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Witches, Warlocks and Sorcerers

Discussion in 'Research' started by Dwarven Gold, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. Dwarven Gold

    Dwarven Gold Minstrel

    So what's the difference between a witch, a warlock and a sorcerer? Aren't they the same thing?

    I know some folks who call themselves witches, but are there people who claim to be warlocks and sorcerers as well?
  2. To my basic understanding without looking anything up, a warlock is simply the male version of a witch. Historically speaking, they are both earthy and deal with the innate sense of mother nature and basic forces and elments in their spells. Less magic, more controlled natural phenomenon.

    Speaking in cliche, a sorcerer seems to be one who has more control of magic or other-worldly elements.
  3. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    Depends on who you talk to. For modern pagans, a male witch is a witch. Probably has something to do with "warlock" etymologically deriving from OE "deceiver" or "oathbreaker." Which does suggest that originally the two words meant different things as well, though they got conflated over time. (Another thing that suggests this is that I've never heard of a Medieval "warlock hunter": they called both males and females "witches" as well.) I'm accustomed to seeing "warlock" used in modern contexts largely as a term for "evil magician," though I don't know offhand how much of that is recent convention; in any event, it's not universal.

    Sorcerer, if I can trust Webster's (the OED is in another room and is too heavy to be worth getting out this late at night), is derived from Latin via French, and appears to have originally been associated with fortune-telling (which is one of the reasons I'm not sure that's a trustworthy etymology...). It has long since lost that sense in any event, and is just another word for "person who works magic."

    Does anyone claim to be a warlock or sorcerer these days? Yes--along with wizard, thaumaturge, mage, and any number of other near-synonyms. And nearly every one of them is engaged less in magic (howsoever taken) than in egotistical self-gratification, is probably a closet if not overt control freak, and whose primary motivation is 90% likely to turn out to be trying to get you into bed. (Unless you're the same gender, in which case it's probably only about 50% likely--with a 90% probability of trying to get whoever you arrived with into bed.) Or to put it another way: anybody who really is one is unlikely to wish to advertise the fact, let alone need to.

    So if anyone ever tells you he's a warlock, walk away; if he gets huffy and threatens to put a curse on you (or whatever), smile... and walk away. Let him worry about what you know. (This is unlikely to backfire, since he won't be able to ask you to teach him without revealing his own ignorance--and will be utterly terrified that he might prove unable to learn "real" magic when he did encounter it. :D )
  4. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

    In current use, a "witch" is a person who performs magick - yes, it's often spelled with a K for a reason. :) A witch can be male or female. This is from the wiccan/pagan crowd. They often - though not always - use "witch" and "wiccan" interchangeably.

    A "warlock" is an "oathbreaker." Usually a witch who broke the oath of the coven. Not a male version of a witch - that's only on the tv show Bewitched.

    A "sorcerer" is from the Disney movie. In ancient use, a "sorcerer" was an evil magic-doer.

    I've never actually seen anyone who wasn't crazy or a teenager who claimed to be a sorcerer or a warlock. I've seen people be declared warlock (both male and female). They did not wear the title proudly.

    For use in Fiction, you can use them however you want. I would suggest to not use, say, "warlock" to mean "male witch who's a good guy." That kind of thing these days just sets people off.
  5. Xanados

    Xanados Maester

    I've always thought of a Warlock as a male version of a Witch. He might work with dark magic. A Witch is usually female and a Sorcerer, I think, is just a male mage/magus.
  6. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

    When I think of the terms; witch, wizard, warlock and sorcerer, I think of witches being female and wizards being their male counterparts. A warlock being a powerful, evil version of witch/wizard and sorcerer/sorceress as a much more powerful wizard or witch.

    Examples for what I would classify as such. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley would be wizard/witch. Voldemort is a warlock, as he is very powerful and of course.. evil. Dumbledore is a sorceror having contributed to the magical world immensely and being very powerful.
  7. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    It is what you make of it in your world.
    The titles can be different words to mean the same thing, or a different field of study, or different sources of power.
    example;Wizard; general helpful magic user, Warlock- a battle wizard(war-locked), Sorcerer (study of source) more oriented to study or long drawn out magic rituals rather then direct contact. Enchanter; focuses on lasting magic instilled into items rather then direct conflict. Similar to sorcerer, they research and do long drawn out incantations to tie magic to normal items. Necromancer; wizard that focuses on death magic or magic to control the dead. Witch being more druid like or nature based magic.
    I do believe in HP, witch/wizard are used for the Female /male students(only watched the movies never read more then the first chapter of book 1.)
    Voldemort would fit warlock, being the oath breaker(he broke all the rules and tradition) and he looked to conquer the world or locked in war, and magic for evil.

    My world basically uses the definitions above.
  8. Hans

    Hans Sage

    There is an Indian saying about some Yoga that are said to give strange abilities: Those who know don't say anything. And those who talk don't know anything.
    For people claiming to be wizards, Aleister Crowly comes to mind. And yes, he was very much into "sexual magick"

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