The Anthropology of Witches

June 24, 2018 1 Comment

Five hundred years ago, a witch was a witch. There were no adjectives tacked onto the word “witch”. And, typically, if you were labelled a witch, you were on your way to the stake. Things have changed in modern times. There are many different types of witches with new ones popping up every day. No longer does the word witch define the witches of modern times. With freedom to practice how we please, witches have tailored their craft to fit their modern interests and lifestyles.

Here are just a few types of witches and their descriptions:

Eclectic Witch

Perhaps one of the most popular types of witches in modern times is the eclectic witch. The eclectic witch is one who does not subscribe to a particular set of practices or beliefs. Multiple religions, cultures, and magical practices might influence and inspire the eclectic witch. The eclectic witch might have an altar for Isis in one room of the house and an altar for Cerridwen in the next. Or might not have an altar at all. Dogma and strict rules don’t apply to the eclectic witch, and he or she revels in the idea of freedom. The eclectic path is a blended but respectful one.

Green Witch

The Green Witch is what the name describes – a witch immersed in everything green. From tree magic to garden magic, the green witch harnesses the power of the natural world to manifest intentions. To divine using ogham, to heal with herbs, and to work with the spirits of the land are just a few of the magical practices of a green witch. Because of the green witch’s reverence for nature, environmentalism might be a big part of his or her practice. The green witch seeks to use natural materials in spells and rituals and acquires materials from the garden or forest. The green witch might also enjoy working with the fay and the Green Man.

Hedge Witch

The Hedge Witch is often confused with the green witch. There are differences, however. Some say the hedge witch is one who tends to the garden and uses herbs in practice; however, this is only part of the path of a hedge witch. The term “hedge” is metaphorical for the barrier between the mundane and spiritual worlds. The hedge witch therefore crosses the hedge and peers into the spiritual world through trance-work, meditation, and sacred herbs. Dreamwork and divination might also be part of the hedge witch’s workings. The hedge witch’s craft is shamanic at its core.

Kitchen Witch

The kitchen witch, also known as the hearth witch, performs spells, charms, and workings mostly in the kitchen. An altar dedicated to kitchen or hearth gods and goddesses can typically be found on a kitchen countertop, windowsill, or shelf. Magic is woven into the kitchen witch’s cooking, including the use of magical herbs and spices for healing, love, peace, abundance, and more. The kitchen witch might have his or her own garden from which to harvest veggies, fruits, and herbs for magical cooking. Utensils, pots, knives, and pans are the kitchen witch’s sacred tools.

Sea Witch

The sea witch is in love with the ocean and everything the element of water represents. Practicing rituals, spells, and sabbats by the sea is the core of the sea witch’s practice. He or she might follow gods and goddesses of the sea, like Poseidon, Yemaya, or Neptune. The sea witch might enjoy working with the concept of mermaids and other mythical sea creatures. Turtles, whales, and dolphins are the sea witch’s familiars. Writing spells in the sand, beachcombing for magical shells, leaving natural offerings for the sea, and cleansing oneself in the ocean are just a few of the magical practices of a sea witch.

Tech Witch
Using the energies of modern technology is a large part of the tech witch’s path. The tech witch respects nature, but also believes technology can be used to manifest intentions and connect with the universe. The tech witch might use his or her cell phone to send an “emoji spell” to the universe. He or she might keep a book of shadows in digital format on the computer. All bets are off with what kind of tools the tech witch can and will use in practice. The tech witch might also believe devices like cell phones, computers, TVs, and vehicles are inhabited by modern gods and spirits.

Traditional Witch

There are various definitions for the traditional witch. Some claim the traditional witch follows a traditional Wiccan path such as Gardnerian or Alexandrian, while others claim the path is heavily influenced by the teachings of Robert Cochrane and the Clan of Tubal Cain. Still another definition has emerged and bases the traditional witch’s path solely on historical Witch Trial documents and cultural folklore. Truly the label “traditional witch” has become somewhat of an umbrella term, similar to the terms pagan of Wiccan.

Nicole Canfield has been a practicing hedge witch for seventeen years. She believes everyone’s paths are as unique and beautiful as the individual witches themselves. Nicole has studied folklore, mythology, and religion for over a decade and has been writing online for seven years. The Cotton Family Series is a magical realism series written and published by Nicole Canfield that details the life of a hereditary witch and her battles with restless spirits. Nicole’s newest project, the, is a website that focuses on the supernatural and pagan worlds and how they blend together seamlessly. Find her free online work at and her books on Amazon.

1 Response

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June 26, 2018

Very good article! We will be linking to this
particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.

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