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Exploring Different Types of Witchcraft: A Guide to Various Traditions and Practices




Within the witchcraft tradition, there are many different paths, each with its own beliefs and practices. Some common paths include Wicca, Traditional Witchcraft, Hedge Witchcraft and Kitchen Witchery. These different types of witchcraft have developed over time and are influenced by various cultures, historical events and notable practitioners. While there are similarities across these paths, there are also differences in how witches approach their craft. Exploring these paths can help us find a spiritual practice that suits our beliefs and values.

The two major differences in the way witches work are whether they follow a formal school of thought with specific teachings and rituals such as Hermeticism or Wicca or a more fluid path based on intuition and traditional wisdom such as green witches and folk witches.

In this article, I have given brief descriptions of a few different paths here to help you navigate the subject. These are just my understanding and opinions, and I am certainly not experienced in all the paths, so if you want to find out more you may like to look for a book specifically on the path or practice you wish to follow.

As a witch, you can follow a specific witchcraft path, a mixture of paths or no specific path at all. The beauty of witchcraft is that it allows us to follow our individual values, interests and ways of working.

Personally, I consider myself to be an urban folk witch as I tend to be quite informal and intuitive when I work and I focus my practice on working with city energies and spirits. However, I also incorporate hearth witchery and hedge witchery into my practice as well as ideas from Wicca, especially when using the elements. 

Here is a brief introduction to some of the most common types of witchcraft


Wicca is a modern pagan religion that draws upon ancient pagan practices and beliefs. It was popularised in the mid-20th century by Gerald Gardner. There is a set path to follow in the tradition and this sometimes includes a formal initiation.

Key Characteristics of Wicca

  • Worship of a god and goddess, often represented by the Horned God and the Triple Goddess.
  • Observance of eight seasonal Sabbats.
  • Rituals often involve the casting of circles, invocation of deities and spellwork.

Wicca focuses on the elements of air, earth, water and fire as well as holidays based on solar equinoxes, solstices and lunar phases. Some Wiccans worship only the Goddess but many also worship a God. Wiccans usually work in groups but can work alone.

Wiccans celebrate eight seasonal Sabbats throughout the year, marking significant transitions such as the changing of seasons and agricultural milestones. These Sabbats include Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lammas and Mabon. These celebrations are opportunities for Wiccans to honour the Earth, connect with the Divine and reaffirm their spiritual beliefs.

In addition to seasonal celebrations, Wicca places a strong focus on personal spiritual growth and development. Wiccans often engage in meditation, divination and spellwork as means of connecting with the Divine and manifesting their intentions. The casting of circles and invocation of deities are common practices in Wiccan rituals. Many Wiccans also follow the Wiccan Rede, which outlines the importance of harming none and living in harmony with nature.

Eclectic Witchcraft

Eclectic witchcraft is a practice that draws upon a diverse range of traditions and beliefs. Unlike more structured or lineage-based traditions, eclectic witchcraft allows practitioners to tailor their practice by selecting elements from various sources to create a personalised and spiritual path.

Key Characteristics of Eclectic Witchcraft

  • Incorporates elements from different cultures, traditions and spiritual practices.
  • Emphasis on individuality and personal intuition.
  • Flexibility in rituals and spellwork based on personal preferences and beliefs.

Eclectic witchcraft embraces diversity and flexibility, allowing practitioners to tailor their spiritual journey to suit their individual needs and preferences. This eclectic approach encourages exploration and experimentation, as witches can choose to incorporate elements from different paths, historical periods and spiritual philosophies into their practice.

One of the defining characteristics of eclectic witchcraft is its focus on personal autonomy and empowerment. Witches are encouraged to trust their intuition, follow their own spiritual insights and adapt practices to resonate with their unique experiences and beliefs. This freedom to explore and create a personalised practice suits may witches who prefer not to follow a rigid structure. Eclectic witchcraft celebrates diversity and individuality, recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to spirituality.

Eclectic witchcraft incorporates a wide range of beliefs and practices. This can include elements of Wicca, ceremonial magick, folk magic, shamanism and more. Rituals and practices in eclectic witchcraft may vary widely from one practitioner to another, reflecting each witch’s personal preferences, experiences and spiritual goals.

