Types of Modern Witches
We all want to fit in. New Age thinkers especially (since paganism and witchcraft are still taboo to the majority of society) need a way to feel like they belong. One of the ways witches find their belonging is to categorize themselves with what “type” of witch they are. These types are based off the modern practice of witchcraft and are not necessarily derived from traditional witchcraft. They have also been adapted and changed over time to fit the modern needs of the craft.
I want to make it clear: You do not need to fit into one of these categories to be a witch. These categories simply help witches find their paths and identify the type of magic that suits them best. You can be a combination of multiple types, and you can change your type at any time. These definitions are flexible and each type of witchcraft is interpreted differently by the individual.
The Gardnerian Witch follows the traditions of Gardnerian Wicca, which was created by Gerald Garner in the 1950’s. This type of witchcraft has a hierarchical system with a high priest and priestess, and often times these witches practice in covens. To become a Gardnerian Witch, you must go through a variety of initiations. You must learn the traditions and culture of that branch of witchery and complete initiation into a coven to be considered a true witch.
The Alexandrian Witch is similar to the Gardnerian Witch in that they both follow some of the same traditions, and both are based on Wicca belief systems. However, Alexandrian witchcraft has its own unique traditions and initiation processes. The Alexandrian Witch also practices more ceremonial magic than the Gardnerian, and many Alexandrians practice Qabalah as well.
The meaning is in the name with this one – a solitary witch practices solo. This could be because they haven’t found the right coven yet, or they may not feel the need to join a group. Many baby witches start as solitary witches while they gain knowledge and find their footing in the world of witchcraft. These witches use witchcraft in both secular and non-secular ways, but often times secular (nonreligious) witches fall into this category.
The Eclectic Witch is often used as a catch all term for any witch that doesn’t follow a traditional path of witchcraft. They usually cherry pick traditions and rituals from all different kinds of magical practices and work with a collection of cultures, beliefs, and systems from all over the world. Basically, they create their own personal form of witchcraft by picking and choosing what works for them. Most of these witches are incredibly fluid beings that continue to change and evolve over time.
Hereditary Witches are born into a family of witches – practicing or otherwise. This doesn’t mean that they are more powerful than any other kind of witch, it just means they often have a better support system and begin learning their craft at a much younger age. Usually, these witches follow the unique traditions and belief system of their own family, but many branch off to other types of witchcraft as they mature.
The word “hedge” refers to the hedges of closely growing bushes that villages used to mark the boundary of their land. So, Hedge Witches work with the boundary between the spirit realm and the physical world. These witches focus on connecting with spirits and traversing the astral plane. Although they are sometimes mistaken for green witches because of their use of herbs and apothecary, they are primarily focused on riding that “hedge”.
A green witch is deeply connected with the Earth and nature. They feel most at home when they are outdoors, surrounded by the natural world. They are usually very in tune with nature as and will plan their rituals around the seasons and weather. They are foragers and collectors of natural tools and are often quite fond of animals as well. Many times, green witches practice magic outside and use the power of the Earth in their craft.
Kitchen Witches incorporate witchcraft into their meals and consider cooking and baking a form of magic. They usually grow their own herbs, vegetables, fruits and make their own teas, salves, and tinctures. The Kitchen Witch will often have an altar in the kitchen and practice most of their craft in the kitchen. Many of these witches don’t just practice in the kitchen, though! They enjoy making their home and surroundings a sacred space and use their homes as a hub for their magical practices.
Cosmic witches are highly connected with outer space and the power of celestial energy. They incorporate astrology and astronomy into their witchcraft, as well as plan rituals and spells in accordance with the orbits of the planets. Cosmic Witches work with any and all energies in the cosmos to practice magic.
Ceremonial witches practice ceremonial magic, or high magic, which is an older form of magic based off older teachings like Thelema and Enochian magic. The high magic community is so secretive and exclusive that it can be hard to find accurate information unless you have connections to already practicing ceremonial witches. Often times, those who practice high magic don’t even consider themselves witches because their practices are so different from modern witchcraft.
The folk witch is possibly the oldest and most commonly known type of witch. They practice the folk magic of their local region or their ancestors, and most of their knowledge is passed down generation after generation. The traditional witch focuses on the historical traditions of old magic, not the new age wicca and witchcraft that most of us understand today. They connect with the myths and folklore of their region, and use the rituals and spirits of their region to practice their craft.
A Note to Baby Witches
If you’re looking to find your magical path, these categories are a great place to start. Listen to your intuition, follow what you’re drawn to, and explore the world of witchcraft. However, if you still feel lost after reading through this article, and you don’t resonate with any of these types, that is perfectly okay! Being a witch is a completely unique experience for every one of us, and no one truly fits into any mold.