10 Traits of the Bad Witch.

Many, many more people are witches than the ones who happen to already consciously, publicly, deliberately identify themselves as witches.

Let me make this super-clear: to be a witch, one doesn’t need to be a Wiccan, or even a Pagan. At all.

Myself, I’m some sort of strange hybrid Buddhist-Christian-Existentialist internet folk magic witch. So, go figure.

A witch is a person (of any gender or belief) who lives by her own internal validation and creative inspiration rather than seeking approval from the powers-that-be.

Queen Elizabeth I, Jesus of Nazareth, Cleopatra, Yeshe Tsogyal, Joan of Arc, and John Lennon were all great witches with giant powers of fascination, who wielded great influence through the use of symbol and pageantry. I could name a lot more, but maybe you’re starting to get the idea.

Being a witch is an inherent quality of one’s being, like being deeply compassionate or having a green thumb. Even though witchiness is inborn, it still calls for deliberate cultivation to reach its fullest potential. It’s a particular flavor of spiritual and emotional incarnation, it’s not necessarily a collection of conscious beliefs.

That being said, coming to awareness of one’s own witchiness is a wonderful thing.

Once you have accepted and know that you’re a witch, a vast field of play opens up.

When you’ve accepted that you’re a witch, you can start deliberately cultivating your power, you can make sense of the world and your life through a whole new lens, and you can begin seeking out connections with other witches.

So here are some common traits I notice in witches. See if you can recognize them in yourself — and if you do, you might want to begin calling yourself a witch.

Calling yourself a witch at this moment in history has giant, positive political and historical ramifications, because our way of being has been persecuted for millennia. I could say a lot more about this, but I think you’ll get it if you ponder it for just a moment.

So, on to the traits of a Witch.

1. You don’t give a fuck.

The badness of bad witches is that they’ve reached a level of intuitive and imaginative power which gives them an inner authority. They’re being moved by their own genius and not by any external dogma or force.

They may use a wide variety of traditional or institutional tools, but they’re not dependent on traditional or institutional authority for their power. They’ve woken up the magic within their own hearts and it’s alive and throbbing.

Bad witches are often offensive to… well, just about everybody. Both conventional muggle types and also magical people who have rigid ideas about what magic should look like get alarmed in the presence of a bad witch.

So if you find yourself still very committed to magical practice and spiritual development but having next to zero interest in fulfilling anyone else’s expectations of what your magic or spirituality should look like, then you may just be a bad witch.

2. Seriously, you do not give a fuck.

In your life, you’ve probably had plenty of experiences of people freaking out at you about your signature strange way of being in the world, and while this is sometimes sad or challenging, ultimately you don’t care.

You’ve got work to accomplish — art to make, people to heal, houses to build, rituals to craft, stories to write — and you just don’t have time to be constantly soothing people who expect you to adhere to some standard other than your own genius and inner authority.

This may mean that eventually you go into stealth mode so as not to continually create alarm, but you don’t go stealth because you’re hiding or avoidant. You do it because you’ve got things to accomplish and only a limited amount of time here in the third dimension.

3. You make people nervous.

No matter how toned-down you allow yourself to be in dress or demeanor, you still make people nervous just by your very presence. There are things that can be done to mitigate this, but it’s probably unavoidable.

For folks who are looking to external authorities to tell them what’s good and beautiful and okay, the presence of you — someone who is wholly reliant on inner authority — is inherently disturbing.

Your presence is disturbing because others can sense there’s something about you that’s unpredictable and uncontrollable. You’re not being ruled by the conventional programs, so you’re not immediately legible to people who still allow themselves to be ruled.

4. Folks say your eyes are beautiful, but what they mean is that they’re penetrating.

Most people don’t have the words to describe your eyes. They just notice that there’s something compelling and different about them. That something is that your eyes See.

You can look at someone and see what programs they’re running, see where they’re blocking themselves, see what they’re attached too, see how they mishandle their own sexual energy and power, see their potential for liberation.

