Witches and Warlocks are a group of practitioners who practice the art of Witchcraft, one of several different belief systems involving the mystical arts, separate from sorcery or wizardry. Through study, discipline and personal potential, practitioners of witchcraft have the ability to tap into and manipulate the mystical arts of the universe by psychic, physical and chemical means ("magic"). They can manipulate the physical world and reality around them through mental means, often assisted by verbal and physical gestures.
The full extent of their powers are unrevealed, but their mystical abilities grant them skills capable of doing almost anything. Their powers seem to be derived from three sources:
- powers derived from one's own psychic potential (allowing them to levitate and move objects by mental command)
- powers derived from their own understanding of the world (such as the use of potions and objects)
- powers derived by calling upon inherent powers in the universe (such as through commands and incantations)
Witches can cast spells and make potions to focus the precision of their spells. They are are extremely long-lived, having used mystical means to stave off old age. Samantha herself has confessed to being at least five-hundred years old, but she looks like a young woman in her twenties. Witches seem to be naturally born with the potential for their powers and can pass them down to their offspring. This is likely why they tend to discourage relationships with normal human beings ("mortals") as this would decrease the potential for their children to be able to manipulate magic. All Witches and warlocks tend to look and dress like normal people, and they vehemently disdain the folkloric image of stereotypical witches which were developed and created by Old World prosecutors who hunted down and tried witches. However, in the modern world, witches seem to freely use their powers in public as the general public are generally not superstitious and no longer believe in magic.
The first stage of witchcraft is "wishcraft" among young witches, basically the ability to have anything they desired appear for them. Tabitha first displayed this in her youth (It's Wishcraft) when she wanted her father to be with her, and she accidentally "popped" him to her room. Adam also used this power (Adam, Warlock or Washout?) when he teleported his mother to the kitchen with him.
Witchcraft can also be considered a skill since the more a witch practices the more powerful they become. For example, Samantha has become so adept she can perform considerable spells by twitching her nose or tugging at her ear. Witches learn how to use their powers at a young age like Tabitha and Adam, often uncontrollably. Witches usually inherit their powers from their witch/warlock parents. The gift of magic is great indeed, but it can cause problems and become dangerous.
A witch or warlock can cast their spells in several different ways to show signs of her/him using witchcraft. One famous way is by twitching your nose like Samantha often does when using her powers. Another way is by using hand gestures such as pointing or snapping your fingers. Witches can also speak incantations that rhyme and cause a supernatural effect. (In the series, when a witch or warlock cast spells, the series featured music to highlight the magic.) For spells and feats too overwhelming or taxing on one witch's abilities, they uses form groups called covens to channel their spells into single powerful spells. Samantha, Endora and Clara once weaved a curse that changed the perceptions of a prejudiced client of Darren wanting to use a sterotypical view of witches.
Witches and warlocks are normally unable to affect each other's spells. For example, if one witch or warlock turns a person into an animal, another witch cannot reverse the spell. However, in one instance, Samantha noted that she could add to her mother's existing spell. It should also be noted that witches are vulnerable to spells and frailties caused by seasonal and/or astronomical events or by mystical diseases possibly created by earlier inexperienced witches. To remove these effects, they refer to witch doctors trained to deal with these illnesses, like Dr. Bombay.
Witches and warlocks generally use their magical powers anytime they want, usually to place themselves in great luxury or give the image of great wealth. A few Witches, like Samantha and Endora, tend to not use their magic in public view of mortals except Darrin, but several of Samantha's relatives and peers do not even bother. They are presided over by a Witches Council, which sets rules and governs the use of magic in the witch community. They can take away a witch's witchcraft if a warlock or witch fails to obey the council's rules, such as when Serena and Uncle Arthur sided with Samantha against them. Pooling their powers together, the members of the council can create mystical events beyond which any one witch could accomplish alone.