Ceremonial Magic

Ceremonial magic, also known as high magic, is a formalised system of magical practice that emphasises rituals, symbolism and ceremonial tools and has has its roots in ancient esoteric traditions and Western occultism.

Key Characteristics of Ceremonial Magic

  • Use of ceremonial rituals, symbols and magical tools such as wands, pentacles and robes.
  • Invocation and evocation of spiritual entities, such as angels, demons, or elemental forces.
  • Emphasis on theurgy (divine magic) and achieving spiritual enlightenment.

Central to ceremonial magic is the belief in the existence of a higher spiritual reality that can be accessed through disciplined practice and the correct application of magical techniques. These practices may involve the recitation of sacred texts, the use of sigils and talismans and the performance of rituals designed to align the practitioner with divine forces or universal energies. The ultimate aim of ceremonial magic is often spiritual enlightenment, self-transformation, or the attainment of magical abilities and powers.

Historically, ceremonial magic has been associated with secret societies, mystical orders and esoteric traditions, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Rosicrucians and various branches of Freemasonry. These organisations have preserved and transmitted the teachings and practices of ceremonial magic through initiatory systems and written texts.

Folk Witchcraft

Folk witchcraft refers to various historical forms of witchcraft that pre-date modern Wicca and incorporate folk magic, herbalism and shamanic practices.

Key Characteristics of Folk Witchcraft

  • Deep-rooted in folklore, folk magic and ancestral traditions.
  • Emphasis on working with natural energies, spirits and the land.
  • Practices may include herbalism, divination and spirit communication.

Folk magic is a tradition that has developed over centuries of custom and practice. Folk practices differ around the world and examples include Celtic, Gaelic, Norse, First Nations and Hoodoo.

Often folk magic practices are not religion-based. This means that folk practitioners may not follow a god or goddess or any other deity. They may, in fact, follow a different religion such as Christianity or Islam. But they can equally worship other deities such as the Greek, Celtic or Norse pantheon. They may also work with the fey, angels, land spirits or ancestors.

Folk magic practices do not involve following a set of beliefs or rules and this makes it a very adaptable practice. The practice may include ideas handed down through generations or through society. For example, Santa Claus is a folk magic figure as are certain traditions such as knocking on wood. Your grandmother’s recipe for a special soup or tea made for a sick family member could actually be a folk practice.

Folk practices often work closely with the seasons and cycles. Folk magic often overlaps with other kinds of practice such as home and hearth magic, kitchen witchery, green witchcraft and hedge witchery.

Hedge Witchcraft

Hedge witchcraft is a path that focuses on shamanic and folk magic practices, often involving spirit work, herbalism and journeying between the physical and spiritual realms.

Key Characteristics of Hedge Witchcraft

  • Emphasis on connecting with nature and the spirit world.
  • Practices may include herbal medicine, divination and trance work.
  • Focus on personal transformation and spiritual growth through inner exploration.

Hedge Witchcraft is a modern spiritual practice that blends elements of folk magic, herbalism and shamanism. Hedge witchcraft emphasises a deep connection with nature, the spirit world and the cycles of the Earth. The term “hedge” refers metaphorically to the boundary between the physical and spiritual realms, symbolising the witch’s ability to traverse these realms through meditation, trance and ritualistic practices. Unlike some other forms of witchcraft that may involve elaborate rituals and ceremonies, hedge witchcraft often emphasises simplicity, intuition and a hands-on approach to magical practice.

Herbalism plays a significant role in hedge witchcraft, as practitioners believe in the inherent magical properties of plants and their ability to facilitate healing, protection and spiritual growth. In addition to herbalism, hedge witches may also incorporate divination, energy work and spirit communication into their practice.

Practitioners of hedge witchcraft often develop their own rituals, spells and practices based on their intuitive understanding of the natural world and the energies that surround them. While some hedge witches may work alone, others may choose to participate in community gatherings, workshops, or online forums to connect with like-minded individuals and share knowledge and experiences.

Kitchen Witchcraft

Kitchen witchcraft is a form of witchcraft that focuses on domestic magic, using everyday household items and ingredients for spells, rituals and divination.

