wortcunning, shapeshifting, and more).
3. Green Witch
Green witches, also called garden witches, are individuals who practice most of their witchcraft in the garden or among the greenery. Some say green witches are also forest witches as they are attached to all things green—plants, trees, wildflowers, etc.
Green witches may have their own garden in which they grow plants they use in their practice. They will speak with the plants, connect with the spirits of the plants, perhaps even make offerings to their plant allies. They may also travel into the woods in order to attain certain plants or knowledge from the plants to use in their craft. They often use plants in their spells, charms, rituals, and even in their cooking. Green witches also have a working partnership with the spirits of plants such as pixies, gnomes, dryads, nymphs, and other types of faeries.
Green witches study their local environments and get to know the plants in their areas. They can identify wildflowers, local trees, and wild growing herbs. They know their poisonous local plants and their medicinal plants.
4. Hedge Witch
A hedge witch is a witch who crosses the hedge in order to acquire answers from the spiritual realm and to explore his or her otherworldly abilities on a deeper level. A hedge witch is not merely a "green" or "garden" witch, though it is often confused with these types.
Hedgecrossing, also known as astral projection/lucid dreaming/shamanic trance-work, is an integral part of a hedge witch's practice. By going into a conscious dream-state, the hedge witch crosses the line between physical and spiritual planes. Often the hedge witch will meet his/her ancestors and other beings over the hedge. The term hedgecrossing is an old term used by shamans and wise-people in the Medieval Times in Europe. This term is actually documented in folklore as being a way people would reach out to the spiritual world for aid in battles, love, etc.
If one was a dreamer, one could cross the veil or hedge between this world and the next; therefore, one had the ability to easily contact the gods/spirits/ancestors. If you are a lucid dreamer, you have the ability to cross the hedge. If you can astral project, you are crossing the hedge. These are just variations in the terms used. Hedge witches can also cross the hedge during deep meditation and trance-work by using drumming, dancing, rattles, and more.
Crossing the hedge (traveling to the other worlds) was something shamans did dating back to prehistoric times. Shamans were thought to have the ability to speak to the gods and the spirits of the deceased by traveling the world tree… crossing that line between the mundane and the spiritual planes. Emma Wilby, a modern day witchcraft scholar, theorizes that witches in history might have been shamans in that they were able to cross into the spiritual realms easily. They were thought to have held onto this practice, and in fact, the idea of witches flying on brooms was thought to be a metaphor or misconstrued story of witches “flying” into the spiritual realms.
5. Kitchen Witch
A kitchen witch, also called home and hearth witch, is an individual who makes most of her magic in the kitchen or at the hearth-side. These witches love to cook, work with herbs, make teas, brews, and unguents all from the comfort of his or her kitchen. Often this is the way our ancestors practiced their witchcraft (in the kitchen or while doing their daily chores). These things have to be done in daily life, so why not make them magical?
Kitchen witches use herbs with medicinal and magical intention in their cooking. They might have an herb garden or vegetable garden in which they imbue their intentions and then harvest to feed their families. For instance, perhaps a kitchen witch uses her homegrown rosemary as a protective herb and stuffs it inside an herb-roasted chicken in order to feed her family and give them magical protection through the rosemary. Kitchen witches also pray or chant over the food while they cook it or while they serve it (or both). They may also study older recipes and use recipes from their ancestry or culture or recipes that have been handed down to them by their ancestors.
What Is a Witch?
A witch is someone who works with the forces of nature and the divine energy within and without in order to make changes to her reality. A witch seeks answers from the old ways of her ancestors—through study of folklore, legends, mythology, religion, and history in its many forms. A witch acknowledges that simply harnessing the power in her thoughts and words can make changes in the physical and spiritual realms. A witch sees the beauty in things that many people may overlook. Many witches use herbs and crystals in their practice. Just as stones and crystals have vibrations, so too do herbs and plants. A witch can use her craft in order to make changes in her own life, including, but not limited to, healing, prosperity, intuition, and protection. While it has many stereotypes and superstitions surrounding it, The word “witch” is also very powerful and ancient. It evokes a sense of memory or universal-connection that can't quite be explained unless you are a witch.
What Is Wicca?
Wicca is a form of modern paganism that claims its origins in pre-Christian religions. The Wiccan religion, also known as "The Craft," "Wicca," "Benevolent Witchcraft," and "The Old Religion" is a diverse and decentralized religion that is part of contemporary Paganism/Nature Spirituality. A large number of Wiccans do not exclusively follow any single tradition or form of initiation. These eclectic Wiccans each create their own syncretic spiritual paths by adopting and reinventing the beliefs and rituals of a variety of religious traditions connected to Wicca and broader Paganism.
