The Real Magick of Charmed

Pilot: “Something Wicca This Way Comes” – Part 2


After the credits the three sisters come back together in their ancestral home, the Mabon night stormy with a full moon.  The sisters play with their mother’s spirit board. The spirit board gives them the message “attic” and the lights go out. Pheobe goes to the attic and finds the Book of Shadows and begins to read the spell to unleash their powers. After this initiation the witches find their powers in normal everyday circumstances. Phoebe, having read the book, informs her sisters that evil will now be attracted to them so that they can use there powers to fight evil. They fight the warlock Jeremy by casting a spell on him, only to have an altercation with him in the manor.

This episode has some vocabulary for us to talk about.  The Spirit Board or Ouija board is a board with letters, salutations, and answers, that is used to comunicate with the spirits using a pointer or plachette.

Book of Shadows is a witch’s journal and notebook where they record their spells and rituals and anything that they feel is necessary to pass on or remember. In the Charmed universe the book of shadows seems like a living connection to their ancestors.

The sisters have unleashed their powers in this episode. In the real world, not many witches come from an unbroken witchcraft line that goes back as far as in this show. The Charmed Ones come from a Family Tradition, which is when a family practises witchcraft and passes on what they know to their decendants. This is rare, because most magickal traditions are shunned in our world. Hopefully as time goes on and magickal traditions are more accepted this kind of family tradition will become less rare. 

Most witches don’t have a tradition handed to them. We have to forge our own way by learning from books, teachers, and our own experience. Though some of the lucky ones have family members that do pass on interesting magickal facts and talents. Like in my own family, my grandmother uses my grandfather’s ring to dowse for answers from the spirit world. My father and grandfather used dowsing to find electrical lines, wells’ and water under the ground. These are just a few of the things they passed to me. I have used my own dowsing skill to find my keys in the bottom of a lake.

What happens when Phoebe reads from the Book of Shadows would be what we call an initiation in the real world. An Initiation is a ritual to induct someone into witchcraft. It can also pass along a current of the tradition and connect you to all the energies of that tradition. Initiations can be done as a solitary witch on your own. Much like an attunement in Reiki, they can open up powers and skills the witch may have not had before, or enhance the ones they already have.

There is a saying in the Craft that “witches are born not made.” This saying is a way to say that witchcraft is in the blood of the witch and is hereditary. Psychic powers are reported to travel in families and sometimes skip generations; this is true with witch powers as well. It is not the only way a witch gains their power and abilities, however. Witches can get abilities from past lives, teachers, and their own work.  In the Charmed universe the witches enherit their powers by blood, in real life we have to work to gain reliable abilities. The initiation is sometimes believed to make you a witch, but it is really doing the work of the witch that makes you a witch.  Initiations can help to help us be reborn as a witch thus making us a witch through symbolic and ritual rebirth. Initiations can happen through life experiences as well and our ritual initiations are designed to give us that experiance.

Whether you’re born, apprenticed, or self-made anyone can be a witch, it takes talent, work, and experience to get good at it.