Key Characteristics of Kitchen Witchcraft

  • Incorporation of cooking, baking and home crafts into magical practice.
  • Emphasis on nurturing and creating a harmonious home environment.
  • Use of herbs, spices and other kitchen ingredients for spellwork and healing.

Kitchen witchcraft is a form of witchcraft that focuses on utilising everyday kitchen tools, ingredients, and practices for magical purposes. In this tradition, the kitchen becomes a sacred space where spells are cast, potions are brewed and rituals are performed. Practitioners of kitchen witchcraft believe that the act of cooking and preparing food can be imbued with magical intent, transforming ordinary tasks into acts of spiritual significance.

One of the key principles of kitchen witchcraft is the belief in the magical properties of herbs, spices, and other culinary ingredients. Each ingredient is thought to possess its own unique energy and correspondences that can be harnessed to enhance spells and rituals. For example, herbs like rosemary and sage are often used for their cleansing and purifying properties, while cinnamon and ginger may be employed for their energising and stimulating effects. By incorporating these ingredients into dishes or creating herbal concoctions, practitioners can amplify the magical intentions behind their actions.

Green Witchcraft

Green witchcraft is a nature-based spiritual path that focuses on living in harmony with the earth and its natural cycles. It draws inspiration from the wisdom of the natural world.

Key Characteristics of Green Witchcraft

  • A focus on harmonising with nature and honouring the Earth’s rhythms.
  • Use of plants, herbs and natural elements in magical and healing practices.
  • Focus on sustainability and a deep bond with the land.

Central to this path is the belief that the Earth and its inhabitants are interconnected and that by working in harmony with nature, one can cultivate balance, well-being and spiritual growth while also taking care of the planet and all of its inhabitants. Green witches often develop a deep bond with the land and spend time cultivating gardens and practising sustainable living as a way to connect with the Earth and its cycles.

Herbalism is a cornerstone of green witchcraft, with practitioners often growing their own herbs and foraging plants for use in spells, potions and remedies. In addition to herbalism, green witchcraft may incorporate other natural elements such as crystals, stones, water and fire in rituals and practices. Divination, meditation and energy work are also common tools used by green witches to connect with the Earth’s energies and gain insights into the spiritual aspects of nature.

For many green witches sustainability is a key component of their practice, as it emphasises a harmonious relationship with nature, and honours and protects the Earth’s resources.

Traditional witchcraft

Traditional Witchcraft is a term used to describe various forms of witchcraft that draw upon historical, cultural and folkloric traditions. Unlike modern Wiccan practices, which emerged in the 20th century, traditional witchcraft often focuses on pre-Christian beliefs, folklore and magical practices that have been passed down through generations. This path embraces a deep connection with nature, spirits, and ancestral wisdom, emphasising a personalised approach to magical work.

Key Characteristics of Traditional Witchcraft

  • Emphasis on ancestral and folkloric traditions, drawing inspiration from historical witchcraft practices and folklore.
  • Focus on practical magic, spellcraft and divination using traditional methods and tools, such as herbs, crystals and talismans.
  • Strong connection with the land, spirits and the natural world, often involving rituals, ceremonies and spirit communication to honour and work with these energies.

Traditional Witchcraft refers to a range of practices and beliefs rooted in historical and cultural traditions related to witchcraft. Unlike modern interpretations, traditional witchcraft emphasises a connection with ancestral wisdom, the natural world and spiritual entities. This path often incorporates elements of folk magic, herbalism, divination and spirit communication, drawing from a variety of cultural and historical sources.

Central to traditional witchcraft is the belief in the interconnectedness of all things and the importance of maintaining a harmonious relationship with nature and the spirit world. Practitioners often engage in rituals, ceremonies and spellwork to honour the Earth, spirits and ancestors, seeking guidance, protection and empowerment through these practices.

I hope you have found this introduction to some of the different types of witchcraft useful. If you have any questions let me know in the comments below and I’ll answer you the best I can!

Eva May Baker
Eva May Baker
Hello, and welcome to The City Witch, your portal into the magical world that exists within the hustle and bustle of city life. My name is Eva Baker and I am an urban folk witch, author and your guide on this magical journey.


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