What Gods and Goddesses Do Wiccans Worship?
In Wicca, the God is seen as the masculine form of divinity, and the polar opposite, and equal, to the Goddess. The God is traditionally seen as the Horned God, an archetypal deity with links to the Celtic Cernunnos, English folkloric Herne the Hunter, Greek Pan, Roman Faunus, and Indian Pashupati.
Famous Witches Throughout History
Time in History
Gerald Gardner was an English Wiccan, as well as an author and an amateur anthropologist and archaeologist.
She wrote many books on occult and esoteric subjects, getting dubbed as "Britain's most famous witch" by the BBC.
Laurie Cabot is an American Witchcraft high priestess and author.
Cunningham is the author of several books on Wicca and various other alternative religious subjects.
Silver RavenWolf is an American New Age, Magic and Witchcraft author and lecturer who focuses on Wicca.
Many witches have been given a bad rap. Their stories have been told incorrectly. If you want to learn more about witchcraft, it's a good idea to read about real witches throughout history.
Frequently Asked Questions About Witches
Many Pagans have to dispel harmful stereotypes. While Paganism is always a personal choice and does not need to be legitimized by other Pagans, there are overarching trends in Paganism and witchcraft. Let's clear up some of the confusion.
Do Witches Worship Nature?
There is an array of groups and beliefs that fall under earth religion, such as paganism, which is a polytheistic, nature based religion, animism, which is the worldview that all living entities possess a spirit, and Wicca, which holds the concept of an earth mother goddess.
Do Modern Witches Put Spells on People?
You need tons of training from established witches before you cast your first spell. Hexes, cast to inflict misfortune on others, are indeed real. However, witches are aware of the "the rule of threes," or the belief that performing magic with ill intent will come back to you three times, turning the ill intent on you. The vast majority of witches would never put a hex on anyone, and, in fact, use their conjuring abilities to promote love, compassion, and a sense of reverence for all living things.
What Does The Pentacle Mean?
The pentacle is a talisman or magical object. It is typically disk-shaped and inscribed with a pentagram. It is used as a symbol of the element of earth. In Wicca, it was adopted as an altar tool for placing sacred items upon it when cleansing, consecrating or charging them.
Do Pagans Really Sacrifice Animals?
Wiccan Pagans follow the rule of Harm None. However, not all pagans are Wiccan. The truth of this matter is that some Pagans do follow the practice of ritual animal sacrifice. It does exist. However, it is not something that very many witches do. Some witches, who follow an extremely traditional version of an ancient religion, such as the Greek religion, may sacrifice animals to their gods. There are also various forms of African and other tribal shamanism that sometimes require animal sacrifice. A Kitchen Witch who is not a vegetarian may actually kill her own chickens or other animals for food, and since food is part of her Craft, it could be considered part of her Craft as well. That said, most witches do not sacrifice animals. Some are even vegans, vegetarians, and animal activists.
How Do Witches Refer to Each Other?
The kinds of witches today are not limited by labels. Many simply refer to themselves as "witches"... wise women, wise men, cunning women, and men who weave magic into their daily lives. It's something they can't escape, something they live and breathe.
Even More Types of Witches!
In addition to the kinds of witches mentioned above, there are dozens (infinite) types of witches and infinite interpretations of a witch's religion. While witchcraft is separate from religion, and is considered a magical practice, there are those who weave their religious beliefs into their practice... which is okay too! On that note, you might hear someone say they are a Pagan Witch, a Celtic Witch, a Voodoo Witch, a Catholic Witch, and more.
More Facts About Modern Witches
Witchcraft can be a religion.
Witchcraft is primarily a spiritual discipline. Witchcraft is a faith that revolves around various goddesses and gods.
Witches use magic, but they do not worship the demons from Christian literature.
Some witches described magic as “a well focused prayer.” Most spells are simple things and many of them look more like “herbal cures” or “natural remedies."
Witches are serious and not just "having fun."
For some it is a passing fad, but for many more, witchcraft is a lifelong commitment. As a spirituality, witchcraft requires commitment, reverence, and determination (as well as debate with other witches about the direction of the craft).
Witches aren’t anti-Christian, or any other religion.
Witches do not judge others on their beliefs. Rituals aren’t done in a way that parodies any one else’s faith. The religion is not satanic either. There are no “black masses” and ritualistic defiling.
Witches actually love science.
Most witches believe that the Earth is several billion years old. Most believe in the biological and physical sciences as well.
Questions & Answers
© 2016 Kitty Fields