Witches are real, and they walk among us.
Fear not, though. The historical stigma against witches betrays the craft. Although there are many different types of witches, none are demon-worshipping seductresses, feasting on babies, and leading men to their doom.
Wait – Witches Aren’t Evil?
Although you can find awful people in many walks of life, most witches are just regular people living their own lives. They don’t mean anyone any harm and practice their craft for themselves.
The stigma against witchcraft resulted from the patriarchal fear of feminine power. Medieval witch-hunts focused on women who dared break the shackles of their oppression or dared to compete with men in the developing fields of medicine, botany, and biology.
Throughout history, women were persecuted for daring to help other women, heal the sick, or live their own peaceful lives free from men’s tyranny.
The modern concept of the witch, the old hag, and the evil seductress stems from this misogyny, and you can find examples in contemporary pop culture from everything to songs about witches to films to books.
What Are Real Witches?
Real witches are everyday women who use the natural world, elements, astrology, and their own inner power to nurture, heal, and fill the world with love.
The craft is wide-ranging and varied. You can find witches in every corner of the world, practicing their craft in peace to enrich their lives.
Different Types of Witches
There are many different types of practicing witches. For some, witchcraft is a religious practice, while it’s a lifestyle for others. Women from many of the world’s largest religions dabble in witchcraft, considering it an enhancement to their faith rather than a strike against it.
Here are 23 different types of witches you may encounter while exploring your spiritual journey.
Green witches (sometimes called hedge witches or garden witches) love plants, herbs, and growing things. Their natural green thumb keeps their gardens overflowing with Earth’s bounties.
Green witches are experts in herbology. They know exactly which plant to use for what purpose and can forage the woods for any missing ingredient.
Swap bounties of the Earth for bounties of the sea, and you’ll find a sea witch. These witches love the water and everything that flourishes in it.
Sea witches use seaweeds, salt water, and other resources from the great oceans (or lakes) to work their magic.
Kitchen witches hover over their cauldrons, concocting potions and remedies. Of course, that’s just the stereotype.
Kitchen witches typically cook their spells. Although some may create potions and elixirs, others work with everyday foods like bread, soups, and stews.
Sometimes witches form groups, known as covens, to enhance their magic. Coven witches rely on the powerful focus created when multiple minds focus on a single goal.
A coven may include various types of witches. The green witch might cultivate the herbs, while the kitchen witch takes the lead in brewing potions.
Typically, covens are small groups of friends who support each other through everything. The magic is just a bonus.
You don’t need a coven to practice witchcraft. Many witches prefer to work their art on their own. Witches who practice without a coven are known as solitary witches.
When people think of modern witches, they typically think of the Wiccan religion. It’s a pagan practice, identifying with pre-Christian European traditions. Although some witches identify as Wiccan, not all do.
The Wiccan religion grew out of England in the 1950s. Though there aren’t any hard numbers regarding practitioners, surveys estimate that they number in the low hundreds of thousands.
Numerous Pagan religions embrace witches. Celtic witches may have Irish ancestry and dabble in the lost arts of the Druids. Some may prefer the Greek traditions, worshipping Hecate or Artemis, while others consider themselves Dianic witches, venerating the Roman versions of the Greek goddesses.
Pagan religions existed all over the world, and a variety of other witches may follow some of these secret ancient practices. You can find Pagan witches practicing the Shamanic witchcraft of Native Americans, worshipping Nordic goddesses, or using aspects of Hinduism for their craft.
The idea of a traditional witch began as a backlash to the popularity of Wiccan practices in the media. Some traditionalists felt new adherents, drawn in by false depictions of the craft, were altering the religion and rebranding as traditional witches to differentiate themselves from the more recent versions.
However, the term may currently refer to any witch who prefers to practice in old ways predating Christianity.
Ancestral witches call upon the energies of their ancestors to refine their crafts. Typically, these witches come from long lineages of powerful witches, but they don’t have to. The persecution of witches throughout history led many women to hide or abandon their crafts, so ancestral witches are happy to revitalize the spirit of feminine power in their ancestors.
Modern witches embrace the modern age. They’re open to exploring new ideas about witchcraft and using modern technology to enhance their crafts.
Jenny’s technopagan group in the popular show Buffy the Vampire Slayer showcases how modern witches may use technology for their crafts, but not all modern witches use computers. Some practitioners call themselves modern witches because they enjoy the comforts of the modern world while dabbling in their arts.
New-age witches love crystals. Rocks and gemstones are imbued with various powers, enhancing spell work and helping practitioners ground themselves for their practice.
Crystal witches use agate for strength, citrine for cleansing, rose quartz for love, and numerous other gems to work different types of magic.
Healers are witches who dedicate their craft to the art of healing. They may use various tools used by different types of witches, such as medicinal herbs like a green witch or healing crystals from a crystal witch.
These witches are defined more by what they do than what they use.
Lunar witches depend on the moon for their mystical energies. Witch’s association with the night and the moon has a long history.
Diana, the Roman Goddess of the moon, had a cult that embraced lunar practices, but moon worship predates even ancient Rome.
Elemental witches call upon the earth’s elements while practicing their craft. However, it’s not the chemical elements of the periodic table that we’re all familiar with from science class.
