|“||Don't blame the magic for how it's used. I mean, light or dark, it's all on the practitioner. If your soul is dark, you practice black magic. But if your soul is light, like I know yours is, you got nothin' to worry about.||”|
A witch is a man or woman who can access certain supernatural powers of nature (witchcraft), and utilize that either for dark or light purposes. Witches are one of the most powerful antagonists of the vampire race in the HBO original series True Blood.
|“||There can't be peace, until there is justice. For me, for Antonia, for all the women you tortured and burned for centuries, all to repress the magic that was older and more powerful than your very existence!||”|
Humans who practiced magical powers were called "witches." While the origin of witchcraft remains unknown, it is believed that witches have existed for thousands of years, passing down their knowledge and skills through generations of family lines. Contrary to popular belief, not all witches channel their power from demons, nor do they worship the Devil. Instead certain witches, more specifically wiccans, channel their power from nature and may practice their witchcraft however they see fit. According to Marnie Stonebrook, witchcraft is supposedly older than vampirism, and claims that vampires have tried for centuries to repress the magic that is more powerful than them.
The Spanish Inquisition
The witch trials of the Inquisition was an era of bloodshed and darkness, for both witches and vampires. In western Europe there was a faction of aggressive vampires, known as ticks, who were not content to hunt from outside human society. Embedding themselves wherever human weakness made it advantageous to their agenda, the state of things in Spain in the Middle Ages provided one such opportunity. One of the architects of this plan, dun Santiago, delighted in a fear-based quality of feeding. He and his devotees devised famous torture devices employed by the Spanish Inquisition, all in the name of turning their victims into human cattle.
Santiago and his followers eventually encountered a complication in their feeding routine when they stumbled across a witch named Antonia Gavilán de Logroño. While most of the so-called magic practitioners condemned during the Inquisition were not witches, just women hand-selected by the vampire priests to be terrorized and fed upon, Antonia had been a necromancer. Even though her actions (e.g. healing the sick or giving comfort to the dying) posed no threat, the vampires decided to dispatch her before she became one. Antonia ultimately formed a bond with her fellow prisoners, expanding the reach of her power, and when she was to be burnt at the stake, she cast a spell that forced all the vampires of the area to walk into the daylight, dying in the process. After the discovery of Santiague and his faction of vampires within the Church, the priests decided that any and all charges administered by the vampires were nonviable by the court and all prisoners arrested under their orders were freed. According to Luis Patiño, he spent months tracking down all those who witnessed the event that exposed the existenced of vampires to the Spaniards. Whilst some of the witnesses were glamoured to forget, others he simply killed. It is unknown if the women involved with the summoning spell were among those who were glamoured or murdered.
According to Nan Flanagan, ever since the Spanish Inquisition that took place in the 1600s, the practice of witchcraft has severely declined over the centuries, to the point where most vampires no longer view witches as a threat. While most modern practitioners, such as Holly Cleary, tend to follow Neopagan religions and commonly treat witchcraft as a spiritual practice, it is known that some humans continue to practice witchcraft specifically for the power that comes with it. Furthermore, Marnie claims that in order to ensure that the practice of magic remained unpopular, vampires have spent countless centuries demonizing the once sacred art of witchcraft. Marnie believes that by installing fear into the minds of humans, mainstream society now has the wrong impression of what magic truly is and thus this is the reason most people no longer practice.
- Main article: Witchcraft
Witchcraft is a practice of magic that encompasses many different types of activities including astrology, divination, spell casting, and spirit communication. It includes the practices of many cultures, nations and religions as well as many books and writings dating back to ancient times. Depending upon the individual, some witches practice their power by certain belief systems, such as Shamanism, Voodoo, Wicca, or any number of other magical practices from countries and cultures all around the world. Although the majority of witches are portrayed as being spiritual human beings who use their powers for healing and protection spells; in the case of Marnie Stonebrook, it has been proven that not all witches are benevolent and are capable of practicing magic for malevolent purposes.
Powers and Abilities
Depending on their level of skill, witches possess a number of magical abilities. By joining together, witches can increase their magical strength. According to Bill Compton, knowledgeable and skilled practitioners are capable of becoming very powerful, and have been known to match, or in some cases overpower, even the oldest of vampires. While the limitations of their power remain unknown, it is believed that witches are one of the most powerful creatures in existence. Among their many supernatural talents are:
- Spell Casting: The power to change and control events through the use of incantations and/or ritualistic gestures.
