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Witchcraft has its limits. If I push too hard, it pushes back.
Bonnie about Traditional Magic in Rose

A pentagram is used to represent a witch's connection to magic

Traditional Magic, lesser known as Earth Magic[1], is the oldest and purest form of witchcraft inherent to the Earth and the forces of Nature. It is undoubtedly the most popular form of witchcraft known to witches; however, it is also the most exhausting. This is mainly due to the fact that whenever a witch uses this power, they must exert their own energy, causing them to experience symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, and nosebleeds. Bonnie Bennett explained the limits of this power to Jeremy Gilbert as such: if a witch pushes too hard while practicing traditional magic, the magic would push back. Ultimately, if a witch pushes beyond their limits, the effects can be fatal.


Bonnie Bennett practicing Traditional Magic

The history of Traditional Magic dates as far back to the beginning of Creation. Traditional Magic is the energy of the Earth itself, and is the very essence which binds all things together. This form of magic is famous for drawing its energy from the natural world and may be used however a witch sees fit. Contrary to other forms of witchcraft, traditional magic does not violate the laws of Nature, but is simply a law unto itself that remains a mystery by scientific means.

The Great Divide

During the Archaic period (approximately 100 BCE) in Greece, the witches of the Greek community lived in blissful harmony with one another. During this period of time, it has been stated that the Travelers practiced Traditional Magic. However, after an extremely powerful witch named Qetsiyah created the first known The Immortality Spell, this controversial act caused the witches to divide into two groups: conventional and unconventional. The conventional witches saw the immortality spell as a violation of the natural law that all living creatures must die. These witches sought to border the limitations of magic by creating commandments that were almost religious in nature to which every witch should adhere. However, after a subgroup of witches, who saw the immortality spell as a revelation of divine potential, began to flout the commandments of their peers, a rift was created that caused the witches to enact a curse that would ensure their enemies could not practice witchcraft without fatal consequences.

Nature focused Magic

Furthermore, after the same witch who created the immortality spell failed to win the heart of her lover, Silas, she devised a plan to confine his soul inside of a supernatural purgatory that officially became known as "The Other Side". This purgatory was designed to imprison the soul of every supernatural spirit who died. While later supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, and more were cursed to spend all of the eternity in a state of solitude where they were prevented from interacting with each other, the witches were not bound by this law, and were instead given supreme authority and power. Furthermore, the accumulation of all non-living witches on the Other Side became known as the Spirits. Together, the Spirits were known to possess an ethereal field of collective knowledge and power that could be accessed by any witch who called upon their assistance. This form of witchcraft became known as Spirit Magic. Unlike other forms of magic, Spirit Magic was highly dependent on the cooperation of the Spirits and could only be used as the Spirits saw fit.

At some point in time, the conventional witches sought to exterminate their enemies by calling upon the Spirits to cast a powerful curse that would prevent them from further practicing Traditional Magic. This curse was designed so that whenever these infidels would attempt to draw energy from the Earth, the forces of nature would turn against them by creating earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters as a means to wipe them out of existence. These witches became known as "Travelers" as a quip for the fact that the curse forced these witches to live nomadic lifestyles.

Petrova Doppelganger Blood.jpg

The Travelers were constantly on the move, never allowed to remain in one place for too long out of fear that the curse would kill them. Fueled by anger and animosity, the Travelers killed Qetsiyah as they blamed her for their accursed condition. They also developed a deep hatred toward the Spirits who cursed them and the witches who channeled them. Determined to break the curse, the Travelers would spend the next two-thousand years as parasites known as passengers, where they would inhabit the body of other living creatures waiting for the appropriate time to break the spell. During the Middle Ages, a Traveler named Markos discovered that Nature had created mortal copies of Amara and Silas as a way to restore balance within the world due to the effects of their immortality. These creatures became known as doppelgängers and their blood had the power to reverse the effects of all non-Traditional spells, including the spell that had cursed his people. Knowing that the blood of the doppelgangers was the key to breaking the curse, Markos enacted a love spell that would draw the doppelgangers together. This way, when the time was right, the Travelers could use both the blood of Amara's shadow-self and Silas' shadow-self to undo the Spirit Magic that plagued every Traveler across the globe.

Spells and Rituals

Main article: Spells and Rituals



  • According to Esther Mikaelson, the pentagram represents Traditional Magic. 
  • According to Luka Martin, witches who practice Traditional Magic can increase their strength by channeling external forces of energy (e.g. the elements, the Moon, the Sun, etc.)
  • Traditional Magic is highly dependent on the level of knowledge a witch has over the elements of the Earth and the forces of nature.
  • The Travelers are unable to practice Traditional Magic due to a powerful curse that prevents them from channeling the Earth's energy.


See also