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Women who identify as witches are born as such. And their abilities, which we call powers, are part of who they are. Part of their DNA, if you will.
Cordelia Goode[src]
The witches on their way to fire the first shot 2 - 8x07

The witches under the leadership of their current Supreme, Cordelia Goode.

Witches and Warlocks are humans gifted with the genetic heredity to affect change by supernatural or paranormal means, an innate connection to the elements and forces of nature that allows them to practice "witchcraft". Because of their unnatural abilities and supposed connections with dark forces, witches have historically been feared, persecuted, and hunted. Many escaped the Salem witch trials and sought refuge in New Orleans. As the witches settled in their new territory, a rivalry between them and the native Voodoo practitioners arose, and is still ongoing in present-day New Orleans[1]. Among the population of witches, there is always one witch per generation who possesses a class of seven powers considered to be advanced acts of magic. This witch is known as the "Supreme". Warlocks are considered to be inferior to witches, as the testosterone present within men is believed to be a known inhibitor of magical ability, impeding access to the ethereal realm. For this reason, no warlock has ever risen to the ranks of Alpha, but the warlocks believe that one among them would eventually usurp the Supremacy.

History

Sometime during the reign of the Roman Empire, a woman named Scáthach was born from a union between the Celtic Druids and their Roman conquerors.

During the 14th century, Scáthach hid as a stowaway on a ship pioneered by British colonists on a voyage to the New World, bringing death and sickness to all in attendance. Upon arriving at shore, Scáthach was blamed by inland soldiers for enraging the sea gods and sentenced to be burned at the stake as a witch. Seeking to cheat death, Scáthach petitioned a pantheon of ancient bloodthirsty deities known as "The Old Gods" to bestow her dark magical powers, thereafter allowing her to massacre the soldiers and escape into the wild. She would become the first Supreme Witch of the Americas.

In 1589, Scáthach came across the exiled former leader of the Roanoke Colony, Thomasin White, and saved her from being devoured by a wild boar, in exchange for her soul. Under Scáthach's orders, Thomasin began to practice the witch's religion after returning to the colony with a vengeance, venerating The Old Gods by partaking in rituals involving the sacrifices of animals and humans, including children.

After Thomasin's son staged a rebellion against his mother, Scáthach convinced Thomasin to slaughter the entire colony in order to tether their spirits to the curse of the October Blood Moon, ensnaring them to the land long after their deaths. After Thomasin did as instructed, Scáthach killed her with her own blade, completing the sacrament. From this point forward, Scáthach would command the Roanoke Colony ghosts to sacrifice any human being who crossed their path every night of the October Blood Moon, forever honoring their traditions to The Old Gods and allowing Scáthach to remain immortal long into present times.

In 1590, a witch named Agnes Sampson concocted a formula to kill warlocks by making them bleed from the inside out, but was burned at the stake by her sister witches before being able to attempt it.[2]

It has been attested that the witches of Salem received their power from the Voodoo slave girl Tituba, though evidently, their abilities stem from a genetic affliction that is passed down through bloodlines.[3][4] During the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, witches in the northeastern United States faced persecution and decided to flee south in the midst of the hysteria. However, their ailing Supreme, Prudence Mather, was unable to make the journey due to tuberculosis, and decided to take her own life in a ritual known as the Sacred Taking. This selfless act allowed a new Supreme to rise and lead the Coven to safety, where they eventually settled in New Orleans. The generations of witches to follow would become known as the "Salem descendants".[5][4]

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Empress Joséphine Bonaparte, wife of Napoleon and a proud witch, cultivated one of the largest rose gardens in Europe. Joséphine enchanted her roses so that the colors she created remained fixed as she wanted them.[6]

In 1868, the reigning Supreme of the time, Marianne Wharton, purchased Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies as a safe haven where witches could gather to learn.[4] In 1919, the witches of the Academy killed the serial killer known as the Axeman, putting an end to his murderous reign of terror in New Orleans. In 1926, a witch was tried and burned at the stake for inflicting grievous bodily harm against another witch.

