The witch archetype is one of the most popular archetypes in fiction. It is often used to depict a wicked or evil character, such as a wizard or priestess. She possesses great power and is feared by society. It represents the magical, feminine side of our nature that is often seen as evil, often associated with an ugly appearance, pointy hat, and a black cat. The witch is usually an aged woman who is able to heal and cure with her intuition, power and wisdom. She is a powerful force that is to be respected and acknowledged. In many cultures, the witch is revered as a healer and seer, and is one who is often misunderstood and feared. They are seen as being able to cast spells and being archetypal mind readers, and are also often seen flying on a broomstick. However, not all witches are evil. While they may possess some characteristics that are seen as negative, they also have many positive traits. There are also good witches who use their magic for the benefit of society.
The Witch was not precisely mentioned on Jung’s list of twelve archetypes. However, she can be considered a combination of elements from the Sage, the Magician, and the Jester, all of which do come from the original Jungian list. She is a feminine archetype, although men and male characters may fit into it sometimes.
The Witch may also be called the Wicked Woman or the Troublemaker, although these two are considerably less common names. And it’s important to note that they are not always wicked or evil; in many situations, they are, but they are not unlike the Trickster in that their loyalties may change over time.
In this article, you’ll find plenty of details to help you better understand your inner Witch. She is not as common as some of the others out there, so it may take a little time to come up with some examples of Witches you know in your real life or from your favorite fictional stories.
Read through the information below to get a firm grasp on this unique character type.
The details below will help you gain a clearer and fuller understanding of what makes up the Witch. With this information, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you yourself can be called a Witch. You may also find that some of the people you know fit into this archetype, which can be surprising.
- Sage: This is the masculine variant that can be most closely tied to the Witch. They both share many of their main traits and initial objectives. However, there are several differences between the two as well, so they are not really variants of each other.
- Magician: This masculine archetype is also related to the Witch. However, like the Sage, they are not exactly the same.
- The Earth Mother: This feminine archetype is very similar to the Witch, but with more positive elements and features. The Witch is not, however, a Shadow to the Earth Mother; they are also different in the end.
- The objective of the Witch is to share her knowledge and experience with others, not unlike the Sage, the Mother, and many others. However, she also strives to do this by looking to natural or holistic means whenever possible. She may also rely on her own skills and abilities to achieve her goals. In the case of an actual Witch with magical powers, those powers may help her impart her wisdom to the people she cares about or otherwise carry out her plans.
- The Witch wants to make a name for herself without having to rely on other people to make that happen. She is proud of who she is, and she wants other people to notice that as well.
- The Witch, in her positive forms, uses her power for good. She may be a healer, she may share advice with younger women, or she may simply be there, ready to help the Hero when she’s needed.
- The Witch taps into the feminine concept of creation while, at the same time, utilizing the masculine concept of magic to meet all of her goals head-on.
- The Witch wants to change things in the world around her. This concept of transformation is present in many archetypes, and the Witch is no different; she wants to be a force for good that makes a difference for the better.
- The Witch may, eventually, want to become the Queen. This goal can lead good Witches to become benevolent Queens, and evil Witches to become terrible Queens.
- The Witch wants to become a valuable part of society, but she often remains on the fringe, unwanted or unapproached. Her desire to be a useful member of the world around her drives many of her decisions.
- She is mentally and emotionally strong. She is in control of herself and may even understand how to bend others to do what she wishes as well. She does not let much ruffle her feathers.
- The Witch is happy to be who she is. She has a strong sense of Self, and she often doesn’t let anything stop her from showcasing it to others.
- Since she has had some life experiences—although not quite as many as some other feminine archetypes, like the Queen—the Witch has plenty of advice to offer those who are younger than she is.
- Unfortunately, Witches can quickly become corrupt with their power and abilities. Like many others, and not unlike the Queen, they can head down a path toward over-controlling those they come into contact with.
- Some Witches may become more doddering than useful. When they go too far in the opposite direction away from evil, they may instead become detached from reality. These Witches are doomed to stay on the outskirts of society forever.
- Witches may be quick to anger, especially when things don’t go their way.
- Rarely stumped or confused, the Witch usually knows how to handle situations and issues as they arise.
- The Witch can think on her feet and is good at adapting her plan to suit changes, even when she may not have prepared for those changes initially.
- Witches are in tune with nature, at least to some degree. They may tend gardens, raise plants indoors, or have many pets that they cherish and love.
- Some Witches may become distant from social interactions and may have trouble making lasting relationships with those who are not plants or animals.
It can take a little time to truly recognize and identify the Witch, and that is generally how she likes it. If you’re having trouble pinpointing just what makes up this archetype, however, you may need to dive deeper and think about some examples to help illustrate it.
Here are some examples of Witches to keep in mind:
- Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent is a negative Witch who intimidates and harms because of her corruption of power.
- Baba Yaga of mythology: As an older woman who lives in a mysterious hut in the woods, Baba Yaga and her tendency toward chaos is a classic, traditional Witch.
- The Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz: As a negative example of the Witch, the Wicked Witch wants to have her way and be in control, and she will harm anyone who tries to stop her.
- Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service: This Witch is a young girl who is still learning her way around the world. However, she also learns to utilize her abilities and nature to accomplish her goals.
- Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter: There are a lot of Witches in Harry Potter, but McGonagall is one of the most classic. She is an older woman with plenty of information and advice to share with her students, but she remains at a distance from many people with a somewhat standoffish attitude throughout much of the series.
There may be many other fictional and real-life Witch archetypes out there. Take some time to think about the possibilities and develop a list of your own.