Being asked what type of witch you are is fairly common within the magical community. For some, the answer comes easily. Others may not know yet and are still in the process of finding out for sure where they feel like they fit. Then there are those who aren’t sure how to answer the question because they don’t exactly know what the options are. If you fall into that last category, don’t worry. I was in there for a while, too. When I first began delving into the research, I didn’t necessarily come at it from the perspective of “What type of witch do I want to be.” I trusted my intuition and did what I felt was right for me on my path.
There are various witch types and this list is by no means intended to encompass all of them. I will give brief explanations on the more common ones, and if you want me to go into more depth on any in particular or don’t see something on the list that you’d like me to write about, let me know!
What is Witchcraft:
I have touched on what it means to be a witch in some depth in a previous post. However, in a nutshell and put in the simplest of terms, being a witch means believing in and practicing magick. Unfortunately, that definition, along with those found in dictionaries, lacks nuance. People who aren’t familiar with witchcraft tend to think that we dress in robes and wave magic wands around screaming “Wingardium Leviosa!” at random objects. While I certainly can’t speak for all witches, most of us are aware that magick doesn’t work like that (though we do enjoy a good robe). To put it less simply, witches practice magick through calling upon, tapping into, and directing energy with intention. It is likely you’ve been doing this your entire life at least once a year when you light a candle on your birthday cake and make a wish. In some ways, it’s similar to the law of attraction where we hope to manifest a reality by thinking it into existence, though spell work is somewhat more complex.
Augury comes from the Latin word augur and augurium which means “the observation and interpretation of omens.” That means there is an emphasis on divination within this category, particularly when it comes to prophecy. Augury witches are able to see signs and symbols in what others may find meaningless or mundane and divine meaning or clues about coming events.
Dianic Wicca is a branch of Wicca that centers around the worship of the goddess. This differs from traditional Wiccan which recognizes the dualistic worship of a god and a goddess. Though there are some Dianic practices that welcome males, most fall under a female-only category. Though the name comes from the Roman Goddess, Diana, the structure is fairly eclectic (see below), with some branches embracing all female deities. It is largely embraced by women due to its absence of a patriarchal structure and, for some, it offers the security and comfort that comes with the freedom from oppressive power imbalances or abuses.
* Note – You can be a Dianic Wiccan and not be a witch. Conversely, there are those who identify as a Dianic witch but don’t consider themselves to be Wiccan.
Many witches describe themselves as eclectic and not just because it is a fun word to say. With the growing number of solitary practitioners who don’t become affiliated with any group or coven, eclecticism has risen proportionally. That’s because it does not follow any specific path or tradition. It allows you to forge your own way, adopting and adapting different aspects from a variety of faiths, religions, and spiritual practices.
Elemental witches work predominantly or exclusively with one of the four elements. For example, as I’ve grown in my spiritual journey, I find myself working more and more with fire. That means I cater a majority of my spells and meditations around flame, ash, and symbols that represent the element. I also look to the sun (not at the sun – my eye sight is bad enough) and its movements, particularly during eclipses. Sun deities play a major role in my worship. Water witches tend to work their spells around this element, scrying with water and finding themselves more at ease near lakes, rivers, and beaches. They’re the most likely you’ll find out dancing in a storm. Air witches, like fire and water, focus on this element, using symbols that represent air and working with smoke and steam. If there’s a good breeze or gusts of wind, they may find it cleansing or grounding to go outside and enjoy the feeling of the wind against their skin. Earth witches have a strong connection with nature and work with wood, rocks, and other gifts such as soil and plants. They are exceptionally good at grounding as they are able to tap into the unlimited energies of the earth.
Faery witches work with the Fae in the same way others work with deities. It is, by its very nature, an earth based tradition and many rituals and practices are done in wooded areas. It falls under the umbrella of Celtic Witchcraft given the origin of the lore. Those who practice it, speak of exciting and wonderful experiences with the Fae but would encourage caution when working with them. They leave offerings and tend to be on the lookout for signs left for them to find. The Fae can be extremely helpful and rewarding to have in your life, but they are also considered to be wild and mischievous and may be quick to take offense. If you are beginning your path into Faery magick or worship and are wanting to do it by yourself, it is a good idea to research and find books to guide you such as The Book of Faery Magic by Lucy Cavendish and Serene Conneely.