In 1918, Anastasia Romanov attempted to use a protection spell to prevent herself and her family from being executed, but wasn't strong enough to maintain it and was murdered.[7]

The witches of the Salem Coven found a new enemy in the form of a Voodoo tribe led by Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen. This sparked an ongoing feud in 1961 that lasted for about ten years, motivated in part by racial tension between the two groups. The bloody conflict finally came to an end in 1971, when Marie Laveau and Supreme Anna Leigh Leighton signed a truce that entailed neither of their sides crossing into the other's territory.[8]

Shortly after the truce was declared, Anna Leigh was brutally murdered by Fiona Goode in her endeavor to become the next Supreme. The only witness to this event was Spalding, a butler serving the witches of Miss Robichaux's Academy. Due to his infatuation with Fiona, Spalding cut out his own tongue when he learned that it had been enchanted to speak the truth by Fiona's rival, Myrtle Snow. The Council on Witchcraft presumed Anna Leigh to have been killed by the Voodoo tribe instead. They identified Fiona as Anna Leigh's successor to the Supremacy and had her perform the Seven Wonders. Fiona successfully did this and was declared the Supreme, though she ultimately used her power to satisfy her own selfish needs instead of the betterment of the Coven.[8] In the 1970s, the witch Mary Oneida Toups led an alternative coven at Popps' Fountain in the French Quarter.[4]

In 2007, witch hunter Henry Renard allied himself with Marie Laveau in a joint effort to eliminate all the Salem descendants. He married Fiona's daughter, Cordelia, under the alias of "Hank Foxx", and used her research to secretly hunt witches.[9] By 2013, due to many families willingly deciding not to reproduce, the Academy's population dwindled from as many as sixty young witches to a total of four: Nan, Queenie, Madison Montgomery, and Zoe Benson.[4]

With her reign as Supreme coming to an end, Fiona returned to New Orleans upon learning that a witch by the name of Misty Day was burnt at the stake.[4] Freeing the immortal Delphine LaLaurie from her grave, Fiona sought to gain immortality herself by bargaining with Marie Laveau, who had been alive for centuries.[3] Unsuccessful, Fiona resorted to murdering her successor to the Supremacy, who she believed to be Madison after learning of the girl's magical talents.[10] When the Council arrived to investigate Madison's disappearance, Fiona learned from Cordelia that Madison couldn't have been the next Supreme due to a heart condition. That Halloween night, Cordelia was blinded by an acid attack orchestrated by the witch hunter corporation, Delphi Trust.[8][11]

In retaliation for the Minotaur's dismemberment at Fiona's hands, Marie Laveau declared war against the Coven and raised an army of the undead to siege Miss Robichaux's Academy. With Fiona tending to an injured Cordelia, the young witches were left to defend themselves from Marie Laveau's onslaught. Using a chainsaw and raw magical power, Zoe took out the zombie army by herself.[12]

In light of recent attacks against the Coven, the Council demanded Fiona's immediate abdication as Supreme. However, with Queenie's Injury Transference ability, she was able to frame Council member Myrtle Snow for Cordelia's assault and had her burnt at the stake. Misty Day, having resurrected herself, stumbled upon Myrtle's charred corpse and used her power of resurgence to bring her back to life.[12]

With Fiona having neglected her duty as Supreme to reveal her successor, Cordelia tasked Zoe, Madison, Misty, and Queenie with performing the Test of the Seven Wonders. Misty died during the Trial of Descensum, her soul able to travel to but not return from Hell, and Zoe died during the Trial of Transmutation after accidentally transmuting onto the Academy's metal picket fence. Myrtle, seeing the dire situation at hand, convinced Cordelia to perform the Test of the Seven Wonders as well. Cordelia excelled at six of the Seven Wonders, and after performing the seventh to resurrect Zoe, Vitalum Vitalis, she ascended to the Supremacy.

In 2014, Cordelia exposed the existence of witches to the world on live television, hoping to start a new era where witches would no longer have to live in fear, and this encouragef many more witches to step out of the shadows to attend the Academy. In a conversation with Myrtle, Cordelia stated that they would need to find more buildings to house them all in.

Shortly after Cordelia revealed the existence of witches to the world, the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men, an acedemy for warlocks, was destroyed by fearful locals using Molotov cocktails. All that remained of the original site was a sculpture left standing from an area which was once the school's gardens. It was converted into an entrance to a new secret underground school where the warlocks could practice their abilities in secret, unimpeded by the concerns of the outside world.[6]

Ariel Augustus, Grand Chancellor of the Hawthorne School, became aware of a young boy with special abilities named Michael Langdon. In 2017, he showed his fellow colleagues video footage of Michael using his powers to kill a police officer, and convinced them to have Michael enrolled at the Hawthorne School to hone his power. Ariel believed that Michael could be the Alpha, a powerful warlock who could supplant the Supreme and pave the way for warlocks to be respected by their more powerful female counterparts.[6]