- Telekinesis The power to move objects and persons through mental influence.
- Elemental Control: The power to control and manipulate the elements of air, earth, fire and water.
- Mind Control: The power to control and manipulate the behavior and thoughts of others.
- Memory Manipulation: The power to take away memories from people and/or place false ones.
- Illusions: The power to alter the senses of others to perceive a false reality.
- Astral Projection: The power to separate from one's body and project the spirit to another location.
- Summoning: The power to summon spirits from one location to another.
- Warding: The power to place protection spells and wards on places and people, shielding them from harm.
- Necromancy: The act of controlling and manipulating death. This is inclusive of undead creatures such as vampires.
- Levitation: The power to defy gravity, and float or hover several feet in the air.
- Channeling: The power to invoke extra forms of energy by focusing on external forces (i.e. deities).
- Potion Brewing: The power to brew and concoct potions, remedies and elixirs that have supernatural properties.
- Divination: The power to divine future, past, and present events based off extrasensory perception.
- Cartomancy: The practice of divination through the use of tarot cards.
- Palmistry: The practice of divination based off the features indicated on the human palm.
- Rune Reading: The practice of divination based off the positions and symbols of runic stones.
- Scrying: The practice of divination through reflective surfaces. Described as amateur magic, different reflective surfaces can reveal different information; water is better for visions of everyday matters; metal or glass will reveal things surrounding money or wealth; and blood can reveal things surrounding life or death.
- Tassomancy: The practice of divination based off the positions and symbols of tea leaves.
- Vibration Reading: The power to feel vibrations emitted by another person, discerning certain information about said individual.
- Amulets: Blessed objects that are commonly used to protect the wearer from external harm.
- Athames: A ceremonial dagger with a double-edged blade that is commonly used to direct energy.
- Grimoires: A a book of magic spells and invocations that is documented with magical recipes, rituals, and incantations.
- Candles: Block of solid wax with embedded wicks that are commonly lit to amplify a witch’s spell.
- Cauldrons: Large metal pots that are commonly used to hold the ingredients for elixirs and potions.
- Herbs: Earthly plants that are commonly used as ingredients for brewing and concocting paranormal potions.
- Stones: Small stones that are occasionally used as ingredients for brewing and concocting paranormal potions.
- Magic: Witches are still susceptible to the powers of magic. Fae magic in particular can be used to break or disrupt the spells cast by witches.
- Mortality: Despite their mystical attributes, witches are still human and share many of the same weaknesses as non-supernatural beings (e.g. age, blood loss, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, snapped neck, etc.). However, witches can temporarily get around this weakness through the use of protection spells.
- According to Marnie Stonebrook, witchcraft has existed longer than vampirism and dates as far back as the beginning of the universe itself.
- Contrary to popular belief, the term "warlock" is never used to describe a male witch.
- While other terms such as "brujo" is used to describe Spanish witches who receive their power from demons, or "necromancer" is used to describe witches who practice necromancy, it seems that "witch" is a gender-neutral term applied to both men and women.
- Prior to the Spanish Inquisition that that took place in the early 1600s, the practice of witchcraft was supposedly very common among the human population, especially among women. However, since the brutal witch trials that occurred during the 17th century, the practice of witchcraft has severely declined.
- According to Nan Flanagan, most humans nowadays do not practice magic, and for those that do, they practice non-threatening traditions of witchcraft (i.e. Wicca). When informed about a local coven in Shreveport using magic to resurrect a bird, Nan ignored the warning, calling the members "hippies" and telling Bill Compton that "they don't make necromancers the way they use to".
- While vampires are known to have a magic of their own, it has been implied that vampires cannot practice witchcraft. Nora also explained to Eric how unlike magic, faith was something that anyone could do, even vampires. Therefore, it is heavily speculated that only humans or other living beings can practice witchcraft.
- While magic is studied and practiced technique that any human can pursue, some individuals have an inherent predisposition for witchcraft (e.g. Lafayette).
- Witches can retain their magical powers even as spirits.