There are different terms depending on the culture of this witch, but the folk healer aims to accomplish the same goal in all traditions: they seek to aid an individual either in easing their suffering or relieving and curing the injury. They may do this through herbalism, traditional practices, calling upon universal energies such as those used in Reiki, or even just willing it into existence (like the law of attraction). Folk or faith healers have been central to many cultures, both ancient and modern, and were and are generally highly regarded within their society.
*Personal Sidebar Time*
My great grandfather was a curandero who once healed a man afflicted with a rattlesnake bite using eggs, soil, and prayer. Though he passed away long before I was born, it was hearing the story of his life and his work that inspired me to follow my own path toward becoming a healer.
*Note – I am in no way endorsing faith or folk healing over modern medicine. In many cases, the two can be used together to benefit the overall comfort and process of healing for an individual. If a healer claims to be able to completely cure you of your affliction, discourages you from seeking medical help from a doctor or other medical professional, or tells you to stop taking prescribed medications without consulting with your physicians, I would strongly encourage you find a different healer. But that’s just my two cents.
Garden and Green:
Garden and green witches are the herbalists of the witch types. They have green thumbs and lush gardens. It should come as no surprise that witches who call themselves green feel very connected to the natural element of the Earth, and some may even consider themselves to also be kitchen, or faery witches. The garden witch specifically finds peace in the act of keeping their garden and consider it a ritual or meditative practice.
The hearth witch seeks to make their home a sacred place. Closely tied with garden and kitchen witch, in some ways, it’s accurate to say the hearth witch is both. They often engage in magical activities such as making candles, weaving, and crafting items to make their home a nourishing and calming atmosphere.
The hedge is the boundary that separates our world from the spirit or dream world. Hedge witches are able to cross that boundary and move between worlds either through astral projection, lucid dreaming, or other forms of spirit work. They are sometimes referred to astral witches.
Another view of the hedge witch would have it closely tied to green or hearth witches. They are highly in tune with nature and work largely with plants and herbs. One of the hallmarks of this type is their solitary nature. You’re most likely to find that hedge witches feel best when they work by themselves and are not a part of a coven or group.
Hereditary witches are born into the practice. However, it also requires that the practice be taught and accepted. If you’re born into a family of witches that attempts to pass their traditions and practices down to you but you instead choose your own path, you are not technically a hereditary witch. Also, while there are many witches in my family, I also cannot call myself a hereditary witch because we do not have a shared practice that is taught or handed down across generations.
The chefs of the witch types, these witches are masters of the kitchen. They are closely tied to green or garden witches as they have an understanding and mastery of herb magick and are able to incorporate them into their brews, stews, or food creations. Teas, breads, cakes, ales, and other creative confections and savory selections are never in short supply in a kitchen witch’s home.
October 2020 must be an exciting month for our Lunar witches! It’s really all in the name. Lunar witches work with the moon cycles, keeping track of the phases and working their spells with and around them. There are elements of astrology involved with Lunar witchcraft, and you can always count on the lunar witch to have charged water and stones in abundance.
What do you get when you combine a water witch with a moon witch? A sea witch! Sea witches feel most at home on the beach where they can hear the ocean waves and feel the salt-breeze on their face. They enjoy wandering the shore for seashells, using seaweed, sand, ocean water, and other gifts the waves and tides may bring in. They are in tune with the moon as it affects the tides.
Secular witches do not recognize a religion or deity in their work. They do work with energies in the same way, but it is not supernatural or spiritual. A common term used among secular witches is metaphysics which is a branch of philosophy that explores the nature of things that exist. Energy is scientific but not divine.
As I stated above, this list is by no means a complete account of every type of witchcraft. I fully intend to keep it updated as requests come in and as I continue to learn more about the different categories of witchcraft.
Personally, I have always struggled with trying to find my place, in a sense. Even writing this list, I had moments of thinking “I feel like this describes me!” I definitely feel like an elemental witch at times, but it gets confusing when I also consider that I am extremely drawn to the ocean and also REALLY enjoy storms on a level that makes no sense to me. It could be lightning and thundering, funnel clouds may be descending from the sky, and yet there I’ll be, outside in the rain, watching it all in fascination and feeling far more calm than I should. At the same time, I think I fit into the healer type given my Reiki background, but then I’ve experienced elements of hedge witchery as well.
If you felt like that reading this, thinking “this sounds right, but so does this, and maybe that other one fits, too” you’re not alone. For now, I consider myself an eclectic witch. I’ve learned not to focus too much on the label, though. As I’ve said before, being a witch can mean whatever you decide it means. That might mean you’re a sea witch and a faery witch. You could be a hedge witch and a healer. You don’t have to be any one thing except for yourself.
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