Under normal circumstances, the Warlock Council at the Hawthorne School would test the proficiency of a student's power level after a year of study, but Michael's magical proficiency showed that he warranted this test after only one month. Michael's power and skill proved that he was the most powerful warlock the school had ever seen, and thus Ariel requested an immediate meeting with Cordelia Goode, Myrtle Snow, and Zoe Benson to request Michael be allowed to take the Test of the Seven Wonders. Much to Ariel's anger, Cordelia refused.[6]

Ariel Augustus and Baldwin Pennypacker conspired to kill all of the witches of Miss Robichaux's Academy, but were thwarted by Cordelia. Along with Miriam Mead, Michael's adoptive mother, Ariel and Baldwin were sentenced to death by burning at the stake. However, as witches have long stood by the agreement that no witch is allowed to kill a condemned warlock, John Henry Moore was allowed to light the flames in Cordelia's place.[2]

Michael, devastated and enraged by the death of Miriam, orchestrated attacks on Miss Robichaux's Academy and the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men with help from the new Voodoo Queen, Dinah Stevens, massacring nearly every witch and warlock.[7] After Mallory used Tempus Infinituum to reverse the events of the Apocalypse, these attacks were undone.[13]

Hierarchy

The Supreme Witch

The Supreme Witch, known more colloquially as The Supreme, is a worldwide status recognized among the witches descended from the Salem Witch Trials. While most witches possess only a handful of inherent supernatural gifts, the Supreme is said to embody multiple, if not all. To be identified as the Supreme, the witch in question must have mastery over 7 distinct abilities, known as 'The Seven Wonders'. Historically, there is said to be only one Supreme per generation (approximately 40-50 years). Part of being a Supreme means no ailments or diseases, until a new Supreme ascends and the Supreme before them dies of rapidly declining health.

The Alpha

The Alpha is a male warlock with abilities that rival the female Supreme. Only the Alpha is considered a "Level 4" warlock, with even members of the Warlock Council being only Level 3. The Alpha is prophesied to come, and the Warlock Council believes he will usurp the Supreme, allowing the warlocks to reign above the witches for the first time in history. The witches believe that the concept of the Alpha is impossible, as the testosterone found in men's bodies prohibits their magical abilities and makes them inferior or less effective in practicing magic. After discovering Michael Langdon and taking him in, the Warlock Council believes that he is the Alpha.

The Witches' Council

The governing body of the witches and warlocks, formerly depicted as very old-fashioned elders, as displayed by the fact that they still use typewriters in the modern times. They are responsible for investigating issues and crimes that revloves around the coven or anything connecting to that matter. The concealment of witchcraft to the uninitiated, and for the welcoming of potential students to Miss Robichaux's Academy. The council only visits the coven on very important cases, such as the death of another witch.

The Warlock Council

The Warlock Council is the governing body of warlocks at Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men. They are depicted as middle-aged, "Level 3" warlocks, as displayed by the fact they still use typewriters in modern times. However, the Supreme holds the most authoritative power in the Council, as Cordelia was able to refuse the warlocks' request to conduct the test of the Seven Wonders on a candidate they thought to be the Alpha.[6] In the original timeline, as of 2018, all of the members of the Warlock Council are deceased. After Mallory reversed the events of Apocalypse, their deaths were reversed.[13]

Chancellors

Chancellors are high-ranking witches and warlocks of unspecified authority. According to Myrtle Snow, chancellors are appointed by the Supreme.[8] Ariel Augustus has been the Grand Chancellor for an undisclosed period of time.[8]

Levels

At the Hawthorne School for Exceptional Young Men, after a year of studying, all of the students are individually tested to know their current level to which they are assigned a level from one to four based on their magical capabilities. In the history of the coven, no warlock has ever exceeded level three, but it was prophesied that a level four warlock - known as the Alpha - would emerge and supplant the Supreme in power.

Magic

The main page for this category is Category:Witches/Magic
A number of magical powers and abilities have been showcased in CovenRoanoke and Apocalypse.

Some abilities are inherent or reflexive to certain witches, that is they do not need to focus or concentrate. It's not rare for a witch to manifest more than three powers, though a Supreme is required to have at least seven (the Seven Wonders), though not necessarily all possible powers. It is said that the reason that a Supreme is so powerful is that she is the physical embodiment of many and or all powers. According to Cordelia Goode, witches draw their power from light[6],  though evidently, there are other witches lurking in the shadows of their benevolent counterparts who draw their power from dark forces, and look less human as a result.[3]

  • Witches are shown to be able to use their powers collectively.
  • Certain abilities can also be triggered by certain events and substances.
  • Voodoo and witchcraft practitioners share certain powers.