It’s just evident to you when you look at someone because you’ve done that liberatory work on yourself already.

5. You can always tell when someone is full of it.

See the above. Your penetrating vision is a kind of psychic perception. You can see how people deceive themselves because you’ve unraveled many of your own self-deceptions.

You can hear when someone is bullshitting because you can perceive that the whole of their being is not in full resonance with their words.

6. You’ve been actually persecuted at least once in your life.

Because you make people nervous and you don’t give a fuck and you probably did not start out in stealth mode, it’s very likely that if you’re a bad witch you’ve attracted actual persecution at some point.

This could be persecution in the form of cruel harassment and teasing in childhood, or persecution in the legal and professional realms as an adult.

Often it’s persecution in the form of malicious gossip from former friends who couldn’t keep up with your magical growth and then felt envious.

Kindness and compassion in the form of Brahmavihara cultivation are great antidotes to energetic persecution, and so are traditional protection spells and an ongoing practice of developing your communication and relating skills.

7. You encounter tons of synchronicity, and it doesn’t always lead to peachy places.

Bad witches are basically tantric bodhisattvas; they have a soul-commitment to liberate themselves and all beings as fast as possible, ideally in one lifetime, using alchemical transmutation. This means that they’re on the karmic fast-track and life very often comes super-fast and hard at them.

This means that following even gorgeous synchronicities can sometimes lead bad witches to apparently dark places — and that the visit to the dark and dirty places is totally part of the trip.

In other words, life is not a Love’n’Light New Age bowl of cherries for bad witches — it’s often a tour of the hell realms.

8. Your disapproval visibly hexes people.

One reason that you make people nervous is that you have so much personal power that if you dislike, insult, or disapprove of them or something that they like — they’ll feel it, hard. Their day will be ruined, and maybe their whole confidence.

When people get hexed by a cross word or look from you, they lose connection with their own best direction. They look dazed because they’re up in their heads, spinning scared thoughts around.

Folks are so affected by your disapproval for the very reason that they can sense your perception is penetrating. This is the evil eye that’s been so feared in so many cultures across history. Of course you would resent and fear someone who had the power to crush your confidence with a glance.

So as a bad witch, it’s a good idea to continually cultivate awareness of and transmute your own resentments and fears so that you’re not walking around spattering everyone with mean ju-ju just because you don’t feel good about yourself that day.

9. You’ve experienced your raw magnetism in action.

You know you’re hot stuff. You’ve had abundant experiences of your own magical ability to magnetize amazing romantic partners and friends and other beautiful stuff. There’s times when people just come up to you and tell you how fascinating you are or how deeply moved they felt by your work.

10. Your experience of the fourth dimension is more vivid than most people’s experience of the third dimension.

The fourth dimension is a short-hand term for the world of spirit and emotion and desire and vibration and feeling and intuition and imagination. It’s all the unseen stuff that can have the power to dramatically affect the seen.

On the whole, bad witches have a much easier time navigating fourth-dimensional realities than they do with third-dimensional realities.

The third dimension is hard, literally. It includes matter: table legs that you can stub your toes on, cars that can crash if you steer them the wrong way, water that leaks through roofs, bills that have to be paid.

A major challenge for bad witches is integrating their fourth-dimensional prowess with third-dimensional day-to-day reality. The third dimension is more difficult for us than it is for muggles for the simple fact that large amounts of our minds and hearts are usually occupied by the fourth dimension.

We have less processing power to devote to third-dimensional issues, and so we have to make it a deliberate part of our spiritual practice to deal with material reality — hence, practical witchcraft.


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Carolyn Elliott
Carolyn Elliott is a bad bitch with a bodhisattva vow. She's committed to encouraging utter shamelessness and deep shadow integration. Carolyn teaches popular virtual courses on writing, business, and practical magic.
Carolyn Elliott
Carolyn Elliott
Carolyn Elliott