In witchcraft, the elements are fire, water, earth, and air. Elemental witches may use candle magic to represent fire or crystal magic to represent the earth.
Ceremonial witches thrive on ritual and incantation. They likely have ceremonial daggers to assist them with their spells and perform purification rituals and consecrations as part of their practice.
These types of witches rely on ceremonial magic, using a wide range of tools and materials that align with their specific goals. Chants and rituals help them focus the energy from these objects into their spells.
Hearth witches, called cottage witches, dedicate their time to the home. Their craft revolves around making a warm, welcoming place for themselves and their families.
Hearth witches put their magic into everything they do for the home. They may tend gardens like green witches or work culinary magic like kitchen witches, which are secondary to maintaining a cozy, comfortable home.
White witches are good witches. They never use magic for evil or even for personal gain. White witches understand the tremendous power inherent in the craft and take great care to ensure their magics won’t negatively affect someone else.
White witches never use curses or hexes and always follow the rule of three, which states that anything you do in witchcraft comes back to you threefold.
Dark witches don’t mind dabbling in the dark arts. Though not entirely evil, dark witches may not care if someone gets hurt by their spell. They employ hexes and curses when the need arises and ignore many of the traditional tenets of witchcraft, which include doing no harm to others.
Although dark witches are what the general public perceives when they think “witch,” the truth is that a true dark witch is very rare. Most witches don’t seek to harm, but you can find awful people in any walk of life, including witchcraft.
Most witches fall somewhere in the grey. They are human, after all, and very few humans can say they are 100% good all the time.
Grey witches don’t want to harm others but won’t think twice about using hexes or curses to protect themselves and their loved ones. They will cast spells for personal gain, but typically not in ways that would harm someone else for their own benefit. Grey Witches know that taking care of ones self is paramount for a happy, healthy life.
Fortune tellers (divination witches or augury witches) hone their craft for decoding the future.
Divination witches use a variety of tools to see people’s fortunes. They may look to the stars, using astrology to see what may come, or read the future in tarot cards, palms, tea leaves, and other items. Some use ruins, while others focus on signs from the earth that may foretell events ahead (odd animal behavior, celestial phenomena, strange weather patterns, etc.)
Cosmic witches harness the power of the universe for their craft. Astrology plays a vital role in a cosmic witch’s life. They constantly look to the stars and planets for the best time to perform certain rituals and use lunar energy to enhance their spells.
Anyone new to the craft is considered a baby witch. Witches don’t have to be born into it or initiated via ritual. Anyone interested in developing their inner power can dabble in the craft.
Baby witches often explore a variety of styles and crafts before honing in and becoming the type of witch that most speaks to them.
Many modern witches don’t fall into a specific niche. They cultivate their gardens and brew potions, focusing on their crystals while looking to the stars for the best time to work certain types of magic.
They embrace all the universes’ bounties, working anything that speaks to them into their spells. Eclectic witches showcase how personal practicing witchcraft can be. They combine what speaks to them in various ways to practice their unique craft.
Terminology for Types of Witches
Because witchcraft is rarely considered as a whole or a subject of scholarly study, the definitions of the different types of witches may vary by source.
Some think there’s a difference between a green witch, a hedge witch, and a garden witch. Others have different terminology for fortune tellers, calling them divination witches or augury witches.
The language isn’t as critical as the understanding that different witches may focus on different things, and the varied nature of the craft is part of what makes it so accessible.
Anyone can be a witch and use their inner power to affect the world around them. The labels help showcase how witches may interact with the world but aren’t set in stone.
Most Witches Dabble
Though many witches may consider themselves hedge witches or kitchen witches, usually, this descriptor only defines their primary form of spellwork.
Hedge witches can take from the sea. Hearth witches can practice elemental magic. Fortune tellers can brew potions.
The only types of witches that fall into neat boxes are those who consider witchcraft their religion. Wiccans and Pagans tend to focus their practices on their religion’s belief system (though even these may vary by sect and coven), but most secular witches do what feels right to them when practicing their craft.
Witches and the Occult
Though witches have a long and sordid association with occultism and devil worship, witchcraft predates the Christian notion of the occult. Christianity rebranded these old traditions as evil to maintain strict control over women and to ensure the Christian power structure remained in place.
Modern witches may invoke Christian demons, but many of these invocations are symbolic rituals designed to break the patriarchal chains of Christianity, but most have a live-and-let-live attitude.
Christianity no longer persecutes witches, so they need not refute it symbolically. Many modern witches consider themselves Christians, practicing their craft alongside their faith, either as an enhancement or a separate personal practice.
Witchcraft can peacefully coexists with Christianity (and any other religious practice).
Witches Just Want To Live Their Lives
Though many different types of modern witches exist, most just want to live their lives peacefully. They want to do their thing without fear of oppression or persecution.
Witches explore their own inner power, often enhancing it with natural items from the Earth. Their spells and rituals resemble Christian prayer, Buddhist meditation, and other mainstream religious practices.
It is time to end the stigma against witches and celebrate the craft for what it is: an acknowledgment of the inner power we all hold and a worldview that may not be the same as yours, but that isn’t inherently any better or worse.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.