Weaknesses

  • Emotions - A witch or warlock's magical powers is subject to the influence of their emotional state. Strong emotions, such as worry and anger can fuel a witch's power while emotions such as fear may prevent a witch or warlock from properly accessing their powers. According to Myrtle Snow, witches' powers only develop as fast as their cerebellum allows.[4][10][14][15][7][13]
  • Distraction - Denying a witch or warlock from concentrating or giving full attention to their spells, may render them ineffective. Since some spells are spoken verbally and take time to take effect, witches and warlocks are vulnerable to attack before their completion. Additionally, certain spells require items, tools, and/or special events during casting, therefore they can't be invoked on mere whim.[16][7]
  • Mortality - Despite having magical powers, witches and warlocks are still humans and share many of the same weaknesses as non-supernatural beings (e.g. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, snapped neck, etc.). However, some witches are able to resist these weaknesses through annual sacrifices of human beings.[4][10][12][17][18][14][19][15][16][2][7][13]
  • Ghosts State of Deceased Witches - Deceased witches and warlocks seem to lose all of their prior powers if they become ghosts or pass into afterlife. For Misty Day's case, the fact that she can revive a dissected frog in hell could be because of how things work in the Netherworld, everything works in a plot that causes the most extreme distress for the soul, meaning that the frog did not come back to life because of her power but rather how hell wants it to be and wants her to think.[6]
  • Higher Beings - Demons, Angels, and Deities are more powerful than witches and warlocks.
  • The Anti-Christ - The Anti-Christ seems to be much more powerful than witches and warlocks, and be able to easily deal with them. However, he still considers them to be his only threat in his quest to destroy the world.[7][13]
  • Hellmouth - Because they get their powers from light, the power of a hellmouth can negate their powers. Witches like Queenie retain some of their powers in the hellmouth.[6][21]

Known Witches and Warlocks

Gallery


Notes

  • The way the Supreme is chosen is similar to how Slayers in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be "activated", requiring a previous Slayer to die in order for a random person to potentially be the next generation's Slayers. Both Slayers and the Supreme are generally female and both shows have witches and supernatural creatures.
  • The earliest known American coven (in the series) are descendants of Salem witches, but mythology relating to witches existed beforehand, indicating other types of witches may exist; Scáthach and Marie Laveau are two examples of this. Also, the Delphi Trust has been hunting witches since before the Salem Witch Trials.
  • The Witches' Council seemed to employ Albino Guards as security escorts for protection.
  • The former Supreme Mimi DeLongpre shares the same surname as supposed distant cousins of Constance Langdon and parents of Michael Langdon in her cover story in the final episode of Murder House. "He was the child of distant cousins on my mother's side. The DeLongpres of Virginia, Eveline and Steve."
  • Leonardo Da Vinci was thought be a warlock by Myrtle Snow.[14]
  • Scáthach is the first known human to become a witch in the AHS universe, opposed to being genetically born one. This may imply that normal humans can become witches through the sacrificial worship of the Old Gods.
  • Most witches share some disdain outlook on warlocks, which the warlocks shares in return.
  • In Return to Murder House, it is confirmed that Michael Langdon is not a warlock, but the Anti-Christ, sustaining John Henry Moore's description about Michael's powers as dark and malevolent. Unlike other beings, Michael is also born from the union between a ghost and a human, and can call on the power of Satan due to his status as the Anti-Christ.
  • A few notable female figures in history are portrayed to be witches, such as Joséphine Bonaparte and Anastasia Romanov.

References

  1. Martin, Denise. Ryan Murphy Reveals More American Horror Story: Coven Plot Details.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Episode: Traitor
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Episode: Boy Parts
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Episode: Bitchcraft
  5. 5.0 5.1 Episode: The Sacred Taking
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Episode: Could It Be... Satan?
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Episode: Fire and Reign
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Episode: Fearful Pranks Ensue
  9. Episode: The Dead
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Episode: The Replacements
  11. 11.0 11.1 Episode: Head
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Episode: Burn, Witch. Burn!
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Episode: Apocalypse Then
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Episode: The Seven Wonders
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Episode: Forbidden Fruit
  16. 16.0 16.1 Episode: Boy Wonder
  17. Episode: The Axeman Cometh
  18. Episode: The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks
  19. Episode: Battle Royale
  20. Episode: Protect the Coven
  21. Episode: Return to Murder House

All items (21)

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